1. Maintaining an active sex life may lead to improved job satisfaction, engagement in work

    March 21, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Oregon State University press release:

    Maintaining a healthy sex life at home boosts employees’ job satisfaction and engagement at the office, underscoring the value of a strong work-life balance, an Oregon State University researcher has found.

    A study of the work and sex habits of married employees found that those who prioritized sex at home unknowingly gave themselves a next-day advantage at work, where they were more likely to immerse themselves in their tasks and enjoy their work lives, said Keith Leavitt, an associate professor in OSU’s College of Business.

    “We make jokes about people having a ‘spring in their step,’ but it turns out this is actually a real thing and we should pay attention to it,” said Leavitt, an expert in organizational behavior and management. “Maintaining a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life will help employees stay happy and engaged in their work, which benefits the employees and the organizations they work for.”

    The study also showed that bringing work-related stress home from the office negatively impinges on employees’ sex lives. In an era when smart phones are prevalent and after-hours responses to work emails are often expected, the findings highlight the importance of leaving work at the office, Leavitt said. When work carries so far into an employee’s personal life that they sacrifice things like sex, their engagement in work can decline.

    The researchers’ findings were published this month in the Journal of Management. Co-authors are Christopher Barnes and Trevor Watkins of the University of Washington and David Wagner of the University of Oregon.

    Sexual intercourse triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the reward centers in the brain, as well as oxytocin, a neuropeptide associated with social bonding and attachment. That makes sex a natural and relatively automatic mood elevator and the benefits extend well into the next day, Leavitt said.

    To understand the impact of sex on work, the researchers followed 159 married employees over the course of two weeks, asking them to complete two brief surveys each day. They found that employees who engaged in sex reported more positive moods the next day, and the elevated mood levels in the morning led to more sustained work engagement and job satisfaction throughout the workday.

    The effect, which appears to linger for at least 24 hours, was equally strong for both men and women and was present even after researchers took into account marital satisfaction and sleep quality, which are two common predictors of daily mood.

    “This is a reminder that sex has social, emotional and physiological benefits, and it’s important to make it a priority,” Leavitt said. “Just make time for it.”

    Twenty years ago, monitoring sleep or daily step counts or actively practicing mindful meditation might’ve seemed odd but now they are all things people practice as part of efforts to lead healthier, more productive lives. It may be time to rethink sex and its benefits as well, he said.

    “Making a more intentional effort to maintain a healthy sex life should be considered an issue of human sustainability, and as a result, a potential career advantage,” he said. U.S. employers probably won’t follow the lead of a town councilman in Sweden who recently proposed that local municipal employees be allowed to use an hour of their work week for sex. The councilman’s hope is to boost the town’s declining population as well as improve employee moods and productivity.

    But employers here can steer their employee engagement efforts more broadly toward work-life balance policies that encourage workers to disconnect from the office, Leavitt said. The French recently enacted a law that bars after-hours email and gives employees a “right to disconnect.”

    “Technology offers a temptation to stay plugged in, but it’s probably better to unplug if you can,” he said. “And employers should encourage their employees to completely disengage from work after hours.”


  2. Skilled workers more prone to mistakes when interrupted

    March 20, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Michigan State University press release:

    Expertise is clearly beneficial in the workplace, yet highly trained workers in some occupations could actually be at risk for making errors when interrupted, indicates a new study by two Michigan State University psychology researchers.

    The reason: Experienced workers are generally faster at performing procedural tasks, meaning their actions are more closely spaced in time and thus more confusable when they attempt to recall where to resume a task after being interrupted.

    “Suppose a nurse is interrupted while preparing to give a dose of medication and then must remember whether he or she administered the dose,” said Erik Altmann, lead investigator on the project. “The more experienced nurse will remember less accurately than a less-practiced nurse, other things being equal, if the more experienced nurse performs the steps involved in administering medication more quickly.”

    That’s not to say skilled nurses should avoid giving medication, but only that high skill levels could be a risk factor for increased errors after interruptions and that experts who perform a task quickly and accurately have probably figured out strategies for keeping their place in a task, said Altmann, who collaborated with fellow professor Zach Hambrick.

    Their study, funded by the Office of Naval Research, is published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

    For the experiment, 224 people performed two sessions of a computer-based procedural task on separate days. Participants were interrupted randomly by a simple typing task, after which they had to remember the last step they performed to select the correct step to perform next.

    In the second session, people became faster, and on most measures, more accurate, Altmann said. After interruptions, however, they became less accurate, making more errors by resuming the task at the wrong spot.

    “The faster things happen, the worse we remember them,” Altmann said, adding that when workers are interrupted in the middle of critical procedures, as in emergency rooms or intensive care units, they may benefit from training and equipment design that helps them remember where they left off.


  3. Values gap in workplace can lead millennials to look elsewhere

    March 19, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Missouri-Columbia press release:

    Much has been made in popular culture about millennials as they join the working world, including their tendency to job hop. Although this behavior often is explained as a loyalty issue, new research from the University of Missouri reveals one reason young workers choose to leave a firm is because they find a disconnect between their beliefs and the culture they observe in the workplace.

    “We were interested in workers’ values regarding sustainability and corporate sustainability practices and whether a gap existed,” said Rachel LoMonaco-Benzing, a doctoral student in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. “Not only did we find a gap, but we also found that workers were much more likely to leave a job if they felt their values were not reflected in the workplace.”

    For the study, LoMonaco-Benzing and Jung Ha-Brookshire, an associate professor of textile and apparel management and associate dean of research and graduate studies in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, interviewed employees in the textile and apparel industry involved in corporate supply chains. They found that workers expressed the most frustration if their employers touted a commitment to environmental sustainability publicly but did not follow through substantively in areas such as:

    • Materials selection, including the use of recycled materials
    • Proper management of pollutants, including chemicals and dyes
    • Working conditions in textile factories
    • Product packaging, distribution and marketing to consumers

    “Fewer people of this generation are just looking for a paycheck,” Ha-Brookshire said. “They have been raised with a sense of pro-social, pro-environment values, and they are looking to be engaged. If they find that a company doesn’t honor these values and contributions, many either will try to change the culture or find employment elsewhere.”

    To ensure a good fit with a potential employer, the researchers recommend that job seekers speak with current and former employees at various levels of the organization, asking questions about areas that are particularly important to them, such as sustainability, work-life balance policies or community partnerships.

    Conversely, in order to attract and retain the best employees, the researchers encourage companies to understand that the new generation of workers have high ethical and social expectations. Being transparent with potential employees about corporate culture can head-off some frustration, they said. In addition, giving employees the opportunity to shape cultural decisions through membership on committees and outreach efforts will help to increase morale.

    “I think this is another sign to the industry that business as usual is not going to work if you want to attract and retain these valuable workers,” Ha-Brookshire said.

    The study, “Sustainability as Social Contract: Textile and Apparel Professionals’ Value Conflicts within the Corporate Moral Responsibility Spectrum,” was published in the journal Sustainability.


  4. Study suggests that an abusive boss can have a negative impact on employees’ home life

    November 28, 2011 by Sebastian

    From the Baylor University press release:

    Having an abusive boss not only causes problems at work but can lead to strained relationships at home, according to a Baylor University study published online in journal, Personnel Psychology. The study found that stress and tension caused by an abusive boss have an impact on the employee’s partner, which affects the marital relationship and subsequently the employee’s entire family.

    The study also found that more children at home meant greater family satisfaction for the employee, and the longer the partner’s relationship, the less impact the abusive boss had on the family.

    “These findings have important implications for organizations and their managers. The evidence highlights the need for organizations to send an unequivocal message to those in supervisory positions that these hostile and harmful behaviors will not be tolerated,” said Dawn Carlson, Ph.D., study author, professor of management and H. R. Gibson Chair of Organizational Development at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, Waco.

    A supervisor’s abuse may include tantrums, rudeness, public criticism and inconsiderate action.

    It may be that as supervisor abuse heightens tension in the relationship, the employee is less motivated or able to engage in positive interactions with the partner and other family members,” said Merideth Ferguson, PH.D., study co-author and assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at Baylor.

    Organizations should encourage subordinates to seek support through their organization’s employee assistance program or other resources (e.g., counseling, stress management) so that the employee can identify tactics or mechanisms for buffering the effect of abuse on the family, according to the study.

    The study included 280 full-time employees and their partners. Fifty-seven percent of the employees were male with an average of five years in their current job; 75 percent had children living with them. The average age for the employee and the partner was 36 years. The average length of their relationship was 10 years. Of the respondents, 46 percent supervised other employees in the workplace, 47 percent worked in a public organization, 40 percent worked in a private organization, nine percent worked for a non-profit organization and five percent were self-employed. Of the partner group, 43 percent were male with 78 percent of these individuals employed.

    Workers filled out an online survey. When their portion of the survey was complete, their partner completed a separate survey that was linked back to the workers’. The partner entered a coordinating identification number to complete his/her portion of the survey. The combined responses from the initial contact and the partner constituted one complete response in the study database.

    Questions in the employee survey included; “How often does your supervisor use the following behaviors with you?” with example items being “Tells me my thoughts or feelings are stupid,” “Expresses anger at me when he/she is mad for another reason,” “Puts me down in front of others,” and “Tells me I’m incompetent.”

    Questions in the partner survey included; “During the past month, how often did you . . .” feel irritated or resentful about things your (husband/wife/partner) did or didn’t do” and “feel tense from fighting, arguing or disagreeing with your (husband/wife/partner).”

    “Employers must take steps to prevent or stop the abuse and also to provide opportunities for subordinates to effectively manage the fallout of abuse and keep it from affecting their families. Abusive supervision is a workplace reality and this research expands our understanding of how this stressor plays out in the employee’s life beyond the workplace,” Carlson said.