web analytics


Via Occupational Safety : 11 ways to boost mental health in the workplace

The costs associated with mental health disabilities are higher than those of physical related disabilities. The economic burden of mental illness in Canada is estimated to be $51 billion per year and that includes health care costs and lost productivity due to absenteeism and sick leave.

Research findings on the incidence and costs of physical and mental health-related disabilities highlight the importance of promoting mental health and well-being in the workplace. Failing to have a comprehensive mental health strategy in the workplace contributes to long-term disability, unemployment, family and financial strains.

Various strategies could be implemented to help prevent a leave of absence from mental health-related problems or reduce the length of disability:

  • Providing supportive reintegration into the work environment after a leave of absence.
  • Providing stress management programs
  • Aiming for work-life balance
  • Encouraging use of health care professionals when someone is experiencing psychological distress
  • Job security
  • Having roles and responsibilities well-defined
  • Having enough resources to cope with the demands of the job, particularly during times of economic difficulties when layoffs have resulted in more job demands and fewer resources
  • Opportunities for growth and development
  • Flexible work conditions whenever possible and appropriate
  • Being provided with regular and constructive feedback and recognized for good performance
  • Healthy and supportive relationships in the workplace.

No one is immune, including those highly engaged with their work. Being highly engaged with work could lead to higher work stress. Jobs requiring extra working hours such as working away from home or travelling on the job or variable hours such as being on call or working long hours are related to high work stress. Not perceiving control over work or work to personal life interference caused by changing working hours are among some of the reasons offered for high work stress.

Perceived risk of liability is also associated with higher work stress. Those who perceive the consequence of their actions on outcomes or those who view their work as career rather than a job are found to experience more work pressure and more work stress. Specifically, high work stress is mostly felt when we perceive our poor performance as having serious consequences on our co-workers, the environment and company profits.

Managers and professionals are not immune and also at increased risk of experiencing high stress. Research findings show that being in high positions and low job security, being assigned more responsibilities following the layoffs of those with higher occupational status during times of economic difficulties are more likely to enter interpersonal conflict and experiencing work to home interference. As well, high work stress is associated with reduced job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction needs to be part of promoting health in the workplace to ensure productivity and to lower absenteeism and turnover rates.

Ensuring the health of all employees and in particular those who are highly engaged in their work is of paramount importance for any organization. In general, employees who are highly engaged at work feel enthusiastic about their work, are fully involved in their work, are motivated and productive, and are less likely to quit their jobs. Thus, even those highly engaged with work could be at risk of losing their level of engagement when job satisfaction is lacking, job stress or job pressure is high, or there is work-life conflict among other factors. Ways of achieving an individualized plan for a healthy balance between work and our personal life needs to be the focus within each intervention.

As part of increasing employee engagement, we need to increase job resources to prevent burnout and to focus more on building a healthy work environment. When employees feel worthwhile and valued in the workplace and are recognized for their good performance, they are more engaged and more committed to their organization.

Work focused cognitive behavioural treatment helps to return to work faster. Common mental health problems in the workplace are depression and anxiety which are associated with decreased work performance and productivity, interpersonal conflicts, increased absenteeism and sick leave and disability.

Being away from work on sick leave often compounds the psychological distress due to reduced occupational functioning, reduced sense of self confidence and well-being, loss of daily routine and structure, reduced income leading to financial strains and at times more stress and conflict at home.

When people are unable to work, they often report the desire to return to work and regain their productivity and functioning. Thus, interventions that include a return to work component can be very beneficial to employees on sick leave and also for employers.

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychological treatment shown to be effective through scientific research for a wide range of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety disorders. CBT is skill-based such that it teaches various skills to better cope with the psychological symptoms, including cognitive restructuring, problem solving skills. anxiety management skills, communication and assertiveness skills and relaxation techniques. A return to work component can be integrated within CBT to help the individual successfully return to the workplace.

Developing an individualized comprehensive mental health strategy in the workplace is now a priority.

Via Motley Fool : Tips for Keeping Your Career Development (and Salary Growth) on Your Boss’ Radar

Congratulations! You just got that long-overdue raise. But now what?

Personal finance pop quiz: What’s the most important single number in your household budget? Answer: Your income. And while you don’t have as much control over how much you earn as you might have over how much you spend, you do have some. Now, one of the more effective ways to get a pay raise is to ask for one, but that can be a difficult conversation to start in any organization. So, in this episode of Motley Fool Answers, hosts Robert Brokamp and Alison Southwick are joined by Lee Burbage and Kara Chambers of The Motley Fool’s People Team to discuss their best tips for making your case for more money.

In this segment, they reflect on what you should do after your manager has agreed — because you don’t want to let the issue of why you’re valuable to the organization (and how you could become more so) get forgotten for another year or more. Hence, their tips on how to lay the groundwork for the next conversation, all year long. Plus, they consider the question of whether today’s low-unemployment environment makes this the right time to go hunting elsewhere and how managers should be dealing with compensation proactively.

A full transcript follows the video.

Something big just happened

I don’t know about you, but I always pay attention when one of the best growth investors in the world gives me a stock tip. Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner and his brother, Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner, just revealed two brand new stock recommendations. Together, they’ve tripled the stock market’s return over the last 13 years.* And while timing isn’t everything, the history of Tom and David’s stock picks shows that it pays to get in early on their ideas.

Alison Southwick: So, you’ve had your meeting. It could go in a number of different directions. It could become a conversation about development, it could be a conversation about your career, it could be about coaching you out. It could go a number of different ways! That’s exciting! What a fun time for you! [laughs] But, assuming that everything goes well, and you get some amount of a raise or something, what’s your advice as far as going forward? After you’ve gotten that raise, how can you do a better job of making sure that you’re communicating to the company how awesome you are, so that it doesn’t end up being another year before you’re having a development conversation and you’re going through this stressful exercise all over again?

Kara Chambers: We tested this on one team already before we went into this craziness, and they came up with a great idea. They built an internal resume for themselves. Each person at the team created a living document where you wrote down all the things that were the most valuable, where you think you can develop.

I think probably the best advice is to show that you’re open to feedback and that you want to grow. I’ve had people write down this list and then use it regularly. Maybe you and your manager use it your one-on-ones, or you bring it back six months later and say, “Hey, here are the things I wanted to accomplish.” That was one thing our test group piloted. That’s one way to do it.

Also, HR wisdom tells everybody to never have a tough performance conversation in the middle of a comp conversation, but that still happens. Be emotionally ready for that. Just be ready for some tough feedback. What you said at the beginning, sometimes they’re tough conversations. Being ready for that if it happens, and then being ready to handle it, however you go about being ready to handle it. [laughs] Use your own techniques.

It’s a risky move. That’s why people don’t do it. It’s not only socially risky. There’s a chance someone says, “No! In fact, I can’t believe you make this much!” or something crazy. [laughs]

Southwick: Has that happened here?!

Chambers: No.

Robert Brokamp: [laughs] “You’re making that much? What were we thinking?!”

Chambers: No, no! I was just thinking, worst case scenario, playing those scenarios out in your head, like, what is the worst case scenario? Be ready for that. You know it’s risky. If you hear no as an answer, don’t leave angrily or something like that. Just saying something like, “How can I plan for this conversation to go better next year?” Or something like that.

Lee Burbage: I think that answer could vary depending on who your boss is. Understand, what are the metrics or signals that your boss is paying attention to? That’s how to manage things long-term. You may be winning in one metric, and it turns out your boss is deciding your comp based on something else. Understand how you’re being measured, pay attention to that, and how your boss likes that to be reported back to them. That’s what I would be highlighting — the things that your boss wants to see, that they’re measuring you on. That would make sense.

Brokamp: Alison kicked off this segment by talking about the low unemployment rate. Implicit in that is, it’s harder to find employees. Since you two are in the HR world, is now a good time to be going out and shopping around?

Southwick: Asking for a friend, Bro? [laughs]

Brokamp: Not at all! But, we’re talking here about getting a raise from your current employer. Is now a good time to be going out and see what else you can get, testing your skills in the marketplace?

Burbage: I think that’s a really hard question to answer. It depends on the person, the role you’re in, the type of company you work for, the geography that you may or may not be tied to. That can vary wildly by city, industry, where you are in your career, the things that you’re looking for. When I talk to people today, they tend to be more specific than I’ve ever experienced, in terms of what they want. I think what people are finding in a good marketplace is the ability to find, “I want to work on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I want to commute from the beach from these other two days, and I want it to be in the tech industry.” I’m not sure specifically related to comp, but more so the type of job that you’re looking for. I think those things are out there. What do you think, Kara?

Chambers: I also think, if you’re listening and you’re a manager of people, it’s helpful to think about what you might do if someone came to you and asked for a raise. I like to think about, what would happen if that person came in tomorrow? Again, the way some people ask for raises is to say, “I just got a better offer.” That’s more likely to happen these days.

If you’re a manager thinking about how you’re working to keep that person so they don’t have to come to you when they’re unhappy — because, again, most people aren’t brave enough, even if we declared Ask For A Raise Day. So, just pay attention that silence doesn’t mean happiness. Make sure you’re going out and doing that if you want to retain an employee. Knowing your options is always helpful.

Burbage: We’ve talked a bit today about an individual going to their boss and asking for a raise. I would also encourage anyone out there who is a boss, have an open conversation with the people that work for you. “Hey, how are you feeling about your compensation?” That’s probably not something that most managers or team leaders do, and I would encourage it.

If you get to the point where someone comes to you and says, “Hey, I got better offer somewhere else,” oftentimes, we find that’s too late. That person has already moved on in so many ways in their mind. As a team lead, you can also proactively have a difficult conversation.

Southwick: And have awesome results, right?

Burbage: Of course.

Southwick: Potentially!

Burbage: Yeah.

Southwick: Yes!

Burbage: I don’t see a huge downside, really. As Kara said, it’s possible the person says no, but then you’re not really in a different place than you already were.

Southwick: You just know it. [laughs]

Chambers: Which is really important.

Burbage: Maybe you’re not happy about it, but I do think you’re in a better place, because then you know — to Robert’s point — maybe you should be looking elsewhere. At least you know where you stand there. Otherwise, you could waste a lot of time, even years, waiting for something to happen that isn’t going to. Have the conversation.

Southwick: There you go! Alright, listeners, go out there and do it! Lee believes in you, and Kara’s excited, because you have your checklist and you’re data-driven!

Chambers: Everybody do this tomorrow.

Brokamp: [laughs] And let us know how it turns out.

Southwick: Tomorrow’s the day!

Burbage: That would be fun. A national day of Ask For A Raise, that’d be fun.

Chambers: Let’s start a movement here.

Via Forbes : Later In Your Career? How To Make A Career Pivot

This older job seeker wants to make a career pivot:

I work in an industry that is dying (digital marketing, which is both becoming fully automated and being taken inhouse by clients) and am working on a career pivot. I’ve got lots of great skills but, as a woman over 45, feel like I am unemployable. How do I cut through the biases so people see me and my wealth of experience?

This question is really two questions

This job seeker wants to cut through the biases and convey her wealth of experience. These are two separate objectives and need to be handled differently. If your interviewer is biased against you for non-job related reasons, it won’t matter what your qualifications are. Your best strategy to cut through the bias is to find another interviewer – e.g., find another entry point into the company, or meet enough people in the hiring process that this interviewer’s view is neutralized.

If your objective is to convey your wealth of experience, then prepare to interview well. Since you have 20-plus years of experience to choose from, make sure you choose recent, relevant, and tangible examples of results. Don’t give a laundry list of everything you can do and all the qualities you are – this deluge of information will just confuse your interviewer. Point out specifically the skills and attributes of value to the company you are targeting.

Separate out bias from other job search issues so your search is not about bias

It’s important to keep the issues of bias and job search performance separate because to combine the two means you bring bias into every hiring situation . If you let the fear, anxiety, or anger that bias promotes affect you, then you’ll be less motivated to work on your job search – why bother when companies only hire the young? You’ll carry a chip on your shoulder and risk alienating even non-biased interviewers. You may be less likely to look at your own job search actions and how they might be improved.

Unfortunately, bias exists, and you may see reports in the media or hear anecdotal stories that reinforce your fear, anxiety or anger. Make a conscious effort to balance out the negative examples with positive ones. Review your network for people who have recently landed new jobs. Congratulate them on their moves–it’s a great way to network, and you may get a tip you can use for your search. If you can’t find anyone you know, read success stories like this 50-year-old legal professional who found a new career and promotion after a layoff, this rags-to-riches entrepreneur who lost his fortune multiple times before rebuilding again after 60, and this 50-something sales professional who made a change to real estate to shore up her retirement. I also used real estate, albeit international real estate to make a career change after 40.

Play up your natural advantages

Rather than assuming that employers will be biased against your age, play up the natural advantages that come with a longer work history. You have experienced up and down economies. When you talk about your results, make sure to emphasize if you have achieved wins in both growing and contracting markets. You have decades of experience, so there is a proven track record. Outline your career progress, and highlight year-over-year growth and consistency. Finally, you hopefully have a bigger network to choose from. Even if haven’t reconnected in a while, pull out that alumni directory, revisit your resume to remember colleagues at all of your former employers, and review your social media connections.

Be prepared to overcome objections (including your own)

Along with the advantages that experience brings, there are disadvantages to hiring experienced professionals. Check your salary expectations to make sure you’re not pricing yourself out of the market, especially if you are changing careers from a higher-paying to a lower-paying industry. Check your title and level expectations because you may come in with a smaller team or no team, or you may be joining a flatter organization and need to relinquish a management title. Check your attitude because you may be working for someone younger than you, who has less total years of experience but may have more experience in the area you pivot to.

Do not treat your career pivot like a regular job search

A career pivot is not the same as a job search where you stay in the same role and industry. You know fewer people in the field, and fewer people know you. You don’t have exact experience. You don’t have insider expertise. So you already have disadvantages to overcome. Help recruiters and employers help you by telling a coherent career story. Be prepared to answer questions about why you’re pivoting. Many more companies ask for work samples or assign cases to complete. You don’t have a track record in this area, so treat these assignments seriously.

In a recent post, I answered a question from an early career professional also worried about career longevity. It seems that, young or old, knowing how to manage your career is challenging. You can absolutely make a career pivot later in your career. There are even natural advantages inherent in waiting till you have substantive experience. But the best time to make the change is when you’re sure you want to change, whether early, middle or later in your career.

Via Business News Daily : 5 Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance Today

Work is an expected societal norm: Go to school, get a job. But your career doesn’t have to be so strict and restraining. Work isn’t just a way to make money; it should serve you both financially and emotionally.

“Success, in my opinion, is about living a life through making choices that guide toward your goals to be your best,” said Dr. Michael Tischler, founder and CEO of Teeth Tomorrow. “The real key is to create goals that you are passionate about with respect to health/appearance, career and relationships.”

While work might be demanding at times, it should never become a priority over your wellbeing. You need time and energy for your hobbies and interests, for your family and loved ones. Don’t spend eight hours a day working just to come home and neglect the things that keep your spirits high and passion fresh. Here are five ways to improve your work-life balance.

1. Know that there is no ‘perfect’ balance.

When you hear “work-life balance,” you probably imagine waking up easily at 5 a.m., hitting the gym, grabbing your meal-prepped lunch and heading off to work, just to come home early, cook dinner, do some chores, and wind down with a nice book in bed by 9 p.m. But that’s often not the case.

Don’t strive for the perfect schedule; strive for a realistic one. Some days, you might focus more on work, while others you might have more time and energy to pursue your hobbies or relax on the couch with your loved ones. Balance is achieved over time, not each day.

“It is important to remain fluid and constantly assess where you are [versus] your goals and priorities,” said Heather Monahan, founder of #BossinHeels, a career mentoring group. “At times your children may need you, and other times you may need to travel for work; but allowing yourself to remain open to redirecting and assessing your needs on any day is key in finding balance.”

2. Prioritize your health.

Your overall health should be your main concern. If you’ve been struggling with anxiety or depression and think therapy would benefit you, fit those sessions into your schedule, even if you have to leave work early or ditch your evening spin class. If you’re battling a chronic illness, don’t be afraid to call in on rough days. You’ll only prevent yourself from getting better, possibly causing you to take more days off in the future.

“Prioritizing your health first and foremost will make you a better employee and person,” said Monahan. “You will miss less work, and when you are there, you will be happier and more productive.”

According to Tischler, this can be as simple as daily meditation and exercise with respect to your occupation.

3. Make sure you like your job.

If you hate what you do, you aren’t going to be happy, plain and simple. You don’t need to love every aspect of your job, but it needs to be exciting enough that you don’t dread getting out of bed every single morning.

Monahan recommended choosing a job that you’re so passionate about you’d do it for free.

“If your job is draining you and you are finding it difficult to do the things you love outside of work, something is wrong,” she said. “You may be working in a toxic environment, for a toxic person, or doing a job that you truly don’t love. If this is the case, it is time to find a new job.”

4. Don’t be afraid to unplug.

We live in a connected world that never sleeps. Cutting ties with the outside world from time to time allows us to recover from weekly stress and gives us space for other thoughts and ideas emerge, said Jackie Stone, CMO of personal cloud storage company MiMedia.

“When you are always on, you don’t allow other things to surface that might be more important,” she added. “I meditate each morning for 10 minutes, which provides me with a great start to my day.”

Sometimes, truly unplugging means taking a vacation and shutting work completely off for a while.

“A vacation could be a 15-minute walk around the block without looking at your phone, or a vacation could be two or three weeks traveling with family/friends,” Stone said. “It’s important to take a step back to physically and mentally recharge. If you are surrounded by good people at work, a vacation should be easy to take.”

Monahan added that, when she used to travel with her boss for work, she’d look over to find him reading a novel while she would be doing something work-related.

“I didn’t understand at the time that he was giving himself a break and decompressing while I was leading myself to a potential burnout,” she said. Now, Monahan practices the same tactics. Taking that time to unwind is critical to success and will help you feel more energized when you’re on the clock.

5. Make time for yourself.

While your job is important, it shouldn’t be your entire life. You were an individual before taking this position, and you should prioritize the activities or hobbies that made you happy.

“Whether you take a walk in the park, get a massage or [take] a hot bath, it’s important to always set aside an hour a week to do something for yourself,” said Mark Feldman, vice president of marketing at Stynt.

Additionally, you should focus on surrounding yourself with loved ones rather than making excuses to be alone all week. Just because work keeps you busy doesn’t mean that you should neglect personal relationships.

“Realize that no one at your company is going to love you or appreciate you the way your loved ones do,” said Monahan. “Also [remember] that everyone is replaceable at work, and no matter how important you think your job is, the company will not miss a beat tomorrow if you are gone.”

Don’t take your loved ones for granted just because you know they’ll always be there for you. If anything, that’s more of a reason to make more time for them.

Via Ellevate : Work + Life: Balance or Collision? Why Workplace Wellness Matters

For the average person that works “full-time” for 50 years, it’s said that one-third of our lifetime is spent in the workplace. That’s 90K hours that I’d like to ensure is balanced with healthy activities that bring happiness to my life. The workplace has become highly competitive to recruit and retain high caliber employees. If an employer expects their staff to constantly be plugged in, we ought to ensure their mental and physical needs are met to attain ultimate productivity and gratification.

I grew up in the midwest with two brothers, raised by a single mom. We didn’t have a lot of money, so SpaghettiOs and Hamburger Helper were mealtime staples. The Happy Meal made an all-too-frequent appearance as a balanced dinner, and lacing it with ketchup was the closest thing to a nutrient-rich vegetable that we had in the fridge. The sad reality is that approximately 43% of US households are low-income and sustain on diets similar to this. It’s the perceived high cost of quality health foods that cause low-income families to choose lower-nutrient, cost-efficient foods.

I experienced the results of this diet firsthand, as I was the “chubby girl” in school. I was excessively picked on, obscenities were written on my locker, and throwing gum in my hair was a popular sport. Imagine this teenager: nearly 170 pounds, with no concept of what a healthy diet or meaningful exercise looked like. I didn’t know where to look to improve my physical and emotional situation.

My eating and exercising habits didn’t change much, even into my twenties. But then I moved to San Francisco, where I was shocked to find people buying organic veggies at local farmers markets and running the steep hills for exercise and fun. Being in this health-focused environment inspired me to find a personal trainer, who further peaked my interest in fitness and nutrition. He introduced me to natural vitamin sources, balanced dietary supplements, and the truth of what processed food does to the body. He showed me how to exercise with good form and how to push my limits without hurting myself.

The flame for fitness and nutrition was ignited within me. But, like 92% of our working class, I did my 9-to-5 duty in the corporate world, where I’d eat lunch over my keyboard. After a long workday in a drab office, I had little motivation to go to the gym.

With the rise of the always-on mobile workforce, a simple work-life balance is a thing of the past, making it even tougher for employees to find proper nutrition and exercise. Work environments are increasingly competitive, and there’s a rise in mental health challenges. Employees are expected to be responsive, even during hours they’re not in the office, yet aren’t afforded opportunities during the workday to have their mental and physical needs met. However, of those progressive companies that do offer wellness solutions, 61% report having a healthier workforce with increased productivity.

Moving on to 2013: I finally had a job I loved. I traveled, ate, and drank on my company’s dime. I made good money and had a great apartment, car, and boyfriend – all things I thought I was “supposed” to have at 30. However, I rarely talked to my family. I’d go out drinking with random people just to keep busy. While I had lost some weight, I was unhealthy inside and out.

Finally, I’d had enough of neglecting my wellbeing and starting making drastic changes. I made the decision to walk away from the corporate rat-race and cut alcohol from my life. I became a personal trainer and certified yoga teacher for companies. It was here that I was inspired by how these companies not only paid for their staff to take classes, but encouraged them to stop working for at least an hour each day to focus on their health. I was seeing firsthand how an employer-supported wellness program could improve people’s daily lives, and I knew I wanted to be a bigger part of it.

As I dug deeper to understand the impact corporate wellness could have, I uncovered countless studies showing that consistent, multi-faceted employer wellness programs build team camaraderie and engagement with their employer. This, in turn, heightens productivity, decreases absenteeism, and lowers healthcare costs. As a premier example, Johnson & Johnson estimates that wellness programs saved the company $250 million on healthcare over the past decade, with a return of $2.71 for every dollar spent.

I learned that when companies dedicate resources and invest in the well-being of their employees, they create loyalty and ultimately retain the best workers. Springbuk, a leading corporate health analytics platform, compiled stats from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) which indicates that 69% of employees would participate in wellness programs if provided by their company.

Soaking in all of this research and firsthand experience led me to found FitPros, a workplace wellness service provider with a clear mission: making healthy living accessible to people where they spend the most time – at work. Now in its third year, we’ve learned at FitPros that while one-off fitness classes are nice to have, they aren’t enough. Employees need to know that their employer truly cares and makes an investment in an ongoing wellness initiative that supports their physical, mental, and nutritional goals for the long-haul.

To recruit and retain high-caliber employees, it’s imperative that companies are competitive in offering wellness programs that support a healthy work-life balance. A fully-integrated, impactful program will not happen overnight, but it can succeed with ongoing, whole-hearted support from the top-down.