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further negative effect on your health
and productivity. If not adequately dealt
with, this situation quickly becomes
compounded, creating poorer health and
productivity and a downward trend. On
the other hand, maintaining good
health allows you to deal with stress
more effectively, leads to fewer illnesses
and reduces the length and severity of
infections such as a colds and 'flus. You
need to take fewer sick days and have
increased energy and vitality.
I have never met a person who
believes that success is poor health, yet we
let our health deteriorate in our pursuit of
so called "success". Success is good health
in every aspect of our lives -- physical,
emotional, mental and spiritual. Being
healthy is more than the absence of disease
and serious disability.
Changing the way we do
While most organisations want improved
productivity, the focus is often only on
improving the technology and in most
cases only lip service is given to improving
health. All too often we invest large sums
of money into the technology and
equipment or even run special wiz bang
technology workshops. It does not matter
how fast a computer is if the person is slow
or even not there at all. The latest computer
is of little value if the person is too ill to
work at it or to focus on the work.
A small increase in personal health
can mean large increases in personal and
professional productivity. My suggestion is
to stop wasting your money on high tech
productivity solutions until you get the
low tech end right. Get the foundations of
a good and productive business right first.
There is a large and growing amount of
scientific evidence to show that improving
someone's health can have a dramatic
effect on their productivity and the
productivity of the business.
Our productivity is also undermined
by outdated ideas on work that have
hung around since the beginning of the
Industrial Revolution -- such as the idea
that longer hours at work equals more
productivity. Productivity is not how many
hours you've put in, but what you get out.
More hours at a production line is fine if
you're not worried about accidents. But
for any position that requires some
creativity or human interaction, less time
can often be much more effective. Lack
of creativity and poor decisions due to
fatigue or poor thinking can be very
costly. In Japan they have the expression
"karoshi", which means death by
Most business research now shows
that around 50% of businesspeople take
their laptop with them on holidays and
the most common reason was to check
their emails each day. There is nothing
wrong with this if the person has the right
work life integration, but most people
don't. We should not take busyness to
the point of exhaustion, or work at the
expense of health or allow work to cut
into our recuperation and recovery time.
It may provide a perception of short-term
benefit, but will create long term problems
and costs, particularly as we age.
The cost of burnout is not just lost
wages and some inconvenience in the
short term. It can be devastating to any
organisation and includes the added
● Lost productivity while the employee
● Extra wages while training someone else
● Extra stress on other workers
● Costs (other than wages) of hiring a new
● Ongoing medical costs
● Insurance premiums
● Legal matters
Beyond the office
Years ago people looked after their health
outside office hours. Times have changed
and we no longer only work in our office.
We work in our homes and many jobs
rely on us working in our minds all the
time. If employers want to improve
productivity, they also need to consider
the home environment which includes
the family and emotional issues. It's
not an area traditionally covered by
workplace health programs, but it's
critical nonetheless. One simple example
highlights this issue. Stress at work leads
to poor sleep and fatigue which lead to
more family arguments, less sleep, more
anxiety, more frequent bouts of illness
and, as a result, lower productivity at work
and higher absenteeism. A lower quality
of family life generally leads to lower
productivity at work as it becomes a major
distraction and lowers a person's ability
to interact and function positively.
Realistically, we now need to look at
harmoniously integrating our personal
and professional lives to consider
ourselves truly successful.
I wish you good luck and lots of
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