Obesity: Impact of Hours Worked

Would obesity be associated with the number of hours worked?

From the Foresight Report: Tackling Obesities: Future Choices – Project Report. Working patterns and practices have been shown to influence patterns of food consumption. For example, the availability and value of non-labour time has been linked to changes in consumption and obesity. The figure illustrates this relationship by comparing average hours worked and the prevalence of obesity.

Who is counting, and how to count?

Are we wasting billions of dollars that should be devoted to improving the nation’s health?

It is distressing to see the disproportionate focus employers have on the cost of initiatives to create healthy and engaging workplaces relative to the amount of money channeled into traditional health care. The disparity in spending is startling, but, as a great allegory shared in the 1980s in actuarial circles well captured: Continue reading “Who is counting, and how to count?”

Standing Desks – here to rescue us from ‘Sitting is the new Smoking’?

Standing desks, like most health technologies, should come with an engagement plan … else it might become an expensive ‘nice to have’

Although the science on the implications of endless sitting is sound, and even somewhat exaggerated in popular press, does that mean that having standing desks present the cure to sitting and being sedentary in office environments? Continue reading “Standing Desks – here to rescue us from ‘Sitting is the new Smoking’?”

The Recruitment Interview

A fascinating area of (ir)rationality is recruitment. I recently rediscovered my notes from Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, written by the Brafman brothers. 

Much of this has been written about extensively, but is worth a reminder.  The evidence they focus on primarily comes from 20 years of research by professor Allen Huffcutt. He states that the typical job interview is unstructured, and easy to compare with a first date. However, these tend not be to very successful Continue reading “The Recruitment Interview”

The why? of work

In this heleo conversation Barry Swartz shares an important lesson he learned the hard way about the importance of grades at college and what happens in the absence of grade variation. In effect, and unfortunately, grades have become the ‘why’ of learning.

The moral risk with traditional incentive structures is that inevitably people find ways to meet the incentives without fully doing the work required.This idea was well captured by Steven Kerr in his updated 1995 paper Continue reading “The why? of work”

Purpose as a motivator

In a rational world people should perform equally under a uniform incentive structure irrespective of whether there is specific meaning or purpose to their work or not.

As far back as 2007 Adam Grant experimented with call center employees to establish that adding purpose to a task drives better performance. The research question was Continue reading “Purpose as a motivator”