Finance News & Insights

Which employee is spreading second-hand stress around Finance?

Sure, he may look like he’s just a hard worker, but he could be spreading anxiety and resentment among your finance team. 

Chances are, you know an employee who’s an office “rusher.” A rusher is someone who speeds about the office looking busy and stressed. Their plate always seems to be full. It may sound familiar – perhaps too familiar.

These rushers are not only hurting themselves by remaining constantly stressed. They could also be hurting others in the office.

It turns out that stress can be contagious, and the office rusher could be spreading anxiety and negativity among his/her colleagues, according to the Wall Street Journal. If your head of accounting is running around and looking frazzled, chances are, her department might be feeling that way, too.

When co-workers see one of their peers looking perpetually stressed, it can trigger these negative feelings:

  1. Anxiety: They may wonder if they should be rushing around as well. No one wants to look like he’s working at a slower pace than the rest of the office.
  2. Inferiority: Your two A/R workers do pretty much the same job. But if one’s a rusher, the other may start to worry that his work isn’t as important.
  3. Avoidance: Rushers can be intimidating. No one likes being snapped at, so co-workers may avoid approaching the office rusher with questions because they’re afraid of interrupting him.
  4. Desperation: Do you have finance workers chasing you out to your car at the end of the day? You might be a rusher whose employees are desperate to get a minute of time.
  5. Resentment: This may crop up if the rusher’s co-workers know her job isn’t any more stressful than their own. Rushers always appear to be busy and in-demand, which may prompt their colleagues to wonder, “Are you trying to show you’re more important than me?”

Time to de-stress

It’s important to slow down a rusher before second-hand stress does too much damage to workplace morale. A big step is simply pointing out a rusher’s behavior. He may not be aware of what he’s doing.

Inform the office rusher that his behavior isn’t healthy to him, or his colleagues. Be specific: Say, “When your co-workers stop you to talk, it seems like you’re not fully in the conversation. It makes them feel like they’re not worth your time.”

Another helpful step is to advise the rusher to plan and prioritize more. If they factor in time for interruptions and unexpected changes, they’re less likely to act reactively, which sets off “rusher mode.”


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