Defeating Personal Stress in the Workplace: Workplace Utopia


Did you know the average American changes jobs every two years?  Retail employees spend even less time at their job.  No wonder so many people have so much personal stress!

So what’s going on?  Employers are constantly striving to cut expenses to increase revenue, employees are working harder without additional compensation, and stress in the workplace is on the rampage.  Meanwhile, consumers are becoming more and more dissatisfied with the customer service they receive from companies.

When employees leave work each day, what type of experience are they taking home with them?  Stress?

In a perfect world, or I guess I should say, in “Workplace Utopian” world,  we find the best employee and give them the best workplace experience.  In turn, the employee gives the company their most creative ideas, their utmost loyalty, dedication to customers, and a great attitude.

Believe it or not, there are a few companies out there who believe in giving their employees a good workplace experience, and needless to say, most are Fortune 500 companies.

If Workplace Utopia was a real working environment, we could satisfy basic human needs within the workplace.  The needs of dignity and purpose are good examples of basic human needs.

Management could include the opinions and ideas of employees concerning new programs.  Not only would this make the employee feel their opinions and ideas are important, the management has just satisfied their dignity and purpose needs.  Including employees in decisions like these make them feel as if they are members of something good–the company.

How about if the revenue of the company was increased while making the employees happier in their workplace?  Research has shown that companies with good communication have higher profits than those who don’t.

In Workplace Utopia, we could use cell phones, email, texting, not to mention landlines, post-it notes, and all the options from Google, to have better communication.  After all, lack of communication is a big pet peeve with employees.

If communication was better in the workplace, employees could stay in the loop about upcoming changes or new developments and not have to rely on company gossip.

Communication…What a concept!

Let’s wrap up our “Workplace Utopia” idea by removing all the de-motivators from the workplace.  We will remove lack of clear expectations first so the employee will know exactly what is expected of him, which will eliminate stress and frustration and the employee can feel like a winner and have more self-confidence.

Then we will remove some of the control management has over the employee’s work, since studies have shown that the more control an employee has over their work, the harder they will work.  This will also make the employee feel more self-confident.

And lastly, let’s remove all doubts of anyone feeling unappreciated and that way no employee will have the “why bother” attitude.  Management will appreciate and recognize each employee for their individual skills and talents, as well as their mistakes, which will make them feel the need to be more creative and innovative.

Now that we have de-stressed the work place, employees can create more revenue for the company, since a happy employee is a productive employee.  Once the employer increases revenues, he could actually pay his employees what they are worth.  More money would lessen the stress for many employees.

I think we are finished now.  We have not only conquered stress in the workplace, we have conquered personal stress for employees.  We have basically defeated two problems with one solution!

So how come more companies don’t adopt the “Utopia” attitude?  Maybe they like the added expense of replacing good employees every few years.  I wonder if they know that “help wanted” ads are expensive and employee training will cost them even more.  Probably not.

Perhaps, a lot of employers don’t like acting like Fortune 500 Companies.  But then again, if they don’t act like successful people, they don’t have to worry about becoming successful.  Good idea … maybe not.

Or, maybe these employers have a fear of success.  With success comes more responsibilities and obligations.  Bad move.

I give up.  There is no sane answer as to why more employers don’t create a Workplace Utopia.  It should be a “no brainer.”  Quality and content employees do generate more revenue for their company.  It’s a win/win situation.

Article Author: Donna Graham writes articles about people and small business.  Visit her at

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Body Language: How to Find the Most Important Person in the Room


Networking events. Association meetings. Conferences. Regional meetings. Trade shows. Each of these events represents an opportunity. Making the sale. Making the right connection. Exchanging business cards with the right person.

But how do you know who Mr. or Ms. Right is? Who is the person who can green light your product or service within their company?

One option is the internet. Do your research, find the bigwig’s name, do a Google Image search, and you have your target. At the event, you can scan the room until you see the person and introduce yourself.

But what if that’s not possible? What if they don’t show up? What if Google Image search pulls up nothing? What if you’re not sure who your ideal target is?

Thankfully, when this happens, you don’t have to randomly approach people and hope they are your mark. You can be a detective at all your future business meetings and use the skills of deciphering body language to discover the most important people in any group.

After speaking at an event, I went to the hotel’s lounge to relax and unwind. Wanting to enjoy some alone time, I sat in the far corner booth and began one of my favorite activities: people watching.

There was another conference at the hotel and some of their attendees came to the lounge for a social hour. At first everyone was shaking hands, welcoming one another and being very friendly. After awhile the large group started splitting up into subgroups. 5 women chatting at one table. 3 men laughing at another. 2 women standing and gossiping. But, there was one subgroup that caught my attention.

I noticed 3 gentlemen. One tall, good posture, well dressed. The second was of average height, well dressed, good posture. The third was short, had poor posture, and was – quite frankly – poorly dressed. Who is the most important person of the group?

Most people would say one of the first two gentlemen. They had strong posture, knew how to carry themselves, and their clothing reeked of success. Most people would be wrong.

After knowing a few body language basics, you would know to look more closely. While posture and clothing are good variables to observe, they are surface level indicators that can easily and consciously be altered for any situation. As a body language pro, you would want to look at the unconscious indicators to discover your alpha-person of the group.

In this case – as in most – the feet gave it away. Even though the men were standing in a circle, politely facing each other and looking at one another while they spoke, the feet pointed toward Mr. Important himself, gentleman #3. That’s right. Mr. slumped-over-I-don’t-need-to-iron-my-clothes-or-put-together-a-snazzy-outfit-like-the-rest-of-you.

The feet of the other two gentlemen were pointed directly at guy #3 like a pointing dog during the hunt. The feet give away so much information unconsciously. They almost always will point towards the direction where you want to be or towards the person you perceive to be the most important person in the conversation.(Where was Mr. Important’s feet pointing? The door.)

While initial looks might lead you to one conclusion, body language will give you the power to detect the subtleties that lead you to the truth.

Use this body language detective skill for your next meeting. If you want to converse with the “top dog” just follow the feet.

Shari’ Alexander is a business presentation strategist and professional speaker who helps professionals get what they want when they speak. As the owner of Presenting Matters, her many clients have included an Emmy Award winning executive, an NFL player, and an ESPN announcer. Shari”s articles and advice have been featured in Presentations Magazine, Counselor Magazine, Training Magazine, along with other international publications. Shari’ is available for keynotes and seminars and may be reached at 918.346.8506 or
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