Workplace Statistics and Tips

In addition to providing consulting, training, facilitating and coaching for our clients, Wiser Ways to Work is your workforce development and information resource. As a service, we email free, brief workforce statistics and tips twice a month to our subscribers.

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Workplace Bullies Are Expensive

Donating Leave

Training Seen as the Key to Retaining Top Talent in the Workplace

Extreme Worker

U.S. Trails World in Family Workplace Policies

Stress: High Cost to Businesses

Work/Life Balance Retains Executives

Fatigue in the Workplace

Germs at Work are Costly

Family-Friendly Workplaces Increase Loyalty

Junk Food Should Not Be Available at Work

Employee Engagement Increases Financial Performance

Computer Games, Gossip in the Office Can Enhance Workplace

Envy at Work

Gen Y

Workplace English Training

Telecommuting

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Workplace Bullies Are Expensive

A poll released March 21 by the Employment Law Institute reveals that nearly 45 percent of American workers claim to have experienced workplace abuse. The Workplace Bullying Institute (www.bullyinginstitute.org), a non-profit think tank, defines workplace bullying as “repeated, health-impairing mistreatment comprised of one or more of the following: 1) verbal abuse; 2) threatening, intimidating conduct; 3) work interference.” The American Psychological Association (APA) has created a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program to give employers guidelines on how to create better working environments. See www.phwa.org.

According to www.workdoctor.com, the estimated potential annual cost to an average Fortune 500 company in lost productivity (more than $8,000,000), turnover (more than $16,000,000), litigation (minimum legal expenses $104,000 per case with settlements ranging from $225,000 to $1.4 million), and disability (more than $114,000 with an estimated 18 percent of cases involving bullying) means bullies are too expensive to keep on the payroll.

Donating Leave

In family emergencies, many workers are able to get better breaks from employers through leave time donated by co-workers. Systems for donating leave are surging among companies, which see gains in worker loyalty through greater flexibility in dealing with their outside needs. Last year, nearly a third of U.S. employers permitted leave donations, according to a survey of 320 companies by CCH, a business information and service provider. That's up from 20 percent in 2004 and 23 percent in 2005.

Training Seen as the Key to Retaining Top Talent in the Workplace

The most recent International Workplace Survey by specialist financial recruitment company Robert Half International reports that firms are more often using training and development as a means to motivate and keep leading talent. The survey was performed among more than 2,300 human resource and finance managers throughout 12 nations and offers an insight into global workplace patterns. Internationally, 73 percent of human resource and finance managers think training is the top way to increase workplace retention, followed by career development initiatives (37 percent), and monetary compensation (31 percent).

Extreme Worker

Based on two surveys and dozens of interviews and focus groups, the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force of the Center for Work-Life Policy estimates that about 20 percent of high earners in the United States (defined as those in the top 6 percent of income levels) meet the definition of an extreme worker. That means 20 percent of those who make it to the top are working harder than any human can sustain for very long. "It's the American dream on steroids," says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, who heads the task force, turning another phrase. Hewlett points out that these extreme workers love their jobs. "They love the thrill, the meaning, the challenge, the oversized compensation packages and the brilliant colleagues." Sixty-nine percent say their extreme jobs undermine their health, 46 percent say work gets in the way of a good relationship with their spouse, and 58 percent say it gets in the way of strong relationships with their children.

U.S. Trails World in Family Workplace Policies

The Associated Press NEW YORK -- The United States lags far behind virtually all wealthy countries with regard to family-oriented workplace policies such as maternity leave, paid sick days and support for breast-feeding, a new study by Harvard and McGill University researchers says. The study says workplace policies for families in the United States are weaker than those of all high-income countries and many middle- and low-income countries. Notably, it says the U.S. is one of only five countries out of 173 in the survey that does not guarantee some form of paid maternity leave; the others are Lesotho , Liberia , Swaziland and Papua New Guinea .

Stress: High Cost to Businesses

Experts at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, have found that each year in the United States $300 billion (or $7,500 per employee) is spent on stress-related compensation claims, reduced productivity, absenteeism, health insurance costs, direct medical expenses and employee turnover.

Work/Life Balance Retains Executives

Work/Life Balance Retains Executives Here’s what 1,311 senior executives worldwide think about work/life balance: Pam wolf, workplace analyst says, "There’s a trend of employees increasingly coming to work, even though they're sick and really should stay home." In fact, 56% of employers report that presenteeism is a problem at the office. That is up from 48% in 2005 and 39% in 2004. Studies indicate that sick workers on the job can cost corporations more than if those workers stayed at home. The estimated loss in productivity is $180 billion dollars annually. Some companies, like Google offer unlimited sick leave to ensure workplace warriors have ample time to recuperate. Sue Wuthrich, Google benefits director, says, "The unlimited sick time policy here at Google does reinforce individual responsibility for employees own health." Wuthrich says, “I encourage sick employees to go home. I think the best place for them to be is at home and in a safe and warm environment so that they can focus on becoming healthy." Reported by: WNDU-TV - South Bend , IN , USA

Fatigue in Workplace is Common and Costly, Study Finds

Newswise — Nearly 40 percent of U.S. workers experience fatigue, a problem that carries billions of dollars in costs from lost productivity, according to a study in the January Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). The rate of lost productivity for all health-related reasons was also much higher for workers with fatigue: 66 percent, compared with 26 percent for workers without fatigue. Total lost productive time averaged 5.6 hours per week for workers with fatigue, compared to 3.3 hours for their counterparts without fatigue. For U.S. employers, fatigue carried overall estimated costs of more than $136 billion per year in health-related lost productivity—$101 billion more than for workers without fatigue. Eighty-four percent of the costs were related to reduced performance while at work, rather than absences.

Germs at Work are Costly

Pam Wolf, workplace analyst says, "There’s a trend of employees increasingly coming to work, even though they're sick and really should stay home." In fact, 56% of employers report that presenteeism is a problem at the office. That is up from 48% in 2005 and 39% in 2004. Studies indicate that sick workers on the job can cost corporations more than if those workers stayed at home. The estimated loss in productivity is $180 billion dollars annually.

Some companies, like Google offer unlimited sick leave to ensure workplace warriors have ample time to recuperate. Sue Wuthrich, Google benefits director, says, "The unlimited sick time policy here at Google does reinforce individual responsibility for employees own health." Wuthrich says, “I encourage sick employees to go home. I think the best place for them to be is at home and in a safe and warm environment so that they can focus on becoming healthy."

Reported by: WNDU-TV - South Bend , IN , USA

Family-Friendly Workplaces Increase Loyalty

How does an employer increase loyalty in an environment that does not encourage this type of behavior? One thing that does seem to be making a difference is the development of family-friendly workplaces. A family-friendly workplace is one that recognizes the importance of the family in their employees' lives. As we get busier and busier, our ability to juggle family and work diminishes. A family-friendly workplace recognizes this and establishes programs that help ease their employees' struggles. Many firms are moving in this direction having understood that a family-friendly workplace is not only good business, but also good sense. There are a number of ways that you can develop a family-friendly workplace. One of the most common of these is offering flex-time hours. Flex-time means that the specific hours worked are flexible as long as the total weekly requirement is met. There are many ways that you can make your workplace family-friendly. Family-friendly workplaces are not only beneficial to your workers and their families but ultimately, they benefit your business. Excerpted from the Bradenton Herald - FL, United States

Junk Food Should Not Be Available at Work

Workforce Statistic Junk Food Should Not be Available at Work 74 percent of workers told researchers that cake, cookies and candy are served sometimes -- if not always -- to celebrate special occasions in the office. Treats permeate workplaces even though 53 percent of employees surveyed said their company encouraged healthy behavior through lifestyle resources. Harris Interactive conducted the survey in May and June for Marlin Co., a workplace publishing firm in North Haven , Conn. The survey is based on 772 interviews among a nationally representative sample of adult, full- and part-time workers. "In a world where health insurance is such a huge deal and becoming more expensive, this is something that employers have to get a handle on," said Frank Kenna III, president of Marlin Co. Mr. Kenna advises companies to replace the junk food in vending machines with healthful options, encourage employees to bring healthier snacks on social occasions and post fliers on bulletin boards about nutritious food choices. "Getting the information up in front of your employees makes a difference."

Employee Engagement Increases Financial Performance

Recent research has surfaced that quantifies the difference employee engagement can make to the bottom line. ISR, a Chicago-based HR research and consulting firm, conducted a study of over 664,000 employees from 71 companies around the world. Most dramatic among its findings was the almost 52 percent difference in one-year performance improvement in operating income between companies with highly engaged employees as compared to those companies with low engagement scores. High engagement companies improved 19.2 percent while low engagement companies declined 32.7 percent in operating income over the study period. The data covers financial performance through 2005.

Computer Games, Gossip in the Office Can Enhance Workplace

dpa German Press Agency, Published: Wednesday October 11, 2006

Computer Games and Gossip in the Office Can Enhance Workplace Hamburg- Tired employees perform better after being distracted for a few minutes because it helps restore the brain's ability to perform tasks, a study has shown. The study concluded computer games and gossip in the office can have positive effects on productivity, indicating it could be advantageous for companies to allow limited use of entertainment media in the office. A report on the study, conducted by psychologists with the University of Hamburg is published in the October edition of the magazine Emotion. The report also cited research conducted at universities in the US cities of Boston and Chicago that found gossip improves communication and increases job satisfaction. Gossip can also put pressure on employees to perform. For example, when employees think they could be labeled lazy, they are more likely to work overtime. © 2006 dpa German Press Agency

Envy at Work

According to research cited by University of Notre Dame management professor Robert P. Vecchio, who specializes in studying envy in the workplace, 77% of employees surveyed have witnessed jealousy around the office within the past month. To make matters worse, more than half admitted to being directly involved. In his survey of more than 100 first-level supervisors, Mr. Vecchio found that lack of consideration from a supervisor fuelled more jealousy and envy among subordinates than did bosses who were perceived as nurturing.

Adapting to Gen Y

Generation Y, age 30 and under, are motivated by fun, work satisfaction, social responsibility, corporate integrity and honesty, work opportunity and not by money. Google is an example of a Generation Y company, which gives workers a day off a month for community service, employees are paid well but encouraged to work hard and have fun. The company has already set up a foundation. Generation Y are up to about 70 million in the US , almost rivaling baby boomers in size. "This is why I don't think corporations, as we know them, are going to survive much further than the end of this century . . . because Gen Y will be making the rules," said American employment expert Kevin Wheeler. Couple that with the fact that the majority of Generation Y wants to be either self-employed or work more flexibly. Of 140 students in one of his management classes, just 11 want to work for a corporation – the rest want to work for themselves, he says.

Workplace English Training

From the hospitality and construction industries to small, niche companies, dozens of businesses in Monterey County are offering workplace English training for employees who struggle with the language. Employees show up an hour earlier twice a week to take a class taught by volunteer tutors. For an hour and 15 minutes of company time, the employees practice conversational English and sing together — a challenge for many people at 7:30 a.m. Yet, it's a cost-effective strategy for companies that wish to create a more productive work force. "It's in the employer's best interest, that's for sure," said Eric Alexander, the state labor market analyst for the Monterey Bay region.

Telecommuting

Although about a quarter of U.S. workers have the option to work from home, only 11 percent do so, according to the University of Maryland's business school and Rockbridge Associates, a marketing research company. The National Technology Readiness Survey found that only 2 percent of U.S. workers telecommute full time, while another 9 percent telecommute at least one or two days a week. The study concluded that, if everyone who could took full advantage of telecommuting, the annual fuel-cost savings would add up to $3.9 billion.

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