Creating Healthy Organizations by Graham Lowe

Redesiging Work A Blueprint for Canada's Future Well-being and Prosperity
Now Available!

Creating Healthy Organizations by Graham Lowe

Creating Healthy Organizations Graham's new book describes how to strengthen the links between people and performance.

Creating Healthy Organizations The Wellness Dividend

How employers can improve employees health and productivity.

Author Graham Lowe's keynote talk on How Vibrant Workplaces Inspire Employees

Watch Graham Lowe's talk at the 2014 ComCare National Conference, Melbourne, Australia

News from February 2004

The tired company syndrome
(Feb. 24 '04)
John Graham's article on the tired company syndrome in the February 3, 2004, issue of Direct Marketing Magazine asks pointed questions about why some companies look, feel and act tired. Tired companies are the anthesis of 'great' companies. Here are 11 of the more obvious symptoms: 1. A dated look and feel. 2. A rigid self-image. 3. A failure to challenge themselves. 4. Always opt for the sure thing. 5. A propensity for the past. 6. A zero tolerance for new ideas. 7. Always behind the technological curve. 8. Drowning in self-absorption. 9. Everything is dull, dull, dull. 10. Decision making is painful. 11. Shrouded in a pervasive paranoia. I would add a 12th symptom: these are stifling places to work, too.
New study links downsizing to health problems
(Feb. 23 '04)
New research from Finland published in the British Medical Journal (, February 23, 2004, reports that corporate downsizing (reduction in personnel) may increase sickness absence and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease in employees who keep their jobs. Researchers identified 22,430 municipal employees in four Finnish towns, who kept their jobs during a national recession between 1991 and 1993. Rates of sickness absence and deaths were monitored for over seven years. Major downsizing (more than 18% reduction in personnel) was associated with an increase in sickness absence in permanent employees but not in temporary employees. Employees who had experienced major downsizing were also twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease, particularly during the first four years after downsizing. These results should be interpreted within the framework of work stress, say the authors. For instance, downsizing may act as a trigger for fatal cardiovascular disease and a prognostic factor in people with pre-existing cardiovascular disease. In the global economy, downsizing has become an increasingly important trend. Policy makers, employers, and occupational health professionals should recognise that downsizing may pose a severe risk to health, they conclude.
Islands of stability help reduce work stress
(Feb. 22 '04)
Ensuring that employees have 'islands of stability' will help to reduce in the stressful impacts of work stress, according to a new book published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Britain.
Executive perks under close scrutiny
(Feb. 22 '04)
Alex Berenson's article "From Coffee to Jets, Perks for Executives Come Out in Court" in the New York Times, February 22, documents growing criticism from many US quarters of lavish exec perks that seem to have no limit. He writes: "Such extravagances draw criticism from an unlikely combination of corporate watchdog groups and management consultants who create executive pay packages. By avoiding expenses lower-level employees must pay, executives will only worsen the cynicism that ordinary Americans and professional investors have about them, the critics say. 'It just reflects a disconnect from the way that average people live,' said Diane Doubleday, a principal at Mercer Human Resource Consulting."
Stresses of customer service work
(Feb. 8 '04)
An article (6 Feb 2004) by Sue Shellenbarger, in The Wall Street Journal , looks at the results of telling off customer-service staff. Abusive customers have to be managed in an era that values 'customer relations', but this is not easy for staff to handle. They take the stress generated by these demanding customers home wtih them.
Why visions fail
(Feb. 4 '04)
The January/February 2004 issue of the Ivey Business Journal is devoted to leadership. One of the articles, WALKING THE TALK (REALLY!): WHY VISIONS FAIL, by Mark Lipton, examines why leaders may be able to articulate a vision, but very few actually live the vision each day. However, a leader who lives, breathes and weaves the vision into the fabric of an organization inspires everyone to a higher performance every day. Vision is especially important for building healthy and productive work environments.