To the delight of animal lovers everywhere, awareness of the physical, mental and emotional toll taken by stress is leading progressive employers to create take-your-pet-to-work programs.
(BPT) - If you’ve ever felt tense, anxious or simply unable to relax while performing your job, you’re far from alone.
A recent survey by the American Institute of Stress found 80 percent of U.S. workers across industries have felt stress in the workplace; nearly half say they could use help dealing with it and 42 percent said their co-workers could use some relief.
To the delight of animal lovers everywhere, awareness of the physical, mental and emotional toll taken by stress is leading progressive employers to create take-your-pet-to-work programs. For example, for the past 20 years Purina has encouraged its associates to bring their pets to work, and in a typical week hundreds of dogs and cats enjoy spending time with their owners at the pet food maker’s St. Louis campus.
"Pets bring a wealth of benefits — both physical and emotional — to pet owners and their families, so it's no surprise those same benefits also apply to the workplace and employees," notes Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina's chief veterinary officer. "Whether a pet helps provide a calming sense during a challenging situation or encourages employees to take a walk during their lunch break, here at Purina we experience the benefits of pets at work every day, and want others to as well."
As more and more companies adopt a pets-at-work policy, consider these facts based on a recent Purina report about the many advantages of such programs:
* They can benefit health: Pet-employee interaction has been shown to reduce the employees' blood pressure and cholesterol levels in addition to alleviating anxiety.
* They can improve employee retention: Sixty-three percent of employees in pet-friendly workplaces say they’re very satisfied with their work environments — nearly twice as many as those in other workplaces. In fact, respondents rank the option of bringing pets at work as the second most-valuable employee perk — more valuable than free coffee and parking. Overall, three in five survey participants wish their workplace would institute a pet-friendly policy.
* They can alleviate loneliness: Eight in 10 employees who can bring pets to work say that activity makes them feel more happy, relaxed and sociable. That's partly because talking about pets can be an ice breaker, making it easier for people to approach co-workers and get to know them better.
* They can promote physical activity: Many employees spend breaks and lunchtime playing with their pets or taking them for walks, boosting their own aerobic activity at the same time.
* They can increase pets’ happiness: Rather than staying home waiting for their owners to arrive, pets get to socialize with new people, play with other pets and enjoy more activity. Nearly nine of 10 people in the survey agree that bringing their pets to work strengthens owner-pet bonding.
In light of the proven benefits, Purina encourages other employers to consider allowing pets in the workplace. A toolkit with tips and information is provided at Purina.com.
“Our goal with our report is to continue to raise awareness of the benefits of taking pets to work and to arm employees and employers with insights that can help facilitate pet-friendly environments within their companies,” notes Dr. Venator.
Despite societal stereotypes that suggest female relationships encourage anxiety, pressure and judgment, it has been found that women can have a positive impact on other women as an engine for ambition. These tips can help support women aspiring to have “it all” be the best versions of themselves.
How women can inspire other women
(Family Features) Having “it all” is a concept women have discussed and aspired to attain for nearly 40 years. Still, the conversation continues because no one has determined what having it all actually means.
A first-of-its-kind social experiment dug deeper into the choices women make in life and uncovered that female relationships often play a significant role. In collaboration with Dr. Emily Balcetis, Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University, Lean Cuisine asked women to define their “ideal life,” as part of the ItAll social experiment.
The experience explored how women answered questions alone versus in the presence of other women in their lives. The results showed that women help each other set a higher bar for themselves. In fact, 89 percent of women set more ambitious goals in the presence of other women.
Despite societal stereotypes that suggest female relationships encourage anxiety, pressure and judgment, this experiment determined that women have a positive impact on other women as an engine for ambition.
“We rarely talk about the positive power of female relationships that we saw firsthand in the ItAll experiment,” Balcetis said. “Women can encourage each other to shoot for more where it matters most, rather than working to accomplish something less fulfilling only because society says they should. Women have a truly unique way of inspiring each other to reach their own greatest potential.”
Balcetis offers these tips, which were observed during the ItAll social experiment, to support women aspiring to be the best versions of themselves:
Be a Role Model
For example, the ItAll experiment first surveyed female participants individually then allowed them to express their aspirations in the presence of familiar, influential women in their lives. Life choices became less conservative when others were involved. For example, participants declared a desire for higher salaries, chose to work more hours, wanted to spend more time with friends and be more involved with children.
Start a Conversation
Learn more about the social experiment and discover ideas to spur ambition for your own life at youtube.com/leancuisine.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (women talking)SOURCE:
Although women are making strides in the corporate world, there is still work that can be done to level the landscape. If you’re looking for ways to promote change in your workplace, explore these five steps that can help build a work environment where everyone can advance and succeed.
5 Ways to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace
(Family Features) Although women are making strides in the corporate world, there is still work that can be done to level the landscape.
Research from Catalyst, a global nonprofit focused on empowering and accelerating women in business, shows the needle is moving, albeit slowly. In nearly 10 years, the number of women in senior roles in the United States increased just 1 percent. At Standard & Poor's 500 index companies, overall women’s representation is far behind: 5.2 percent CEOs, 11 percent top earners and 26.5 percent senior-level officials and managers. Less than 5 percent of senior level positions are held by women of color. Men still lead more than 95 percent of the most powerful companies in the United States.
If you’re looking for ways to promote change in your workplace, explore these five steps that can help build a work environment where everyone can advance and succeed:
Engage in programs that celebrate women of color. Tap into resources that honor women in leadership and foster growth for aspiring women leaders from racially and ethically diverse backgrounds, such as those available through Catalyst. The nonprofit offers a host of ongoing workshops, programs, trainings and consulting services designed to promote inclusive workplaces, along with events around the world. For example, the “Catalyst Skyline Takeover,” which is a visual realization of the international business community’s commitment to greater diversity, inclusion and gender equality in workplaces around the world, features dozens of global companies “lighting up” their buildings with the female symbol.
Assess and formalize pay scales. As numerous studies indicate, wage disparity is one of the most obvious signs of inequality in the workplace. A fair pay scale outlines specific responsibilities and corresponding compensation rates, and can be applied to roles across the board regardless of race, gender or other potential discriminatory factors.
Ensure growth opportunities exist. Leveling the pay scale is an important step, but ensuring equal access to the positions at the higher end of that scale is an essential supporting move. Simply saying you’ll pay a woman the same as a man in the same job falls short if all candidates, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity are not given the same chance to compete for more senior positions.
Implement mentorship programs. Positive role models can give future leaders the vision to dream big and the guidance to make those dreams a reality. Putting aspiring women leaders in close contact with other women who have attained success in their field helps set a course toward achievement. It also helps men to advance and develop unbiased leadership. Since the majority of business leaders are currently men, change for women can only be accelerated if all those in leadership positions work together.
Support parental involvement. Historically, the issue of parenting and the workforce has been dominated by discussions around maternity leave policies, but more recently that dialogue has evolved. Men, too, desire more time with their families, and through equal parental leave policies, workplaces can allow women and men within all types of family structures to thrive in their careers and at home.
Find more resources and recommendations for promoting workplace equality at catalyst.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman in conference room)SOURCE:
(BPT) - A beloved hobby can feel like a mini vacation from everyday life. Whether it's gardening for relaxation, photography as a creative outlet or computer coding to exercise the brain, hobbies serve as an escape from stress and boredom.
What if rather than a hobby being your escape, it was what you did for a career?
"When you do what you love, it doesn't feel like work. However, people are intimidated by the idea of transitioning a hobby into this type of dream," says Jim Salmon, vice president of business services at Navy Federal Credit Union. "Becoming a successful entrepreneur doesn't have to be difficult with the right drive and passion."
Navy Federal Business Services has helped thousands of people turn their dreams of owning a small business into reality by providing expert guidance and financial support through Business Services products. Here are some of Salmon's expert tips based on best practices he's observed through his close relationship with entrepreneurial clients:
1. Take your time.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur doesn't mean you have to drop everything and devote all your time to starting a business. In fact, research shows the opposite: People who keep their day jobs while starting companies are a third less likely to fail than those who abandon their full time jobs. Instead, they're tinkering, researching and cautiously testing things out to see if their idea is a viable business venture and if there is a market for their product or service.
2. Set a timeline.
Is there a season where it would make sense to test out your business venture? Or perhaps there's a transitional time in your life where you'll be looking to open a new chapter. For example, transitioning your hobby into a viable business venture a great option for active duty military personnel and veterans because they naturally begin to think about what their second career will be after retiring or leaving the Armed Forces.
3. Decide on time commitment.
Decide how much time you are willing to dedicate to your new venture in the beginning. Being an entrepreneur means being your own boss which affords you unprecedented flexibility, but the effort you put in directly effects what you get out. Keep in mind, entrepreneurship isn't just for full-time professionals. Turning a hobby into a career is a great option for military and stay-at-home parents who require flexibility in regards to working hours and location, but they may have more open time to dedicate to the transition.
4. Create a business plan.
Transitioning a hobby into a profession is a lot of fun, but it's also serious business if you want to be successful. That means creating a business plan that includes goals and plans for attaining them. This will serve as the foundation for how you strategize and build a successful business today. Plus, when it comes time to finance your budding business, a solid business plan will give you a leg up and direction for the future.
5. Find financial backing.
Depending on what type of business you want to pursue, you may need some additional funding beyond what you can afford. Establishing a relationship with a financial institution like Navy Federal Credit Union will help you learn more about small business loans and lending products that will help your small business grow. Bring your passion and your business plan - potential investors and financial institutions alike will want to see both before they make a decision.
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