Search Results for: stress

People are outsourcing their own memories to the Internet, claims report

People are outsourcing their own memories to the Internet, claims report

digital-amnesia-FB_We have outsourced our memory to the Internet and digital technology to such an extent that many of us are suffering from digital amnesia. That is the main finding of a new report from software developer Kaspersky Lab. The study of around 6,000 people claims that the seductive ease of access to a bottomless well of information is taking its toll on our natural ability to memorise and recall things for ourselves. Nearly all respondents (91 percent) across all age groups now agree that they  “use the Internet as an online extension of their brain”. Around half of people now simply cannot be bothered to remember even basic facts and a quarter cheerfully even forget whatever facts they glean through search engines after they have made use of them. As with many things in the modern world, we are increasingly prone to treat even hard information as disposable.

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Humans will remain at the heart of the emerging digital workplace

Humans will remain at the heart of the emerging digital workplace

HumanThe speed of technological development over the last 30 years has been pretty mind blowing. Of course, some technologies came and went, for instance you would struggle finding fax machines in your office nowadays or people using Pagers to contact one another.  It’s no wonder that in the early nineties futurologists predicted the death of the office. Technology was shaping the way we worked and was leading us away from office buildings towards a digital workplace. Yet videoconferencing hasn’t destroyed the need for business travel. Team meetings haven’t been abandoned because of messaging services like Yammer, Slack, Lync and Webex. We still do a lot of business face to face over coffee in a meeting room. Although technological advances have greatly improved the way we connect and do business, companies still appear to value human interaction.

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Over half of workers feel required to work on holiday, and it’s becoming the norm

Over half of workers feel required to work on holiday, and it’s becoming the norm

Working on holidayMobile technology is acknowledged as a boon to flexible working, but can very easily spill into an unhealthy work/life balance. This is most in evidence around summer holiday time, as illustrated by the latest poll on the subject by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM). It surveyed more than 1,000 UK workers and managers to find that more than half of workers (61%) feel obligated to work while on leave. The ILM suggests this is the negative side effect of modern technology, as people are contactable anytime and anywhere. 64 percent read and send emails during their time off, 28 percent take business phone calls and 8 percent go into the office. Meanwhile, only 28 percent of those surveyed reported that they had had arguments with friends and family about their working on holiday, down from 37 percent two years ago, which seems to indicate that it is fast becoming the norm to be constantly switched on.

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Long distance commuting, agile working and dinosaur extinction in the UAE

Long distance commuting, agile working and dinosaur extinction in the UAE

Make DubaiIn Dubai, there are no suburban dinosaurs; those large-scale, single purpose office buildings that ignore the agile realities of modern working life. In the western world, these giants evolved on business parks, driven by the perceived benefits of having office workers agglomerated in order to achieve efficiency of communication and dissemination. The business practices and technologies that underpinned these buildings have evolved and improved and many are in the process of being re-purposed. Things happen on a grander scale in the Middle East where the mantra is “if the land-use doesn’t fit the land, make more land.” Here, the patterns of work and place have evolved differently from the west, and at a much faster pace with creeping tides of development spreading rapidly out from the small centres of traditional trade and commerce to vast tracts of new development.

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Back pain and mental ill health still the main reasons for workplace absence

Back pain and mental ill health still the main reasons for workplace absence

workplace absenceBack pain and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) remain the prime reason for long-term workplace absence (38%); with stress and mental-health disorders the main cause of absence for one in four companies. However, the results of the UK’s largest business survey on sickness absence published by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and Jelf Employee Benefits reveals that stress and mental illness is regarded as the most difficult form of absence to make workplace adjustments for, with almost a third of companies saying this is the case. Furthermore, a third of employers said that they do not have approaches for managing mental-health-related long-term absence. Just one in ten companies provides training for line managers in mental-health issues and only 2 percent of companies have an open mental-health disclosure policy, suggesting business matches society in finding it a difficult issue to address.

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Five of the most noticeable ways your office has got it in for you

Wile E CoyoteIf you believed surveys and the news they generate you would soon come to regard the modern workplace as something of a death trap. Now this is somewhat misleading because statistically the most dangerous professions are still far and away those such as agriculture, forestry and construction which employ people in the open air, doing what used to be considered the core functions of work, namely making things, destroying things or moving them from one place to another. Nowadays most of us are in no danger of being hurt by this sort of work. But we can come to harm in the office and your workplace has it in for you in a  number of ways. But, as opposed to truly dangerous jobs, it’s unlikely you will be caught out by surprise and there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you not only come to no harm at work but can find ways to become more productive and healthy. Here are just a few examples:

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Everything you wanted to know about open plan but were too distracted to ask

Everything you wanted to know about open plan but were too distracted to ask

open plan There is a lively and ongoing debate on whether open plan offices are a good or bad thing. Many articles would suggest that they routinely diminish productivity. Yes, the open plan office is not ideal for privacy and probably bad for conceptual focused work, but it’s a bit like saying a hammer is useless when you need to tighten a screw. The point is you don’t use it for that. Fans of open plan often underline how fantastic it is for building a sense of belonging, team spirit and ad hoc collaboration, often ignoring the challenges of working there. The point I’m making is that introducing open plan into your office is probably a good idea, but you really need to make sure that you provide your employees with a menu of settings which allow them to concentrate, have ad hoc meetings without disturbing their colleagues and provide some privacy for confidential conversations.

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It’s perfectly logical why we should apply emotion in workplace design

It’s perfectly logical why we should apply emotion in workplace design

Emotion in workplace designMost of the arguments put forward for enlightened workplace design are fact based. That’s useful but such arguments can also ignore the fact that we respond to our surroundings on an emotional level as well as a functional one. Once you accept that office design is as much about how it makes people feel as how it helps them work, then the design process can be as much about EQ as it is IQ. While businesses can shy away from dealing with the emotional facets of working lives, there is a growing movement that advocates not only greater awareness of the importance of emotional intelligence but is also able to draw attention to the benefits it brings to organisations and individuals. This was the underlying message of a groundbreaking event that took place in London recently which explored the use of emotion in a business context.

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Majority of employers want to promote mental wellbeing in the workplace

Majority of employers want to promote mental wellbeing in the workplace

Majority of employers want to promote mental wellbeingEighty-four percent of employers believe they have a responsibility to provide a work environment that promotes mental well-being, according to a new Buck Consultants at Xerox survey report “Promoting Mental Well-being: Addressing Worker Stress and Psychosocial Risks,” released last week at the Global Centre for Healthy Workplaces Annual Summit in Brazil. The Global Survey on Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies – with a strong focus on companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil and Singapore – found that more than one-third of employers rate the stress level within their organization as “high or very high.” However, over two-thirds of employers offer flexible work schedules, and more than half offer telecommuting to mitigate work-related stress, while more than half of employers rate their organization as very or extremely supportive of the mental well-being of their employees.

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Disparity in level of support from employers for first time mums

Disparity in level of support from employers for first time mums

Pregnant workerThe level of support by employers towards new mums differs dramatically depending on seniority. According to AXA PPP healthcare, in a poll of new mums, over half of those who had been working in entry level positions (59 per cent) said that their employer hadn’t provided any support beyond what was legally required in the run up to their maternity leave. But, for new mums who had been working in senior positions, that figure dropped to one in five (21 per cent). While 23 per cent of entry level employees were offered ‘keeping in touch days’ during their maternity leave, this number doubled for management level staff (46 per cent) and senior executives (54 per cent). Only 19 per cent of entry level workers were given advice about going on maternity leave compared with nearly a third (30 per cent) of management level employees.

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Sedentary working has led to weight gain for over a third of workers

Sedentary working has led to weight gain for over a third of workers

sedentary workingMore than two in five workers (41 percent) admit they have gained weight at their current jobs, with 18 percent confessing they have gained more than 10 pounds a survey from CareerBuilder.co.uk claims. Only 13 percent of workers claim they’ve lost weight in their current job with sedentary working, exhaustion and time constraints all being identified as obstacles to staying fit. The majority of workers (68 percent) say their employers do not provide gym passes, access to workout facilities or wellbeing benefits. Of these, 41 percent claim they would take advantage of such opportunities, yet only a quarter (24 percent) say their company provides such incentives. Over half of workers (58 percent) also spend most of their time sitting at their desk during the day and skipping proper meals due to time constraints.

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National prevention strategy called for to help workers with mental ill health

National prevention strategy called for to help workers with mental ill health

Mental health awareness weekNearly half (46%) of workers struggle to switch off from work, a new survey has revealed. The survey by YouGov of over 2,000 British adults, commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation to mark the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week (11 – 17 May) reports many people always or often feeling stressed (29%), anxious (24%) and depressed (17%). With the survey showing nearly two thirds of people (65%)  likely to take part in activities that reduce stress, the Mental Health Foundation is calling for a national prevention strategy to reduce the risk of problems and for mindfulness to be more widely practised. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and endorsed in the Chief Medical Officer’s Mental Health report, for reducing the risk of depression.

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