Archive | April, 2012

Twelve hours that will change your life.

20 Apr

Twelve hours that will change your life.

Wake up recommends This programme run by Aware Ireland  who will be running this programme throughout Carlow/Kilkenny in May for 6 week programmes. It is for anyone who might feel they need a little lift in life. I will keep you posted on dates and venues here.

Why is happiness so important- Mark Williamson knows. Happy Friday

13 Apr

Does going that extra mile at work make us happier?

10 Apr

Totally different topic in the Guardian today on Americas addiction to prescription drugs ended with a telling piece on workplace health and happiness

Reports indicate that overworked people tend not to be healthy or happy. Centers for Disease Control data have linked overtime with “poorer perceived general health, increased injury rates, more illnesses, and increased mortality”. And two recent studies have linked long work hours to a higher risk of depression. Stress, incontrovertibly exacerbated by these factors, is “a major contributor to the initiation and continuation of alcohol or other drug abuse, as well as to substance abuse relapse after periods of abstinence”, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And, while it would be incorrect to draw a causal link between stress and widespread addiction, it’s safe to say that this correlation cannot – and should not – be ignored.

I was always fascinated about the American work models lack of holiday entitlements,taking holidays is almost seen as a chance for someone else to steal your limelight in the office while you reconnect with your family or loved ones on holiday.

A Norwegian study in 2008 titled :The Hordaland Health Study. Concluding that working overtime is linked with anxiety and depression.

Consider the dilemma that the Japanese have had to fight with Karoshi being a particular problem in the workplace. Tales of unpaid overwork and dedication to the organization at all costs lead to many people dying of overwork in the Japanese workplace. A compensatory system was set up for some cases but it became difficult to persuade the Office of Labour standards that overwork was the problem. In 1994 a 42-year-old truck driver died of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). His annual working hours that year had been 5,700 hours about 110 hrs a week. His case was dismissed on the grounds that he had worked 6,000 hrs a year for the past 6-7 years. It must have been his diet so.

Karoshi while addressed by some elements of Japanese Industry is still prevalent. Eventually culminating in the creation of a video game where your aim is to kill yourself at work.

Healthy, happy,connected people are the most creative and productive unless you have an endless supply of workers willing to put their health on the line for your organization. It’s also about having the strength to think differently about how we approach work. The New Economics Foundation talks of the benefits of working 21 hours per week. Which would provide us with

  • People who work shorter hours and are more productive hour for hour.
  • Equality by lowering unemployment rates.
  • A workforce that are less likely to burn out before 65.
  • An easier shift from work life to retirement or a will to work longer into our 70’s.
  • A society that doesn’t feel the need to be on a constant treadmill of consumerism and production.
  • A workforce that doesn’t suffer the health related effects of stress and overwork.

Where we end up is down to Industry being aware of the importance of our workers wellbeing rather than solely the shareholders return. The two are not mutually exclusive but  both can thrive if industry and business see the pointlessness of pushing their staff beyond their limits and the benefits of a happy healthy workplace. .

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