Meditating Instead of Medicating Worksite Wellness Programs and MBSR by jwc45040



                                                                                                                                                         Volume 10, Issue 1
                                                                                                                                                         Winter 2008

                                                                                  Meditating Instead of Medicating: Worksite Wellness

                                                                                                    Programs and MBSR

                                                                                          The costs of healthcare are skyrocketing. Cur-
                                                                        rently, they increase at twice the rate of regular societal inflation.
                                                                        As a result, projected healthcare spending in the United States
                                                                        may soon consume 20% of the nation’s gross national product
                                                                        (Chenowith, 1998). Armed with knowledge, and the fact that de-
                                                                        creased health and well-being has been continually linked with

                                                                                                workplace stress, organizations are moti-
                                                                                Organiza-       vated to respond. Decreased health, due to
                                                                            tional contexts workplace stress as well as various other contributors, has been
                                                                                 provide        linked to increased absenteeism and decreased productivity. Addi-
                                                                             unique bene- tionally, the enhancement of well-being at work has been described
                                                                             fits for MBSR by some as “one of the most important issues of modern times”
                                                                               programs.        (Flaxman & Bond, 2006). With these pressing needs quickly becom-
                          Focus; Healthy Lives, Healthy Organizations

                                                                               Employees ing part of daily living, organizations have begun to take a preventa-
                                                                             have access to tive model approach with regards to healthcare options. One new
                                                                              large spaces avenue for increasing health and wellness in the workplace includes
                                                                            such as confer- the concept of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) pro-
                                                                              ence rooms, grams for employees.
                                                                             and easy half- Under these programs, health is viewed as not only the absence of
                                                                            hour time slots disease, but as the harmonious functioning of many dimensions of
                                                                             can be sched- wellness recognized by a person, including physical, emotional, so-
                                                                              uled for pro- cial, and environmental demands, to name a few. By examining the
                                                                              gram imple- impact stress has on the lives of valuable employees, these programs
                                                                               mentation. recognize that daily workplace life comes with stressors and frustra-

                                                                                                tions. [MBSR programs utilize employee self-responsibility and pro-
                                                                        vide models of effective ways to handle stress, such as body scanning, yoga practice, or

                                                                        breathing exercises to reduce the tension and strain that can
                                                                        contribute to increased absenteeism and decreased produc-             Inside this issue:
                                                                        tivity and performance.] The goal of MBSR programs is to MBSR Programs at Work
                                                                        focus on cultivating inner resources to produce a calmness
                                                                        of mind and a larger perspective on the difficulties of life.       Weather and Mood     2
                                                                        This distinction allows for an employee to respond effec-

                                                                        tively to stress instead of reacting hastily in a challenging                            2
                                                                        situation, not by changing personal employee attributes, but Mindfulness Benefits
                                                                        by capitalizing on strengths already present within the em- Get Onboard with Onboarding  3
                                                                                                                                         10 “don’ts” of Employee Orien-       4
                                                                                  ~Referenced from: Williams, K. (2006). Mindfulness-    tation

                                                                        Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) In a Worksite Wellness Pro-        Work Got You Down?                   4
                                                                        gram; Chenowith, 1998; and Flaxman and Bond, 2006. For more
                                                                        information on MBSR programs, please contact Kelly or LauraLee   Next Issue/Spring 2008           Vol 10
  VOLUME 10, ISSUE 1                                                                                                          Page 2

                                        Weather and Mood
                                During the rainy sea-     outside and what the season
                       son, many people may experi-       is. This study found that for
                       ence dips in their otherwise       weather to improve mood,
                       cheery dispositions. Prior re-     subjects needed to spend at
                       search has been somewhat           least 30 minutes outside in
                       unsuccessful at demonstrating      warm, sunny weather. Contrary
                       the impact weather has on our      to their initial expectations,     ing or irritating. So, with the
                       moods and thoughts, simply         researchers found that spend-      less-than- inviting Portland
   “ Look at a         because people in industrial-      ing time indoors when the          rainy season upon us, spending
                       ized countries, on average,        weather outside was pleasant       time inside at work may not be
                       spend 93 percent of their time     actually decreased mood and        so bad...
day when you           indoors, making them largely       narrowed cognitive style. They               ~Referenced from Dr.
                       disconnected from the impact       suspected this was perhaps         Keller’s work on weather and
are supremely          of changing weather outside.       because people resent being        mood research and the Univer-
                       However, more recent re-           cooped-up indoors when             sity of Michigan
satisfied at the       search uncovered two variables     weather becomes better in the
                       that confirmed the relationship    spring or perhaps because im-
end. It's not a        between weather and mood:          proved weather can make nor-       Check out more stories like this at
                       how much time you spend            mal indoor activities feel bor-
day when you
lounge around                                                          Mindfulness Benefits!
doing nothing;                                                  reduce the double stan-      negative feedback mind-
                                                                dard women in managerial     lessly, and positive feed-
                                                                positions face? These        back mindfully. Research-
it's when you've                                                women were able to re-       ers hypothesized this may
                                                                duce the negative effects    be a defense mechanism.
had everything                                                  of double standards, such    Second, supervisors often
                                                                as decreased femininity      mindlessly communicate
to do, and              What is Mindfulness?              and reduced positive regard        “special” relationships to
                        Businesses have turned to the     associated with managerial po-     their subordinates, which
you've done it.”        concept of mindfulness as a       sitions. It was also found to      can become problematic in
                        way to increase health and        decrease the idea that feminin-    the future. Finally, candi-
                        wellness in the work place.       ity is associated with a lack of   dates who exhibit stronger
                        Mindfulness has been de-          capability.                        degrees of mindfulness in
~Lord Acton             scribed as a state of conscious   Did You Know: Mindful-             job interviews are more
                        awareness of the present mo-      ness based practices can in-       adept at procuring posi-
                        ment with a nonjudgmental         crease worker productivity in      tions than those who are
                        acceptance. A mindful ap-         computer related interactions?     not.
                        proach to situations provides     By attending to computers as                ~Based off of Work
                        a person with many benefits,      a-social beings, rather than       by Burgoon, Berger and Wal-
                        including an openness to nov-     socially cued agents, we can       dron (2000); Demick (2000);
                        elty and a sensitivity to both    improve our computer interac-      and Kazakami, White, and
                        context and perspective. This     tions.                             Langer (2000).
                        can benefit the workplace in
                        several ways.                     Did You Know: Mindful-
                                                          ness concepts can provide in-      For further inquiries or more
                        Did You Know: Mindful-            sight into workplace communi-      information, contact LauraLee
                        ness brought to situations of     cation improvements in several     or Kelly at Fifth Avenue
                        discrimination within the         ways. First, supervisors and       Counseling and Consulting
                        workplace has been found to       subordinates tend to process
VOLUME 10, ISSUE 1                                                                                              Page 3

                        Get On Board with Onboarding in the Workplace
                               Second chances in       The chances of your new            dures, so don’t leave new
  “It is only as     this corporate world don’t        employee remembering four          employees in the dark about
   we develop        come often. First impres-         to six hours of company pol-       them. If your company ob-
                     sions are heavily relied upon     icy procedures crammed into        serves a “casual Friday” rule,
 others that we      as decision makers or break-      a powerpoint presentation          make sure all new employees
                     ers with regards to newly         are slim. This detracts from       know this before they show
  permanently        hired employees who present       the productivity of the com-       up at the office on their first
                     with their best qualities in an   pany, as well as alienates the     Friday in a neatly-pressed
    succeed.”        interview. While new em-          employee. Instead, make the        suit. Post policies and proce-
                     ployees go to great pains to      orientation process personal.      dures about important infor-
                     put their “best foot forward”     To reduce the angst associ-        mation, such as eligibility for
                     during the hiring process, it     ated with the first day of         benefits packages, where they
   ~ Harvey S.       makes sense that a company        work, try making information       can be easily accessed. Ver-
    Firestone        should try to reciprocate the     available in advance by pro-       bal reminders during a mara-
                     favor. This idea of working       viding online access to forms      thon orientation may go un-
                     with a new employee in order      or posting a frequently-asked-     heard, and stacks of paper are
                     to ease the transition from                           question       easily lost in the hustle and
                     “new guy on the block” to                             flier so the   bustle of first day activities.
                     productive, informed team                             first day      More effective practices in-
                     member is called On-                                  can be all     clude an easily accessible
                     boarding. It is more for-                             about rela-    online resource that is regu-
                     mally known as the proc-                              tionship       larly updated with this infor-
                     ess of new employee ori-                              building,      mation.
                     entation and mainstream-                              not memo-                So, if you’re looking
                     ing.                                                  rization.      to achieve results with the
                               By following sev-                           Consider       most current tools on the
                     eral simple guidelines, the                           assigning a    market, get onboard with
                     process of a new hire’s                               mentor to      onboarding, and remember:
                     adjustment to a particular                            each new       it’s been proven that happy
                     corporate culture can be-                             employee       employees are more produc-
  “The best          come a time for enhancing         on the first day so he or she      tive team members.
                     foundational relationships        can immediately get a feel for
 preparation                                                                                      ~Referenced from the
                     and confidence instead of         the personality of the organi-     work of Brian Platz, 2007.
                     stressing over the trial-and-     zation. These types of strate-
for good work                                          gies help to produce positive
                     error learning process associ-                                       For more Information, contact Laura-
                                                       emotions about the organiza-
tomorrow is to       ated with acquiring new job
                                                       tion which make the new
                                                                                          Lee or visit these suggested reading
                     skills. First, keep in mind                                          websites:
do good work         that familiarity breeds con-      team member feel valued,
                     tentment. Give your new           wanted, interested and ex-         How to Keep the New Em-
    today.”          hire access to colleagues’        cited. By engendering these        ployee On Board : http://
                     names and faces via an online     positive emotions from the
                     company page so that he or        word “GO”, the new em-             library/weekly/uc042102a.html
                     she can figure out just who is    ployee will be motivated to        New Employee Orientation Vs.
   ~ Elbert          helping them with the             do great work and add great        Integration: http://
                     jammed copier on that first       value to the organization.
   Hubbard                                                                                orientation/a/orientation.html
                     day.                                       Finally, don’t make
                                                       new employees “learn the           Tips for a Better New Employee
                               Second, create a new                                       Orientation: http://
                     employee orientation process      hard way”. Each company
                     that is simple yet interesting.   has its own set of norms,
                                                       rules, regulations, and proce-
     Page 4                                                                            FOCUS; HEALTHY LIVES, HEALTHY ORGANIZATIONS

                      Top Ten “Don’ts” of New Employee Orientation
         ♦   Don’t 1: Assign the new employee to a staff person who has a major, career-impacting deadline in
                       three days.
         ♦ Don’t 2: Schedule the new employee to work while her supervisor is on vacation.
         ♦ Don’t 3: Leave the new employee standing in the company reception area for a half hour while reception
                      staff try to figure out what to do with him.
         ♦ Don’t 4: Leave the new employee at her work station, to manage of her own, while other coworkers pair
                      up and head out to lunch.
         ♦ Don’t 5: Provide an hour in a noisy lobby for the new employee to read and sign-off on a 100 page
                       employee handbook.
         ♦ Don’t 6: Show the new employee his office and not introduce him to coworkers or assign him a mentor.
         ♦ Don’t 7: Assign the new employee to (fill in the blank), your most unhappy, negative, company-bashing
                      staff member.
         ♦ Don’t 8: Leave an employee without a designated work space, place him in the hall, or require that he
                           temporarily share a cube with another employee.
                  ♦ Don’t 9: Assign the employee busy work that has nothing to do with her core job description
                                 because you have a challenging week.
                  ♦ Don’t 10: Start the new employee with a one or two day new employee orientation during
   “A positive
                                   which Human Resources personnel make presentation after presentation after
attitude may not                   presentation….
                     ~Guidelines suggested by Colleen Clarke, Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer
  solve every
                      For more information, contact LauraLee at Fifth Avenue Counseling and Consulting
 problem but it
 makes solving
any problem a
                        Work Got You Down? Use it,
 more pleasant
                              Don’t Lose it!
 experience.”          Feeling grumpy on the job may facilitate a
                  head start in the creativity department among em-
                  ployees. When situations arise that decrease em-
~ Grant Fairley ployee moods from the pleasant, happy-go-lucky -Our counseling services can focus
                  to the less-than-content, this may be the time to on adults, adolescents, and families
                  capitalize on the creative powers that be. Happy
                  people may not be motivated to problem solve in
                  the same ways as their less-content colleagues, for -We provide organizational devel-
                  several reasons. People who are slightly less con- opment and coaching services for
              tent with their work situation usually seek ways to
              alleviate the negative feelings. In short, they are mo- individuals and businesses
              tivated to try several approaches before finding what
              works. Those employees who are extremely content, For More Information Contact Us At:
              although productive, are not seeking solutions to        1312 SW 16th Ave, Portland OR 97201
              problems because there just isn’t any need to! So, the          Telephone:503-295-7974
              next time work gets you a little down, remember that
                                                                                 Fax: 503-295-3727
              it may be just the extra boost you need to trouble-
              shoot that challenging project hurdle.                         Email:
                           ~Referenced from L.M. Sixel’s Houston Chronicle
                News Service, 2007
                For more information call Fifth Avenue Counseling and Consulting and
                ask to speak with Kelly

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