The Therapy Dog for Stress Relief

Love dogs? Here’s a link to a story about Cooper the Harvard Medical School’s therapy dog.

Click on the link to learn more. Therapy dog offers stress relief at work.

I love the way that scientists are looking at workplace well-being through getting closer to animals.

Respect: The Details

New research details the components of respect.

It is called:

Respect as an engine for new ideas: Linking respectful engagement, relational information processing and creativity among employees and teams

By: Abraham Carmeli, Jane Dutton , Ashley Hardin

The full reference is:

Carmeli, Abraham, Jane E. Dutton and Ashley E. Hardin. Respect as an Engine for New Ideas: Linking Respectful Engagement, Relational Information Processing and Creativity Among Employees and Teams, Human Relations, Jan 2015.

Here is the link:

The authors propose that relational engagement and relational information processing is linked to creativity. Abraham Carmeli, Jane Dutton and Ashley Hardin say respect is vital to foster mutuality. In addition they add that reflection in-conversation- is an enabler of creativity as this leads to additional ideas. In describing their research instrument for testing Respectful Engagement at Work the authors clearly describe how to do respect.  From reading their research study, respect in the workplace to me means:

  1. Always be available to hear out and listen to each other
  2. Pay the utmost attention to each other’s needs
  3. Express genuine interest in each other’s position and the units they are managing and responsible for
  4. Recognize and understand what goes into each other’s work
  5. Emphasize each other’s good sides
  6. Express appreciation and respect for each other’s contribution to the organization
  7. Appreciate how valuable other members’ time is
  8. Make requests, not demands from each other
  9. Speak to each other in a respectful rather than in a demanding way

Most of us are grateful for such detailed explanations. Others would probably argue that it is just plain good manners. But this song by Aretha Franklin also helps to spell out the details of respect a bit more too.

Physical Signs of Stress Part 2/2


This is part two of the poll for you to learn about the physical signs of stress and see how you compare with others. Part one looked at Skin, Heart, Muscles and Mental Health. We can thank the HSE site for providing details of the physical signs of stress at work.

This time in this poll we will look at metabolism, Digestive system and gut, the reproductive system and the immune system.


Digestive system and gut

I was surprised to this one from the HSE too but here is for you to compare in the poll.

Reproductive system

Immune system

Physical Signs of Stress Poll Part 1 of 2


This is the poll for you to learn and see how you compare on physical signs of workplace stress.



Learn about how I help businesses embed better well-being practices in my project page. You can also ask me a question by getting in contact.

London Healthy Workplace Charter Verifying


This week I’m performing my duties as a verifier for London Healthy Workplace Charter organised by Public Health England and Mayor of London’s office at City Hall. This is a really worthwhile event for any business owner, manager or workplace health champion to take part in developing good practice. Through this scheme organisations and institutes receive positive support and learning about how best to make their workplaces more healthy. There are three levels of attainment available which include:

  1. Showing commitment to healthy workplace
  2. Showing achievement in healthy workplace practices
  3. Showing excellence in healthy workplace

Within the London Healthy Workplace charter process we look holistically at each company/ organisation or institute especially at eight areas. This means that applicants to the charter award must show there is a supportive leadership, culture and communications around:

  1. Attendance Management
  2. Tobacco
  3. Problematic use of alcohol and other substances
  4. Mental health and well-being
  5. Physical activity
  6. Health and safety
  7. Corporate support for well-being
  8. Healthy eating

It is free to achieve and you might just need the funds for an external consultant to help you put your evidence together. But anyone that is interested in workplace well-being should try and gain the London Healthy Workplace Charter for their organisation.

If you have a question about getting help with the London Healthy Workplace Charter please get in contact.

Personal Collections: Women’s clothing use and identity – Journal of Gender Studies – Volume 9, Issue 3

This infinity scarf I made helps me tell the story that I’m using the study below as a base to look at positive psychology and corporate dress especially the function of a women’s favourite boardroom jackets.

Follow if you work for an organisation whose cultural values insist on “The Corporate Look” and you want to take part in the on-line survey which is coming soon!

Taylor & Francis Online :: Personal Collections: Women’s clothing use and identity – Journal of Gender Studies – Volume 9, Issue 3.

How to Reduce Staff Absenteeism


Rewarding staff for not being absent is one new method of managing absenteeism. It is an example that Dame Sally Coates was said to preside over recently acording to a newspaper article. In her role as head teacher she thanked teachers who didn’t take days off sick with bottles of wine, chocolates and book tokens.

Teachers Were the Worst Truants at Toxic School


People tend to criticise this method as bribery. Some say that if you’re ill, you’re ill. Some say it is unfair because if you really are ill you wont even achieve the getting chocolates or other reward state.


My take on it is that we need to understand the context of the wine and chocolate giving. If Sally provided wine and chocolate as part of a considerate management style I think her novel methods are one of the ways forward.

Employability and Wellbeing

Here’s a fashionable image that I captured this week. I took it when I carried out a fruitful workshop for fashion management students who were about to go into their placement year. I used the Forum Theatre method to help them discuss and work through their hopes and fears about going into the workplace. I think it helped as they came up and thanked me and said they mentioned how positive the experience was for their tutor. The sessions were meant to help them prepare for difficult work scenarios that caused the most anxiety for new graduates.

I took this picture of the display in the college gallery while I rested on my way out. It also reminds me that artefacts and art galleries have a useful role for well-being at the end of working day. It was from sitting quietly from this vantage point that I was able to sit and take stock and shift focus then prepare to join the bands of hurried crushed commuters for the journey home. One day I’ll post a link to the research evidence that talks of corridors of well-being at the end of the day.


Our Study on Women’s Perceptions of Ageing is Here!

Very pleased to announce that an academic study I did with colleagues at London College of Fashion is now available on-line in an international journal. It seems to be of interest to academics and practitioners trying to understand an ageing workforce and older women’s perceptions of themselves and identities.

Interestingly when I analysed the interviews in more depth I noticed there was a link between using cosmetic products and a sense of individual well-being and that it was not only about of a look good factor.

This is the reference

Mair, C. Wade, G.  and Tamburic, D. (2015) “Older Women Want to Look Good Despite Media Pressure to Look Young” The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.1-10.  Published online: January 5, 2015

Here is the link to the journal

Results from a Public Open Staff Well-being Audit


This is my last post on management learning and development futures gaining insight from spa land. I’ve just released the first part of an open public audit on staff well-being with respondents from around the world working in the spa sector.

Stress Factors

One of the main stress factors that came up, which leaders in the sector are responsible for controlling, was work intensiveness  (Demands). In my webinar to people interested in the findings of the study, I emphasised the importance of managers helping employees to find or design ways for less intensive working. Less intensive working can be achieved either through reducing the number of tasks within a given time frame, delegating some tasks to others or embarking on complete work redesign and taking a fresh look at job descriptions and person specifications. (download Power-point show HERE)

Surprising findings

A surprising element came up. Like other sectors, most respondents suffer from work related stress and even more interestingly …back ache. Interestingly those with work related stress were managers. And those with back ache were the practitioners.

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The Good News

The winning ways that team leaders seem to be doing for reducing staff stress is helping employees know how to go about getting their job done (Role) and fostering good relationships having colleagues that listen to me (relationships).

Interestingly the having colleagues that listened was more prevalent in some countries than others. But it wasn’t new news to find that relationships between colleagues were good as other studies have found this to be true of this sector.


But I’d set a warning not to be too complacent about spas being great places to work. My caveat is based on the unpublished studies that I’ve seen (MA and doctoral thesis) and expressed industry concerns about business failure and high staff turnover in this sector for the lack of leadership skills. This mini study has shown that there might be signs that understanding job role  and fostering good relationships might get staff through difficult times in the heat of the moment and so works for the short term. But whether just knowing how to do your role is enough to ameliorate the stresses brought on by the demands of the job or a perception of little control or not being informed about change is something that still needs to be looked at further.

Learning Needs Analysis

The management learning and development needs that I can see arising out of this study are centred on enriching:

  • Performance appraisal skills
  • Managing work loads
  • Well-being risk analysis
  • Setting smart goals
  • Job redesign
  • Healthy operations planning
  • L&D planning
  • Negotiation
  • Positive leadership
  • Stress reducing management styles

If you would like more information about the results please use the contact from below.