Preparing Your Business for Disaster

Disasters are an inevitable part of doing business. It’s a fact of life that has never seemed more obvious than in 2011, as we’ve witnessed a devastating tsunami, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires and flooding.

In the near future, it’s likely your business will be threatened by a critical event that could dramatically impact operations. Because disasters don’t happen regularly, they are often overlooked until it’s too late. Organizations that plan in advance often make it through the crisis while those that don’t suffer serious consequences.

Jack Sparrow and the Secrets of Long Life

This summer the Pirates of the Caribbean series returned to movie theaters, led by the lovable scoundrel Captain Jack Sparrow and his quest for the fountain of youth. Unfortunately, that fountain isn’t an option to those of us in the “real world,” but our society is clearly obsessed with the secret to long life. A recent USA Today story shared the results of a 90-year study that followed 1,528 Americans and debunked several myths for achieving long life.

Recess at the Workplace: Get Up, Get Moving, and (Surprise) Get More Productive

One of the best ideas we’ve heard for getting an out-of-shape workforce up and moving is an idea that dates back to elementary school – recess.

Remember the thrill of running outside and taking a break from class, hanging out with your friends and breathing in the fresh air of a sunny spring day? Those days may be returning, thanks to several new programs that advocate employer-sponsored exercise.

Your Job or Your Health? For Stressed-Out Employees, It’s No Contest

When employees are worried about losing their jobs, health concerns quickly drop down the priority ladder. Earlier this year, Towers Watson surveyed 3,000 employees about their employers’ health care programs and found a significant decrease in workers’ focus on their own health during the last two years. The reasons are simple: employees are seriously stressed out and might not feel as if they have the time to exercise and take care of themselves.

When Failure Equals Success

Success is – well, success – and it’s easy to take for granted. But a spectacular failure, when handled correctly, can be a teaching tool that resonates for a long time. Obviously we’re not suggesting that companies seek out epic fails (as the kids call them). Rather, we’re suggesting a cultural shift that can pay off in increased employee loyalty, camaraderie and dedication.

When Scut Farkas Comes to Work

Remember Scut Farkas, the bully of A Christmas Story? Most of us have had to endure a bully in our lifetime, but we typically view them as a childhood threat that we leave behind when we grow up. Only that’s not really the case. Bullies are all-too-common in the workplace, whether they intimidate by their words or by physical actions. Workplace violence may get the media headlines, but rudeness at work is every bit as damaging.

Violence in the Healthcare Workplace: Easing the Pressure Cooker

Earlier this year, a gunman critically injured a doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital, then killed himself and his mother. In another incident, a man who was unhappy with a relative’s treatment killed a nurse and another employee in a Georgia hospital, before being shot himself. In late 2010, an emergency nurse told CNN that she’d been scratched, bitten, spat on, and struck across the face so hard that her jaw broke. Welcome to another day in the life of the healthcare workplace.

While the violence is not likely to improve soon, hospitals can adopt strategies to reduce violence and help prevent their employees from becoming victims.

Wellness Programs: We’ll Even Throw in a Set of Steak Knives!

We couldn’t help but view a recent article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review with a mix of dismay and amusement. The story – titled “How Healthy are Wellness Programs?” – pointed out that most companies with wellness programs spend $50 to $100 in incentives per employee to prod their workforce to join.

Obviously, we believe wellness programs are a great addition to a company’s benefit portfolio. However, while incentives may help to motivate employees in the short term, they can fall short on providing sustainable behavior change that makes a real impact on a person’s health.