Search Results for: stress

Modern romance: advice to employers on managing workplace relationships

Managing workplace breakups


Despite all the cautionary tales regarding the dangers of office romance, countless employees start up relationships with co-workers every year. Whether sparks fly over the work photocopier or more likely, on a Friday night in the pub after work, the workplace still beats the internet for finding romance. The sheer number of hours we spend with colleagues together with the stresses and strains of work, can lead to close friendships that may go on to become a relationship further down the line. Research shows that couples who met at work are most likely to marry. However, the fact is that many relationships can and do fail and this is no less so for workplace relationships. Whilst clearly there are issues for the people involved to manage, it can also create headaches for employers. More →

Working from Home Week: good idea, but it doesn’t suit everyone

Meeting the management challenges of caring for home workers

Yesterday was hyped as the most depressing day of the year, but it also marked the beginning of Working from Home Week (20-26 January 2014). The idea will resonate with anyone struggling to get out of bed and join the January commute. There are many advantages to home working; but depending on your personality and personal circumstances there are also disadvantages. Yes, you’ll avoid traffic jams/crowded trains, take the dog for a walk when you fancy and can concentrate on a project without annoying interruptions. But working from home has its disadvantages too; including feeling isolated and finding it difficult to remain motivated. Rather like those who decide to move to the country but find it’s too quiet – for some people the buzz of the workplace is vital to their productivity and wellbeing. More →

Rise in employee wellbeing initiatives in 2014, despite little evidence they work

Rise in employee wellbeing initiatives in 2014, despite little evidence they work

Amidst the plethora of fitness and diet advice which greets the New Year comes discussions on the value of employee wellness programmes in reducing absenteeism and improving staff productivity.  A solid link between the two is still to be proved and now a major new piece of US research charting the effects of a seven-year programme on thousands of employees has found that while support for staff with chronic conditions was beneficial, there was no evidence that the fitness and lifestyle component made any difference. This will do little to stem the enthusiasm for wellbeing programmes however, as consultants Towers Watson reports there will be a rise in the uptake of employee wellness programmes over the coming year. More →

Driving home for Christmas? Forget Chris Rea and try Sigur Ros

Driving home for Christmas? Forget Chris Rea and try Sigur Ros

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Six in ten commuters travel by car. This was the finding of a survey conducted by the RAC earlier this month. Inevitably a busier road leads to congestion, and therefore stress. It’s no shock to learn, according to a Sky News report, that almost half of British drivers claim to have been involved in some form, with road rage. In fact, Britain is the shamed ‘winner’ of the highest road rage (Daily Mail), a surprising truth for such a stereotypically polite-prone nation. Road rage is a worrying occurrence – both for stress levels – but also for road safety. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents attributed ‘aggressive driving’ to the deaths of 122 and the serious injury of almost 1,000 in 2011. It goes without saying, that lowering these high-stress experiences for drivers is a necessity.

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Festive burnout is latest ailment to strike unwary office workers

Festive burnout latest ailment to strike unwary office workersAs we enter the last full working week before the Christmas holidays, the reason why the office is already half empty isn’t just because staff have faked a sickie to do their Christmas shopping. Many of them may be genuinely sick – with Christmas the primary reason. The new ailment of “Festive Burnout” has been coined to mark the countdown to Christmas, as stress, exhaustion and illness begins to strike offices. According to the findings of a new investigation from AXA PPP healthcare;  while one in four Brits say that Christmas is their favourite time of the year, a third tend to start their holiday feeling burnt out from the stress of the run up to the holiday break.

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The future belongs to those who leave themselves choices of how to deal with it

unknown-futureEverybody likes to talk and read about the future. It’s one of the reasons we see so many reports about what the ‘office of the future’ will look like. Often these attempts at workplace prognosis are overwhelmingly  rooted in the present which might betray either a degree of timidity or lack of awareness of just how far along their standard list of trends we really are. Even when such reports appear to be bang on the money, they tend to disregard one of the most important factors we need to consider when trying to get a handle on the future, which is the need to leave ourselves choices. This is important because not only will the future be stranger than we think, but stranger than we can imagine, to paraphrase J B S Haldane.

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Control over their work space helps satisfy people’s basic emotional needs

Control over their work space helps satisfy people’s basic emotional needs


Control over their work space satisfies an individual's basic emotional needsIn the second of two pieces to mark the seventieth anniversary of Abraham Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’ Annie Gurton writes: Workers need an element of control in their surroundings. As Maslow said in the 1940s, humans are fundamentally, simple creatures. We need air, water, food and security, but along with those basic physiological needs we have a set of emotional needs. If these are not met we do not die, but we become emotionally distressed. When it comes to designing office space, it is important that our basic emotional needs are met if we are to feel happy. Workers need to have privacy yet feel connected to others. They need to have a sense of community yet feel that they are respected.

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Quarter of the UK workforce report they’re suffering long-term ill health

Quarter of the UK workforce report they're suffering long-term ill health

Administrative and support activities, which includes facilities management, is one of five UK industries where employees have reported the highest levels of long-term ill health. However across all the sectors a staggering eight million people, or a quarter of the UK’s workforce (27%) say they suffer from a health problem that’s lasted more than a year. According to the new Health at Work Index from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) one in ten workers (12%) – approximately 3.5 million people – said their ability to do their job is limited by poor health. This includes over half of diabetes sufferers (58%) and the same proportion of people suffering from depression, mental illness or panic attacks (58%). More →

Looking back on a year in which the office sought a clearer sense of identity

JanusIt’s not often that workplace management becomes national business news but that happened at the end of February when  the world became very interested for a while in the way we design and manage offices. The reason for this was the decision by Yahoo to ban homeworking for staff at its headquarters.  The resultant period of shirt-rending at this challenge to received wisdom told us more about the changing view of the workplace than the actual decision by Yahoo. As the dust settled, we discovered that the Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer had based her decision to change working practices on data from the company’s network that showed people working from home didn’t log on to the company Virtual Private Network as much as those in the office.

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Job satisfaction keeps employees motivated more than bonuses

Job satisfaction keeps employees motivated more than bonusesThe reported levels of stress felt by banking employees already suggests that generous bonuses do not necessarily equate loving the job. Now a new study published today by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) confirms that across the business sector, the single most effective motivator is job satisfaction (59%), with just 13 per cent saying the prospect of receiving a bonus or other financial incentive motivates them to work harder in their role. The survey of over 1,000 employees found that a competitive salary and a good pension are highly effective motivators (49%) but getting on with colleagues (42%) is nearly as important. The report also highlights how important good managers are to ensuring happy and motivated staff. More →

European business leaders join forces to target depression in the workplace


Mental health campaigners’ efforts to persuade employers to combat mental ill health at work took a significant step forward today when, for the first time, senior European executives from a group of major employers, including BT Group, Barclays, and Unilever, came together to assess and address depression in the workplace. One in 10 employees in Europe is estimated to take time off work due to depression, which equates to more than 34 million people. The “Target Depression in the Workplace” initiative recommends concrete tools and resources that will enable company executives to better identify and support employees with depression, as well as promote good mental health at work. More →

Insight weekly newsletter is now available to view online

Newsletter Street at BA's Waterside

In the latest issue of the Insight newsletter, available to view online; the urban environment is an increasingly important part of the “virtual” workplace [pictured]; employers warned they’re not doing enough to address the stress taboo; and following the publication of the IPCC climate change report, the built environment has a vital role to play in tackling global warming. We note the emergence of a Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) alternative to BYOD and the development of “open source talent” that will ultimately rewrite what the term “workforce” actually means. New Jersey based columnist Debbie Kovak explains the US still lags behind Europe when it comes to flexible work schedules and Twyla Howse warns that the workplace is not a softer, gentler world, no matter how organic the sofa.

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