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The Working Mother's Blog

Archive for December, 2007

Work Friends


Do you have close friends at work?

If you do, chances are you’re more productive. So claims Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without. A friend of mine sent me this information and I had to share:

According to Rath’s Gallup Organization research, employees who have a best friend in the office are generally more productive, more likely to engage positively with customers, share new ideas, and stay longer in a job.

Some of Rath’s findings:

People with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their job. They get more work done in less time, have fewer accidents, more engaged customers and are more likely
to innovate and share new ideas.

People with at least 3 close work friends were 46% more likely to be extremely satisfied with their job — and 88% more likely to be satisfied with their lives.

What’s interesting is that many companies actually discourage workplace friendships. Specifically, nearly one-third of the 80,000 managers and leaders interviewed by Gallup agreed with the statement that “familiarity breeds contempt.”

But according to Rath, companies which discourage workplace friendship are actually harming themselves.

“When we asked people if they would rather have a best friend at work or a 10% pay raise, having a friend clearly won,” says Rath. “Friendships are among the most fundamental of human needs.”

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Wednesday, December 12th, 2007 at 11:40 am |

Holiday Stress


Are you as stressed as I am? Chanukah arrived last night but instead of sharing a family meal and giving gifts, we were running around so we could attend our daughter’s winter choir concert. Why the schools schedule stuff then (on top of homework she had — so SHE was stressed too) is beyond me. Indeed, when holiday stress is placed on top of already excessively high stress levels individuals feel year-round, it’s no wonder the holiday season is one of the most demanding times of the year.  Just type holiday stress into the Google search bar and more than 7 million results pop up.

Consider these findings:

According to an Opinion Research study conducted in October 2007, 48 percent of women experience more stress during the holidays compared to other times of the year. (Opinion Research, 10/07)

More than 80 percent of individuals report that they take no additional steps to manage their stress during this time of year. With hectic schedules and added holiday demands, Americans report that they are increasingly likely to turn to unhealthy behaviors such as comfort eating (56%), drinking more alcohol (30%) and sedentary activities like sleeping and watching TV (43%).( American Psychological Association 2006 poll on holiday stress)

Almost three-quarters of Americans report that money and work are significant sources of stress in their lives. (American Psychological Association, 2007 Stress in America survey. The holidays then compound the pressure. (APA’s 2006 poll on holiday stress)

“With the holidays and New Year’s still a few weeks away, we’re at the tip of the iceberg in terms of holiday stress.  But, we’re already seeing first-hand the toll it’s taking on employees,� says August Stieber, National Sales Director of Bensinger, DuPont & Associates (BDA), a national EAP firm.  “BDA has seen approximately a 20% increase in mental health cases in November 2007 when comparing the data to the same time last year.�

Stieber offers these simple tips for balancing holiday cheer with holiday stress:

1.       Know how stress affects you.
2.       Time management during the holiday season is needed for even the most organized individual.
3.       Balance the end of the year work projects with your personal time.  If you have more stress at work you may want to think about not adding so many social events to your calendar.
4.       The quality of interactions/social events is better than the quantity of interactions.
5.       Take the time to be in the moments with the people you care about. It usually gives us energy to make it through the season.

Any other tips?

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Wednesday, December 5th, 2007 at 9:47 am |


About this blog
The blog of two busy, multi-tasking moms on balancing work and family (and still getting dinner — even if it’s take-out) on the table!

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About the authors
Jeanne MuchnickJeanne Muchnick is a multi-tasking mama who's been writing about her two girls ever since they were born. She's the former Editor of Baby Magazine turned InTown Senior Editor whose parenting stories have also appeared in a variety of national consumer magazines including Woman's Day, Healthy Kids, Parents, Parenting, Pregnancy, FamilyFun and more. She lives in Larchmont, NY with her two girls: Corey, 14 and Sydney, 11, her husband, Mark and her flat coated retriever, Chip.
Mary Lynn
MitchamMary Lynn Mitcham, the editor-in-chief of InTown Westchester, is new to the mom scene. Her son, Owen, was born on the Fourth of July, 2006. Needless to say, she's still trying to figure out how to get herself - and her son - dressed and fed and still make it on time to work. Before she joined InTown and motherhood, she worked as a senior editor at Travel Holiday magazine and has freelanced for several publications including Parenting, Adoptive Families, Bridal Guide, Boating, Men's Fitness, and more. She lives in Westchester with her new baby and her husband, Adam.
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