Friday, December 6, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
Why Your Employer Wants You to Be Healthy
Stress can mean different things to different people, but the American worker clearly has plenty.
• Interruptions ruin our day. A survey by AtTask finds that 37% of workers say interruptions lead to "work hell."
• We work too much. Some 57% of workers put in more than 40 hours a week while 8% work more than 60 hours a week, the AtTask survey finds.
• Financial worries abound. "High" or "overwhelming" is how 19% of those surveyed by Financial Finesse describe their financial stress in the third quarter of this year, compared to 13% for the same time last year. 43% worry how the U.S. economy and the stock market will affect their financial future.
• We don't take enough downtime. A recent Expedia survey finds that while the average American worker gets 14 days of vacation time a year, they take only 10. That's two more unused vacation days than the previous year, Expedia reports.
"No one retires wishing they'd spent more time at their desk," says John Morrey, vice president and general manager of Expedia. "There are countless reasons that vacation days go unused — failure to plan, worry, forgetfulness, you name it."
Companies are beginning to become concerned with the workers who don't take better care of themselves. Stress increases health risks, unhealthy workers are less productive and engaged, and they drive up health-care costs, experts say.
Many workers know they need to take better care of themselves but find it difficult to start living healthier or maintaining healthy habits.
That's why more employers are encouraging healthier behavior. Workers aren't taking the necessary steps.
That can mean employers take the "carrot" approach and provide cash incentives for employees achieving certain health goals. Or, employers may adopt a "stick" approach, punishing workers with higher insurance deductibles iif they are overweight or smoke.
Other employers are looking for ways to encourage not just employees to become healthier but also their workers' families and network of friends. Wellness experts say an employee can become healthier more easily if his family also eats the right food or friends agree to exercise, too.
One program that takes this social approach to health is Keas, an employer health and engagement company.
Josh Stevens, Keas chief executive, says that his company offers a Facebook-like program that allows workers, their friends and families to communicate online about their exercise and diet. He contends that this socialization is key to driving good health since most workers already are operating under information overload and don't want to be inundated with health information from their employer.
But if a friend or family member talks about a fun way to exercise or brags about losing weight by eating healthier, that can help spur the employee into also adopting better habits, he says.
Many workplaces don't like workers using Facebook on the job, but the truth is that many employees rely on this connection to help them relieve the stress of their day. So, taking a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach, he says employers can let workers enjoy the social aspect of online connections and learn ways to become healthier.
Workers are aware that they need to be healthier, and may be looking for the approach that works for them, Stevens says. His company's recent survey found that 86% of those surveyed believe that exercise boosts happiness.
As more employers understand that healthier employees help drive bottom-line results, Stevens believes that more help will become available (read more here)
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
Learn to Say "No" and Preserve Your Sanity
The holidays are right around and the corner, year-end reports are due, co-workers are asking you to cover for them on vacation and the boss wants everything done yesterday.
It's no wonder you may be feeling a bit stressed.
But could the stress be generated not from outside forces but your own actions?
At a recent Families and Work Institute conference, President Ellen Galinsky says that many employers are noticing a growing problem of employees being always "on." They answer e-mails at night and on weekends and work outside of regular hours when they're supposed to be off.
Employers are worried about worker burnout, she says.
One of the biggest problems for many workers today is that they can't say "no," says says Preston Ni, a professor of communications studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif.; a career coach; and trainer.
"There's always the concern in the workplace of social rejection or career consequences for saying no," Ni says. "Maybe you don't want to hurt someone's feelings by saying no, or doing so makes you feel guilty."
The problem is that by not learning to say "no," you then become a victim and risk burnout, he says.
The most successful people learn how to manage their own time effectively and aren't buffeted with demands from various sources, Ni says. They are still busy, just not overwhelmed.
With all the year-end activities and deadlines many of us are facing, Ni has advice to let you say "no," take control of your life, and be happier and more successful:
• Set boundaries. If a colleague approaches you about covering for her while she's taking some time off, you can say "no" diplomatically by saying something like, "Unfortunately, I have a lot on my plate as well."
Or "it is important to me that I finish this project, so I need to focus on these tasks." Another option: Say you're "uncomfortable" taking on the other tasks at this time.
• Learn to engage and disengage. Instead of turning down a colleague's request for help, you can offer to take a specific piece of the task, and then (read more here)
Friday, November 22, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
Gain Confidence by Writing Down Your Ambitions
The next time you're feeling a bit down on yourself, you can regain your confidence — and make a good impression on others — if you take time to write down your aspirations and ambitions, a new study reveals.
Writing about two paragraphs outlining your goals will help you feel more confident and energetic, Gavin Kilduff, an assistant professor of management and organization at New York University, says his research shows. That can be especially critical before entering a new group.
Individuals who used such an exercise to pump themselves up showed greater initiative during initial group discussions and appeared more competent to teammates, experiments with Adam Galinsky, a psychologist and professor at Columbia Business School, showed. In addition, that competence gave them a higher rank within the group.
Once you project confidence to the group and its members perceive you well, the effect can be lasting, they found.
Specifically, individuals who initially acted more confidently with the group set up patterns of assertive communications that continued and became self-reinforcing, they say.
"We thought the effect would be more fleeting," Kilduff says. "I was a bit surprised that it worked consistently."
Piera Palazzolo, senior vice president of Dale Carnegie Training, says that the experiment demonstrates how critical it is to show confidence when communicating if you want to be successful in your career.
"No one wants to admit that they're not confident," she says. "But you can improve it by mentally talking to yourself."
If you don't have time to write down your ambitions before going before a group, then mentally review your achievements and goals. That should help to boost your confidence level and help you not appear timid, she says.
Palazzolo has other tips to show off your confidence:
• Be prepared. "Confidence comes from knowing you've done your homework. You have to come into a group like you own it," she says.
That means whether you're networking for a new job or entering a weekly meeting, make sure you have done research so you're up on the latest news and prepared to discuss the issues thoroughly.
• Look the part. Keep your back straight, make eye contact and dress appropriately so others see you're confident before you say your first "hello."
• Show interest. "People love to talk about themselves, so ask questions," she says.
You can use the office break room as a chance to interact (read more here)