A new study has found a link between a lack of sleep and an elevated risk for illness.<br /><br />The new study builds on previous studies that found that a lack of sleep impacts that activation of the immune system, inflammation, carbohydrate metabolism and the hormones that regulate appetite. Now Finnish researchers at the University of Helsinki have found that sleep loss also influences cholesterol metabolism.
This is why working all those extra hours is at the very least leading to a higher likelihood of illness, but might possibly be killing us as well.
Is what you're so proud to be working on at 2AM worth it?
We’ve known for years that our minds need downtime in between focused work. But add the 24/7 stimulation of smartphone technology and, psychiatrist and author Edward M. Hallowell says, we overload the brain’s circuits, which causes smart people to under-perform at work.<br /><br />This frequently happens within the standard eight-hour workday. Take that information overload and stretch it out over 10 or 15 hours of overtime at the office, and you lose productivity quickly.
Gee, just when businesses convinced themselves that all this technology could get us to work more, it turns out they may be shooting themselves in the foot with it. ;-)
"Checking your emails in the evening, on the weekends, or especially on vacations, never gives you the chance to fully disengage from your work. Time spent away from work should be time to unwind and recharge. But if you’re constantly checking work emails on your cell phone, you never let your brain turn off and you risk getting burned out."
Of course, for many of us, there is no choice. The job simply requires being at least somewhat available all of the time, or at least that is the clear expectation. Is it any wonder that Americans don't even bother to take much of their vacation time? When vacation includes keeping an eye on work emails, and responding to the important ones, what's the point?
"It turns out that all of the security in the world won’t stop a disgruntled — or adequately incentivized — employee. According to research done by Austin, Texas-based security company SailPoint, one in five employees would sell their work passwords for money."
First off, let me just say that I do not ever condone this. It is highly unethical and just an awful thing to do.
Still, while company security experts are running around throwing gobs of money at the latest cybersecurity tools, I can't help but wonder how many of these same companies pay no attention to how overworked, stressed, and generally poorly-treated their own employees are. Yes, a disgruntled employee with legitimate access is much more dangerous that those mysterious hackers you're trying to keep out. Maybe you should check and make sure they're not so unhappy that they'd sell you out for a small sum.
"Since 85% of critical jobs are filled via networking of some sort, being highly networked is essential for both the job seekers and for those seeking them. It starts by recognizing no one is average, using the backdoor to find jobs in the hidden market and being different. It ends with hiring better people and getting better jobs."
Not only does this show that if you're looking for a new position, you need to work your connections, but one other thing many of us don't think about is that networking can also help you get a lot more information about a company, or give a company a lot more information about a candidate. No better source of unbiased information that former coworkers and people you know who've worked for the company in question.
At one time or another I've had a boss do some of these. The one I hate the most, and absolutely loathe every single time, is the self-evaluation.
Either you know what I'm doing and how well I'm doing it, or you don't. Either way, what I say about it is pretty much irrelevant. If you already know how well I'm doing my job, what I say doesn't matter, and if you don't know how well I'm doing, you have no way of knowing whether what I say is accurate, so....
It doesn't matter.
See, so why do we have to spend so much time on this?
Have you made your employees do any of these? Has a boss made you do them? Things not on this list that a boss made you do that you think was pretty lame?
"Gustavo Tanaka, co-founder of Brazilian start-up incubator Baobba Lab, put it bluntly: “No one can stand the employment model any longer.”
“We are reaching our limits. People working with big corporations can't stand their jobs,” Tanaka wrote in a Huffington Post blog on Dec. 16. “People want out. They want to drop everything. Take a look on how many people are willing to risk entrepreneurship, people leaving on sabbaticals, people with work-related depression, people [experiencing] burnout.”
It’s not only unsustainable for workers, but also for the companies that employ them. Science has shown a clear correlation between high stress levels in workers and absenteeism, reduced productivity, disengagement and high turnover.
"I think we're at a tipping point in the sense that this is no longer sustainable,” Seppälä said. “We're seeing that approximately 75 percent of workers are disengaged, and it’s costing the economy an enormous amount of money in stress and turnover.” "
There's no question that something is broken. There are lots of things we could blame, the economy, bad management, technology, etc. but the bottom line is that for many people, the typical corporate job just doesn't make sense. There are too many hours, there's too much connectivity, and too much stress. It's not healthy.
"When Netflix still had your typical vacation policy, employees asked an important question:
“We don’t track the time we spend working outside of the office—like e-mails we answer from home and the work we do at night and on weekends—so why do we track the time we spend off the job?”
Management listened. They couldn’t deny the simple logic behind the question.
Back in the industrial age, when people stood on the assembly line from 9 to 5, paying for time made sense. With advances in technology, however, that’s no longer the case. People work when work needs to be done, from wherever they are. There’s really no such thing as “after hours” anymore.
We’re now operating in a participation economy, where people are measured and paid for what they produce. Yet, when it comes to time off, we’re still clinging to the vestiges of the industrial economy, where people were paid for the time they spent on the job. This is a huge demotivator. Netflix realized this, and it changed its policy to reflect the way that work actually gets done."
This is an interesting thing to think about, and something that hits very close to home for me. When I spend parts of my weekends traveling to and from training classes, evenings after teaching answering emails and doing other work, and early mornings catching up on emails from the East Coast before I've even had my coffee, why is my vacation time doled out in the same old fashion that it would have been had I worked in a factory in 8 hour shifts? For that matter, when I'm not teaching, why should I view my work in 8 hour shifts? Because we've always done it that way?
I'm not sure that makes any sense for many of us. Not all, some places still need 8 hour shifts, but for many industries and roles, that just isn't the case. It's about the final product, not time in seat.
"So, what’s causing all of this demotivation and downright unhappiness? This is indeed an extremely pressing question that all top companies should be asking themselves. Here at Netguru we make identifying the causes of demotivation one of our topmost considerations, and we’re happy to pass on what we’ve learned."
I've seen all of these at one organization or another, and they are all damaging to the people who work for you.
It also reminds me of something I've seen lately, a slew of blog posts, and the offers of ebooks that promise hacks, or shortcuts, to engaged employees. Here's a thought, why don't you just have an organization that does the opposite of these things instead of trying to find the shortcut that will fix your workforce? Granted, these things are hard word. They require you to actually care about the people who work for you, and think about what they are doing, and where they are going.
Nah, we wouldn't want managers to actually have to manage. Much better to bring in cupcakes, or have interactive retreats, that will be the difference maker for your employees.
I had occasion recently to interact with some folks who were very keen to tout their "open" office space, and how they were using it to attract recent college grads and encourage collaboration among coworkers. After some discussion about the space, they also pointed out how the organization was also flexible with letting folks work from home when there was a need.
As it turns, out, on the particular day that I was talking to those folks, they admitted that the office was only half-populated, because of the number of folks taking advantage of that flexibility to stay home and get some work done.
As it turns out, if you want to get work done, particularly the kind of work that requires long periods of focused attention, you need to stay home to do that. The office environment, the place where we all go to work, wasn't conducive to working. So in my own thoughts, it occurred to me that if you worked there, you would come to the office to have meetings, but stay home when you needed to focus on anything.
How does that make any sense?
If you work in an open environment, what has your experience been? Do you appreciate the collaborative space, or does your work require you to avoid it whenever possible?
"Engagement Largely Comes Down To Whether People Have A Manager Who Cares About Them, Grows Them And Appreciates Them"
When we wonder why we're seeing so much more job-hopping, and disengaged employees, this is clearly the biggest reason. Employees recognize that they need to grow, they need to develop their skills, and acquire new skills. They recognize the challenges we face in society around work-life balance, and technological change. You either work with them on these things, or they will continue to look for an employer who will.
In other words, if you want your employees to be part of your team, you need to be part of their team.
"Be Clear in Your Communication: You always have to be transparent when communicating with your employees. Even if the news are bad, you should still clearly talk with your employees and explain them what is going on within the company. Create time to listen to your employees’ concerns and do your best to solve them. Keep an open channel of communication and get their feedback when necessary."
This is the big one for me. The others are important, but this is the one I can't live without in a job. It's difficult to feel valued when you don't even know what is going on, and when you have remote employees, they have to be kept in the loop, or they will feel utterly disconnected from the company, which will lead to them leaving.
"A 2014 survey from About.com found the top three reasons why people do not like their jobs — accounting for 62 percent of responses — were communication related. The biggest issue, a lack of direction from management, was followed by poor communication overall, and constant change that is not well communicated.
Under-communication, lack of communication, miscommunication, whatever you want to call it, is a widespread and detrimental problem."
I know when I feel a significant lack of communication, I usually respond by starting to look around. My experience tells me when that sort of thing happens, it's followed by lots of things that I'd rather not be around to experience. You might think that paranoid, I'd call it experienced.
"Although some people share company news and social media posts on their own, most do not. LinkedIn did a recent study and concluded that only 2 perecent of employees post company messages and campaigns on social media. Which leaves a staggering number of employees who are not posting.
Choir, a new social media tool, is tackling this issue by providing employers with the ability to post on your behalf on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Employees need to give their permission first through a permission request email, but once that is done, your company could post from your accounts at will."
Yeah, no. I don't think so. The problem is not so much that I don't ever want to promote the organization I work for on my social network profiles, because I've shared many an article and announcement on my profiles that I think the people who follow me would be interested in, but that' the thing. Those followers are my audience as an individual, and I want to be able to actually decide on a case by case basis whether to post anything put out by my company, not have them decide for me.
A pretty good list, for anyone who is looking to improve their professional lives. Especially key for young professionals to understand that these 10 things matter, regardless of what your "job" is. Without them, you'll never get anywhere.
" We might be working longer simply because we’re so unproductive.
On our mobile devices, we’re doing two damaging things constantly:
Multitasking destroys our productivity, our brains simply can’t handle it, and context switching makes us constantly lose what we were doing and restart."
This sounds about right. Even working from home without the in-person interruptions you get in a cubicle, I still find myself getting emails, Skype messages, phone calls, and then having to go back to what I was doing before. It's not a good way to get anything done efficiently. At the same time, I recently had to complete a health assessment survey, and they asked about work stress. One of the questions:
In the last 4 weeks (28 days), how many times did you either arrive early, work late, or work on a day you were scheduled to be off.
I had to enter a number, "Yes, all of the above, all the time" was not an available answer, but it was the accurate one.
Lots of good information in this article. Check it out, and think about what you're doing to yourself.
These are good, and really they are three aspects of the same issue, communication. As a remote worker myself for the last few years, it is incredibly easy to feel cut off from the rest of the organization unless everyone involved makes a concerted effort to communicate.
This goes double, triple, or more if the company is going through a lot of changes. As a remote worker, you don't have a grapevine or water cooler where you find out what's going on, or how other people are feeling about things. The only thing you have are the communications from your own team. If those are lacking, it's easy to feel forgotten and unappreciated.
How do you stay in touch with remote teams?
Really, what else is there to say? Working long hours may make us feel important, but it doesn't help us do better work. A lack of sleep absolutely affects out ability to make good decisions, do quality work and a host of other things.
Just stop it.
As you may know by now, I'm a big fan of taking care of yourself when it comes to learning new skills, getting training and taking care of your career. Therefore, it'll come as no surprise that I agree with the tips given in this article.
As much as we'd like to think that our employers would take an interest in growing the skills of the people who work for them, the reality is that there is a lot of bad management out there, and sometimes the company has a vested interest in keeping employees right where they are, not in teaching them new skills.
So don't let someone else decide how your knowledge and skills will develop, take charge of your own growth!
"Americans still only take about half their paid time off. Not taking all your vacation days hurts your brain function and poses other serious health risks."
Whenever I've been in Europe or Australia for a class, or had someone from another country in one of our classes here, they are always stunned by how little vacation time Americans actually get, and they wonder how we don't all go nuts. Yet the reality is, even with the measly amount we have, we only use half of it? Sad...
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