Train your manager for free! work life balance for a changing workforce

[caption id="attachment_1268" align="alignnone" width="208"] Balancing Cat’s from ‘Cool for Cats’ album[/caption]

Does your organisation need to improve the people management skills of its managers?

Would you like an opportunity to improve employee performance and reduce absenteeism at no cost whatsoever to your organisation?

Today’s blog gives you an opportunity to take part in “Managing Employee Pressure at Work” a research program, designed to show managers how to reduce pressure at work for themselves and their teams.

I came across this program at Slough Working Well on 8th October 2014, the theme of last Wednesday’s meeting was Work Life Balance for a changing workforce

We had a packed agenda including an interactive session from Lesley Baker of, Lambda Mediation where we split into 3 groups and discussed the way business has changed, especially with technology advancements giving 24/7 access and creating, for some, an ‘always on’ expectation.
We looked at practices in place to help promote work life balance.

A good practice was mentioned from Daimler who give their 100,000 strong workforce a reprieve by offering to delete all messages sent to them while they’re out of the office.

The German automotive giant, who own luxury car makers Mercedes Benz and Mercedes-AMG among others started trialing ‘Mail on Holiday’ which makes sure workers come back from their breaks to see an empty inbox. Wilfried Porth, Daimler’s board member for human resources is quoted as saying “Our employees should relax on holiday and not read work-related emails. – With ‘Mail on Holiday’ employees start back after the holidays with a clean desk. There is no traffic jam in their inbox. That is an emotional relief.”

Daimler are not the first company to try to improve staff’s work-life balance by limiting their e-mail access. In 2011 fellow automotive giant Volkswagen said their servers would stop sending e-mails to employees’ Blackberrys in the evening.

While Deutsche Telekom previously offered staff the chance to request e-mails are not sent to them during evenings, weekends and on holidays.

Helen Wray from Mars Chocolate UK presented ‘how work life balance can benefit business’ – which had me thinking of the TV advert slogan ‘A mars a day helps you work rest and play’.   

[caption id="attachment_1272" align="alignnone" width="300"]IMG_4268 Rajiv Joshi, Blake Morgan LLP presenting The legal considerations of developing a work life balance strategy[/caption]

The opportunity to train your manager 

The research program is headed up by Dr Rosemary Anderson of Anderson Peak Performance  who spoke about addressing psychological health in a changing workforce.

[caption id="attachment_1273" align="alignnone" width="224"]IMG_4269 Dr Rosemary Anderson[/caption]

Dr Anderson gave us the background to psychological health workplace initiatives:
Over the last few years a wide range interventions have been introduced to help improve the health and well-being of employees at work. While these are sometimes driven purely for moral reasons, a main driver has been to try to improve the productivity of the organisation in terms of staff performance and reduced absenteeism.

Until recently the most popular type of interventions were aimed at helping individuals at a tertiary level, in the form of employee assistance and confidential counselling programmes.

However, since the Black Review “Working for Healthier Tomorrow.” 2008, there has been an increasing trend to introduce popular “quick fix” health and well-being initiatives.

Such initiatives include information on diet and exercise, introduction of exercise clubs, improved canteen menus, and providing access to a range of complimentary therapies such as aromatherapy, reflexology and desk massage.
Some more enlightened organisations are also providing proactive help in the form of resilience and personal stress management training.

Unfortunately, less appears to be being done at an organisational level.
Despite an increasing body of research showing that proactive intervention at this level can be very beneficial and, under the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974, tackling stress in the workplace is now a legal duty of care, organisations seem to find it more difficult to introduce and implement primary interventions.
Under The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, all organisations are expected to carry out stress risk assessments and the HSE have produced guidance to help organisations do this.

It is also recognised that a manager’s style and behaviour can either add to or reduce pressure for their teams.
It therefore makes good business sense for organisations to try to improve the people management skills of their managers and this kind of management development should therefore be an essential part of a proactive health and well being strategy.

To assist here the HSE and CIPD have produced a stress management competency framework which can be used as part of this process.

Despite all this information and guidance these types of primary intervention are still not happening as often or as well as they should and could be.
HSE research to investigate why has shown the main reasons to be – lack of time, stigma, lack of understanding of the subject and lack of senior management commitment. Lack of resources, both financial and personnel also seems to be a major issue.

To overcome some of these obstacles Anderson Peak Performance  has produced the Healthy Organisation Toolkit. To help employees understand the concepts of health and well being, understand the need to take action, what to do to help themselves and their colleagues and where to get help and to show managers how to reduce pressure at work for themselves and their teams. Each program can be studied as an independent course or combined with others to suit the specific needs of the organisation.

The Healthy Organisation Toolkit,” is a set of  on line e learning  programs designed to provide a comprehensive, highly interactive approach to tackling employee stress, health and well being, performance and absenteeism.


Programs are available for both employees and managers and each program can be studied as an independent course or combined with others to suit the specific needs of the organisation.

One of the programs for managers – “Managing Employee Pressure at Work” has recently been chosen by the HSE and Bart’s medical school to be used in a research project they wish to conduct to investigate the effectiveness of e learning on employee health and well-being.

They are now looking for: Volunteers willing to pilot the program in their organisation.

The pilot will look at the effectiveness of the e learning program for managers.

It is hoped that the results will show an improvement in management behaviour with a later improvement in employee health, well-being and personal performance and a reduction in absenteeism. This can then be measured as financial gain to provide a good business case for further interventions.

 The program

This is for managers only and helps managers understand:

  • The concept of pressure at work, the need to take this seriously and take action.
  • The link between  pressure stress and mental and physical ill health
  • Legal issues – personal injury claims – A manager’s duty of care. HSE guidance.
  • Their role in managing pressure, dealing with mental ill health and reducing absenteeism.
  • How to work  proactively with their teams  to  identify problems and find solutions
  • How they can support employees who may be experiencing problems

The program contains variety of questionnaires and self improvement exercises and managers are expected to complete action plans for improvement.

Experimental Hypothesisthat the program “Managing Employee Pressure at Work” has a significant positive effect on employee reported manager behaviour,  self-reported employee well- being and employee absenteeism.

Would you like an opportunity to improve employee performance and reduce absenteeism at no cost whatsoever to your organisation?

The program will be offered to managers to study free of charge and manager behaviour will be monitored. Absence data and employee well being questionnaires will be used to measure effectiveness.

What have you got to lose?

contact Dr Anderson directly at: 
01494 677820

[caption id="attachment_1270" align="alignnone" width="207"]balance animal ‘It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.’ ~ Philip Green[/caption]

Slough Business Community Partnership (SBCP) is working with businesses to encourage them to adopt and promote responsible business practices through the development of their Corporate Responsibility strategy.

Parting thought……

balance neg pos

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