Search Results for: stress

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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Does declining productivity spell the end for IT and property directors?

Does declining productivity spell the end for IT and property directors?

property directorsWhen it comes to increasing organisational output, which in turn directly relates to real wage growth and higher living standards, the only determinant is productivity, measured in terms of output per hour worked. This is at the heart of all businesses and is essential for growth. The basic facts on productivity are clear. For over a decade, productivity has been painfully weak across all the major economies. The UK has performed particularly badly, with productivity having declined by 3.7 percent since 2008. A recent OECD report went as far as saying: “weak labour productivity since 2004 has been holding back real wages and well-being. The sustainability of economic expansion and further progress in living standards rest on boosting productivity growth, which is a key challenge for the coming years”.

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The world’s enduring addiction to the joy and misery of commuting

CommutingCommuting is one of the most complained about yet least explored facets of our working lives. This is in spite of the fact that it consumes so much of people’s time, energy and money, is presented as one of the main arguments for more flexible working practices and is so closely linked to our wellbeing. Yet the half a billion – and growing – commuters worldwide could be forgiven for assuming nobody is really that much interested in the effects of their daily grind into work, especially when you consider the attention given to other workplace issues. Douglas Langmead in his feature on page 32 of the new issue of Work&Place does his bit to redress this imbalance with a fascinating look at commuting in the rapidly developing and endlessly fascinating economies of the United Arab Emirates.

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Why it’s time for more companies to roll the dice for gamification

Why it’s time for more companies to roll the dice for gamification 0

gamificationAs was reported recently, gamification remains practically unknown to many managers yet companies like Nike, Microsoft, Samsung and eBay are beginning to see it as a useful tool. Generally adopted by marketing and sales professionals, gamification can also influence behaviour, increase productivity and improve wellbeing. Gamification is all around us, even if we don’t always notice it. It’s used in sales competitions, frequent flyer programmes and marketing initiatives. So what is gamification? In short it’s the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques in order to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. It’s about turning something potentially mundane into a game – similar to many ingenious mothers who might turn cleaning a room or washing dishes into a game for their children.

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Employers want next government to take more action on staff wellbeing 0

WellnessWith the General Election less than a month away, more help to support staff wellbeing is one of the most popular incentives on employers’ wish lists. According to research from Group Risk Development (GRiD), employers believe wellbeing initiatives benefit the business bottom line by improving staff morale and absence rates. Almost one in five (19%) want the next government to take more action to promote staff wellbeing, with managing stress (38%), promoting a healthy work/life balance (64%) and introducing more flexible working initiatives (47%) some of their more important focuses. The research found that many employers have already made a start, as there has been an increase in health and wellness promotions and line managers better trained to spot signs of stress and mental health conditions.

The workplace as a strategic resource: a real life CEO’s perspective

NEF today-3 workplace as a strategic resourceRaise your hand if you agree: “The workplace is obviously a strategic resource.” We facilities management professionals know that to be true. But if you often feel like a voice in the wilderness when speaking to anyone other than a fellow workplace professional, you are not alone. For many if not most senior executives, their facilities are a necessary evil that always cost too much. That reality frustrates me as much as it does you. So my colleague Paul Carder and I conducted two extensive research projects in 2012 and 2013 aimed at making the case (mostly to FM professionals themselves) that facilities and workplaces are incredibly strategic – and very poorly understood. And while we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about the work, we haven’t seen much change in mindsets, management practices or outcomes.

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One in three employees have experienced conflict at work, reports CIPD

Workplace conflictAs many as one in ten employees are leaving their organisation as a result of workplace conflict, research from the CIPD has revealed. One in three UK employees (38%) have experienced some form of interpersonal conflict at work in the last year – this includes one in four (29%) who have had isolated disputes or clashes and a further one in four (28%) who report ongoing difficult relationships. However, there appears to be a clear power differential at play, with employees being most likely to perceive a lack of respect, bullying or harassment from their boss or other superiors and as many as 1 in 4 said that their line manager actively creates conflict. Employees reported conflicts as being most often with line managers or other superiors (36%) rather than with direct reports (10%). This results in individuals feeling stressed and can lead to a drop in commitment or motivation.

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New study explores link between workplace design and productivity

workplace designThe latest report linking specific workplace design elements with increases in productivity and wellbeing has been published by flooring manufacturer Interface and organisational psychologist Cary Cooper. The Human Spaces report into The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace, claims that employees who work in environments with natural elements report a 15 percent higher level of well being, are 6 percent more productive and 15 percent more creative overall. The report is based on a study of 7,600 office workers from 16 countries. It concludes that office design is so important to workers that a third (33 percent) of global respondents believe it would ‘unequivocally’ affect their decision whether or not to work somewhere. Design is particularly important in India (67 percent), Indonesia (62 percent) and the Philippines (60 percent).

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Flexible working and recognition linked to happiness at work

happiness at workThe eternal quest for happiness is the subject of two new reports which conclude that if you want to feel more satisfied with your working life, it’s important to feel as if you are in control of it. New research from Professor Andy Charlwood at Loughborough University claims that government and employer policies that give people greater flexibility to choose the hours they work helps to foster their wellbeing and that overworked people are less satisfied with their lives and experience lower levels of psychological wellbeing overall. A second, less scientific study commissioned by US software provider InLoox claims that one of the most important determinants of happiness at work is an ability to work unsupervised or not to report to anybody at all so, if you must have a job, make sure you’re in charge.

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Report identifies the challenges and opportunities of workplace wellbeing

workplace wellbeingMuch of what has been called workplace strategy in recent years has been more about cutting costs than supporting people, often to the detriment of the latter. That is the central claim of a new report authored by Kate Lister and Tom Harnish of Global Workplace Analytics and sponsored by office furniture maker Knoll. The paper, What’s Good for People? Moving from Wellness to Well-Being, explores how better workplaces, processes and practices can improve workplace wellbeing, employee engagement and organisational performance. The study starts from the premise that people are dealing with unprecedented stresses and pressures in the workplace which now need to be addressed in the context of a recovering economy, the limits of an approach that focuses on doing more with less and an increasingly scant pool of human resources and talents.

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Film: The Japanese workers who withdraw to live in Internet cafes

Japanese workers appear to manifest some of the most extreme reactions to the challenges of modern life. Often these are related to the uncertainties of work and the fracturing of time and space associated with contemporary working life. Two of the most common characteristics of the Japanese response appears to be isolation and exclusion. Recently, the Japanese Government investigated the phenomenon of banishment rooms which some firms are alleged to have used to exclude unwanted employees. There has also been a great deal of talk about hikikomori, those people who lock themselves away from the rest of the world, estimated to be up to 1 percent of the population. Now, a new film from Shiho Fukada tells the story of two Japanese men who have taken to living in Internet cafes as they seek to find their way in life.

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People with mental-health issues should be helped to stay at work, says OECD

Over a third of sickness and disability in OECD countries related to mental ill-healthAround 30 percent to 40 percent of all sickness and disability caseloads in OECD countries are related to mental-health problems finds a new OECD report. Fit Mind, Fit Job: From Evidence to Practice in Mental Health and Work reveals that the total cost of mental illness is estimated at around 3.5 percent of GDP in Europe.  People with mild to moderate disorders, such as anxiety or depression, are twice as likely to become unemployed. They also run a much higher risk of living in poverty and social marginalisation.  But although most people with mental health problems are in work they struggle; with 7 in 10 of them in 21 countries of the European Union reporting that they are underperforming at work. While a heavy workload and stress may add to mental health problems, the evidence shows that staying at work is also part of the solution if appropriate support is provided.

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