Newsletter 64 – February/March 2012

Newsletter 64 – February/March 2012

Posted by Jan Lawrence

Welcome to the first In Equilibrium of 2012

Since we’re sending this out on the day when women can historically be on the front foot and ask for their sweethearts hand in marriage, we thought we’d take the chance to ask for your questions … but don’t worry, we don’t want those of a marital nature!

This edition’s highlights include:

  • The chance to receive either a healthy or unhealthy treat, just for asking a question
  • A stress tip which may help to rejuvenate you during the remainder of this winter and beyond
  • The answer to an ‘Ask The Expert’ problem regarding the integration of new and reluctant team members into an already tight knit and established team
  • A link to an article explaining how a local council managed to reduce by two-thirds their figure for employees who had been absent for more than 100 days

In Equilibrium News

Blog articles – we have recently posted a couple of articles on our blog which may be of interest. You can view our blog here

The first is an extract from our Stress Management Training for Managers course and offers some suggestions about how to look for “pressure-reducers

The second is taken from our Resiliency training and is entitled “Internal vs. External Locus of Control“. It concerns the degree to which you perceive outcomes are affected by your behaviour and is one of the major building blocks to increasing resilience.

New Consultant joins the Team – we are delighted to welcome Martin Faiers to our team of nationwide consultants.  Martin is a training consultant and corporate coach who can offer a wealth of experience gained from working with a wide range of organisations.  His particular areas of interest are Resilience Skills, Stress Management and Employee Engagement.  Martin’s biography is available on our website or by using the following link – Martin Faiers.

Testimonials Page – we regularly update our What Our Clients Say page as we know how important it is for customers to check out a supplier prior to making a commitment to use them.  We are also only too happy to provide references on request, please contact Alastair Taylor by email or telephone 0131 476 5027.

Please Ask Us – we know that our Ask the Expert Question and Answer section is always one of the best read items within the newsletter (past questions are also available on the blog section of our website).  However, we are running low of questions that readers would like our advice on.

Questions are received confidentially and printed anonymously, so if you have a problem or situation which would benefit from one of our experts’ advice, please email it to us at  We’ll even send out either a healthy or unhealthy treat for each question received, so please remember to include your preference and also an address to which you’d like it sent.

Stress Management Tip

In this edition we find out the importance of “staying out of your own head” when you are trying to get a good night’s sleep.
Read our stress tip here

Ask The Expert

We answer a question from a manager who has reservations about the effect of two new but reluctant staff on the team as a whole.

“I am the manager of a small, cohesive team and, due to restructuring, now have 2 extra members of staff.  The members of my team have all worked together for many years and I am worried that the team will become divided and less motivated due to new personalities joining them.  It doesn’t help matters that the 2 new members are rather reluctant as they have been redeployed into my department and have to take on new roles.  Is there any practical advice you can offer to help me keep my team motivated and help integrate the new team members?”

In Equilibrium Consultant, Dot Gourlay, explains why the new situation should be viewed positively and offers some practical suggestions as to how the manager should approach this major change to their team.

Read her answer here

If you found our answer helpful, you may be interested in reading the following article which Dot Gourlay created: The three basic principles for resolving conflict

Dot Gourlay’s profile is available here

Amanda’s Column

Amanda wonders why it’s necessary to make such a fuss over a zero
Read Amanda’s column here


Time for Change
The Time for Change campaign aims to change attitudes and behaviour and is attempting to end the stigma and discrimination which faces people with mental health problems.  Organisations and individuals can get involved and the website contains lots of information and advice for both employers and employees.
Further details are available here about our own one-day Mental Health Awareness Training course

The Essential Work and Cancer Toolkit
Macmillan has created this free toolkit to ensure that those affected by cancer are effectively supported should they wish to remain in, or return to, work.  It contains practical advice, top tips and guidance for HR professionals, managers and employees.

Recognising Stroke Symptoms
We all know that time is of the essence regarding the treatment of those who have suffered a stroke but how many of us would recognise the symptoms?  The FAST campaign by the Department of Health gets the message across with four simple instructions.
Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland also have a downloadable poster and wallet card on their website to help get the message across.


“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise”
Sigmund Freud
Austrian Neurologist and Psychoanalyst
(1856 – 1939)

“Ah! Que la vie est quotidienne”
(“Oh, what a day-to-day business life is”)
Jules Laforgue
Franco Uruguayan poet
(1860 – 1887)

News from the Outside

Middle Managers suffer most from Workplace Stress, CIPD survey revealsThe CIPD quarterly Employee Outlook survey of 2000 employees has highlighted that middle managers health and wellbeing should not be ignored as those saying they are under “excessive pressure” every day are at particular risk of work-related stress and burnout.

Work/life Balance ranks higher than Stress as the biggest health concern for Employers, says GRiD
According to a survey of 500 medium and large employers by Group Risk Development, more than a third of those questioned said taking steps in 2012 to improve employees work/life balance was a top priority.

Hertfordshire Councils “Transformation Programme” slashes Sickness Absence
In this article, Louise Tibbert, Head of Organisational Development, explains how Hertfordshire Council reduced overall absence rates, slashed long term absence and offers some tips as to how she thinks success can be ensured.  Please note: To see this article in full you are required to create a free account.

Are smartphones adding to workplace stress?
Although useful for employees “dead time” when Smartphone usage slips into their “leisure time” they pose a whole new dilemma for bosses and HR departments regarding work/life balance and healthy working habits.

… and finally …

Don’t feel guilty about enjoying a good gossip

According to this article our need to gossip goes back to our cavemen days and today it is still an important element of group cohesion.  You may discover why your need to know who’s said what to whom could be vital to your well-being.

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter.  We are always delighted to hear from our readers, so if you would like to share your comments or suggestions with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us at :