The Psychological Toll of Wanting Your Kid To Be Perfect

It’s called “other-oriented perfectionism,” and it can have a negative effect on children. Here’s why it happens.

Joliene Trujillo-Fuenning, who lives in Denver, Colorado with her two kids, ages 3 and 22 months, has some pretty clear perfectionist tendencies. If she sends an email with a typo in it, she says, “It will drive me nuts for a solid week or two.” After her husband cleans the bathroom, she has to fight the urge to criticize. (Sometimes she’ll just clean it again.)

And when it comes to her 3-year-old’s education, Trujillo-Fuenning says, “I have been very much struggling with the fact that she doesn’t want to write letters,” and finds herself thinking, “You are supposed to be at this point by three and a half or four, and if you don’t do it, you’re never going to.”

What Trujillo-Fuenning struggles with is something called other-oriented perfectionism. (You may have seen a shorter piece I wrote about the phenomenon for the Atlantic back in July.) Other-oriented perfectionism bears similarity to self-oriented perfectionism, when a person puts tremendous pressure on themselves to be perfect and then self-flagellates when they can’t be.

It’s also a little bit like socially prescribed perfectionism, where one internalizes the need to be perfect thanks to perceived pressure from others. The big difference is that with other-oriented perfectionism, unrealistic expectations are directed at, well, others.

When a parent sets exacting standards for their child and assumes a critical attitude, it can change how they parent (to their child’s detriment) and leave the parent bitter, resentful, and sometimes even wishing they’d never had children. That’s particularly problematic in light of new research suggesting that both parental expectations and parental criticism have been on the rise.

The impulse behind child-oriented perfectionism comes mostly from early life experiences and societal forces outside individuals’ control, but understanding — and interventions — can help thwart it, improving the wellbeing of both parent and child.

Natalie Dattilo, Ph.D., a psychologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has a patient roster made up mostly of young doctors, some of whom are the targets of other-oriented perfectionists who are “looking around and wondering why everybody [they] work with is incompetent.” For a supervisor like that, she said, “There is going to be an over-reliance on control, especially wanting to control how people do things.”

The other-oriented perfectionist seems self-assured. They always know the best way to do things and everything would be splendid if only others weren’t so flawed.

“On the surface it looks like grandiosity,” said Thomas Curran, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at London School of Economics and Political Science, “but at root, it’s really a profound insecurity about place in the world and whether you’re worth something.” The other-oriented perfectionist’s judgment, he said, is actually just “my way of projecting the things that I dislike in myself onto other people.”

People become other-oriented perfectionists in a variety of ways discussed in the book “Perfectionism: A Relational Approach to Conceptualization, Assessment, and Treatment.” Oftentimes a cocktail of other types of perfectionism is to blame. Trujillo-Fuenning worries about her daughter’s progress because she wants the best for her, but there’s something more than that.

“I had a friend who pointed out that her language, her enunciation, her knowledge is pretty advanced for her age,” she explained, “And immediately, I had this sense of like, ‘Ha!’ It had nothing to do with me! Yet you still have a part of your brain that’s like, ‘She speaks well. That means I did my job right.

If she reads early, I did my job right.'” The pressure Trujillo-Fuenning feels to be perfect requires being — and being perceived as — a perfect parent. “How you’re doing as a parent is a reflection of who you are,” she said, “There’s no separation there in my head.”

In a paper published in 2020, Konrad Piotrowski, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at SWPS University in Poland, reported that both mothers and fathers there “tend to accept to a greater extent the mistakes and ‘imperfection’ of their children than those of their partner.” But sometimes they don’t.

John Lockner’s experience supports that idea. He was a stay-at-home dad for years and told me, “I kind of still am,” since he works part-time and spends the rest of it with his two teenage sons. “It’s definitely a struggle not to be on them all the time,” he said, but he knows that’s more about him than them. “I never wanted to be a manager, because I know I would expect my employees to do their best, and it would be very hard for me when they don’t,” he told me.

As one of just a handful of dads involved at their old school, Lockner said, “I felt this pressure to be better, and because of that my kids needed to be better.” With up-to-the-minute access to their assignments and grades through an online portal, he’d issue reminders on the drive to school: “You have to be sure to check on that and make sure it was turned in” or “You’re going to ask for that extra credit, right?” And he’d grill them on test results as soon as they got into the car at pickup.

But now, he said, “I’m kind of working on myself, to let some of that go.” What seems to be the key determinant is which relationship—the romantic one or the parental one—is more strongly associated with the parent’s self-esteem. Those who hang their identity on their parental role, like Trujillo-Fuenning, are more likely to experience child-oriented perfectionism than those who do not, Piotrowski theorized.

The impact of other-oriented perfectionism on children

That’s likely a good thing for his kids. Curran, the British perfectionism researcher, looked at a questionnaire that’s been given to cohorts of young people for decades. He and his team found that current college students perceive that their parents were more expectant than past generations — which is problematic, because studies (old and new) tie a caregiver having performance-oriented goals to controlling, critical parenting.

Though the research is murky, because different forms of perfectionism both overlap and function in distinct ways, children of parents who are perfectionists likely have higher odds of developing psychological distress, including anxiety and depression. Even when the impact falls short of clinical classification, children whose parents expect them to be perfect often grow up in homes characterized by conflict and tension. “It’s going to be a pressure cooker,” Curran told me.

The end result is often another generation of perfectionists. A 2017 study of 159 father-daughter dyads found a tie between “controlling fathers who demand perfection” and perfectionist daughters. And Curran’s own research has found that as parents’ expectations and criticism have increased, so too have rates of adolescent perfectionism.

We make jokes about perfectionism. (Did you hear the one about the perfectionist who walked into a bar? Apparently, it wasn’t set high enough.) But it’s a truly stressful way to live, Dr. Dattilo said, “Always striving to prove that you are capable, to prove that you are worthy, prove that you are successful based on other people’s evaluations.”

It should come as no surprise then, that there are, in Curran’s words, “huge, uncharacteristically strong correlations” between perfectionism and psychological distress, including anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and anorexia.

“The data’s never that clean,” he told me. Gayani DeSilva knows what it feels like to be one of those data points. “My parents really did put a lot of pressure on me as a kid to be perfect,” recalled the child and adolescent psychiatrist who practices in Southern California. “I had to have straight As, couldn’t have an A-minus.”

When she carried a D in Calculus at one point, “I was so afraid that I actually thought that my parents were going to kill me.” Now looking back with a therapist’s eye, she said, “I couldn’t imagine them actually physically harming me, I just knew that I was gonna die.”

She internalized their exacting standards, “There was just no room for anything other than what they expected.” And when she couldn’t meet them, she said, “I faced all this guilt, like, ‘Why couldn’t I do it?'”

Josh McKivigan, a behavioral health therapist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sees an impact at both ends of the economic spectrum. For kids of highly educated, well-off parents, he said, “You’d see them well put together, amazing grades, but behind the scenes, they’re barely holding it together. The only type of school they feel is acceptable is an Ivy League. They say things like, ‘I couldn’t imagine going to UCLA.'”

McKivigan also works with a refugee population. With these kids, he sees pressure to make something of a parent’s dangerous immigration journey. They end up saying, “I gotta make this right. I can’t let them down,” McKivigan told me.

But some kids don’t develop perfectionism of their own, instead responding to a parent’s pressure by rejecting their goals. After all, if someone is impossible to please, why bother trying?Nicole Coomber, Ph.D., an assistant dean at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, said research on motivation explains why.

“Autonomy is an important piece of this where you have to actually buy into whatever the goal is,” she notes. Requiring that a child practice piano for hours each day when they’d rather be playing soccer “can really backfire,” she added. Kids can end up feeling like their parent’s project or product — and push back by quitting. No matter how much bravado accompanies that move, there’s often also a sense of having let themselves and their parents down.

DeSilva failed her first year of medical school, she said, “because I just didn’t know how to ask for help.” After a car accident, she quit residency and then spent two years in therapy: “Once I was able to admit, ‘I’m not perfect,’ I was successful at pretty much everything I wanted to do, and I didn’t have to be anxious about it. I knew I could do it, whereas before, when I had to be perfect, I was really insecure.”

After she worked through her perfectionism, she said, “I was trying for my own standard, my own goals, my own desires, instead of somebody else’s standard for me.”

Other-oriented perfectionism is bad for parents too, but they can change

Child-oriented perfectionist tendencies aren’t just bad for kids. Trujillo-Fuenning started to feel burned out by her high standards in the parenting realm. The cumulative effect of a thousand little maximizations, like “trying to make sure they were eating the right things every meal,” became overwhelming and depleting. “To be honest, that’s part of why I went back to work,” she told me.

In his 2020 study, Piotrowski found that parents who target their children with other-oriented perfectionism tend to display higher levels of stress, dissatisfaction with parenthood, and feeling so burdened by the parental role that they regret parenthood entirely. He explained, “For mothers characterized by increased other-oriented perfectionism, family life is probably associated with many frustrations and stress, hence the focus on alternative visions of themselves that seem to be better than [being] a parent.”

When she starts trying to work on literacy again, Trujillo-Fuenning said, “I have to pull back and remind myself, if she’s fighting you, just let it go.” The same thing goes for micromanaging her kids’ appearance. “I’m catching my own insecurities of like, ‘You don’t look well put together. People are going to look at you and think I’m not taking care of you.'” But to avoid acting on those impulses requires “a constant mental check,” she told me.

Every now and then Lockner’s wife would say, “You’re being too hard on them. You are expecting too much.” But that doesn’t seem to be what made him change. His sons are at an all-boys school now, and, Lockner said, “Being around other groups of dads made a difference. Listening to how they act, and how their kids are, made me think, ‘Maybe I can ease up a little. My kids really are pretty good.'”

This sort of shift is what Curran sees happening in society as a whole—only in reverse.Other-oriented perfectionist parents aren’t the only ones ratcheting up expectations and pressure. Some parents don’t want to push, Curran said, “but they feel like they have to in this world where elite college is harder to access, where you basically have an economy where the middle class is downwardly mobile with increasing costs of living and stagnated income, and you’ve got chronic and increasing inequality.”

And the pressure can be even more intense for parents like Eric L. Heard, author of “Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad.” He described feeling “the need for immediate feedback” from his son’s teachers: “I always held a fear that I would not address some problem and he would head down a well-worn road of destruction” for Black men, he wrote. “My mind was haunted by the crippling thought of how I would be judged …. I would wear a permanent brand … a large white D for being a deadbeat dad who couldn’t save his son.”

If you’re a parent ruminating on the odds stacked against your child, it is rational to drive them to work harder, achieve more, and be better. Other parents react the same way, the result of which is a frenzied, fearful “rug rat race.” Once that starts to kick in, Curran said, “it’s really hard to stop, at a societal level. It creates an echo chamber where everybody’s engaging in unhealthy behaviors and no one wins.”

He doesn’t just mean that we all lose when we succumb to perfectionism. It also just plain doesn’t work. “Everybody’s engaging in this frantic upward comparison, and no one gains an advantage,” he said. “We just move the average of what’s expected further and further. It’s looking bad.”

But individuals can push back against a trend of overwhelmed young people and parents who, like the old Lockner, feel no choice but to be “the bad guy.” Now that he’s backed off, he said, “It’s easier on me. It’s easier on them.” They do more for themselves, and “they seem more willing to do stuff if I’m not on them all the time.” Truth be told, he likes himself more now.

Therapists can help their clients get there. Dr. Dattilo would tell an other-oriented perfectionist they need to believe it when someone says, “I’m doing the best I can.” Parents can interrogate their perfectionism in psychotherapy: Why is having a perfect child so important to me? Where did this need come from? And cognitive-behavioral therapists push people to fact-check their anxiety: What level of pressure is really necessary to prepare your child to live a good life? Is parental pressure truly the most effective way to forestall your fears? What will happen if you just back off?

When it came to parenting her son, DeSilva, the perfectionist-turned-psychiatrist, said she made a conscious decision. “I was going to raise him to have his own ideas and his own set of standards and really, for me to learn about and help him develop his strengths. And also, to really be comfortable with his weaknesses and vulnerabilities.” That puts her at odds with her own parents. When it comes to her son’s homework, they think, “It’s your job.

You have to make sure his homework is done,” she said. His grandparents even tell her to fix it for him “so it’s correct.” Instead, she explained to her son the consequences of not doing homework, or not doing it well, and let him decide. “He didn’t like it that his teacher was upset with him. So the next time he did his homework, he did it as best he could.”

Tying it all together

Yet individual parents can’t reverse course alone. Putting aside economic inequality for a minute, Curran said, “I think if the pressures of things like standardized testing — for young people to perform perfectly in school at such a young age — could be recalibrated downwards” it would take pressure off parents too. He called online grade portals “even scarier.”

If kids were just allowed to learn, to be, without all the tracking, assessing, and ranking, maybe more parents would feel like they can afford to break — and encourage their kids to break — the link between one’s accomplishments and one’s worth.

As Curran talked, I realized that much of the ground we’ve covered in my Are We There Yet? column is more related than I’d thought. Pressure on parents, including around the “one right way” to parent, produces intensive parenting and lack of autonomy for kids, and it also contributes to parents’ perfectionism and even abusive behavior, all of which lead to faltering mental health in adolescents, often with their own perfectionism as the mechanism. It’s a perfect storm for stressed out, sexless parents who worry they don’t measure up raising stressed out, helpless kids who worry they don’t measure up. To borrow Curran’s words, “It’s all interconnected.”

By Gail Cornwall

Gail Cornwall works as a mother and writer in San Francisco. Connect with Gail on Twitter, or read more at gailcornwall.comMORE FROM Gail Cornwall

Source: The psychological toll of wanting your kid to be “perfect” | Salon.com

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How Vision Loss Can Affect the Brain

A growing body of evidence suggests that when older people’s brains have to work harder to see, declines in language, memory, attention and more could follow.

Medical practice tends to divide its clients — you and me — into specialties defined by body parts: ophthalmology, neurology, gastroenterology, psychiatry and the like. But in fact, the human body doesn’t function in silos. Rather, it works as an integrated whole, and what goes awry in one part of the body can affect several others.

I’ve written about the potential harm of hearing loss to brain health, as well as to the health of our bones, hearts and emotional well-being. Untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia. Even those with slightly less than perfect hearing can have measurable cognitive deficits.

Now, a growing body of research is demonstrating that vision loss can affect the brain’s function, too. As with hearing, if the brain has to work extra hard to make sense of what our eyes see, it can take a toll on cognitive function.

The latest study, published in JAMA Network Open in July, followed 1,202 men and women aged 60 to 94 for an average of nearly seven years. All were part of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, and had vision and cognition tests every one to four years between 2003 and 2019.

The researchers found that those who scored poorly on initial tests of visual acuity — how well, for example, they could see the letters on an eye chart from a given distance — were more likely to have cognitive decline over time, including deficits in language, memory, attention and the ability to identify and locate objects in space.

Other vision issues, like with depth perception and the ability to see contrasts, also had deleterious effects on cognitive ability. The lead researcher, Bonnielin Swenor, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, said that the new study “adds to mounting longitudinal data showing that vision impairment can lead to cognitive decline in older adults.”

Lest you think that the relationship is reversed — that cognitive decline impairs vision — another study that Dr. Swenor participated in showed that when both functions were considered, vision impairment was two times more likely to affect cognitive decline than the other way around.

This study, published in 2018 in JAMA Ophthalmology and led by Diane Zheng from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, included 2,520 community-dwelling adults ages 65 to 84, whose vision and cognitive function were periodically tested. She and her co-authors concluded that maintaining good vision as one ages may be an effective way to minimize the decline in cognitive function in older adults.

“When people have vision loss, they change the way they live their lives. They decrease their physical activity and they decrease their social activity, both of which are so important for maintaining a healthy brain,” Dr. Swenor said. “It puts them on a fast tack to cognitive decline.”

But identifying and correcting vision loss early on can help, Dr. Zheng said. She suggested regular eye checkups — at least once every two years, and more often if you have diabetes, glaucoma or other conditions that may damage vision. “Make sure you can see well through your glasses,” she urged.

There are “vision impairments that glasses won’t fix,” Dr. Swenor said, like age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. Retinal disease began to compromise Dr. Swenor’s vision in her mid-20s. Those with problems like hers can benefit from something called low vision rehabilitation, a sort of physical therapy for the eyes that helps visually impaired people adapt to common situations and help them function better in society.

Dr. Swenor, for instance, can see objects in a high-contrast situation, like a black cat against a white fence, but has trouble seeing the difference between similar colors. She can’t pour white milk into a white mug without spilling it, for example. Her solution: Use a dark-colored mug. Finding such accommodations is an ongoing task, but it enables her to continue to function well professionally and socially.

Society, too, needs to help people with visual impairment function safely outside the home. Most things in hospitals are white, for example, which creates safety hazards for people with diminished contrast sensitivity. As a driver of 50 years, I’ve noticed that road barriers that used to be the same color as the road surface are now more often rendered in high contrast colors like orange or yellow, which undoubtedly reduces crashes even for people who can see perfectly.

“We need to create a more inclusive society that accommodates people with vision impairment,” Dr. Swenor said.

People who have trouble with depth perception can also incorporate helpful design features into the home. Placing colored strips on stair risers, varying textures of furniture and color-coding objects can all improve the ability to navigate safely. People who can no longer read books may also listen to audiobooks, podcasts or music instead, Dr. Swenor said.

The link between visual impairment and cognitive impairment “is not a doomsday message,” she added. “There are many ways to foster brain health for people with vision loss.”

Step one may be getting a Medicare extension bill through congress, which in turn might prompt private insurers to also cover vision care and rehabilitation. The Democrats’ current proposal to extend Medicare benefits to cover vision care would more than pay for itself in the long run by diminishing already-covered medical costs for cognitive and physical decline.

Case in point: The cost of a single hip replacement resulting from a vision-impaired fall would exceed the cost of many hundreds of eye exams and needed vision corrections.

Portrait of Jane E. Brody

Source: How Vision Loss Can Affect the Brain – The New York Times

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3 Tips for Increasing Happiness at Work

Given that many of us will spend up to one-third of our lives at work, it’s not surprising that happiness at work is a topic of concern. Research shows that our happiness at work determines how motivated, productive, and engaged we are.

As an ACHIEVE trainer for the Psychological Safety in the Workplace workshop, I have had many discussions with participants and teams about workplace well-being and satisfaction. I am often asked, “What actions and circumstances best lead to happiness at work?” 

The answer? Happiness at work is complex. Various influences and factors contribute to our well-being at work including organizational culture, the alignment between our values and the organization’s, and the level of job compensation and security.

While some of these factors may be beyond our control, happiness can be enhanced through specific behavioural and cognitive practices, referred to in positive psychology as “positive interventions.”

Here are three positive interventions you can use to increase your happiness at work:

Strive for the Happiness Zone

Research shows that 40 percent of personal happiness results from our own actions, behaviours, and thought patterns. This 40 percent zone is where you have some control over your happiness and where practicing positive interventions will be most helpful. However, this practice will be different for everyone. Some people are happiest when they accomplish a goal at work, while others feel most happy when they are connected and collaborating with colleagues. It’s important to understand which activities contribute to individual happiness at work.

Prioritize the behaviours, actions, and conditions that lead to a sense of well-being during the workday.

One way to begin is to prioritize the behaviours, actions, and conditions that lead to a sense of well-being during the workday. Take note of activities that seem to uplift your mood during the week. Carefully observe your workdays, becoming mindful of the activities, behaviours, or situations that create a sense of a good day versus a bad day. Look for a pattern across the days and weeks. Are there certain activities, situations, or circumstances that consistently seem to contribute to a positive workday? Make a conscious effort to prioritizing doing more of them.

Focus on Meaningful Interactions

The importance of interpersonal connections at work is noted in ACHIEVE’s book, The Culture Question: How to Create a Workplace Where People Like to Work. People are more apt to feel satisfied and engaged when they have positive relationships at work.

A first step to creating meaningful connections at work is to improve your listening skills and increase the depth and value of your interactions. During a workplace interaction, consciously choose to actively listen to what someone has to say and invite them to share more during the conversation. Researchers refer to this as listening generously – we allow the person to have the entire spotlight to feel genuinely listened to and validated.

Simple responses like “That’s great, I’d like to hear more,” or “It sounds like this is important to you, I’d like to learn more,” can make a team member feel more valued, resulting in increased well-being at work. As the listener, you feel good too because you are creating a more meaningful interaction. Remember, the more connected and positive interactions we have with work colleagues, the happier our work experience.

Generate Gratitude

Completing a gratitude exercise even once a week has been proven to increase happiness over time. There is no better place to practice gratitude than at work, given the amount of time we spend there.

People are more apt to feel satisfied and engaged when they have positive relationships at work.

One of the most simple and effective ways to practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Record the things in your workweek you felt grateful for. Examples may include compliments you received about your work, small wins or accomplishments, or completing a difficult task. To make this team-based, try keeping a gratitude jar.

Invite your colleagues to join you in recording things they are grateful for. Use sticky notes, or if you are a virtual team, post something on a virtual collaborative whiteboard. On Friday, go through the notes. The best part of this simple exercise is the immediate uplift in mood and perspective shift that occurs from recognizing just how many things went well during the workweek.

Workplace happiness takes effort and practice, but the result is improved well-being, greater productivity, and stronger workplace connections – all of which can result in decreased stress and more work satisfaction. Happiness at work is truly worth the effort.

By:Jennifer Kelly

Source: 3 Tips for Increasing Happiness at Work | ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership

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What Does Empathy Have to do With Success?

Simply put, empathy is being able to feel the experience of another person. If you’ve ever noticed a small child try to comfort a distressed playmate or even a baby closely watch a crying infant, you have seen the early signs of empathy. It appears as if the ability to sense the pain or emotions of others is part of us from the beginning.

In fact, it is. The development of empathy is a neurobiologically based competency that includes several awesome processes that lead to a well-rounded social experience. And life success is highly dependent on our social-emotional skills. Strengthening our ability to understand a variety of perspectives and share the lives of those we love and work beside is incredibly valuable to our own sense of well-being.

Two types of empathy have been identified in research. The first is the easiest to notice – emotional.  When we see someone in great pain or misery, we can immediately remember that powerful emotion welling up inside and cringe or even shed a tear. The more we recognize ourselves in that moment, the more intensely we feel that same emotion. And on the opposite end, the less we relate to the individual, the less we share in their suffering.

It’s much more difficult to see someone from a completely different walk of life and feel that twist in the gut. That’s not to say we should constantly weep or involve ourselves in everyone’s distress. If we did that, we would be absolutely spent.

In an effort to balance that healthy dose of empathy, it helps to tune into the other type of empathy – cognitive. That refers to empathic accuracy which is more of a skill. We really do have that biological component that kick starts our skill in reading others and tuning into their thoughts, feeling, and emotions.

Our mirror neurons are ready to help us imagine how others experience life around us every day from early on. Cognitive empathy skills improve by accessing our higher levels of thought. Our medial prefrontal cortex provides us with the capacity to expand those “feelers” and accurately predict and understand people even beyond our own realm of experience.

When a typical child reaches five, they develop something referred to as theory of mind. That’s when they can figure out what others are thinking and feeling and practicing that skill sets the stage for a healthy life. Teaching and reinforcing those early emotional connections are important. You probably remember being asked how it would feel if little Susie took your toys away.

Once we reach adulthood, we can let those early lessons slide and find ourselves focusing on the humdrum aspects of our busy lives. We have snippets of conversations that include highlights and low points of our rushed existence. Can we improve those empathic skills as adults?

Just like any skill, empathy can improve with effort. A well-developed empathic response to people like us as well as those we have little in common with is related to an overall positive well-being and interactional profile. Attending to our more compassionate side expands our minds and relationships with a greater range of people. Our desire to comfort, engage with, and help others increases as we take the time to deepen connections.

The more we can engage with those around us, the more likely we are to sense needs and act on them. Really being present for others means listening without formulating what we want to say. Reflecting underlying feelings can come naturally once we tune in with greater concern. That transfers to improved relationships and a heightened sense of joy from meeting needs around us. We can’t be fully available to everyone at all times, but it is possible to deeply engage with those you feel especially drawn to.

Our lives can ring full of purpose when we intentionally engage with people and support their journey in life. We come away with a beautiful memory of connecting with our fellow humans and will often gain more by doing so. The happiest individuals are those who give out of their own need.

I encourage you to seek out opportunities to flex your empathic senses. Your effort will only lead to more of the same – respect for others and yourself.

By: Sharon Blevins

Source: What Does Empathy Have to do With Success? – Sharon Blevins

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The impact of service quality on customer loyalty: A study of banks in Penang, Malaysia

Empathic Activism: Only the Radical Power of Empathy Can Save the World

Educating for empathy: Literacy learning and civic engagement

Cooperation in a Peer Production Economy Experimental Evidence from Wikipedia

Education for Empathy and Social Responsibility

Empathy in health professions education and patient care

How to Deal With Your Childhood Trauma As an Adult

Recovering from trauma is hard no matter when it happens. However, if adversity happens during childhood, it can be especially hard to overcome. Unlike adults, children have very little control over their environment. If a child is living in an abusive home, their ability to remove themselves from that environment is extremely limited, whereas an adult will usually have more emotional and financial resources with which to escape.

Meanwhile, children are still learning what healthy relationships look like, as well as how to cope with difficult situations. If a child is growing up in a household where abusive behavior is the norm, this can skew their understanding of what is and is not acceptable within a relationship. Even when the trauma is unavoidable, such as a death in the family or a major illness of a family member, children are still developing their coping skills, which makes it that much harder for them to process what has happened.

So how can adults who experienced adversity in childhood process and deal with that trauma now that they’re grown?

How to measure your childhood trauma

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) quiz, is a measure of childhood trauma. The test itself is short—only ten questions—and asks about family adversity growing up, including physical or sexual abuse, neglect, and about family members with mental health struggles or substance abuse.

The higher the score, the more likely a person is to develop chronic health issues during adulthood, such as anxiety, depression, diabetes, asthma, cancer, obesity, coronary heart disease, and substance abuse. People who score a 4 or higher have a significantly higher risk than those who didn’t experience childhood adversity.

If you do have a high ACE score, knowing that these early experiences can have a negative impact on your health and well-being as an adult can be quite discouraging. However, it’s really important to remember that your ACE score is only an indicator of what you went through, not a guarantee of what your future will look like.

“Just because a person has experienced several ACEs, that doesn’t necessarily mean later problems are inevitable, that just makes them predisposed,” said Genevieve Rivera, executive director of the American SPCC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating parents and preventing child abuse. “We do have strategies, practices, tools, and routines that can help us to rewire our brains and our bodies.”

Start by seeking out professional help

“If you have a trauma history, if you have experienced childhood adversity, what you can do is get connected with support ahead of time,” said Melissa Goldberg-Mintz, a clinical psychologist and founder of Secure Base Psychology, PLLC. “That’s something you can do preventively.”

For people with high ACE scores, there is a strong probability they will develop issues such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, anger, and suicidal impulses. That is why it is essential to be proactive about seeking the mental healthcare you need. “It’s really important to have a professional in your corner to help guide you through,” Rivera said.

Seeking help is often the first, most essential step for working through the lingering effects of childhood adversity, and it can serve as a foundation for establishing a healthy, functional life.

Learn to recognize and develop healthy relationships

“Connection is the best medicine we have,” Goldberg-Mintz said. If a child going through adversity also experiences a warm, loving relationship—whether it’s a parent, grandparent, or caregiver—this will often provide a protective buffer against developing issues later in life. “The single best way we know how to deal with emotional pain is through connecting with people we feel securely attached to,” she said.

Adults who didn’t experience a loving relationship as children, however, can still work on developing healthy relationships later in life, which can help stave off some of these outcomes. Humans are social creatures. We crave connection, and if we don’t get it, our mental and physical health can suffer. Developing an understanding of what healthy relationships look like, and what the boundaries and expectations in those relationships should be, is key.

Make your physical and emotional well-being a priority

Given that childhood adversity can result in a number of chronic health issues later in life, whether physical or mental, it’s important to focus on caring for your physical and emotional well-being.

“You want to make sure your basic needs are being met,” Goldberg-Mintz said. This includes getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, and connecting with others. “If you’re not getting your basic needs met, you are going to be more vulnerable to these bad outcomes.”

This can be challenging, especially because conditions like depression and anxiety make getting enough sleep or exercise especially difficult, the more you can focus on your own physical and mental well-being, the better.

Strengthen your resiliency

Resilience is the capacity to recover from adversity quickly. Some children who experience adversity are able to develop resilience, while others have a harder time. “Research shows that even just one supportive parental figure in a child’s life goes a long way toward helping them build this resilience,” Rivera said.

However, for those who struggled to build resilience during childhood, it’s still possible to develop these skills as an adult—and that goes back to seeking professional help and focusing on building those healthy relationships. Resiliency has a way of developing naturally when we do those things.

“We all have resiliency inside us, but we have to work on building it,” Rivera said. “Research has actually shown that our bodies experience a positive biological response when we’re surrounded by healthy relationships.”

Source: How to Deal With Your Childhood Trauma As an Adult

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What’s Happening With Peloton Stock?

 stock has had a relatively tough year, declining by about 20% since early January and remains down by almost 33% from its all-time highs, as investors expect that higher vaccination rates and a continued re-opening of the gyms and in-person fitness classes would hurt demand for the company’s fitness equipment and subscriptions. However, there have been a couple of positive developments for the company over the last several weeks.

In July, UnitedHealthcare indicated that it was working with Peloton to provide members with access to fitness classes for a year. The deal, which marks Peloton’s first collaboration with a health plan, could prove an attractive avenue for subscriber acquisition for Peloton, considering that UnitedHealth has roughly four million commercial members. For perspective, Peloton had a total of about three million subscribers for its connected fitness and digital offerings as of the last quarter. UnitedHealth should also stand to benefit, as having healthier and more active customers could help to lower its healthcare costs. Peloton could expand with similar partnerships with other healthcare and insurance companies.

Moreover, it doesn’t look like we are done with the Covid-19 pandemic just yet. Daily new infections in the U.S. have been on the uptrend over the last few weeks, driven by the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus. The seven-day average case rate has risen from 22,000 in early July to over 100,000 cases presently. This could delay the re-opening of workplaces and keep people at home for a few more quarters, bolstering demand for Peloton’s products. The company might also be in a better position to cater to demand now, considering that it has taken steps to address supply chain bottlenecks.

That being said, the near-term trajectory for the stock will depend significantly on the company’s guidance for FY’22 (fiscal years end June), which is likely to be provided during its Q4 FY’21 earnings due later this month. We value Peloton stock at about $130 per share, slightly ahead of the current market price. See our analysis on  for more details.

[6/23/2021] Peloton’s Corporate Wellness Program

 stock has rallied by almost 11% over the last five trading days and remains up by around 16% over the last month. A part of the gains was driven by analyst upgrades and anticipation surrounding the re-launch of its treadmills following a recall last month. However, the bulk of the gains came on Tuesday after Peloton announced a new corporate wellness program that offers employees subsidized access to Peloton’s digital fitness membership and its fitness equipment, along with tailor-made features such as team tagging and group exercises.

Peloton will also assist its corporate partners with setting up workout spaces in offices. The offering could be a big win for Peloton as investors have been concerned about the company’s growth prospects following its Covid-fueled surge over the past year. By partnering with large corporations, Peloton could get more high-value customers to sign up for its services while possibly seeing lower customer acquisition costs. Corporates also stand to benefit as they look to bring talent back into the workplace after over a year of remote working. Health and fitness-related benefits, particularly from a buzzy brand like Peloton, are likely to be sought after by employees following the pandemic.

We remain bullish on Peloton’s stock, with a price estimate of about $130 per share, about 10% ahead of the current market price of about $117. See our interactive analysis for a detailed look at Peloton’s valuation and financials. See our updates below on our outlook for Peloton stock.

[6/17/2021] What Will Peloton Look Like In 2025?

At-home fitness major  has been one of the big winners through the Covid-19 pandemic, with its stock up by over 5x since the first set of Covid-19 lockdowns back in March 2020. The stock now trades at about $105 per share, or almost 6x projected FY’22 revenues (fiscal years end June) and 200x FY’22 EPS. Is this expensive? Probably not, considering that sales could potentially grow almost 2.4x over the next four years (FY’24), with the company also expected to improve its profitability considerably from FY’22 onward.

We believe Peloton’s revenues could potentially rise close to 2.4x from the levels of $4 billion in FY’21 to $9.5 billion by FY’25, representing a compounded annual growth rate of almost 24%. For context, that’s still well below the solid 145% CAGR the company is on track to post between FY’18 and FY’21. Although the end of Covid-19 – a big tailwind for Peloton – appears to be in sight, there are multiple secular trends that should help to grow sales post the pandemic. The economics of owning a Peloton compare favorably with gym memberships and spin classes, and the added convenience of working out from home should give customers a reason to buy Peloton.

Moreover, Peloton should benefit from the easing of current supply chain bottlenecks, with the company planning to build out its own U.S. factory, which is likely to commence operations from 2023. Peloton’s international expansion – which is just getting started – is also likely to drive sales growth. Sure, revenue growth could be still higher if we consider Peloton’s possible push into commercial-fitness applications post its acquisition of Precor, but 2.4x growth in the top line over the next four fiscal years looks very much achievable as a base case.

Combine revenue growth with the fact that Peloton’s net income margins (net income, or profits after all expenses and taxes, calculated as a percent of revenues) are on an improving trajectory. Net margins rose sharply from -13% over the first nine months of FY’20 to almost 4% over the same period in FY’21. Margins probably have a lot more room to expand as revenues increase, given Peloton’s solid unit economics.

Peloton has a vertically integrated model which includes hardware, software, and subscription services, somewhat similar to tech titan Apple. Gross margins stood at about 39% for the first nine months of FY’21, just a hair below Apple’s 40% odd margins. It’s probably not far-fetched to assume that net margins could approach 20% by FY’25. Considering our revenue projections of roughly $9.5 billion and 20% margins, almost $1.9 billion in net income is possible by FY’25.

Now, if Peloton’s revenues grow 2.4x, the P/S multiple will shrink by almost 60% from its current levels, assuming the stock price stays the same, correct? But that’s exactly what Peloton’s investors are betting will not happen! If revenues expand 2.4x over the next few years, instead of the P/S shrinking from around 6x presently to about 2.5x, a scenario where the P/S metric falls more modestly, perhaps to about 5x looks more likely, considering the fact that profitability is also projected to see sharp improvement.

This would make a 50% plus growth in Peloton’s stock price a real possibility in the next four years. This would likely take Peloton’s market cap from about $31 billion currently to almost $48 billion by FY’25. Although the stock is likely to remain somewhat volatile through the post-Covid reopening, as investors cycle into value and commodity stocks to ride the economic upturn, we think Peloton should deliver solid returns for investors in the medium term.

See our analysis on  for an overview of Peloton stock’s recent performance and where it could be headed over the next month.

[6/3/2021] What’s Happening With Peloton’s Stock?  (NASDAQ: PTON) is up by almost 9% over the last week (five trading days) outperforming the S&P 500 which has remained roughly flat over the same period. The recent gains are driven by favorable views from brokerages, and also as investors likely see increasing value in the stock following its almost -30% decline this year. So how is Peloton stock expected to trend in the near term?

Is the stock poised to decline further or is a recovery looking likely? Based on our machine learning engine, which analyzes Peloton’s stock price movements post its 2019 IPO, the stock has a 64% chance of a rise over the next month, after rising by about 9% over the last five trading days. See our analysis on for more details.

We also think the longer-term outlook for Peloton’s business is solid. We expect demand to remain strong even post Covid-19, as the economics of owning a Peloton compare favorably with gym memberships and spin classes. Moreover, Peloton’s business should continue to benefit from supply chain improvements with the company planning to build out its own U.S. factory, which should commence operations from 2023.

Peloton also recently closed its acquisition of Precor, a company that caters to commercial-fitness applications such as gyms and hotels and this could help to expand the Peloton brand and product range. Peloton’s international expansion is also just getting started, and this could also help the stock. While Peloton trades at a relatively lofty 6x projected FY’22 revenues (fiscal years end in June), this is justified by its high growth rates and thick margins. Consensus estimates point to a healthy 30% plus growth in revenues over FY’22 and gross margins have typically come in at about 40%.

[5/6/2021] Peloton’s Tread+ Recall An Buying Opportunity? (NASDAQ: PTON) fell by almost 15% in Wednesday’s trading, after the company said that it would be carrying out voluntary recalls of its treadmill machines – the Tread+ and Tread over safety issues, offering users a full refund. The Tread+ treadmills were reportedly responsible for dozens of accidents and the death of at least one child. Peloton stock is now down by close to 50% from all-time highs seen in January, as it has also been hurt by a broader rotation out of growth and “at home” stocks, with the Covid-19 pandemic receding in the U.S. So is Peloton stock worth a look at current levels of about $82 per share? We think it is.

Now, the current recall marks a PR setback for Peloton, which initially brushed off concerns that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) raised about its treadmills in April. The financial impact of the recall could also be somewhat meaningful. The recall is likely to involve over 125,000 Tread+ machines which cost about $4,300 each, and a small number of Tread machines that have seen a very limited roll out in the U.S.

If we assume that 70% of customers opt to return the Tread+ (customers also have the option of keeping their treadmills and having Peloton relocate them to rooms not accessible by children), that would translate into refunds to the tune of over $375 million, excluding logistics and other costs. For perspective, Peloton’s revenues stood at about $1.1 billion last quarter. The company has also stopped the sale and distribution of Tread+ as it works on hardware modifications and this could also impact revenues this fiscal year.

That said, a majority of Peloton’s hardware sales come from its exercise bikes and we think the demand is likely to remain strong even as Peloton fixes its treadmills. Treadmill-related accidents are also not unique to the company. Per the CPSC, there were 17 deaths related to treadmills in the U.S. (across manufacturers) between 2018 and 2019. As Tread+ sales eventually resume, the company should see volumes pick up. Moreover, Peloton’s business should continue to benefit from supply chain improvements, the launch of new and lower-priced products, and its international expansion, which is just getting started.

So is Peloton stock expected to decline further in the near term or is a recovery looking likely? Based on our machine learning engine, which analyzes Peloton’s stock price movements post its 2019 IPO, there is a strong chance of a rise over the next month, after declining by about 17% over the last five trading days. See our analysis on  for more details.

[4/20/2021] How Peloton’s Treadmill Safety Issues Impact Its Stock (NASDAQ: PTON) fell by over 7% on Monday and remains down by around 9% over the last week (five trading days) compared to the S&P 500 which is up by about 1% over the same period. The sell-off comes as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said that the company’s Tread+ treadmills were responsible for dozens of injuries and at least one death.

The Commission also asked people with young children or pets to stop using the Peloton treadmills, while urging the company to carry out a recall of the product. So how will this impact Peloton? Now, treadmill-related accidents are not unique to the company. Per the CPSC, there were 17 deaths related to treadmills between 2018 and 2019. However, we think Peloton may need to respond with some safety-related software updates or possibly hardware enhancements in the future. The recent events could create some image-related issues for Peloton, which has been one of the pandemic’s biggest winners.

So how is Peloton stock expected to trend? Is the stock poised to decline further or is a recovery looking likely? Based on our machine learning engine, which analyzes Peloton’s stock price movements post its 2019 IPO, the stock has a 64% chance of a rise over the next month, after declining by about 9% over the last five trading days. See our analysis on  for more details.

[2/16/2021] What’s Happening With Peloton Stock?

Connected fitness company  (NASDAQ: PTON) has risen by about 10% over the last week (five trading days). The recent gains come on the back of a rally in the broader markets, with the S&P 500 is up 3% over the same period, and also due to positive views in recently initiated sell-side coverage on the stock. That said, Peloton stock remains down by about -19% year-to-date, driven by the broader correction in growth stocks and pandemic winners such as “at home” stocks.

So is Peloton stock poised to rise further or is a correction looking imminent? Based on our machine learning engine, which analyzes Peloton’s stock price movements post its 2019 IPO, the stock has a 77% chance of a rise over the next month, after rising by about 10% over the last five trading days. See our analysis on  for more details.

So what’s the longer-term outlook for the company? We think Peloton looks like a good bet for long-term investors for a couple of reasons. The stock trades at close to 9x projected FY’21 revenues (fiscal years end in June). Although that looks somewhat high for a company that sells fitness equipment, Peloton justifies this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Peloton is growing fast, with revenues on track to more than double in FY’21 driven by Covid-19 related demand.

Growth should remain strong in the medium term as well, on account of supply chain improvements, the launch of new and lower-priced products, and international expansion. For perspective, Peloton’s revenues are projected to rise 35% in FY’22 per consensus estimates. Secondly, Peloton’s unit economics also look solid, meaning that it should become quite profitable as revenues continue to scale up. Gross margins stood at almost 40% as of the last quarter, with roughly 35% margins for products and 60% margins on connected fitness subscriptions. That’s even higher than consumer technology behemoth , which has gross margins of about 39%.

[2/16/2021] What’s Happening With Peloton Stock? stock has gained about 5x over the last year, making the at-home fitness company one of the biggest winners through Covid-19. Here’s a quick rundown of the recent developments for Peloton’s stock.

Firstly, Peloton published a strong set of Q2 FY’21 results (quarter ended December 31, 2020), beating market expectations. Revenue grew 128% year-over-year to $1.06 billion and the company also posted a small profit. Connected fitness subscribers grew to 1.67 million at the end of the quarter, marking an increase of 134% year-over-year, and the number is expected to grow to 2.28 million by the end of the fiscal year. Connected fitness subscribers pay about $40 per month to access and sync classes to their Peloton equipment.

One of Peloton’s biggest issues has been that it isn’t able to fulfill demand quickly enough. Although this might seem like a nice problem to have, Peloton risks alienating potential customers and hurting customer experience. This has been a factor holding the stock back since the holiday quarter, with Peloton underperforming the S&P 500 year-to-date. However, the company says that it now plans to invest over $100 million in air freight and expedited ocean freight over the next six months to help speed up its deliveries.

Separately, Peloton recently raised about $875 million in capital via a convertible debt offering at a 0% rate. The company will not pay any interest on the notes till they mature in 2026 and the conversion price stands at about $239, about 55% ahead of the stock’s current market price. This looks like an attractive deal for Peloton, enabling it to invest in its fast-growing business without immediately diluting existing shareholders. []

See our interactive analysis for a detailed look at Peloton’s valuation and financials.

[12/31/2020] Peloton Stock Updates

While Peloton’s (NASDAQ: PTON) stock saw a big sell-off after news of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in early November 2020, the stock is now up a solid 50% since then and is up by roughly 35% over December alone. So what are the trends driving Peloton’s surge? Firstly, the workout-from-home trend has continued to rise, and demand for Peloton’s products continues to significantly outstrip supply.

For example, the premium Bike+ exercise bike has seen delivery timelines slip to 10 weeks currently. Secondly, Peloton was recently added to the Nasdaq 100 stock index. This move results in higher demand for the stock from index funds tracking the Nasdaq. Thirdly, the company announced last week that it would be acquiring Precor – one of the world’s largest commercial fitness equipment suppliers. This is being viewed very positively for a couple of reasons.

Precor has deep relationships with gyms, fitness centers, and hotels and this could also help Peloton expand its reach to these sectors, as they recover post the pandemic. Peloton could also integrate its digital and connected fitness capabilities with Precor equipment. Peloton is also likely to leverage Precor’s expertise and expand beyond its core offerings of bikes and treadmills to other equipment such as ellipticals and climbers. Precor has a total of about 625k square feet of manufacturing space located in the United States. With these facilities complementing Peloton’s existing manufacturing infrastructure in Asia, it should eventually ease manufacturing constraints.

[12/7/2020] Is Peloton A Fad?

Connected fitness company Peloton’s (NASDAQ: PTON) stock is up almost 4x this year, trading at levels of about $115 or about 8x projected FY’21 Revenues. Peloton’s recent growth partly justifies these valuations – it has effectively at least doubled Revenues each year over the last three years and is on track to double Revenues again in FY’21 (fiscal years end in June).

However, as the early phase of growth dies down and Covid-19 related demand declines, could the company’s success be a flash in the pan? Or is Peloton building a sustainable competitive advantage? While it’s still too early to tell, we think that Peloton’s business model has a lot going for it.

High Switching Costs: Peloton’s business model focuses on building commitment via its pricey, but high-quality exercise bikes and treadmills. Once customers invest in its high-cost hardware, it’s likely that they will continue to pay for the monthly connected fitness subscription service (about $39 per month) to get the most out of their equipment. This is evident from the fact that churn rates stood at just 0.65% in Q1 FY’21 – well below most subscription-based digital services. [] The company is also looking to significantly broaden its reach, by launching slightly lower-priced equipment and indicating that it could eventually sell pre-owned bikes.

Favorable Experience For Users: The overall experience of spin classes and fitness lessons are highly dependent on the quality of instruction, and Peloton’s team of instructors have obtained celebrity-like fame. This is a big positive, as Peloton’s model scales well compared to physical fitness classes. The economics of owning a Peloton also compare favorably with gym memberships and spin classes. The average monthly cost of just a gym membership was about $58 in the U.S. in 2018, while Peloton’s connected program costs $39 a month and can also be shared among family members.

Brand Buzz, Social Features: Being one of the first movers in the connected fitness space, Peloton has built significant brand value. The company is also building social features that could help to engage users and build a sense of community around its platform. This network effect could also help to prevent customers from churning out of its platform. Peloton is also counting on its lower-priced digital fitness subscription ($13 per month) as an acquisition channel for its pricier equipment and connected fitness offering. The company said that Digital Subscriptions grew 382% to over 510,000 over Q1.

[9/11/2020] Peloton’s Valuation

Peloton (NASDAQ: PTON) is an at-home fitness company that sells connected exercise bikes and treadmills and related fitness subscriptions. The stock is up over 4x year-to-date, as the Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdowns caused people to stop going to gyms and fitness centers and work out from home, causing demand for the company’s products and services to soar.

Peloton now trades at about 8x projected FY’21 revenues, ahead of  which trades at about 6.5x. Does this make sense? We think it does. In this analysis, we take a look at the company’s financials, future prospects, and valuation. See our interactive analysis for more details. Parts of the analysis are summarized below.

An Overview of Peloton’s Business

Peloton Interactive sells connected fitness equipment including bikes (starting at about $1,900) and treadmills (starting at about $2500) with a monthly Connected Fitness Subscriptions ($39 per month), which streams and syncs instructor-led boutique classes to users bikes and the Peloton Digital Membership ($13 per month) which streams classes to mobile devices and smart TVs.

The company’s Product and Service bundle is positioned as an alternative to not just other exercise equipment, but to gyms and fitness center memberships. Although the company’s products are priced at a premium, the ecosystem – which combines hardware, software, and content – compares quite favorably in terms of price versus fitness classes and subscriptions. For perspective, the average monthly cost of just a gym membership was about $58 in the U.S. in 2018. [] While Peloton sells primarily to individuals, it also has some exposure to the commercial and hospitality markets.

Peloton’s Financials 

Peloton has been growing quickly. Revenues rose from about $440 million in FY’18 (fiscal year ends June) to about $1.83 billion in FY’20, – an annual rate of over 100%. Equipment sales rose from about $350 million in FY’18 to $1.46 billion in FY’20, with the company delivering 626k Bikes and Treads over 2020 alone. Subscription Revenues grew from about $80 million to $360 million, as the company’s base of connected fitness subscribers rose from 246k in FY’18 to about 1.09 million in FY’20.

Peloton’s total membership base rose to 3.1 million as of the end of FY’20, including users who only pay for its digital subscription (not connected to its equipment). Over FY’21, we expect Peloton’s Revenues to grow to almost $3.6 billion, driven by continued growth in equipment sales and a growing base of subscribers.

While Peloton remained loss-making as of last year, the economics of its business look favorable. Overall Gross Margins are thick at about 47% in FY’20 with hardware margins standing at 43%. In comparison, even Apple – an icon of hardware profitability – posted Gross Margins of less than that at 40% over its last fiscal. While Peloton’s Operating Costs have been trending higher, they have been growing slower than Revenue. With Revenue projected to double this year, Peloton appears to be on track to turn profitable.

Peloton’s Valuation

Peloton stock currently trades at levels of close to $130 per share, valued at about 8x projected FY’21 revenues. While the valuation multiple might appear rich, considering that Apple – the most established hardware/software/services play – trades at about 6.5x – we think it is largely justified. Peloton’s Growth has been solid – with Revenues doubling each year over the last two years and sales are likely to double in FY’21 as well.

Margins also have scope to improve meaningfully, considering the company’s high gross margins and low customer acquisition costs. Moreover, the company’s lucrative connected fitness subscription revenues are likely to be very sticky, as users who have invested in high-cost hardware are less likely to stop paying for its monthly service. Given the buzz surrounding the company’s brand, there may also be scope to double down on lifestyle and apparel products, taking on the likes of Lululemon and Nike.

That said, there are risks as well. Firstly, Peloton faces significant supply constraints at the moment. While a new manufacturing facility in Taiwan is likely to begin production at the end of the year, the company is still likely to miss out on some potential holiday demand. Secondly, as the Covid-19 pandemic eventually ends, investors could re-think the valuation of “at-home” stocks and this could at least temporarily impact Peloton’s valuation.

Separately, tech giants – with their deep pockets and software ecosystems – could play a bigger role in the connected fitness space, challenging Peloton. For instance, Apple recently launched its at-home workout app, Fitness Plus, which provides guided workouts and connects with Apple devices such as the Apple Watch.

E-commerce is eating into retail sales, but this might be an investment opportunity. See our theme onfor a diverse list of companies that stand to benefit from the big shift.

See all  and Download  here

Led by MIT engineers and Wall Street analysts, Trefis (through its dashboards platform dashboards.trefis.com) helps you understand how a company’s products, that you touch, read, or hear about everyday, impact its stock price. Surprisingly, the founders of Trefis discovered that along with most other people they just did not understand even the seemingly familiar companies around them: Apple, Google, Coca Cola, Walmart, GE, Ford, Gap, and others. This might include you though you may have invested money in these companies, or may have been working with one of them for years as an employee, or have consulted with them as an expert for a long time. You can play with assumptions, or try scenarios, as-well-as ask questions to other users and experts. The platform uses extensive data to show in a single snapshot what drives the value of a company’s business. Trefis is currently used by hundreds of thousands of investors, company employees, and business professionals.

Source: What’s Happening With Peloton Stock?

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Pingdemic Staff Shortages: How Business Can Cope With Isolating Employees

Despite the lifting of most legal COVID-19 restrictions on July 19, the pandemic’s effect on the health, economy and wellbeing of the English public is far from over. The latest development is in the form of the “pingdemic” –- the term referring to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been instructed to self-isolate in recent weeks via the NHS COVID-19 track and trace app.

The so-called pingdemic has had a massively disruptive effect on businesses, who are suffering from widespread staff shortages across sectors. Another casualty is the food supply chain. We are missing items on our supermarket shelves as a result of shortages of workers both because of the pingdemic and Brexit complications.

Meanwhile, there are concerns that people may be deleting or disabling the app, posing a threat to the attempts to control the spread of COVID variants. Business leaders, confused by conflicting government guidance, are now caught between the need to protect their employees’ health and safety, and to avoid the financial impact of closures after many months of lost income.

The government has attempted to combat this through an emergency plan to exempt NHS staff and some key workers, such as in the food supply industry, from isolating if they are pinged, so long as they take daily COVID tests and are fully vaccinated. But food bosses say they have not been properly briefed on what they think is a bureaucratic process to exempt workers.

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The app, despite its various flaws, is doing what it is designed to do -– businesses cannot ignore requirements to self-isolate, but must be flexible in how they handle employees who have been pinged.

Of course, as has been highlighted throughout the pandemic, there is a vast gap between jobs that can and cannot be done remotely. While no solution will be one-size-fits-all, there are a few things that businesses affected by isolating workers can do to mitigate the disruption and ensure the safety of both their employees and their business success.

How can businesses respond?

Now that we are hopefully on the way out of the depths of the pandemic, the pingdemic calls for businesses to persevere and innovate. This means that in the short term, they may need to rotate employees into different roles, as well as change existing ways of working.

Employers should make workplace changes to reduce the likelihood of contact with others and being pinged – whether this means returning to early-COVID days of social distancing, reduced opening hours, or more people working from home.

If they have not done so already, businesses who can afford to should set up isolation funds, independent of the government’s support payments for low-income individuals, to ensure that workers experience no financial impact from being asked to isolate. If a job cannot be done from home, employers could use the opportunity to invest in remote training or development for workers who are healthy but have been asked to isolate.

For sectors like social care and construction, partnerships with employment agencies could temporarily increase their pool of workers and provide a “safety net” of employees.

Businesses in sectors like retail and hospitality may have to initially operate under reduced hours. But looking to the longer term, they could learn to cope with staff shortages in different ways. For example, a warehouse operative may rotate to an administrative position while they are in isolation, or help to train agency workers remotely, or work on their own development and training.

HGV drivers are currently in high demand due to staff shortages in their industry. This has led to a potentially dangerous situation where some are driving for too many hours. Government plans to improve working conditions and recruit more drivers have not been received well, and industry groups are calling for longer-term proposals to combat the shortage, including better pay and new recruitment techniques.

Business leaders, like all citizens, have a moral responsibility to protect others and prevent further pressure on the NHS. They should respond in a way which protects their employees, and gives them adequate financial protection and flexibility to self-isolate, as well as making workplace changes to reduce the likelihood of being pinged.

Finally, as much as the pingdemic is a concern, it may also be a distraction from wider sociopolitical issues like Brexit, an ageing population, inflation and increasingly also youth unemployment – not to mention the continuing health threat of COVID-19.

Misinformation and outlandish claims are reaching a wider audience now more than ever. The Conversation publishes research-informed journalism by academics to help you understand what’s really happening. Our only aim is to make sure people hear from experts. But without your support, we won’t be able to keep going.

Authors:

Senior Lecturer in International Human Resource Management, University of Portsmouth

Reader in Leadership & Development, Manchester Metropolitan University

Source: Pingdemic staff shortages: how business can cope with isolating employees

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More Contents:

England’s new contact tracing app fixes privacy problems – whether it will work is another matter

Paying people to self-isolate saves lives and money

How COVID has affected UK businesses – and what happens after July 19

Saving the high street: what to do with empty department stores and shopping centres

Setting goals to beat previous efforts improves educational outcomes. And the gains are bigger for disadvantaged students

How missing out on nursery due to COVID has affected children’s development – new research

Health professionals work in teams: their training should prepare them

COVID school recovery: is England’s £1.4 billion catch-up plan a good idea?

Stress management: six lessons parents can take from pandemic homeschooling

How to bond with your baby if you were separated during the pandemic

Sexism and sport: why body-baring team uniforms are bad for girls and women

Why designing an Olympic logo is so difficult

Life lessons from beekeepers – stop mowing the lawn, don’t pave the driveway and get used to bugs in your salad

How could an Italian gallery sue over use of its public domain art?

Tokyo Olympics: why the stories of elite athletes make for such great childrens’ books

Love Island: how women with ‘fake’ faces have been belittled throughout history

England football fandom’s struggle with its own image

What the Euro 2020 referees can teach the Premier League

How To Deal With Toxic Workplaces and Office Cliques

Workplace cliques can affect your career progression and even your mental health. Here, women describe how they moved on from toxic workplace environments.

Remote working left us all feeling more distant from our work colleagues – but for some, a return to the office doesn’t mean restarting much-missed friendships.

43% of workers say that cliques are a feature of their workplace, and while not being invited out for lunch might seem like a relatively small slight, it can have deep emotional repercussions. Far from being an easily ignored snub, exclusion from workplace cliques can have a major impact on career progression, mental health, and work wellbeing.

Gaslighting at work: “I had the worst experience with my boss, but I learned one thing from it”

Rachel*, 32, lives in south-west London. She was forced to go freelance after she was the victim of an office clique while working in the magazine industry.

When I joined an interiors magazine, the office was painted as a female-led creative workplace. In reality, it was an extremely vicious environment. I quickly noticed that at lunchtimes the same groups of girls would dash off together. When I asked if I could join them, it became apparent that I wasn’t welcome. It was an environment fuelled by backstabbing, and I found that everyone’s workload [was based on] whether or not they fitted in with the dominant crowd.

There was a particularly bossy woman who was definitely the queen bee in our part of the office. I could deal with not being invited to lunch, but when she started actively sabotaging me – deleting files and unnecessarily returning all of my work and telling me to start again – I realized that I was never going to progress in that office. I was often the last person to receive meeting notifications or press releases, which made my job an awful lot harder. I pride myself in always trying to be kind and genuine, so I couldn’t see what I’d done wrong.

It wasn’t just my peers who were very cliquey. My manager was also in the group of women who excluded me, which meant that I felt powerless. Although I eventually went to HR, I was ultimately told that I was making up issues and was unfit for work. Looking back, it seems ridiculous that something like that was allowed to go on. It made every day horrible and going into the office unbearable.

Being excluded really impacted my mental health. I wanted my career to be a reflection of my work, not who I’d built a fake relationship with. The office was toxic, and I finally decided that I would rather work on my own and went freelance. After having such a terrible experience with workplace cliques, I’ll never go back to an office if I can avoid it.

Amber*, 33, from Shropshire made the decision to leave a large PR agency after feeling excluded from a workplace clique.

My previous workplace was utterly toxic. The office was dominated by a group of young and predominantly female graduates who ruled the roost in terms of popularity, praise and the unwavering support of the managing director. The office environment was so volatile that you never knew what to expect everyday – from huge celebrations with gifts and free lunches to being berated by your boss.

I realized how cliquey the office environment was when I found out that there was a separate group chat for about 25 employees to plan nights out and social activities. The group was deliberately hidden from other staff, and I’ve since heard that it was regularly used to discuss the shortcomings of colleagues.

On one occasion, a co-worker and I discovered that there was a bottomless brunch being organized – we made it known that we wanted to be involved, but on arrival we were essentially stood up. It turned out that our colleagues had deliberately gone to another venue without telling us.

Unfortunately, there was no HR department for the business, as the managing director claimed that he could handle it himself. However, when I went to him with a complaint he defended the behaviour of my cliquey co-workers. Knowing that I was being deliberately excluded was awful. It made me feel that I was doing something wrong – that I was unlikeable and unworthy of friends at work. My mental health was in tatters.

Days after I went on maternity leave, my parents and husband all commented that the ‘old Amber’ was back. It made me realize how terrible my workplace was, and the impact that it was having on me, and I decided not to return to my job. I now work for a much smaller company, which has been wonderful.

Sophia Husbands is a career coach and founder of The Go Getter. She shares advice on dealing with a cliquey workplace.

1) Communication is key – you need to demonstrate that you are in a place of business and are here to get a job done. Try taking individuals from the group aside and identifying common work objectives that create shared ground.

2) Try to find commonalities with colleagues, both within and outside of the clique. Even working remotely, you can send people a message to say ‘good morning’ or ask them about themselves. This can also be really helpful in changing the clique’s perception of you – you may find that they are basing their behavior on preconceived notions, perhaps because of jealousy.

3) Remember that you can still be empowered as an individual – you don’t have to be part of a clique to excel in your career. If you find that work cliques are impacting your self-esteem, try creating a ‘success file’ of your achievements. These don’t have to be just professional – it could be being a good aunt and taking your nieces to a museum for the first time, or a thank you note from someone that you’ve mentored. This will help to boost your confidence and remind you that you are a valuable team member.

4) Approaching HR or a manager can be a sensitive situation. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, consider first speaking to someone who has some distance from the situation. It could be a colleague from another department that you trust and respect. This will allow you to get neutral insight before making a decision on whether to approach a manager or HR. If you do decide to escalate a complaint then remember to be factual rather than emotional – you don’t want to be caught in a ‘he-said she-said’ scenario, so focus on providing information and context.

5) If you believe that you are being excluded at work as a result of discrimination you should raise this in a way that feels comfortable and safe to you. It’s best to take this to HR or a senior person that you trust – in many cases you may be able to do so anonymously. Often issues of racism or sexism are a problem with company culture and can have a very damaging impact on your mental and physical health, so HR have a duty to protect you.

By: Katie Bishop

Source: How to deal with toxic workplaces and office cliques

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More Contents:

Smartphones are Powerful Personal Pocket Computers – Should Schools Ban Them?

When the UK took its first steps out of national lockdown in April and schools reopened, education secretary Gavin Williamson announced the implementation of the behaviour hubs programme. And as part of this push to develop a school culture “where good behaviour is the norm”, he pushed for banning smartphones in schools.

Williamson claims that phones distract from healthy exercise and, as he put it, good old-fashioned play. And he says they act as a breeding ground for cyberbullying. Getting rid of them will, to his mind, create calm and orderly environments that facilitate learning. “While it is for every school to make its own policy,” he wrote, “I firmly believe that mobile phones should not be used or seen during the school day, and will be backing headteachers who implement such policies.”

The difficulty that teachers face is that there are often conflicting assessments of the risks and benefits of the constant influx of new devices in schools. As we found in our recent study, guidance for educators on how to navigate all this is limited. And there is no robust evaluation of the effect of school policies that restrict school-time smartphone use and there is limited evidence on how these policies are implemented in schools. So how can teachers approach this controversial subject?

We believe the best way to start is to reframe the smartphone itself. Rather than just a phone, it is more accurately described as a powerful pocket computer. It contains, among other things, a writing tool, a calculator and a huge encyclopaedia.

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Suggesting that children use smartphones in ways that help them learn, therefore, seems hardly radical. The perennial debate about banning phones needs to shift to thinking about how best to help schools better design school phone policies and practices that can enrich their pupils’ learning, health and wellbeing. And for that, we can start by looking at the evidence on phone use by young people.

We know that most adolescents own a smartphone. When used appropriately and in moderation, they can provide multiple benefits in terms of learning, behaviour and connection with peers. There is also evidence that technology use in classrooms can support learning and attainment.

The operative word here, though, is “moderation”. Excessive use of smartphones (and other digital devices) can lead to heightened anxiety and depression, neglecting other activities, conflict with peers, poor sleep habits and an increased exposure to cyberbullying.

Then there’s everything we don’t yet fully understand about the impact – good or bad – that smartphone use may have on children. No one does. This has been reflected in recent research briefings and reports published by the UK government: they recognise the risks and benefits of phone use, and report that it is essential that schools are better supported to make decisions about their use in school with evidence-based guidance.

Playing catch-up

To investigate existing school positions on phone and media use, we interviewed and did workshops with more than 100 teenagers across years nine to 13, along with teachers, community workers and international specialists in school policies and health interventions.

We found that teachers tend to be scared of phones. Most of them said this was because they didn’t know how pupils are using their phones during school hours. Amid pressures regarding assessment, safeguarding and attendance, phones are simply not a priority. Issuing a blanket ban is often just the easiest option.

Teachers too recognise the benefits, as well as the risks, of smartphone use. But, crucially, they don’t have the necessary guidance, skills and tools to parse seemingly contradictory information. As one teacher put it: “Do we allow it, do we embrace it, do we engage students with it, or do we completely ignore it?”

Different approaches

This is, of course, a worldwide challenge. Looking at how different institutions in different cultural settings are tackling it is instructive. Often, similar motivations give rise to very different approaches.

The mould-breaking Agora school in Roermond, in the Netherlands, for example, allows ubiquitous phone use. Their position is that teenagers won’t learn how to use their phones in a beneficial way if they have to leave them in their lockers.

By contrast, governments in Australia, France and Canada are urging schools to restrict phone use during the day in a bid to improve academic outcomes and decrease bullying.

Teachers need a new type of training that helps them to critically evaluate – with confidence – both academic evidence and breaking news. Working with their students in deciding how and when phones can be used could prove fruitful too.

Accessing information

Academic research takes time to publish, data is often incomprehensible to non-experts and papers reporting on findings are often subject to expensive journal subscription prices. Professional development providers, trusts and organisations therefore must do more to make it easier for teachers to access the information they need to make decisions.

New data alone, though, isn’t enough. Researchers need be prepared to translate their evidence in ways that educators can actually use to design better school policies and practices.

The children’s author and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen recently made the point that “we are living in an incredible time: whole libraries, vast banks of knowledge and multimedia resources are available to us via an object that fits in our pockets”.

That doesn’t sound like something educators should ignore. Findings from our study add to the current debate by suggesting that new evidence and new types of teacher training are urgently needed to help schools make informed decisions about phone use in schools.

Authors:

Senior Lecturer in Pedagogy in Sport, Physical Activity and Health, University of Birmingham

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), University of Birmingham

Reader in Public Health & Epidemiology, University of Birmingham

Source: Smartphones are powerful personal pocket computers – should schools ban them?

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Critics:

The use of mobile phones in schools by students has become a controversial topic debated by students, parents, teachers and authorities. People who support the use of cell phones believe that these phones are essential for safety by allowing children to communicate with their parents and guardians, could simplify many school matters, and it is important in today’s world that children learn how to deal with new media properly as early as possible.

To prevent distractions caused by mobile phones, some schools have implemented policies that restrict students from using their phones during school hours. Some administrators have attempted cell phone jamming, but this practice is illegal in certain jurisdictions. The software can be used in order to monitor and restrict phone usage to reduce distractions and prevent unproductive use. However, these methods of regulation raise concerns about privacy violation and abuse of power.

Phone use in schools is not just an issue for students and teachers but also for other employees of educational institutions. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, while no state bans all mobile phone use for all drivers, twenty states and the District of Columbia prohibit school bus drivers from using mobile phones.[38] School bus drivers have been fired or suspended for using their phones or text-messaging while driving.

Cellphone applications have been created to support the use of phones in school environments. As of February 2018, about 80,000 applications are available for teacher use. A variety of messaging apps provide communication for student-to-student relationships as well as teacher-to-student communication. Some popular apps for both students, teachers, and parents are Remind and ClassDojo. About 72% of top-selling education apps on iOS are for preschoolers and elementary school students. These apps offer many different services such as language translation, scheduled reminders and messages to parents.

See also

Long Working Hours Killing 745,000 People a Year, Study Finds

 

The first global study of its kind showed 745,000 people died in 2016 from stroke and heart disease due to long hours.The report found that people living in South East Asia and the Western Pacific region were the most affected.

The WHO also said the trend may worsen due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The research found that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared with a working week of 35 to 40 hours.

The study, conducted with the International Labour Organization (ILO), also showed almost three quarters of those that died as a result of working long hours were middle-aged or older men.

Often, the deaths occurred much later in life, sometimes decades later, than the long hours were worked.Five weeks ago, a post on LinkedIn from 45-year-old Jonathan Frostick gained widespread publicity as he described how he’d had a wake-up call over long working hours.

The regulatory program manager working for HSBC had just sat down on a Sunday afternoon to prepare for the working week ahead when he felt a tightness in his chest, a throbbing in his throat, jawline and arm, and difficulty breathing.

“I got to the bedroom so I could lie down, and got the attention of my wife who phoned 999,” he said.While recovering from his heart-attack, Mr Frostick decided to restructure his approach to work. “I’m not spending all day on Zoom anymore,” he said.

His post struck a chord with hundreds of readers, who shared their experiences of overwork and the impact on their health.Mr Frostick doesn’t blame his employer for the long hours he was putting in, but one respondent said: “Companies continue to push people to their limits without concern for your personal well-being.”

HSBC said everyone at the bank wished Mr Frostick a full and speedy recovery.”We also recognise the importance of personal health and wellbeing and a good work-life balance. Over the last year we have redoubled our efforts on health and wellbeing.

“The response to this topic shows how much this is on people’s minds and we are encouraging everyone to make their health and wellbeing a top priority.”

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While the WHO study did not cover the period of the pandemic, WHO officials said the recent jump in remote working and the economic slowdown may have increased the risks associated with long working hours.

“We have some evidence that shows that when countries go into national lockdown, the number of hours worked increase by about 10%,” WHO technical officer Frank Pega said.

The report said working long hours was estimated to be responsible for about a third of all work-related disease, making it the largest occupational disease burden.

The researchers said that there were two ways longer working hours led to poor health outcomes: firstly through direct physiological responses to stress, and secondly because longer hours meant workers were more likely to adopt health-harming behaviours such as tobacco and alcohol use, less sleep and exercise, and an unhealthy diet.

Andrew Falls, 32, a service engineer based in Leeds, says the long hours at his previous employer took a toll on his mental and physical health.”Fifty to 55 hour weeks were the norm. I was also away from home for weeks on end.”

“Stress, depression, anxiety, it was a cauldron of bad feedback loops,” he says. “I was in a constant state of being run down.”After five years he left the job to retrain as a software engineer. The number of people working long hours was increasing before the pandemic struck, according to the WHO, and was around 9% of the total global population.

In the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that people working from home during the pandemic were putting in an average of six hours of unpaid overtime a week. People who did not work from home put in an average of 3.6 hours a week overtime, the ONS said.

The WHO suggests that employers should now take this into account when assessing the occupational health risks of their workers. Capping hours would be beneficial for employers as that had been shown to increase productivity, Mr Pega said. “It’s really a smart choice to not increase long working hours in an economic crisis.”

Source: Long working hours killing 745,000 people a year, study finds – BBC News

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References

“Spain introduces new working hours law requiring employees to clock in and out”. Idealista. Retrieved 30 April 2020.

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