In the The Life Scientific on BBC Radio 4
Professor Sir Michael Marmot was speaking about the social determinants of health. Of particular interest to us was being reminded of his shocking finding that the lower a person's status the shorter his or her life! Like business, this social gradient in health is international. And - perhaps something we can do more about - the most stressful work situation is where there are a high levels of demand on an individual but he or she has low control over the situation and low support (from the system, their boss, their colleagues...and in some cases, presumably, their customers and/or subordinates). This ongoing stress is a precursor to diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases. In addition to the obvious implications for health policy-making, these findings also draw attention to the importance of autonomy in the workplace - long acknowledged as a factor for job satisfaction - and the need for empowerment which has enjoyed fashionable rhetoric in recent years. Unfortunately, I think that the many reported clumsy and sometimes cosmetic gestures towards empowerment only serve to increase the demands on people without at the same time giving them either sufficient real control or proper support and thus instead of reducing stress at work actually increases it. We will be addressing the practicalities of these factors with the managers attending the new People & Performance course being launched in Spring 2012.
Please click on this link to listen to the full programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016ld4q
For more details on The Praxis Centre's personal development programmes, please call Mary Mills, Business Director of The Praxis Centre on +44 (0) 1234 754502 or e-mail email@example.com.
Dr Jacquie Drake is a Visiting Fellow at The Praxis Centre