Monthly Archives: August 2016

Do You Know That Outdoors Improves Productivity

A little more sunlight, plant life or even pictures of the beach at your workstation can improve your mental health, which in turn can boost job happiness, according to a new Central Michigan University study.

The research revealed that more exposure to things like plants and flowers is associated with a lower depressed mood, as well as higher job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

“Workers are naturally [under] high amounts of stress, but changing the work environment to incorporate some elements of nature could help,” Mihyang An, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral research fellow at Central Michigan University, said in a statement.

While past research has shown that when employees are unhappy in their job, it spills over into their mood, results from the current study indicate that the opposite may be true. An said a depressed mood might spill over into how employees experience their job.

“A low mood might actually lead to job dissatisfaction,” An said.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 444 employees via an online panel from the United States and India. Results revealed a possible relationship between subtle elements, such as a potted plant or nature scene on a screensaver, and improved employee moods.

While adding plants and flowers around the office can be a big help, few things are better for an employee’s psyche than sunlight. The study found that that exposure to sunlight had a considerably stronger effect than natural elements on mental health and was also positively related to job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

“Much of the research on employee health, particularly mental health and other stress-related diseases, has focused on improved management practices and stress-reduction treatments,” said Stephen Colarelli, one of the study’s authors and an organizational/industrial psychologist at Central Michigan University. “It is important, however, to also consider the physical work environment as a causal and remedial factor in employee health.”

While many companies can’t afford a complete office redesign to add more sunlight, the study’s authors say the results show there are much easier steps organizations can take to give their employees for more exposure to natural elements.

“For example, organizations could allow employees to keep plants in their offices or hang photos of nature on office walls, and allow employees time for walks outside of the office,” the study’s authors wrote. “These small and inexpensive changes could result in noticeably better mental health and work attitudes.”

Are your employee so healthy

images-34Is the 9-to-5 grind slowly destroying workers‘ health? Despite the growing trend toward sedentary lifestyles, Americans in the workforce are actually healthier than you might think, according to a new report by TotalWellness, a company that offers biometric screenings and assistance with corporate wellness programs. But more steps can be taken toward achieving better health — and employers can play a significant role in that.

For the study, TotalWellness performed screenings on 85,000 employees in various occupations to determine the health of working people across the country. The screenings looked at five key health metrics: cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, waist circumference and BMI.

The majority of employees screened fell into the optimal range for total cholesterol (77 percent), blood sugar or glucose levels (85 percent), and waist circumference (64 percent). However, only 36 percent of participants were within the normal blood pressure range: Half showed pre-hypertension, and 11 percent showed stage 1 hypertension, which can damage blood vessels over time.

BMI measurements also varied, with just under 30 percent of screened employees falling within the “normal” range. The rest of the study participants has BMIs within the “overweight” range (34 percent), the “obese” range (29 percent) and the “extremely obese” range (7 percent). This means that more than 70 percent of the people surveyed were above the healthy weight range for their height, and may have an increased risk of related health issues, such as hypertension and diabetes, the study’s authors said.

In light of other studies showing a decline in overall American health, TotalWellness researchers were a little surprised at how well employees scored across the board. They believe the positive tilt could have occurred because people who are comfortable with their health are more likely to attend a screening in the first place.

Encouraging wellness at work

Employer-sponsored wellness programs can go a long way toward encouraging workers to lead a healthy lifestyle. According to a study by researchers at Cornell University, successful programs start at the top, and manager buy-in can lead to greater employee participation.

Based on the screening results, TotalWellness advised employers to focus their wellness initiatives on the following areas:

  1. Preventive care. This includes seeing their doctor regularly, managing health conditions, and staying up-to-date on vaccinations.
  2. Healthy eating. Employers should talk about the importance of a balanced diet, and also encourage employees to eat healthy not only at work but all the time.
  3. Physical activity. Use your wellness program to get people moving by implementing walking workstations or standing desks. However, if those are not within your budget, you can educate employees on the importance of getting physical activity throughout the day.
  4. Rounded healthy lifestyles. Health goes beyond diet and exercise. Mental and emotional health, financial wellness and social support are all part of a healthy lifestyle. Make this part of your workplace’s wellness program, or provide your employees with information on those topics.

Appreciation to Over Bonuses

Though getting a raise or a bonus is nice, it’s not the most important factor in employees’ happiness, according to a recent study.

Rather, employees are motivated more by bosses who let their staff members know when they’re doing a good job and who advocate on their employees’ behalf. Indeed, a recent study from Appirio, a provider of cloud-based worker and customer experience solutions, found that this appreciation was more important to employees than the prospect of getting a promotion or a cash bonus.

Specifically, 60 percent of the workers surveyed said that when they’re analyzing a job offer, the most important factor is knowing whether management appreciates employees, while only 4 percent said they were most concerned with knowing how often employees were evaluated for raises.

“While recruiters may think focusing on total compensation is the best way to win over a prized candidate, workers would rather assess the chemistry between their prospective manager and the team — and for good reason; a manager can make or break the employee experience,” the study’s authors wrote.

The research found that a greater percentage of those surveyed would rather work for a boss who always had their back than have a clearly defined career or have a results-driven bonus structure.

Why Employees Value Appreciation Over Bonuses

Credit: TijanaM/Shutterstock

Though getting a raise or a bonus is nice, it’s not the most important factor in employees’ happiness, according to a recent study.

Rather, employees are motivated more by bosses who let their staff members know when they’re doing a good job and who advocate on their employees’ behalf. Indeed, a recent study from Appirio, a provider of cloud-based worker and customer experience solutions, found that this appreciation was more important to employees than the prospect of getting a promotion or a cash bonus.

Specifically, 60 percent of the workers surveyed said that when they’re analyzing a job offer, the most important factor is knowing whether management appreciates employees, while only 4 percent said they were most concerned with knowing how often employees were evaluated for raises.

“While recruiters may think focusing on total compensation is the best way to win over a prized candidate, workers would rather assess the chemistry between their prospective manager and the team — and for good reason; a manager can make or break the employee experience,” the study’s authors wrote.

The research found that a greater percentage of those surveyed would rather work for a boss who always had their back than have a clearly defined career or have a results-driven bonus structure. [See Related Story: Want Happy Employees? Make Hiring Harder]

“While fair-market pay and benefits get the candidate to accept an offer, the dynamic of the manager-employee relationship may be a better indicator of employee satisfaction,” the researchers wrote.

Although the Appirio report only surveyed professionals in the tech industry, experts agree that employees in any field want to feel appreciated.

“Our survey found that appreciation, connectedness and emotional safety all outrank compensation as important factors in career decision making,” Harry West, head of worker experience solutions at Appirio, said in a statement. “Employee engagement can’t be solved by simply showering workers with raises and bonuses — companies must be dedicated to providing transparency, support and technologies that keep high-end tech talent happy.”

Sometimes, a simple “thank you” is all it takes to put a smile on an employee’s face. The research revealed that 55 percent of the workers surveyed value receiving a “thank you” from their managers for a project well done, while only 8 percent would feel disappointed if the same project didn’t result in a monetary reward.

“While managers might think their direct reports are disappointed when big projects don’t translate into equally big raises, the majority of workers again value a human expression of appreciation for a job well done,” the study’s authors wrote.

Spaces That Will Give You Office

download-15A well-designed work space holds many benefits for both the workers and the company. It can increase engagement and productivity while encouraging employees to do their best work. These office spaces are not your typical stodgy cube-farms. Here are six interesting and intriguing locations that have transformed what it means to spend the day in the office.

1. DXAgency

The DXAgency office was designed to invoke the feeling of a close-knit community or a team, said Sandy Rubinstein, the CEO.

“There are a limited number of offices, and those offices rarely close the doors,” Rubinstein said. “There are slippers given to each employee so they can kick their shoes off and [brainstorm].”

There are several kitchens stocked with snacks and sodas, “as you would see in a friend’s house.”

The employees love the company’s game room located in the basement of the building surrounded by bluestone rock and lit by black iron chandeliers, Rubinstein said.

“There is also a kitchen and long wooden picnic table with long benches for seating. This is the room where people can let off steam and play pinball or video games, as well as the location for our potluck lunches and our Free Foodie Fridays catered by different local restaurants,” she added.

2. Framebridge

Susan Tynan, the CEO and founder of custom framing company Framebridge, said the office has been modernized into a comfortable, functioning corporate office.

Framebridge’s in-house creative team designed the office space, highlighting the team’s custom frames and in-house photography along with their collective work, Tynan said.

“Employees love how warm, welcoming and Instagram-ready the office space is. From plush couches and office nooks to long wooden tables used for boardroom meetings, Framebridge embraces the office’s former Georgetown home identity,” Tynan said.

3. The Yard

The floor-to-ceiling, 22-foot windows of The Yard’s 34th Street location reveal the area’s surroundings and are meant to convey the feeling of an oasis above the bustle of Herald Square.

“We loved the high ceilings and ample natural light throughout this location and wanted to make sure our members would be able to really take advantage of it,” said Morris Levy, the co-founder and CEO of the company.