Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Workplace stress probably associated with obesity | Health Jockey

Workaholics may find this news to be some relevance to them. A new study alleges that chronic job stress and no physical activity are said to be powerfully linked to being obese or overweight.

Unpredictably, study authors also discovered that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables did not seem to do much to counterbalance the outcome of chronic job stress on weight gain among the employees, who were generally inactive. Instead, exercise appeared to be the key in controlling stress and maintaining a healthy weight.

University of Rochester Medical Center experts performed a study of roughly 2,782 employees at a big manufacturing facility in upstate New York, but the outcomes could be pertinent to nearly any job setting in which layoffs, or lack of control at work seems to be a major concern.

Lead author Diana Fernandez, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the URMC Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, mentioned that her study is among several that seem to relate high job pressure with cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, exhaustion, anxiety and weight gain. After working the whole day, participants wish to watch TV after going home. It was seen that snacks highest in fats and calories vanished away pretty fast from the vending machines. A few workers believed that they did not take time off to eat properly or exercise at lunch since they were dreading the aftermaths of leaving their desks for too long.

Around 32 percent of adult men and roughly 35 percent of adult women are overweight in this country. When the occurrence of overweight and obesity are merged, roughly 68 percent of adults fall into this category. This was as per a new recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The upstate New York workplace apparently replicated the national statistics.

Study authors gathered baseline data from almost 2,800 employees by means of body mass index (BMI) as the measurement for weight status. With a BMI more than 24.9, it would be seen as overweight/obesity. With a BMI less than 24.9, it would be healthy/underweight. It was observed that roughly 72 to 75 percent of the employees were discovered to be obese or overweight. Majority of the subjects were supposedly middle-aged, white, married, extremely educated, comparatively well-paid like earning over $60,000 a year, with an average of around 22 years of work at the company.

It was also seen that over 65 percent of the employees mentioned that they spent roughly 2 to 3 hours per day in front of the TV. Among those who supposedly watched TV for 2 to 3 hours, roughly 77 percent seemed to have more chances to be overweight or obese. Those who spend four or more hours in front of the TV per day, it apparently augmented their odds of obesity by 150 percent as opposed to people who watched less than two hours of daily TV.

Stressful working conditions are supposedly known to influence health behaviors directly and indirectly. Directly, stress could impact the neuroendocrine system, thereby leading to abdominal fat. It could also cause a reduction in sex hormones, which may often result in weight gain. Indirectly stress could be associated with the consumptions of too many fatty or sugary foods and inactivity.

The study team gauged psychosocial work conditions via a comprehensive job questionnaire. Interventions were designed and employees who worked at intervention worksites took part in an inclusive, two-year nutrition and exercise program. This comprises of walking routes at work, portion control in food, and stress-reduction workshops. The data comparing control groups and the groups who participated in the nutrition and exercise program is apparently still being evaluated.

Nevertheless, while examining baseline data, experts found that employees working in the most high-job-strain conditions seemed to have nearly one BMI unit more of weight as compared to people who worked in more passive areas. Study authors did not appear to determine that chronic stressors and acute stressors jointly seemed to have a bigger outcome on weight as compared to those when checked independently.

Diet was assessed exclusively by the amount of helpings of fruits and vegetables per day, and perhaps appeared to have no power on weight status since evaluating diet in this way could not be a good measurement of quality or quantity. An enhanced means to observe diet quality could be through an assessment of the complete diet.

The study proposed that workplace wellness programs ought to not only deliver notions on how to be healthy but also investigate the organizational structure and offer ways to reduce a taxing environment for everyone.

The study was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Workplace stress probably associated with obesity | Health Jockey

More Employers to Penalize Workers for Unhealthy Behaviors

While U.S. companies continue to use financial incentives as a way to increase employee participation in health and wellness programs, a new survey by consultancy Hewitt Associates shows that employers’ appetite for penalizing workers for unhealthy behaviors is also on the rise. This shift in strategy suggests that companies increasingly are challenging employees and their dependents to be accountable for the decisions they make regarding their health.
That trend might be accelerated by the 2010 health care reform law, which will give employers more leeway in incentivizing healthy behavior. See SHRM's Health Care Reform Resource Page.

Hewitt’s annual health care trends survey of nearly 600 large U.S. employers—representing more than 10 million employees—shows that nearly one-half (47 percent) use or plan to use financial penalties over the next three to five years for workers who do not participate in certain health improvement programs.

Read more…

Friday, March 26, 2010


Keeping employee morale up in a down economy was the top takeaway from the recent recession, according to Robert Half Management Resources, which released a national poll of chief financial officers Wednesday.

“Nearly three in 10 executives surveyed said they learned not to overlook team morale,” according to an announcement by the California-based executive search firm. “CFOs also cited the value of controlling costs early on and not cutting personnel too deeply.”

Morristown-based Financial Executives International CFO Paul Chase said he agrees with the findings.

“In discussions I’ve had with executives at FEI chapter meetings, we’re hearing that cutbacks mean fewer people have to do more work,” Chase said. “So maintaining morale becomes even more important. When a top executive thanks someone personally for a job well done, it can mean a lot to the employee.”

In New Jersey, the top concern is how to borrow less and save more, according to the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s Christopher Biddle. But he sees morale building as a closely related issue.

“Companies with less debt may be able to avoid some of the painful layoffs we’ve seen in this deep recession,” Biddle said. “It’s particularly tough in a smaller company, where the top executive probably personally knows all of the employees.”


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are you a Leader or just a Boss? | The Practice of Leadership

I often find that many people onfuse leadership with positional power. We tend to believe that a person in a position of authority or someone with a title, has their position or title due to their leadership qualities. However, in many cases there is no correlation between someone’s position and their leadership ability. Just having a title does not make you a leader, leaderships is about influence. Title only buys you time to exercise true leadership, and in this time your leadership either increases or diminishes and eventually fails. There is a huge difference between being a boss  and being a leader…! Consider the following…

“The boss drives group members; the leader coaches them.
The boss depends upon authority; the leader on good will.
The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.
The boss says ‘I’; the leader says ‘we.’
The boss assigns the task, the leader sets the pace.
The boss says, ‘Get there on time’; the leader gets there ahead of time.
The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.
The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.
The boss makes work a drudgery; the leader makes it a game.
The boss says, ‘Go’; the leader says, ‘Let’s go.’“

– Author unknown

People follow the boss because they have to if they want to keep their jobs. People follow leaders because of who they are and were they are going.  Too many leaders today rely on their position to lead. How about you?

Are you a Leader or just a Boss? | The Practice of Leadership

The majority of workers do not feel their work and life has meaning. - Free-Press-Release.com

The majority of people are not thriving in the workplace according to the latest poll by Performancepoint, LLC. In fact, 65% of those surveyed were not thriving. They do not feel like their work is meaningful and some of them do not feel their life is meaningful. The last two years of economic turmoil has a great deal to do with the current malaise in which many people find themselves. Many who answered the poll elaborated on why they answered in the manner that they did.
“I have been unemployed for 11 months and I am worthless!”
“As a business development manager, I am finding the current economy and the impact it has had on corporate spending to be impacting the fulfillment I have through my job. How can sales people, who are judged by the deal, learn to be satisfied with the process it takes to get to the win – especially when the wins are few and far between?”
“I said "sort of" because the economy has sort of "curbed" my pioneering spirit. Although I feel more purposeful treading new ground, I simply can't afford to make mistakes right now.”
“I am in a professional rut.”
“I said 'no'...relative to the 90's, I am making less than half what I averaged for that decade. I have great energy, tremendous desire to learn and apply that knowledge, but the opportunities seem to be so limited and the constraints so abundant. I have hope for better days to come. Checking the unemployment stats I am not alone.”
The stress and anxiety workers feel is significant. Tied to this stress is the impact on our organizations, our relationships, and at home. People who are not thriving are struggling. People under this type of pressure tend to:
• Sleep poorly
• Have higher blood pressure
• Suffer from depression
Even if we do not look at the significant risk factors and only look at the everyday work challenges these individuals face, we find that these same individuals:
• See job responsibilities and assignments as tasks to get done with less regard for the impact
• Strive for the path of least resistance versus working toward maximum results
• Exhibit self oriented behavior versus an interest in their customers and team Procrastinate
These behaviors reduce creativity and collaboration in the workplace--a significant price to pay personally and professionally. While current circumstances may concern some, other results from the poll were even more striking. When it comes to what position you occupy in a company where you sit matters:
• Only 18% of the C-level population said they were fulfilled
• 22% of Management felt they were thriving
• 35% of Associates responded as thriving
The reason executives and managers may be less fulfilled than the rest of the work population could be because they feel responsible and may be struggling with how to improve the lot of their associates. The executives and managers have a great deal of weight on their shoulders.
Additional survey findings include:
• Enterprise (multi-national) organizations had the largest amount of employees that felt they were thriving at 50%.
• Large businesses (national firms) had the largest number of associates not thriving at 46%. Medium and small firms had the smallest number of employees not thriving at 11% and 15% respectively; however they had the largest “sort of” groups at 67% and 63% respectively
• Administrative and support were unanimously not thriving at 100%
• Consulting was the industry with the most thriving population at 50%
• 31% of females were thriving
• 38% of males were thriving
• Most thriving age group was 25-34 year olds
• Least thriving age group was 55 and over
Regardless of how the numbers were broken down one thing is clear…satisfaction is at an all time low. Individuals are struggling personally and professionally through a difficult period of time including executives. The good news…there is a great deal of room for improvement.
About Performancepoint, LLC:
Performancepoint is a client-driven management consulting firm specializing in Employee Engagement.
Our mission is to increase the productivity and tenure of (key) employees in a manner that creates healthier organizations both on and off of the balance sheet.
Our solutions typically fall into these categories:
• Organizational Engagement Process
• Engagement Leadership
• Sales and Service Team Engagement
• Personal Engagement Strategies
Challenges Our Clients Face:
• Need to increase prospecting, referral generation, revenue generation, or customer retention
• Missed deadlines, delayed projects, new key business objectives to be rolled out – need to improve accountability and ownership across the organization
• Leadership needs development and/or not as effective as needed – increase productivity and /or reduce turnover in key areas or with key employees
• Productivity is lower than it should be – need to improve employee engagement especially during poor economic conditions, lay-offs, mergers, change in stock value, etc.

The majority of workers do not feel their work and life has meaning. - Free-Press-Release.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lost heart with your current job? Don’t rush to escape


I‘ve read recently that as many as 60% of workers intend to leave their jobs this year. Assuming that there’s some economic upturn to enable it, that’s going to be one heck of a lot of people circling the job market. At least the recruiters will be happy!

It’s no wonder things are this way. In my client work I’m hearing some real horror stories of how people are being managed at the moment. And as you’ll recall from my last post, research is only affirming that people’s satisfaction with work is on the skids.

So I can quite understand why you’re burning the midnight oil blogging, revamping your LinkedIn profile, getting onto Brazen Careerist, getting your CV out there, or all of the above. It’s soul-destroying to feel overworked on the one hand, undervalued on the other. It’d be great to land a brilliant new gig so that you could give the middle finger to the bosses that are treating you so badly.

But is a quick exit the most you-loving strategy?

Pain of any kind is distressing. Our natural reaction is to escape it. If we have a headache we take aspirin; if we burn ourselves, we pull away from the flame. Emotional pain is particularly insidious. We try to fix it as best we can. Sometimes we medicate ourselves with food, alcohol or drugs. Or by taking action that feels like it puts us back in control. If a job consistently makes us feel bad, the default remedy is to quit.

The danger with escaping, however, is that it doesn’t always help you deal with the real cause of your work upset. And you can end up carrying that with you, unconsciously of course, into your next scenario, where the chances are you’ll reinvent it in one way or another.

Lost heart with your current job? Don’t rush to escape

Friday, March 5, 2010

LINE: Hiring Anticipation Grows as Recovery Gains Traction


As the long labor-market recovery emerges, more manufacturers and service-sector companies are expected to add to their payrolls in March 2010 than did so in March 2009, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) survey, released March 5, 2010.

“Though overall the labor market continues to struggle, LINE is revealing some positive trends,” said Jennifer Schramm, SHRM’s manager of workplace trends and forecasting. “This is the fifth month in a row in which hiring is up on an annual basis. HR professionals in manufacturing are reporting hiring rates at levels not seen since June 2008, and the percentage of companies hiring in the service sector is the highest since July 2007.”

The LINE Employment Report, based on a monthly survey of private-sector human resource professionals at more than 500 manufacturing and 500 service-sector companies, examines four key areas: employers’ hiring expectations, new-hire compensation, difficulty in recruiting top-level talent, and job vacancies. SHRM has tracked manufacturing-sector hiring trends since 2004 and service-sector trends since 2005 through its LINE indices, which are not seasonally adjusted.