Newsletter Issue 44 Summer 2008

Newsletter Issue 44 Summer 2008

Posted by Ellie McLavin

Welcome to the summer edition of “In Equilibrium

In our June/July issue, along with our regular items, we also have a special offer for you; further details about our annual conference; a special section which looks at some stress stories from around the globe; and an article which suggests how an HR manager can present a strong case for work-related stress management training.

We hope you will find time to have a browse and would like to wish you a restful and relaxing break if you have a summer holiday planned over the coming months.

In Equilibrium News

Equality and Diversity Training

With growing evidence that people are concerned with the social and ethical dimension of their work, we can now offer a one-day in-house workshop on this subject which tackles why organisations should treat their employees fairly and the benefits to be gained by managing diversity effectively.

3 Case Studies incorporated into our Conference Programme

This year our annual conference Workplace Stress, Resilience and Well-being offers you the chance to hear from no less than three speakers from organisations who are actively addressing health and well-being issues for their staff. Dr Adrian Chojnacki from GlaxoSmithKline will explain how GSKs occupational health function has developed; Matthew Thomas from Ernst & Young will describe the support infrastructure and strategy in place for the health and well-being of their people; and Amanda Hinkley from Winchester & Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust will review the impact of their recent Healthy Workplace strategy six months since its inception.

The conference takes place at the CBI Conference Centre, London on Thursday 20th November.

As you know, it is really important to us that we have your correct details. We also want to ensure that you receive emails from us at a frequency that suits you.

Stress Management Tip

Our tip this month looks at how Thomas Edison’s approach towards his invention of the electric light is still relevant today.

 If people are the most important asset of a company, why do HR Managers’ experience such difficulty persuading their senior management team to spend money enhancing the well-being of their workforce?

Using a fictitious haulage company as an example, our director, Alastair Taylor, proposes a dialogue which may help the HR Managers case and allow their Management to see the way forward in what is rapidly becoming the number one corporate health issue, work-related stress.


We found the following websites interesting: is a clever little site developed to encourage walking around cities both from an exercise point of view and to cut down on traffic emissions. You can enter your start point and destination and will be provided with a map, written directions, journey time (for slow, medium and fast walkers), calories you will burn (again for the three speeds) and the CO2 you have avoided (with figures for car, taxi and bus). They will also work with companies to survey employees travel patterns, provide a customized walking route planner on their intranet and then run an internal walk tall campaign. is an inspirational site to dip in to. TED (technology, entertainment, design) was set up in 1984, initially to bring people from these three worlds together. However, their annual conference now challenges some of the worlds most fascinating thinkers and doers to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. This site lets you to listen to the best talks and performances for free and allows you to search by theme, title or speaker.

Amanda’s Column

In this issue Amanda wonders why there’s an upward age limit on an otherwise very well-balanced project.

Stress in the News

In the 3rd edition of Key Trends in Human Capital, particular focus is placed on financial results and their direct relationship with human capital performance. The authors intend the report to provide practical guidance to human capital practitioners. A limited number of key issues are identified that will have a significant effect upon an organisations future success in order to provide insight into where management attention should focus.

Mental Health at Work

Half of employers think that none of their workers will ever experience mental ill health. Yet in reality one in six have a mental health problem at any one time.

Angela Greatley, Chief Executive of the Sainsbury Centre welcomes Dame Carol Blacks report on Working for a Healthier Tomorrow and feels that the NHS should lead by example by “demonstrating to other employers how to create a mentally healthy workplace and the gains that accrue from it”.

Absence Special: stress – in the grip of it With stress continuing to be the biggest cause of workplace absence, Sally OReilly reports for Personnel Today Magazine on what practical measures HR can take to rehabilitate sick staff and prevent stress taking over.

Sky high salaries fail to please workers – 5th Annual Happiness Index reveals the secret to job satisfaction City & Guilds have announced their findings based on research carried out from a sample of 1000 employees across 20 professions. They found that the number one factor for ensuring job satisfaction was not financial reward but having an interest in what you were doing.

Stress in the News Internationally

We thought you may be interested in the following articles which cover stress related issues in other countries.

International Business Report 2007

Global Overview

Grant Thornton have published their annual business report which in 2007 was based on interviews carried out with 7200 privately held businesses across 32 economies and provides insights into their views and expectations. Pages 24-26 come under the sub-heading, Stress and give some interesting statistics regarding stress level increases; the top and bottom 10 economies reporting a stress increase; as well as the average hours different economies work per week. They conclude by saying that … Acknowledging stress and taking action to combat it by using the range of knowledge and ideas that now exists is in the best interests of all organisations.

Workers Mental Health and Stress Affecting Business Results in Canada

According to new research by Watson Wyatt, global business consultants, mental health issues and increasing stress levels are not being addressed by Canadian employers. They found that mental health issues were the leading cause in both long and short term disability claims and feel that unless organizations and society start doing a better job addressing the major causes of time away from work, the hidden costs will only get worse.

Finding New Ways to Become Resilient

A positive article from New England which tells readers why the Department of Homeland Security decided to award a grant to a training company to teach resilience in the face of disasters and prolonged crises, to public safety workers. The psychologist who founded the Maine Resilience Programme said …Ensuring public safety personnel can handle the mental rigors of the job – particularly during an extended crisis like Hurricane Katrina – is as important as physical conditioning and technical know-how.


There is more to life than increasing its speed Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Statesman (1869 – 1948)

I would rather think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to come together and make sense.

Rabbi Harold Kushner (1935 – )

Thank you for taking the time to read our Newsletter, we would be delighted to hear from you with any feedback you would like to offer – the good, the bad but hopefully not too much of the ugly!