Dal launches new Quality of Work Life survey

On Monday, April 20, faculty and staff at Dal will be invited to take part in a new survey about a wide range of aspects of work at Dal, from teaching and research to administration, and everything in between.

Called the Quality of Work Life Survey (replacing the previous biennial Workplace Survey), it will not only provide Dal’s leadership with workplace assessments but also offer faculty and staff immediate individual health profiles. Read more.

The survey will run from April 20 – May 4. If you have questions about the Quality of Work Life Survey, please visit the FAQs or send an email to workplacesurvey@dal.ca.

Mental Illness at Work – Erin Sutherland’s experience

This video shows Erin Sutherland, an employee of the Canadian government, talking about her experience with mental illness.  It speaks to the power of the workplace and leaves us with some of her lessons learned.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/73aezsyl8c2qm9l/ErinSutherland2.m4v?dl=0

 

BEWARE: The Food you Eat Affects Your Productivity

Think back to your most productive workday in the past week. Now ask yourself: On that afternoon, what did you have for lunch?

When we think about the factors that contribute to workplace performance, we rarely give much consideration to food. For those of us battling to stay on top of emails, meetings, and deadlines, food is simply fuel, but food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon.

Here’s a brief rundown of why this happens. Just about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time staying focused and our attention drifts. This explains why it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach.

So far, so obvious. Now here’s the part we rarely consider: Not all foods are processed by our bodies at the same rate. Some foods, like pasta, bread, cereal and soda, release their glucose quickly, leading to a burst of energy followed by a slump. Others, like high fat meals (think cheeseburgers and BLTs) provide more sustained energy, but require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making us groggy.

Most of us know much of this intuitively, yet we don’t always make smart decisions about our diet. In part, it’s because we’re at our lowest point in both energy and self-control when deciding what to eat. French fries and mozzarella sticks are a lot more appetizing when you’re mentally drained.

Unhealthy lunch options also tend to be cheaper and faster than healthy alternatives, making them all the more alluring in the middle of a busy workday. They feel efficient. Which is where our lunchtime decisions lead us astray. We save 10 minutes now and pay for it with weaker performance the rest of the day.

Read on at https://hbr.org/2014/10/what-you-eat-affects-your-productivity/?utm_source=Socialflow&utm_medium=Tweet&utm_campaign=Socialflow

Hard Data on Being a Nice Boss

There’s an age-old question out there: Is it better to be a “nice” leader to get your staff to like you? Or to be tough as nails to inspire respect and hard work? Despite the recent enthusiasm for wellness initiatives like mindfulness and meditation at the office, and despite the movement toward more horizontal organizational charts, most people still assume the latter is best.

“Tough” managers often mistakenly think that putting pressure on employees will increase performance. What it does increase is stress—and research has shown that high levels of stress carry a number of costs to employers and employees alike.

Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy and her research partners have also shown that leaders who project warmth – even before establishing their competence – are more effective than those who lead with their toughness and skill. Why? One reason is trust. Employees feel greater trust with someone who is kind.

And an interesting study shows that when leaders are fair to the members of their team, the team members display more citizenship behavior and are more productive, both individually and as a team. Jonathan Haidt at New York University Stern School of Business shows in his research that when leaders are self-sacrificing, their employees experience being moved and inspired. As a consequence, the employees feel more loyal and committed and are more likely to go out of their way to be helpful and friendly to other employees. Research on “paying it forward” shows that when you work with people who help you, in turn you will be more likely to help others (and not necessarily just those who helped you).

A large healthcare study showed that a kind culture at work not only improved employee well-being and productivity but also improved client health outcomes and satisfaction.

 

Read more: https://hbr.org/2014/11/the-hard-data-on-being-a-nice-boss