Monday, December 9, 2013
When we hear about incidents of workplace violence, it often seems like something that never could happen in our workplaces.
Until it does.
Statistics from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration show that homicide is the fourth leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that of 4,547 fatal workplace injuries reported in 2010, 506 were workplace homicides.
Further, homicides are the leading cause of death for women in the workplace.
On Sept. 16, a lone gunman fatally shot 12 people and injured three others at the Washington Navy Yard in our nation's capital, spurring more conversation about workplace safety.
Bad people are out there who want to harm good people, so we must admit that we need to be prepared for violence at work, a former Navy SEAL says. Just as workers may practice cardiopulmonary resuscitation or a fire drill, they also should practice how to evade or stop someone bent on hurting others.
Larry Yatch, chief executive of Minneapolis-based Sealed Mindset, provides programs on personal protection, defensive firearms and self-defense programs.
One mistake that people make is believing that if they're kind, moral and trusting, other people will be the same, he says. Unfortunately, bad people have proven that they have none of those qualities.
Another mistake some people make is thinking that they somehow will attract violence if they think about it, he says.
But if companies and their employees don't think about violence and how they will respond to it, they won't be ready to react properly when it happens.
And a lack of training could get them hurt or killed, Yatch says.
A workplace's risk level may rise if it has high turnover, a highly negative culture, disagreements or employees facing domestic violence. If a company were to respond more proactively to such risks — such as posting a security guard near an worker experiencing violence at home — it can reduce risks.
While some may balk at the idea of planning for violence, he points out that fear often paralyzes workers during a shooting or causes them to make bad decisions that can risk their lives.
Once employees are trained on the best ways to react to threats, Yatch says their fear dissipates because they feel more in control.
Employees can learn how to:
• Identify threats. Processes need to be in place that help employees ID potential problems and communicate them to bosses or human resources staffers.
• Fight for their lives. "We tell people to not only lock the door against an intruder but to barricade it with anything they can find, whether it's desks or file cabinets or chairs," he says. Even if an intruder manages (read more here)
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)