Stress rising as boundary between work and home blurs

Robyne Hanley Dafoe. (Photo courtesy of the Workplace Wellness Committee.)

Over 100 people received tips on how to cope with workplace stress Friday morning.

Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, a Trent University psychology instructor, was the keynote speaker during the Sarnia-Lambton Workplace Wellness Committee’s breakfast workshop at the Lambton College Event Centre.

She said it’s no surprise that workplace stress is increasing.

“Stress from our personal lives is starting to bleed into our work life and vice versa, stress from work is starting to transition over into our home life, because the clear boundaries between the two are becoming more and more enmeshed,” said Hanley-Dafoe.

She said technology is just one of the reasons why.

“We do believe that access to information with our devices has contributed to this complexity of being able to maintain and protect boundaries in between our professional role and our personal roles. But, I also think that there’s a growing expectation to always be available, always be on call, always be reachable.”

Hanley-Dafoe said the most common thing she hears is that people check email before heading into work, because they want to know what they’re going into and not be blindsided.

“I don’t think building these huge walls between our worlds work. What I do think that works, is figuring out what your non-negotiables are. For example, when you are at an event with family and friends or a child’s sporting event, you make the decision that in this moment, I’m going to make this a non-negotiable where I’m going to be present and mindful of the task that I’m doing right now.”

She believes once we start making those non-negotiables, it will spread into more life areas because we realize it’s nice not to feel like we’re being pulled in so many different directions.