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Abstract in German language: Die Erkältungssaison ist wieder gestartet. Warum kommen Mitarbeiter in dieser Zeit krank ins Büro? Eine Studie der East Anglia Universität erklärt das.

It is winter. The cold is taking over company offices. Collective sneezing and sharing of infections becomes the company standard. Wouldn’t it be smart to allow your people to work more from home or other places in order to keep infection rates in your workforce down? On the other, if a company does not have the capability of mobile working or does not allow for it, your staff will regularly join the office community being sick. Your can be sure. The phenomenon is called presenteeism. Read the following article published by the Uni of East Anglia:

“This could help to prevent High job demands, stress and job insecurity are among the main reasons why people go to work when they are ill, according to new research by an academic at the University of East Anglia.

The study aims to improve understanding of the key causes of employees going to work when sick, known as presenteeism, and to help make managers more aware of the existence of the growing phenomenon, what triggers the behaviour and what can be done to improve employees’ health and productivity.

A key finding of the study, published today in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, is that presenteeism not only stems from ill health and stress, but from raised motivation, for example high job satisfaction and a strong sense of commitment to the organisation. This may motivate people to ‘go the extra-mile’, causing them to work more intensively, even when sick.

One of the significant links to presenteeism is the severity of organisational policies used to monitor or reduce staff absence, such as strict trigger points for disciplinary action, job insecurity, limited paid sick leave, or few absence days allowed without a medical certificate.

Lead author Dr Mariella Miraglia, a lecturer in organisational behaviour at UEA’s Norwich Business School, argues that presenteeism is associated with work and personal factors, not just medical conditions. Also, that these factors are more strongly related to, and so more able to predict, presenteeism than absenteeism.

In previous research presenteeism has been associated with both negative and positive effects on employee productivity and welfare, with contradictory causes and consequences for individuals and organisations. It has been linked to lower performance, exacerbating health problems and affecting wellbeing, with more productivity loss than absenteeism. The Centre for Mental Health has previously calculated that presenteeism from mental ill health alone costs the UK economy £15.1 billion a year.

“This study sheds light on the controversial act of presenteeism, uncovering both positive and negative underlying processes,” said Dr Miraglia, who worked with Dr Gary Johns of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. “It demonstrates that presenteeism is associated with work features and personal characteristics and not only dictated by medical conditions, in contrast to the main perspective of occupational medicine and epidemiology.

“Working while ill can compound the effects of the initial illness and result in negative job attitudes and withdrawal from work. However, the possible negative consequences of being absent can prompt employees to show up ill or to return to work when not totally recovered. Organisations may want to carefully review attendance policies for features which could decrease absence at the cost of increased presenteeism.”

The research analysed data from 61 previous studies involving more than 175,960 participants, including the European Working Conditions Survey which sampled employees from 34 countries. Dr Miraglia developed an analytical model to identify the most significant causes of presenteeism and absenteeism, with work and personal characteristics relating differently to presenteeism depending on whether they followed a ‘health impairment’ or ‘attitudinal/motivational’ path.

Job demands, such as workload, understaffing, overtime and time pressure, along with difficulty of finding cover and personal financial difficulties, were found to be key reasons why people might not take a day off. Conflict between work and family, and vice versa, and being exposed to harassment, abuse, and discrimination at work were also positively related to presenteeism. This is because these negative experiences can exacerbate stress and harm health, requiring employees to choose between going to work and staying away.

Those who had a supportive work environment, for example supportive colleagues and a good relationship with managers, felt they did not have to go to work when ill, and were both more satisfied with their jobs and healthier. Optimism was linked to presenteesim, in that those with a positive outlook were more willing to carry on with their work while ill.

“Because presenteeism is more predictable than absenteeism, it is easy to modify by management actions,” said Dr Miraglia. “Workplace wellness and health programmes may be desirable to reduce stress and work-related illness. Furthermore, although increasing job resources, such as job control and colleague, supervisor, and organisational support, can be helpful in tackling presenteeism through their positive impact on health, our results suggest that controlling job demands represents a key line of defence against the behaviour.

“Organisations may benefit from well-designed jobs that limit the level of demands to which employees are exposed to every day, for example by reducing excessive workload, time pressure and overtime work, as well as making sure they have the resources they need.”

Dr Miraglia said further research was needed to understand when going to work while ill could be a “sustainable” and positive choice, for example in the case of a gradual recovery from long-term sickness, to improve self-esteem in the face of chronic illness or being an example of citizenship behaviour.

“It could be a good thing for some people, a way of integrating back into work again,” she added. “But it would depend how much the individual and organisation wanted it and were prepared to be flexible, for example by modifying job descriptions or offering flexy time.”

‘Going to work ill: a meta-analysis of the correlates of presenteeism and a dual-path model’ is published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology on November 9, 2016.”

Article sources: https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/research-reveals-key-reasons-people-go-to-work-when-ill

Picture source and more information: https://www.careeraddict.com/make-sure-sickness-bugs-don-t-destroy-your-office

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Abstract in English language: Cellphone use can influence the quality of our sleep. Your sleep as well? Find out and participate in a study which starts now. The following article is written in German language since this is also the language of the study.

Ein spannende Studie der TU Wien und Arbeiterkammer Niederösterreich. Untersucht wird ,wie sich die berufliche Nutzung von Smartphones auf die Schlafqualität auswirkt. Mittels der Smartphone-App „YLVI“ können auch Sie bei der Studie mitmachen und mehr über Ihre persönliche Handynutzung erfahren. Mehr Details aus der Pressemitteilung der TU-Wien:

“Die Trennlinie zwischen Arbeit und Privatleben ist oft nicht ganz einfach zu ziehen: Viele Leute lesen beim Frühstück Arbeits-Emails oder erhalten abends Anrufe am Handy. Studien der TU Wien und Arbeiterkammer Niederösterreich zeigen: Je mehr man außerhalb der Arbeitszeit erreichbar ist, desto eher wird das Grübeln über die Arbeit gefördert. Das wiederum beeinträchtigt die Schlafqualität. Vor allem Frauen und Beschäftigte, die viele Überstunden leisten, neigen dazu, in der Freizeit zu sehr über Arbeitsthemen nachzugrübeln.

Auszeit ist wichtig

„Die bloße Erreichbarkeit außerhalb der Arbeitszeit ist noch nicht unbedingt schädlich“, erklärt Martina Hartner-Tiefenthaler vom Institut für Managementwissenschaften der TU Wien. „Wichtig ist es aber, echte Auszeiten zu haben, in der die Gedanken nicht um die Arbeit kreisen. Gehen diese Freiräume verloren, hat das eine schädliche Auswirkung auf die Schlafqualität.“

Bisher war es bei Studien zur berufsbezogenen Erreichbarkeit kaum möglich, Auskunft über das tatsächliche Smartphoneverhalten zu erhalten. Man musste sich auf Befragungen und Selbsteinschätzungen verlassen. Nun wurde von der TU Wien die Smartphone-App YLVI für Androidgeräte entwickelt, mit der verlässliche Daten gesammelt werden können. YLVI („Your Latest Verified usage Information“) ist frei und kostenlos über den google play store erhältlich und analysiert Daten zum Nutzungsverhalten.

Entwickelt wurde YLVI in Kooperation vom Institut für Managementwissenschaften (Arbeitswissenschaft und Organisation) und der Forschungsgruppe für Industrial Software (INSO, Leitung Thomas Grechenig) am Institut für Rechnergestützte Automation der TU Wien. Ergebnisse der Pilotstudie zeigen, dass Telefon und SMS durchschnittlich nur je rund vier Minuten täglich aktiv verwendet werden. Nachrichtendienste wie whatsApp hingegen beanspruchen im Schnitt sechs Mal so viel Zeit. „Wichtig ist es, nicht nur auf die Dauer der Nutzung zu achten, sondern auf die Anzahl an Unterbrechungen“ betont Frau Hartner-Tiefenthaler. Die Pilotergebnisse zeigen, dass das Smartphone im Zeitraum von 24 Stunden rund 64 Mal aktiviert wird. Im Schnitt wird das Smartphone im Laufe des Tages alle 18 Minuten zur Hand genommen. Ziel der Folgestudie ist es nun zu untersuchen, welche Auswirkungen der Zeitpunkt und die Häufigkeit von arbeitsbezogenen Nachrichten außerhalb der Arbeitszeit auf den Schlaf und das Wohlbefinden haben.

Mitmachen, sich besser einschätzen können und gewinnen

Nach Installation der Android-App YLVI auf Ihrem Smartphone zeichnet sie drei Wochen anonym das Nutzungsverhalten auf. Alle Daten werden auf einem sicheren Server der TU Wien gespeichert. Inhalte (z.B. Kontakte oder Nachrichten-Inhalte) werden zu keinem Zeitpunkt ausgelesen. YLVI erkennt nur, welche App wann und wie lange geöffnet wurde. Gleich zu Beginn und am Ende lädt YLVI dazu ein, einen Fragebogen auszufüllen, um weitere notwendige Informationen über die Nutzungsgewohnheiten, sowie über Arbeitsbedingungen und -verhältnisse zu erfassen. Dazwischen beantwortet man zwei Wochen lang ein Kurz-Tagebuch zu Schlaf und Arbeit.

Nach Ablauf der Studiendauer gibt es exklusives Feedback über die persönliche Handynutzung. Unter allen Teilnehmenden, die bei der gesamten Studie mitmachen und die Fragebögen ausfüllen, verlost die TU Wien als Dankeschön 3 x EUR 250,-.”

Links:

App im Google App Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=at.ac.tuwien.inso.ylvi
App-Infos auf TU Homepage: http://www.imw.tuwien.ac.at/aw/studienteilnahme/ylvi/
App-Infos FAQs: http://www.imw.tuwien.ac.at/aw/studienteilnahme/ylvi/faq/

Rückfragehinweis:
Dr. Martina Hartner-Tiefenthaler
Institut für Managementwissenschaften
Technische Universität Wien
Theresianumgasse 27, 1040 Wien
T: +43-1-58801-33073
martina.hartner-tiefenthaler@tuwien.ac.at

Picture source and more information about the topic: https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa16/2016/11/30/using-cell-phones-before-bed/

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