The War on the Workplace
Gibson: Constantly checking on updates to the war can cause stress and an unproductive workplace.I would have prepared a column for this issue, but I spent the whole week checking out online news sources for updates to the Iraq war. What a distraction! Then I noticed the issue that I was most involved withprocrastinating by checking out the progress of the war all the timewas itself getting plenty of attention. Across my desk came a release from the National Mental Health Association, which has weighed in with advice on keeping people on an even keel. "Were trying to get people to create an environment where employees are kept informed but not inundated with news sources, especially visual ones," said Mary Graham, senior policy adviser of NMHA, in Alexandria, Va. Graham said that while print news stories are not a big problem, visual images can be quite disconcerting. The psychological theory behind that is not clearly defined, but evidence from earlier disasters, including Sept. 11, 2001, showed that workers who repeatedly viewed disturbing images suffered far greater mental stress than those who pried themselves from the TV.
"Visual images have a very negative effect on peoples mental health," said Graham. So companies that prohibit streaming video via filtering software are on to something, she added.