Science shows missing sleep can ruin your career

White collar, blue collar, clergy collar, shirt-optional: If you’re part of the workforce, then you probably work in an industry infected by burnout, because the occupational stress disorder is a full-on epidemic, according to behavior science. Burnout might be most prevalent in healthcare — somewhere between 25 percent and 60 percent of med students and practicing doctors are, you guessed it, seriously b-ed out. But educators, social workers, lawyers, journalists, customer service reps and, well, members of the general working population, are struggling to keep their flames lit too.

Does burnout deserve the public-health spotlight it gets? I’ve had my doubts. I’ve said things like “it’s called work for a reason.” But I’ve changed my tune. We spend more time working than doing nearly anything else in our lives (even sleep). Researchers should, by all means, analyze different work environments to understand why some optimistic workers turn into drained, dispirited sacks of DGAF. Because burnout isn’t a 9-5 affliction. In studies, it’s consistently associated with poor overall well-being and health issues — notably insomnia and other sleep disorders. In fact, one such study, recently published in the journal BMJ Open, suggests that poor shuteye explains why some workers burn out from high-demand, low-power jobs while others can totally deal.

The term burnout formally showed up in research in 1974, when the psychologist Herbert Freudenberger noticed formerly idealistic volunteers at a mental health clinic exhibiting “loss of motivation, growing sense of emotional depletion, and cynicism,” according to The Observer. While definitions for burnout vary, it’s generally thought of as a state of stress defined by three things: 1) emotional exhaustion; 2) depersonalization, which describes cynical, detached feelings toward coworkers and/or clients (or patients or customers); 3) reduced personal accomplishment.

What leaves workers feeling like detached do-nothings? They might be stuck in jobs that require too much, reward too little and don’t fit their personalities. One new study suggests that burnout bubbles up when employers try to impose meaning on work that employees don’t authentically find meaningful. Another oft-mentioned cause of burnout is the neverending workday — the smartphone-as-a-leash syndrome. In one famous effort to give workers a break, France enacted an after-work email ban last year.

And poor sleep seems to unite burnt-out workers in all sorts of crappy, stressful job situations.

Burnout has consistently been linked to sleep problems, including insomnia and non-restorative sleep disorder, which happens when people get enough sleep but still don’t feel refreshed. Studies, however, differ in how they frame the relationship between between burnout and sleep. Some research says insomnia triggers burnout (and not the other way around), while at least one study says the relationship is bidirectional, meaning insomnia could cause burnout or burnout could cause insomnia, and then both issues mutually reinforce each other.

Click here to read the full article on Business Insider.

 

 

7 signs you’re a leader people want to follow

It’s not always easy to gauge how you’re doing as a boss.

Your reports aren’t always likely to tell you how you’re undermining their performance — or even what you’re doing well that they’d like to see more of.

The best solution to this problem is probably to ask for direct feedback. But where to start?

We’ve rounded up seven signs, based on research and expert opinion, that you’re doing a great job of rallying and motivating your team. Ask yourself how much each trait or behavior describes you, and consider asking your employees the same.

You’re generally positive

Research from 2015 suggests that happy people make more effective leaders.

That’s largely because they’re more likely to display transformational leadership, which means they’re especially good at inspiring and motivating their team and stimulating them intellectually.

Interestingly, according to the research, positivity was an even better predictor of leadership effectiveness than extroversion — a personality trait we typically associate with successful bosses.

This isn’t to say that you should force yourself to smile and laugh at every team meeting. Instead, it might be more helpful for those in the position of selecting future leaders to be mindful of those candidates’ overall affect.

You’re not afraid of change

Young managers are perceived as more effective than their older counterparts, according to a study of more than 65,000 leaders conducted by leadership development consultancy Zenger/Folkman.

One key reason why? They welcome novelty.

Zenger/Folkman says it’s possible that younger managers’ relative lack of experience means they’re more optimistic about the changes they propose and more willing to be the “champions of change.”

You’re pretty boring

The technical term is “emotional maturity,” which means being emotionally stable, agreeable, and conscientious.

As business psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic writes in The Harvard Business Review, “[T]he best managers in the world tend to be stable rather than excitable, consistent rather than erratic, as well as polite and considerate.”

That might be part of the reason why Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, is so successful. Rather than being emotionally volatile, like Steve Jobs for example, Pichai is reported to be predictable and to stay out of the spotlight.

In other words, Jobs is more the exception than the rule — better to emulate Pichai if you’re hoping to lead your team to greatness.

You demonstrate integrity

Chamorro-Premuzic also suggests that integrity is a key component of leadership effectiveness. Acting in unethical or counterproductive ways will ultimately undermine you and your organization.

In fact, one analysis found that CEOs rated as high-integrity by their employees had a multi-year return of 9.4%, while CEOs rated as low-integrity saw a return of only 1.9%.

Psychologist Travis Bradberry highlights several traps that leaders fall into, which can undermine their integrity.

One such trap is making everything about them — instead, you’ll want to actively solicit questioning and criticism. Another is micromanaging — remember that productivity looks different for leaders and individual employees. Give people a chance to do their jobs well on their own.

Click here to read the full Business Insider article.

 

Where Do You Fit In? Data Shows How Americans Spend Their Time

Where do you fit in?

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey lays everything out. For days that Americans work, here are some highlights:

  • Employed people spend an average of 7.6 hours on the job.
  • The percentage of workers doing some or all of their work at home has grown from 19 percent in 2003 to 24 percent in 2015. Management, business and financial operations occupations had the highest percentage of people working from home, at 38 percent.
  • Workers age 25 and over who had more education (a bachelor’s degree or higher) were the most likely to do some or all of their work from home, at 39 percent.
  AVERAGE HOURS/DAY* WOMEN MEN
Work and work-related activities 8 hours, 46 minutes 8 hours, 28 minutes 8 hours, 58 minutes
Sleeping 7 hours, 53 minutes 7 hours, 55 minutes 7 hours, 51 minutes
Leisure and sports 3 hours, 6 minutes 2 hours, 46 minutes 3 hours, 20 minutes
Eating and drinking 1 hour, 5 minutes 1 hour, 1 minute 1 hour, 8 minutes
Housework 58 minutes 1 hour, 16 minutes 46 minutes
Caring for household members 25 minutes 29 minutes 23 minutes
Shopping 28 minutes 35 minutes 23 minutes

*For people employed full time on days they worked, 2015. 

While these averages have shifted over the years, there are still some notable differences between how men and women use their time.

  • On a typical day, 85 percent of women and 67 percent of men spent time doing work around the house, such as cleaning, cooking and lawn care. These numbers have stayed relatively consistent over the years.
  • From 2003 to 2015, the percentage of men doing food preparation or cleanup at home increased from 35 percent to 43 percent. But women still spend more time in the kitchen; in 2015, 70 percent of women did food preparation and cleanup work on a typical day.
  • From 2011 to 2015, women with a child under age 6 spent 1 hour providing physical care (such as bathing or feeding a child). In comparison, men spent 25 minutes on an average day providing that same care.

The survey captures much more detailed information than is presented here. For example, the primary way most Americans relax is by watching television, at 2.8 hours per day. For people 15 and older, watching TV accounted for more than half their leisure time. The next most common way to unwind? Hanging out with friends or heading to a social event took up 41 minutes per day, on average.

Explore all of the data at bls.gov/tus. And let us know if this looks like your average day!

Author Megan Kindelan is a public affairs specialist for the Labor Department at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.