I recognized the buzz in my pocket. My daily reminder to meditate was to thank my employer for my health plan. As usual, I ignored it and started working again.
Make no mistake, I appreciate the concern and generosity reflected in my organization’s initiative. During the epidemic, I experienced persistent, disruptive stress. I fully intend to develop a daily meditation practice. I know the benefits of this. And yet, casual sleep after dinner is as close as I can get.
From the feedback I receive from others when I discover my shortcomings, I know I am not alone. For many, pre-epidemic stress was already a constant in their working lives. We are in pain, we know the treatment, but we do not take any action. Why?
One explanation is our distorted sense of productivity. Many of us have an urgent need to improve. But just doing more is not really effective until we can do it in less time. We reason that meditating now simply means later. If we are to be truly effective, we must be able to do both without sacrificing more hours. It is the illusion of productivity that prevents us from prioritizing our well-being. And that is the paradox. Health can boost productivity, but we are all so busy being “productive” that we can not find time for health.
Health can boost productivity, but we are all so busy being “productive” that we can not find time for health.
One of my friends told me about the manager of a large technology company, who told him that he had a great work-life balance, as he went out of the office every day at 6 pm, took his wife home for dinner, and the children went to bed. He did not have to go to work until 9 pm. That is a balance. When I heard this joke, I wondered if this manager really “had to” get back to work. Was it really overburdened or was it more of a cultural norm in the company? True, this can be bypassed-but not unless you’re a techie who knows what he’s doing. And if you work from home, the work day can seem infinitely stretchy. Its call can be tempting. Just a few emails or posts kanban board և you will feel so effective.
This is a trap. This view of productivity is based on transactions, և transactions never end. We all try to track down the fast digital ping conveyor for our immediate attention. It is not unlikely that we will collapse violently late in the evening.
Shannon Huffman Paulson, author Grit factor, the former pilot of the attack helicopter ներկայ the current coach of the management, told me that he hears from his network the great praise of the “eat, sleep, breathe” approach to work. “It’s awful,” he said. “When your ‘on’ switch means 120% effort and the ‘off’ switch is almost never off, it’s just unhealthy.”
Really unhealthy. Recent studies by the World Health Organization (WHO) միջազգային International Labor Organization (ILO) show that 745,000 people died in 2016 from overtime (more than 55 hours per week), which is 29% more than In the year 2000. Stanford University Jeffrey Pfeffer, author He dies for a salaryhe told me. “While the ‘productivity’ ratio between working hours is virtually zero, companies and their managers act as if someone is working harder, better and more efficient. “Unless we measure behavior և physical health նենք and hold companies and their managers responsible for those results, nothing will change.”
To delve deeper, I spoke with my Harvard colleague, Dr. Evolutionary Psychologist Brian Spisak. He explained that his research suggests that organizations have outperformed the competitiveness of developers for at least a few decades. From the business school, through the conference hall, the award-winning individuals are recognized and rewarded. These high-flying aircraft are being developed to compete with competitors inside and outside the company. They dominate, they push for change. They struggle with the clock. They push their bodies. They even try to think outside the box. These uber-type hyper equals are in a hurry to win, և they create organizational environments – “Special Build”, in the sense of Spisak, where everything is an activity over which they must dominate. Maybe this is why many organizations’ health programs feel more like a competition or just a check box rather than a self-service slowdown’s a really effective way.
One CEO I worked with had what appeared to be a well-rounded lifestyle that included hard work combined with exercise, a healthy diet, and meditation yoga. That is, it seemed healthy until you saw their schedule. At 4 o’clock in the morning for meditation, at 5 o’clock for a fitness trainer, at 7 o’clock in the office for a long day of meetings and calls. Wash և repeat. I appreciated this CEO’s senior team, my report was that they are talented, dedicated և exhausted. They just couldn’t keep up. And as I expected, some left the company.
So what can leaders do about this productivity և health paradox? The following three steps may help.
Include health outcomes in performance indicators. Pfeffer told me. “Prevention is more effective than recovery … so the best way to prevent ill health is to eliminate the practices that create it. We need to be concerned not only with economic but also with health outcomes. ” Paulson responded when I spoke to him, urging him to put team health standards on every manager’s board. Many large employers measure employee health. The next step is to link the manager’s assessment to the health of the subordinates: health. There are, however, many obstacles to doing so, including the potential for discrimination against people with chronic conditions and efforts to “play” the system. They should not be taken for granted.
Think of health as a strategic opportunity. Syl Ostergard, a former human resources manager who now trains leaders looking for balance in their lives, tells me: “I help them transform health և self-care as a strategic choice.” Ostergard points out to them that exhaustion is financially and socially costly. The WHO study calls overcrowding “the highest risk factor for occupational diseases.” He then goes to his customers in a series of steps that link the pursuit of business goals with prosperity. For example, it helps them determine their purpose, to adapt to the relationship հարաբերությունների to build stability,, to set professional և personal boundaries և to understand self-care as a way of life, not a goal. He told me. “It’s about harmonizing what you can control, what you can’t control so that you are more likely to ‘get what you want’ and ‘enjoy the journey.’
Emphasize collective responsibility. Perhaps the deepest shift managers can make was recently discovered by one of the leaders in the US health care system. He said that self-service in his organization was stopped to take care of each other. This transfer of responsibility from the individual to the collective is important because social networking and support are key to sustainability. Health travel is not the only way to become successful in life.
In the event of rapid change և disruption, the leader’s search for transactional effectiveness is the fastest way to nonconformity, as it brings out the necessary transformational thinking. A health plan or plan, no matter how well-designed, simply increases the transactional burden if it is not accompanied by a profound change in our mental pattern of work or life. Perceiving the weak signals of change on the horizon is far more valuable than clearing the inbox. Bus composition rarely makes progress. The leader calls for creating conditions in which people thrive, not drive them to exhaustion. Organizations best prepared for the coming uncertainty and turmoil may be organizations that choose leaders who know how to slow down, make deep connections, and even disconnect.