Posts Tagged work

International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the ADA: The Legal Side of Psychological Wellbeing at Work

December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and this year’s theme is “Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all”. Transforming workplaces so that they foster resilience among all employees is a worthy goal – one that both MINES and I share with real passion.

Fortunately, most employers now generally understand the links between employee mental health, productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. This is real progress. Unfortunately, only 15% of supervisors and managers are actually trained in how to recognize and respond to employees who may be struggling. This is a problem that MINES and I are taking steps to remedy through our work with our clients and by offering training and consultations to supporters of campaigns like Colorado Mental Wellness Network’s Mental Health Equality at Work.

Employers do not generally associate the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Medical Leave Act with psychological or mood-related conditions. This knowledge deficit can be problematic because more often than not an employee will reach a point of crisis before exploring potential job accommodations. By that time, it is often too late to save the employment relationship and everybody loses.

This common pattern of “waiting until a crisis” may partly explain the recent surge in depression-related employment discrimination claims filed with the EEOC. These filings increased by 56% between 2003 and 2013, and the EEOC issued written guidance for employees with mental health conditions, as well as their health care providers, for the first time in December 2016.2016

I train supervisors, managers, and HR staff in how to create psychologically healthy workplaces, how to use accommodations as everyday management tools, and how to comply with the ADA and FMLA. Managers are always happy to learn about low- or no-cost accommodation tools they can use right away, instead of making their employees wait for a crisis to occur before requesting them. And, they are relieved to learn that the ADA does not require the elimination of essential functions – a common yet erroneous assumption.

One of the areas I partner with MINES on is training supervisors how to have the early conversation with employees who may be struggling. This is a skill that does not come naturally to most of us – managers don’t want to pry, say the wrong thing, violate an employee’s privacy, play the role of therapist, or step over a legal line of which they’re unaware. MINES personnel have truly mastered this skill over the years.

Another exciting area of partnership with MINES is providing highly specialized mediation and case management services for the toughest ADA and/or FMLA cases involving mental health conditions. Most ADA requests are not challenging to manage. However, some cases are so complex they require the expertise of seasoned psychologists to provide case management guidance and support. Examples include rare diagnoses, some types of personality disorders, and difficulty in finding the right medication or treatment plan. MINES plays an indispensable role in guiding these cases to a sustainable path forward for both the employee and employer.

Lastly, MINES and I collaborate in providing outsourced disability and absence management services nationwide. When we take on this role for our clients, we are truly in the best position to transform workplaces to foster resilience among all employees.

In closing, I hope everyone will celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities with us, by taking proactive steps to accommodate employees at all levels of cognitive, emotional, and social functioning.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Judge (Ret.) Mary McClatchey

MINES Consultant

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TotalWellbeing: March 2014

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March 2014: Emotional & Financial Wellbeing

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New View, New You!

Welcome to the March issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we look at financial wellbeing as our new topic. Finances are a topic that most of us think about every day as we pay off debt from the past, pay the bill for the present, or plan for the expenses of the future. How we manage our finances throughout our life has a direct impact on our wellbeing and happiness levels. With this in mind we will continue to look at emotional wellbeing as it connects to our financial standing as our second topic this month.

Last month on our blog we saw the first insights from our BizPsych consultants as well as eye-opening thoughts from our HealthPsych team. If you missed out please feel free to take this chance to catch up. Going forward, this March you can look forward to the first posting of the year by our very own expert psychologist and CEO, Dr. Robert Mines. And if that’s not enough, our human resources department will be sharing critical knowledge about the world of HR and all they do behind the scenes to support an organization’s most precious resource, the employees!  And as always please use this chance to let us know what you think, and what you’d like to see more of.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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The Connection:

Occupational & Emotional Wellbeing

It’s safe to say that pretty much everyone understands that there is a direct link between your financial and emotional state. Money may not be able to buy happiness but money woes sure can bring about un-happiness. And on the flip side financial stability can free you up to focus on what really makes you happy.

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Stop Sweating the Small Stuff

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Do Your Own Financial Planning

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One of the best things you can do on an ongoing basis is to practice letting go of the little things in life that get you down! Let these tips from wikihow show you a better way to deal with life’s little problems.

To read the full article, click here.

Sometimes financial planning and money issues can seem overwhelming. Having a good plan can help keep things in perspective and help you make smart decisions. Follow these tips from wikihow to learn some basic self planning strategies.

To read the full article, click here.

 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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TotalWellbeing: February 2014

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February 2014: Occupational and Emotional Wellbeing

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Full Speed Ahead!

Welcome to the February issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we charge ahead and take a look at our next topic, Emotional wellbeing. We will continue to examine occupational wellness, but this time we will talk about how your job satisfaction can affect your emotions and, on the flip side, how your emotions can affect your interaction with your career.Also we invite you to head on over to our blog. This month you can read a preview of things to come and a little later we will be sharing the first of many success stories from our BizPsych department as well as insight from our expert case managers. Also feel free to use this chance to comment, ask questions, or let us know what you think.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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The Connection:

Occupational & Emotional Wellbeing

Anyone with a job can tell you, how well things are going in one’s career affects the levels of stress and state of emotions in one’s life. For example, you get a raise or finish that tough project on time you feel pretty great right? Likewise, job stress or pending layoffs might put you down in the emotional dumps, its just natural.

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Stress in the Workplace: Tips to Reduce and Manage Workplace Stress

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Improving Emotional Health

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Everyone experiences stress in their workplace at one time or another. What can you do when that stress becomes too much? Use these helpful tips from Helpguide.org to help reduce stress and increase satisfaction and productivity in the process!To read the full article, click here. Step number one to achieving emotional happiness is understanding why it is important and what you need to do to get started. This article from Helpguide.org shows some key factors and basic steps to help get you on track to  emotional wellbeing.To read the full article, click here.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Drug Abuse Prevention

I recently attended an annual dinner/forum for a local non-profit group which focused on Drug Abuse Prevention. We’ve all heard, or experienced first-hand, the devastating effects of drug abuse on family, employment, education, and just about every other facet of human life. What we don’t always hear about are the amazing efforts by some making an incredible impact on prevention. By taking small steps to identify risk factors, especially for our youth, we can have a tremendous impact. At the forum, one of the panelists made a great point about how parents and doctors don’t ask the difficult questions, and often times because they are afraid of the answer, or maybe they are suffering themselves. Why do our doctors have no problem asking us about our diets and suggesting cholesterol screenings, but very seldom ask us a simple question like, “How are you feeling emotionally?” or, “Does your child seem to be fitting in, and participating in a healthy way?” When we look at diabetes and heart disease compared to major depression or substance abuse disorders only a small fraction of those suffering from behavioral disorders are actually being diagnosed and treated compared with their medical counterparts.

As the prescription drug epidemic continues to rise we need to do more in the area of prevention. Here are some wonderful resources for prescription drug abuse prevention from our friends at Peer Assistance Services:

http://www.peerassistanceservices.org/prescription/drugabuse_materials.php

Ian Holtz,
Manager, Business Development

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Psychology of Performance – 35: Attachment to the Status Quo

In over 35 years of working with people on making change, improving their performance, and living more fully it is still interesting to me how many people persist in doing the same self-defeating actions over and over despite saying they want to improve, grow, or change for the better (whatever that means). So the following are four questions worth asking yourself if you want to improve your performance in some area of your life.

  1. Situation Questions – Tell me about your life? How is it working now?
  2. Problem Questions – Can we be specific about what is not working? Are you concerned about your current quality of performance?
  3. Implication Questions – What happens if you don’t do something different?
  4. Need-Payoff Questions – If you act and it improves – how does that impact your life?

Take time to reflect on these questions, write down your answers, and be curious about where this may take you. If you find yourself resisting the questions or process, look more deeply into that instead.

It’s up to you….as they say “no one can do your push-ups for you.”

Exchange love and happiness with everyone you meet today.

Bob
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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Psychology of Performance – 34: Spark!

The book, Spark, by John J. Ratey, M.D. is the holy grail of research applications related to the interaction of exercise, neuroplasticity, and performance. The information on brain chemistry changes in the areas of learning, addictions, anxiety, depression, women’s issues, ADHD, and aging is priceless. The essence of the book is that the data indicated the brain is able to create new neuronal connections, grow new nerve cells throughout life, manage major psychological conditions, pain conditions, and learning is significantly enhanced through exercise. Ratey stated that “exercise is the single most powerful tool you have to optimize your brain function”- based on hundreds of research studies (p.245). Ratey suggested that the more fit you get (regardless of where you start), the “ more resilient your brain becomes and the better it functions both cognitively and psychologically. If you get your body in shape, your mind will follow” (p. 247).

How much is enough? Ratey stated that walking is enough. Low-intensity exercise is at 55 to 65% of maximum heart rate, moderate is 65-75% and high intensity is 75-90%. “The process of getting fit is all about building up your aerobic base” (p.251). Ratey goes on to discuss the role of strength training and flexibility as important elements of optimizing your brain chemistry and hormone levels.

What does this have to do with optimizing your performance at work and in all areas of your life? Everything! Get started today and stick with it.

Have a day filled with optimal brain chemistry,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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Psychology of Performance – 32: Nutrition, Depresssion, Alcoholism and Performance

I ran across some interesting information on the role of niacin, depression, and alcoholism in performance at www.doctoryourself.com. It is well documented that depression and/or alcoholism may negatively affect performance across just about any domain one can perform in. In the treatment of depression and alcoholism there are very effective cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy interventions. In addition, exercise and medication may add additional therapeutic effects. The role of nutrition may have further potentiating influence.

According to this site, Bill W., the founder of AA, was successfully treated for depression with 3,000 mg of niacin a day. Unfortunately, this information has not been widely discussed or published in the media. I would be interested to hear from any of you who have used niacin as a means of treating depression or alcoholism and what your results were. Please let us at MINES know.

Have a day filled with mindfulness,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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Encouraging Workplace Diversity

 
 

 

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Encouraging Workplace Diversity
October 4, 2011
 

I will never forget one of my first meetings with a client after I became an Account Manager at MINES – I was slightly nervous but that feeling was enormously overshadowed by the excitement of learning about our client and how we could support their organization. Typically in these meetings, the excitement is followed by the hurdles the organization is facing. In this instance, the particular “hurdle” the organization was facing was generational gaps and the disruptive communication that went along with it. I couldn’t help but squirm in my chair as my client went on and on about how “twenty-something’s” just don’t understand. At first I was sitting there as a professional, the Account Manger, and in a flash I realized that I was a “twenty-something.” I couldn’t help but wonder if my co-workers felt this way about me because of our generational differences.

After that meeting, I became more cognizant of the differences between myself and my co-workers. I had always embraced it but I decided to learn from it. One of my favorite co-workers is a bit older (or as my Grandma says “wiser”) than I am. We won’t always see the world in the same way or handle work-related situations the same, but since I have been open to learning from her rather than focus on our age gap, she has taught me so much – from patience to tricky Mother-In-Laws.

Whether your workplace diversity is generational, cultural, or any difference you can think of, embrace it and learn from it. Please don’t forget to check out our Quarterly Wellness Magazine, Balanced Living Fall 2011 for great articles to financially ‘stay afloat’ in the downturn.

Read more on this topic here…
Britney Kirsch
Account Manager

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Psychology of Performance – 29: Clash of Cultures on Transition

When an organization moves from a “Go-Go” phase to the next level, “Adolescence” (Adizes, 1999), the founder is faced with new organizational challenges. In the Go-Go phase the organization was making money, had few administrative departments, had few polices or formalized strategies in place, and had little management structure with defined accountabilities and authority. During the transition it is not uncommon for the founder to disengage then re-engage and disrupt the transition plan and team. This may be due to a number of factors from a need to be in control, disagreement with the policies and procedures being put in place, and regression, to the “that is not how we got where we are” syndrome, anxiety, distrust, and a sense of uncertainty about the future.

The impact on organizational performance and individual performance can be significant. First, the organization will be less profitable as it moves into adolescence almost by definition. The reason is that administrative staff such as HR, mid-level management, and other support staff are being added to move to the next level, and therefore, profitability percentages will drop. Second, the organization may drop in other areas of performance such as customer service and responsiveness because this value and behavior now needs to be systemized and made scalable where before it used to reside in individual staff and in the group norms as a smaller organization. Productivity definitions may change during this transition. When the organization was smaller, productivity could be measured by a few variables rather than a multivariate approach. As the organization gets larger, a multivariate model may emerge.

Individual performance can also be negatively impacted during this transition. Staff who had the skills to perform successfully in a smaller organization may not have the skills to perform in the larger organization. Changing them out or redefining their roles may result in stress for all involved as they were valued employees and now they may not be perceived that way by the new management. New employees may start under-performing as well because they came in full of hope and high expectations and then experience an organization that is giving mixed messages. The psychological impact of this is that these employees may start to be discouraged; feel helpless, angry, anxious, or depressed; lose focus; or engage in counterproductive communication and behavior, among many other negative psychological states.

As your organization goes through transitions like this, it will be helpful to keep these elements in mind when you encounter performance problems. Having a testable hypothesis is the first step to managing the changes.

Have a day filled with equanimity,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

Reference
Adizes, Ichak. (1999). Managing Corporate Lifecycles. Santa Barbara, CA: Adizes Institute.

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Affording Graduate School While You’re Working

 
 

 

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Affording Graduate School While You’re Working
September 19, 2011
 

Every week before I write these introductions, I open the article that it’s associated with. This week, I opened the article, read the title and closed out of it just as fast! There is something about simply reading, “Affording Graduate School While You’re Working,” that gives me anxiety. I truly couldn’t imagine.

I met a client a couple years ago that I could easily tell was a go-getter at work. We had a short conversation and I learned that, not only did she work full-time, she recently had a child and was in a master’s program. I asked her, “How do you do it?” With a gigantic smile on her face she sighed, “It’s not always easy but you make it happen.” But I saw how she did it; that gigantic smile. It was all about her “can-do” attitude.

Last month I saw that same bright smile when I was visiting with my client. I asked her how she was and she exclaimed she was pregnant with a bigger smile than before. She was still going to school and excelling in her career. I walked away feeling somewhat of a slacker and vowing to not say “I would, but I’m really busy,” or “I just can’t find the time,” for at least a month! Like the old adage goes, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” This week’s communication helps finding your way a little easier.

Read more on this topic here…
Britney Kirsch
Account Manager

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