TAG | stress in the workplace
Obesity is a growing epidemic—health care spending for obese adults is 40 percent higher than for normal weight adults and the economic cost of obesity in the United States is increasing by more than $13 billion per year; and
Six of the seven most common chronic diseases can be caused or worsened by obesity – and these six diseases cost employers $1.1 trillion annually in lost productivity.
In an interview I conducted several years ago Dr. Ellen Taliaferro stated, “Intimate partner violence and abuse usurps precious healthcare dollars. While it is true that women present to the healthcare system for treatment of their injuries, the vast majority of healthcare dollars are spent on medical visits for conditions such as pain, headaches, depression, post-traumatic stress, cardiac disease, gastrointestinal problems, etc. that result from past violence and abuse.
Unfortunately, the fact that these conditions may be caused by abuse goes unrecognized, and the patient returns time and time again for unresolved health problems. Identifying the abuse as a possible contributor can enhance successful treatment and stop the drain of healthcare dollars.”
In Stress management online Q&A for Mayo Clinic I located this information:
Edward T. Creagan, M.D. wrote: “When you’re under stress, you may find it harder to eat healthy. Also, during times of particularly high stress, you may eat in an attempt to fulfill emotional needs — sometimes called stress eating or emotional eating. And you may be especially likely to eat high-calorie foods during times of stress, even when you’re not hungry.”
It’ s no secret or surprise that stress, depression and the effects on health that Dr. Taliaferro described are all potential factors in weight gain. Which is a national epidemic. All these issues are closely intertwined and all the more reason to accept that domestic violence does affect all of us. Whether you are personally involved in a domestically violent relationship or not.
We have got to have workplaces that accept and assume an active role in eradicating domestic violence in the lives of their employees.
Most companies wait to see “obvious” signs, or experience an event in the workplace.
If it’s gotten to that point it has already been simmering under the surface, and affecting your organization. No company is immune – early intervention and prevention are the answer.
The good news is more and more leaders in high stakes positions are realizing the value of this service, particularly in this stressful time. When you are proactive, you realize that you may not personally have seen, experienced or even heard of domestic abuse in the lives of your employees. You simply realize that no one and no organization is immune.
There is a specific, yet very simple process for creating workplaces that are Safe, Supportive and Sought-after that does not have to weigh you down. Just ask us – we’ll give you the skinny on it.
Dear readers – This blog ran previously and continues to bring positive impact to readers. That makes me glad.
This month of awareness has assisted in bringing together those who work to bring an end to Domestic Violence, as well as move forward legislation to assist victims of domestic violence. As we move forward to October and participate in activities that support in bringing awareness and memorial to this ever present issue, we aid those who are suffering everyday to bring them one step closer to safety, and a healthier life for themselves, and their family. What might be things you can do to stop domestic abuse?
In your place of worship
1. Encourage information about domestic abuse in the congregation’s programs, youth groups, marriage preparation, study groups, etc.
2. Establish a committee to promote awareness of the problem and how the congregation can help.
3. Organize a drive to collect food, toiletries, household goods and other needed items for a local domestic violence service.
In your workplace
4. Display posters or brochures (in break rooms, restrooms, or meeting rooms) to promote awareness of domestic abuse and how to get help.
5. Organize a Brown Bag lunch or other event for co-workers and invite a speaker to talk about solutions to the problem.
6. Ask what policies your employer has developed to keep employees safe from a domestic abuser who threatens the workplace.
In schools and daycare
7. Encourage the editor of the school newspaper to have a special issue about teen dating violence and partner abuse.
8. Write a paper about domestic violence to share with your classmates.
9. Educate teachers and other staff about the connection between child abuse and partner abuse.
In civic organizations, clubs or neighborhoods
10. Invite a speaker to educate organization members about domestic violence.
11. Organize a fundraising event or food/toiletries drive to benefit a domestic violence service agency.
12. Publish information about domestic violence and available resources in the newsletter.
13. “Adopt” a family seeking independence from an abuser, to assist with practical needs.
As a Citizen
14. Ask your local library to stock books on domestic violence and to set up displays to educate the public about the issue.
15. Speak out against domestic abuse: Expressing your view that domestic violence is unacceptable has a powerful effect on changing the norms that support abuse.
16. Write letters to newspaper editors or send commentaries to TV and radio to help raise awareness about domestic violence.
17. Vote for public leaders who take a strong stand against domestic abuse.
18. Call 911 if you see or hear a crime of domestic abuse in progress. Write down license plate numbers, locations, and any other information that may be helpful to law enforcement.
19. Volunteer with a domestic violence service. Organizations need help with office activities, fundraising events, technical and professional services and assistance to clients.
20. Donate used clothing and household goods to a program that gives these vital items to families seeking independence from an abuser.
21. Participate in neighborhood crime watch programs.
Source original for this article: http://www.thepaper247.com/main.asp?SectionID=23&SubSectionID=22&ArticleID=17559&TM=9137.525
bottom line · Brown Bag lunch · business · Coaching · conflict · consulting · costs · crime victim’s rights · depression · domestic abuse · domestic violence in the workplace · domestic violence prevention · employer · lawsuit · leadership development · legal · management · offender · personal safety · relationships · risk · Speak out against domestic abuse · strategic leadership · stress in the workplace · training · victim · violence
A friend of mine spent months, all last winter in fact, dodging the bullying, badgering and intimidation of a male coworker. She wasn’t alone. Several of her coworker’s requested shift changes and altered job duties to avoid this man. And it wasn’t just women who were suffering. This anti-social bulldog was every bit as ruthless with men. He seemed to want to sabotage every relationship he had.
But for one. Because they always seem to need an ally. Someone who will believe them incapable of wrong and who will help pave the way for future damage. In this case it was a female coworker. We’ll call her “Wanda”.
So when the co-worker’s abuse finally came to a head and formal charges were filed against this jerk, “Jerry”, he fled the state. And guess where he stayed? In another state at the home of Wanda’s extended family.
While the police grappled with getting Jerry back to town. The employer grappled with what to do with Wanda. Clearly she had enabled this man to abuse several members of the workplace. And those that suffered were mad as hell and talking class-action suit (much deserved in my opinion).
So what’s an employer to do? Not much, unfortunately, because they weren’t prepared. Their workplace policies and procedures were written around the time cell phones still looked like bricks and hadn’t been updated since. They had nothing to protect them, nothing in writing to reinforce that Wanda’s actions were wrong and terminable offences. Tisk, tisk, tisk.
It doesn’t have to be like that. Progressive companies have a policy to promote a safe environment for its employees. They are committed to working with employees to provide a work environment free from violence, threats of violence, harassment, intimidation, and other disruptive behavior and they would include language in the policy that outlines all employees’ responsibilities to prevent workplace aggression in all its forms.
Let me know when your company is ready to protect itself from the Wanda and Jerry’s who put you and every one of your coworkers in jeopardy. If you’re going to dodge something all winter, wouldn’t you rather it be a snowball?
When the Human Resources manager called to describe the female employee’s resistance to discussing the abusive husband who kept showing up at the workplace; making his presence in her life achingly obvious with emails, phone calls and stake-outs in the parking lot.
“She won’t talk with me.” said the manager. “She clams up.” They asked me to meet with the woman on their behalf, thinking that a neutral outsider could encourage her to help.
So we sat down, the Human Resource manager, the employee and me. And that’s where I got my big surprise. The manager barked an order at the woman that she “has to” meet with me. The tone of her voice was angry, and insistent as she gave her a directive, “You will talk with Ms. Angelo until she says you can go!” Ouch. Quite frankly that answered a lot of my questions as to why this woman was so reluctant to talk.
When you are a domestic violence victim, discussing the dynamics of your relationship is very, very complex. We have written about that in other blogs. Let’s focus now on how to create safe environments to ask for help for victims of domestic violence.
1. Start with your room environment. Invite the employee to talk with you in a place that’s quiet and not where everyone can see you talking. Have water and tissue boxes available on the table. (Some say you should not hand a tissue to someone crying as it sends a subliminal message that they should stop. Instead ensure they can easily reach tissues on their own).
2. Be an “active listener.” This sends the message that you are genuinely interested and respect what they have to say. Give your full attention and comment on what you think you heard. If you did not understand what was said, ask for clarification. Ask open ended questions that do not convey judgment. For example you can ask, “Could you tell me more about that?”, “What do you mean he has a temper just like his father?” “What happened next?” “Would you like help getting out?” “May I give you a list of resources and phone numbers?”
3. Be positive and have an upbeat tone of voice. No one likes to listen, or open up, to someone who is grumpy; smile. Show enthusiasm and be positive when having conversations with victims or suspected victims. I am not saying that you should make light of their trauma. Just don’t wallow in it either. Empathy not sympathy. Maintain eye contact without staring. Nod occasionally and lean forward slightly.
4. Offer guidance that addresses the person’s problem, behavior, or concern. Do not criticize for wrong or bad behavior; instead develop an action plan to help the victim (or offender) change the situation that’s unsafe and/or affecting their work. Talk about strategies they can use in difficult situations. Discuss hypothetical scenarios such as what he/she can do if they are in an unsafe situation and hopefully avoid getting into dangerous situations. Remember though, this is based on offering resources, like shelter information, hot-line phone numbers and your Employee Assistance Provider (EAP). It is not to suggest you act as their therapist.
5. Maintain and enhance self-esteem and self-respect. People with positive self-esteem are more likely to reach out for help and accept the help that is offered. Where victims are concerned try to remember that the batterer, or offender’s, greatest ally is to minimize and strip their victim of self-worth. Most victims have been told so often that they are unworthy that they’ve come to believe it. You can help replace lost self-esteem.
6. Know your limitations. The reason clients seek me out for domestic violence training, is that it raises Domestic Violence Intelligence. Know that there are times that a subject matter expert can ensure you address the situation correctly and help safeguard your from making a mistake that could violate compliance or land you in hot water. If you are attempting to get your employee to seek help from experts, be the first to set an example and seek help yourself.
active listener · Coaching · depression · domestic abuse · Domestic Violence · domestic violence in the workplace · Domestic Violence Intelligence · domestic violence prevention · Employee Assistance Provider · employees · employer · human resources director · management training · personal safety · Safe · self-esteem · Sought-after · stress in the workplace · Supportive · Therapist · training · violence
I was stopped at a red light one day, and you know how it is – you look around at other cars while you kill those two or three minutes waiting for the green. I glanced up into my rearview mirror and noticed the young woman in the car behind mine.
She was crying.
She wasn’t whimpering. She was weeping. Hard, painful crying. She looked bereft and heartbroken.
My imagination started churning. Did she break up with a boyfriend? Had someone died? Maybe she lost her job?
I had a crazy urge to get out of my car and run back to hers. I know that was impractical, unsafe and would probably make the drivers of the long line of cars behind her furious. What
would she do if I approached her? Be grateful for my concern or think I was out of line for prying?
I imagined there were TV cameras around me hidden in the trees and that John Quinones of the TV show What Would You Do? Was about to pop out at any time. Maybe they were doing a show on whether people gave a hoot about the pain of total strangers.
I’ve thought long and hard about that time. What would I have done if she’d been sitting at a bus stop and I’d walked by? Would I have stopped?
Being that my career is immersed in dealing with the pain of domestic violence and it’s spillover to the workplace, I believe I would have stopped. I picture myself saying to her, “You look so sad. If you’ll talk with me for a moment, I promise to listen without judging. Maybe just talking will help.”
I can’t guarantee if that would work. But I hate to imagine never trying, and always wondering if I could’ve helped. Some day, if they haven’t done it already, there will be an episode of What Would You Do? that watches to see if folks would reach out to a total stranger in emotional pain.
Cameras in the trees or not – what would you do?
Click link to watch this 1 minute video! Announcing TheDVU
Coaching · consulting · Counselors · depression · domestic abuse · Domestic Violence · domestic violence prevention · Social Workers · stress in the workplace · Therapists · training · victim’s rights · violence
There were quite a few entrants! Although, interestingly, they were all female. I thought that was both surprising, and not surprising. It surprised me because 85% of domestic violence and abuse victims are women. So it would stand to reason more would want to participate in the contest and submit their views. This was intended to hear your thoughts on domestic violence in the workplace and personal safety.
But men keep telling me they are not being heard. Even if a Starbuck’s gift card contest was not high on their list of ways to be heard – it’s still something. So, frankly, I’m disappointed. Guys, you were invited to speak up and enter your observations and your thoughts. It would have taken you the same five minutes it took the women. We are all busy. You had your chance.
I’m going to randomly select comments submitted by entrants to include in my newsletter, tweets and my blog. Because we all benefit from the insights of people whose personal antennae changed to what they saw around them; from news stories, or friends and family members struggling with intimate partner violence as a result of Human Resource Essential’s work.
I wrote all the entrant’s names on same-size slips of paper and drew one out of the bucket.
Dawn Brockman won the $50 Starbucks gift card! Just in time for pumpkin frappes and peppermint lattes! Enjoy the card, Dawn, and thank you for participating!
A few weeks ago we decided to retile our house. The original tile was 16 years old, out of date and the grout discolored. We chose 24×24 pure white porcelain. Gorgeous.
The tile crew came an busted out thousands of square feet of original tile leaving shards everywhere and buying us under an inch of dust that managed to get by the carefully placed plastic sheeting they hung between all the rooms.
In a half hour four men had completely removed the entire tile that had made our home so beautiful for 16 years, swept the floor and scraped off old thin set to ready the floor for the new tile. Which didn’t come.
When the delivery truck showed up an hour or so later the entire load was the wrong tile. Something café o’ lait brown that didn’t belong within a 100 yards of my house. Calls were made, mistakes were discussed, and o tile was to be had. It would be a week before the correct order was located and delivered. In the meantime we wore tennis shoes 24/7 and didn’t know what to clean or put back where it belonged. The refrigerator was still in the family room (which some people thought was “umber” convenient when they were watching TV.
It was a lesson learned as far as I was concerned. I would never dismantle, remove, paint primer over or any other construction like prep without having the new material on hand and verified. It could have been done with the tile but they were so certain they’d have the right material delivered – and we had o trust them.
It was parallel, in my mind, to all the companies that do domestic violence awareness training without properly preparing and training their staff – or at least specific designees.
To be effective, and not have it come back to haunt you, you need to have management training that specifically addresses domestic violence in the workplace – its home based spill over to your work environment, and how the organization will effectively and legally address it.
It’s about being legally compliant while blending the human being with business practices™. Rather than be afraid that there might be a spike in reports of domestic abuse, and the accompanying requests for help, your organization can be fully educated and prepared to reach out and offer help in a private manner that could mitigate the frequency and severity of abuse your employee suffers.
It’s not so easy to get organization to the conversation about how this is done and why you want to do it. But time and again has proven, once you get them to hear you they are grateful for the knowledge a surprised at how easy it really is once you have the help of a subject matter expert.
I really like to answer questions about the process and love that part of the conversation – even when it’s via blogging. So please ask and let’s talk about it. What would you like to know about the process of having your workplace prepared for helping employees with domestic violence issues before they show up at the work place? And before it’s set in stone.
It’s tremendously important that people are asking questions about domestic abuse and participating in discussions. We have to do that. It helps erase the taboo – which a huge step in eradicating this major social issue.
One of my blog readers sent an email asking, “How is domestic abuse identified as the contributor to stress in the workplace, when there are no physical signs of abuse?”
This is a great question and in large part the very reason why businesses fail to do anything preventive. They still fail to see the relevance until an employee’s abuse is escalated to the stage of being obvious to everyone and then they realize that they employee, and the rest of the organization may be in serious danger.
Yet all along, the employee has been suffering and the company has been paying for it. While there are many, many health issues that a victim of abuse may experience, stress and depression are practically a given.
Statistics show that if employee problems are left unaddressed, they can directly impact on the organization’s bottom line.
A study published in 1998, and sponsored by the Health Enhancement Research Organization, surveyed over 46,000 workers at several U.S. companies and reported:
- 18.5% of the employees were screened as highly stressed and their medical claims averaged 46% higher than those without high stress.
- 2.2% of the employees were screened as depressed, and their medical claims averaged 70.2% higher than those without depression.
- Combined over 20% of the employees were either highly stressed or depressed; and averaged approximately 49% higher health care costs.
- The estimated economic burden of depression in 2000 was $43.7 billion – $31.3 billion for indirect costs such as decreased productivity and lost work days, and $12.4 billion in direct costs such as medication and physician time.
To further address the question; when an employee is being victimized and abused whether emotionally, physically, or both, the stress and depression they endure is also going to impact the co-workers around them. Haven’t you ever had to fill in for someone who was absent? Covered a job or completed a project for someone who was at work but so distracted and consumed by other problems they couldn’t get their work done? Did you and co-workers talk about this person during breaks, at your desk, in the hallways – even the restroom? Those are also ways their situation contributes to stress in the workplace. Theirs and yours.
It Happened at Home – It Cost Us at Work is a training program I designed especially for managers to address the issues discussed in this blog post, and much more. It includes skill practices and a deep understanding of abuse dynamics. There’s a manager’s guide available on my website that has helped many a manager and employee address hidden issues.
It’d be a whole lot nicer for everyone if no one had to suffer and the hands or voice of another person. We’d all lead safer, happier and less stressful lives.
bottom line · business · Coaching · conflict · consulting · costs · depression · domestic abuse · domestic violence in the workplace · domestic violence prevention · employer · lawsuit · leadership development · legal · management · offender · Personal Safety · relationships · risk · strategic leadership · stress in the workplace · training · victim · violence
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs says, “There remains an extraordinary lack of awareness and level of denial about the existence of this type of violence.”When I speak to people about domestic violence they talk about what a terrible problem it is for “those people.”As if unless we experience it first hand it has nothing to do with us.But it does; and it’s costly.
Lost productivity due to domestic violence is estimated to cost $727.8 million a year, with more than 7.9 million paid workdays lost annually. Forty-four percent of executives surveyed said domestic violence increases health-care costs.
Training is imperative.Managers and supervisors must be trained to understand domestic abuse, recognize the symptoms of abuse and ways of responding.Employees should be educated on the dynamics of abuse and who in the organization should be contacted for help.
Here are the 10 most important aspects to include in your training.
1. It starts at the top
When the company’s key officers make an organizational commitment to training and personally attend sessions, and ensure all levels are included, you’re on the road to your program’s success.
2. Your Trainer
Have your training conducted by an outside organization that is clearly informed and involved in domestic abuse (DV), has up-to-date information and training is facilitated by someone who understands the dynamics of abuse.
3. Why should we talk about it?
Your training must open with a discussion of why we talk about this issue.Allow people to get comfortable with the topic.The taboos are the hardest “nut to crack” and one of the biggest reasons why domestic abuse continues to increase as a societal problem.
Have training cover the most current statistics both locally and nationally.Your employees need a realistic picture of how prevalent the issue is.
5. Whom it affects
There are several demographic groups affected by DV.Your training should cover the four groups most affected by abuse and discuss how they’re affected.
6. The monetary toll
Particularly, employers and division heads need to understand the cost-related issues that affect the company’s bottom line.
7. Myths and Facts
It’s important in ending taboos and misguided judgments to understand the complex dynamics of abuse and what lies at the heart of the problem.
8. Recognizing the signs
While signs of abuse are occasionally “obvious,” such as bruises, most often they are very subtle.Only those well trained in recognizing the subtle signs can educate others on what is often unseen and unfelt by anyone other than the victim.
9. How to help
Often we want to jump in and provide solutions.But this is likely to be the least helpful approach to solving the victim’s problem.It’s imperative that we learn the right ways to help; what to do is as important as what not to do.
10. Employers responsibilities
As employers, our liability is on the line. We have a General Duty under OSHA to provide “…a safe and healthful working environment.”As the Family Violence Prevention Fund states, “In one case, a wrongful death action against an employer who failed to respond to an employee’s risk of domestic violence on the job cost the employer $850,000.”
As a part of this training I urge employers to develop Workplace Violence Prevention Plans, establish Safety Committees, adopt Safety Policies and Procedures and to include these components in their regular Domestic Violence Awareness training.
The most difficult “pitfall” to overcome is the taboo associated with DV training.Employees tend to feel that attendance at training is a “red flag” that they might be victims.To ensure everyone receives training, it must be required by the employer on paid time.
The good news is that when you succeed with your training you will open the doors for employees to come forward to the appropriate reporting party which is the first step in getting help.
Your return on training investment will grow over the years.Employees and the outside community will perceive your organization as one that cares about the problem of domestic abuse and is actively doing something to be part of the solution.
bottom line · business · Coaching · conflict · consulting · costs · depression · domestic abuse · Domestic Violence · domestic violence at work · domestic violence in the workplace · domestic violence in the wprkplace · domestic violence prevention · employer · lawsuit · leadership development · legal · management · offender · Personal Safety · relationships · risk · strategic leadership · stress in the workplace · training · victim · victim’s rights · violence