Monday, August 26, 2013

Burnout: The Disease of Our Civilization. By Arianna Huffington

(Huffington Post)  Since launching our Third Metric campaign -- to redefine success beyond the first two metrics of money and power to include well-being, wisdom, and our ability to wonder and to give back -- I've been seeing things through a Third Metric lens. And what I see is a split-screen world. On one side, we have endless examples of how the business world and the American workplace still haven't changed and continue to glorify an approach to measuring success that leads to burnout and a culture enraptured with technology to the point that tools meant to give us greater control of our lives have, instead, taken control of our lives.

On the other side of the screen, there are more and more examples of companies, large and small, prioritizing well-being. And even at companies that haven't yet learned why encouraging well-being is good for both their employees and their bottom line, there are more and more examples of individuals applying Third Metric principles in their own lives to help themselves cope with the negative effects of a retrograde workplace atmosphere.

One of the primary things keeping many businesses from adopting more sane and sustainable metrics of success is the stubborn -- and dangerously wrongheaded -- myth that prioritizing health and wellbeing is incompatible with a healthy bottom line -- and that there is a trade-off between high performance and taking care of ourselves. As countless studies show, this couldn't be less true.

Indeed, all across the country, more and more businesses are realizing that the long-term health of their bottom line is directly tied to the long-term health of their employees. Right now, about a quarter of U.S. corporations offer some sort of stress-reduction program. And those that do are starting to be recognized for their efforts, especially by employees., the social jobs and careers community, recently released their third annual list of the top 25 companies for work-life balance. "Companies that make sincere efforts to recognize employees' lives outside of the office," said Glassdoor's Rusty Rueff, "will often see the payoff when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent."

This year, among Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For, several stood out for their commitment to well-being. At number 19 was, which offers free yoga, a $100 benefit for wellness, and 48 hours of paid time to volunteer. At number 4 was the Boston Consulting Group, which flags employees working too many long weeks with a "red zone report" and allows new hires to delay starting for six months and get $10,000 to volunteer for a nonprofit.

Last month, HuffPost's Peter Goodman wrote about Promega, a biotech company in Wisconsin. Employees have access to on-site yoga classes, fitness centers, healthy meals, offices filled with natural light, and "third spaces," which are areas that are neither work nor home, like cafes and lounges. "You create a culture of wellness," Promega's chief medical officer, Ashley G. Anderson Jr., told Goodman. "If you create a culture in which vibrant physicality is an admired thing, you've achieved a lot. A healthy workforce is a productive workforce."

The Minneapolis staffing company Salo has enlisted the best-selling author Dan Buettner for help. Buettner is an expert in so-called "Blue Zones," regions of the world with the highest life expectancy, and is helping make Salo the first certified Blue Zone workplace. By adding meditation rooms, adjustable-height desks, cooking lessons and "purpose workshops" to help employees follow their non-work passions, the effort is yielding results -- for both the employees and company. "There's a culture and developing reputation at Salo as a place that puts the well-being of its employees and partners in front of just profits." Buettner told the Minnesota-based Journal. "That's a reputation that will transcend our time with them."

Next up for Blue Zone certification is Google, which has already been a leader in prioritizing well-being, including a "Search Inside Yourself" course taught by Google engineer (and employee 107) Chade-Meng Tan. The class has three sections: attention training, self-knowledge, and self-mastery. More than 1,000 employees have taken it so far and there's a waiting list whenever a new one is announced ... ► Read the full article by Arianna Huffington in Huffington Post

Source: Huffington Post
Author: Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. In 2013, she was named to the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. In 2006, and again in 2011, she was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine's list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on several boards, including EL PAÍS, PRISA, the Center for Public Integrity, and the Committee to Protect Journalists ... more

Illustration: Katie Edwards/Ikon Images/CorbisEmployee burnout: Around the corner? Already here? • CNNMoney

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