Working Digest

WORKING DIGEST

December 21, 2005

Maturity

80% of those 55 or older work

Mature people, like almost everyone else, want to be actively involved in the work force: A recent study by the Urban Institute, a nonprofit organization in Washington, shows that almost 80 percent of people age 55 and older are in paid employment, volunteering or taking care of their families and those outside of their households. "These findings sharply contrast with the image of older Americans as unengaged adults living out their older years solely in pursuit of leisure and rest," report researchers Sheila Zedlewski and Simone Schaner.

Health

Wellness programs providing incentives

Programs promoting the health of workers have become so important to businesses that employers are "going beyond cash incentives to motivate their employees to participate in their firms' wellness programs," according to David Cochran, chief executive officer of The Robbins Co., a global recognition and rewards firm based in Attleboro, Mass. Some of the new incentives include free health monitors, exercise equipment, air purifiers and massagers. And the emphasis on wellness programs continues to grow nationwide: A recent survey of 365 companies shows that 62 percent have such programs - and another 33 percent were considering the idea. More research shows that 27 percent of companies studied say they had "significant" savings in health care costs because of employee participation in their wellness programs.

Offices

Staking out a corner can be touchy issue

Staking claim to the corner office can be a touchy effort. "Offices are territory, and men like to mark out the bigger and better spaces," according to Cary J. Broussard, author with Anita Bell of How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform your Work Life (Wiley, $24.95). "Women are deemed petty if they make a big deal about their offices, so analyze if it's worth the fight before you speak up." Broussard suggests that you "scope out what other space is available, or when it will open up. That way you can make a specific request. ... This type of request is harder to dismiss than a general demand for a bigger or better office."

Research

Fair workload key to contentment

Companies looking to make sure employees stay put should take a bit of fairy tale advice: When it comes to employee workloads, too much or too little won't cut it. Keeping it just right, however, will. Sirota Survey Intelligence, an attitude research firm, polled over 200,000 employees this year about their workloads and how happy they are in their jobs. The results? Underworked employees are more likely to be unhappy with their jobs, as are those with too much on their plates. Of those who indicated they had an appropriate amount of work to do, about 68 percent were happy with their jobs. Those with "too much work" and "much too much work" were satisfied with their jobs at the rates of about 60 percent and 52 percent, respectively. Those workers who said they performed "too little work" or "much too little work" were satisfied at the rate of 43 percent and 37 percent, respectively, the survey found.

The Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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