High Tech Efficiency = Happy?

Tech Is Efficient But Human Interactions Make Us Happy
Angel Investor

Once, going to work meant meetings and lots of work-related interactions; today, there’s been a huge jump in numbers of traditional (non-self-employed) employees who work remotely and connect to the office with technology.

According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, the percentage of workers telecommuting has risen 103 percent since 2005. And unlike in an office environment where opportunities for elevator chats and chance meetings abound, telecommuters aren’t likely to exchange ideas over coffee or lunch.

According to a recent article on TechCrunch.com, “The more efficient we get, the less we interact.”

And that may be making us sad and miserable. In her TechCrunch article titled “Why Increased Efficiency Will Make Us Miserable,” Aja Frost has found lots of reasons for concern about technology’s impact on our lives.

Research indicates that micro-interactions with “weak ties” – people we don’t see often or know well – are connected to feelings of happiness and belonging; “when it comes to our happiness, socialization trumps efficiency,” Frost says.

She cites a study by researchers from the University of Chicago in which some subway commuters were asked to talk to the person next to them during their commute. Others were told to “enjoy their solitude.” The result: those who interacted with fellow riders found their commute was more pleasant.

It’s spontaneous human interaction that makes us happy, not pre-planning a Skype session. But there is still a place for technology.

Frost’s solution: balance. Don’t work from home, she suggests; instead, download Workfrom and select a spot with great Wi-Fi and lots of opportunities for human interaction.

Sick of Business Travel? There May Be a Good Reason for That

While frequent business travel may look glamorous, if it becomes a nonstop activity it might also be making you sick.

As reported in a recent article in the Economist, researchers at the University of Surrey and Linnaeus University have discovered a host of problems resulting from this “darker side of hypermobility.”

The study found that hypermobiles – primarily business travelers – may suffer in three ways: physiologically, psychologically/emotionally, and socially.

Some physiological effects, such as jet lag, are well understood, but others are less obvious, like increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Frequent flyers may also be exposed to higher levels of radiation (not to mention germs), get less exercise, and eat less healthily than their stationary counterparts.

The study also found that business travelers are more prone to stress and loneliness; stress occurs because “time spent traveling will rarely be offset through a reduced workload.” And probably the work will keep piling up while they’re away. Add to this the time away from family and friends, and it’s clear how hypermobility can become a problem.

Business travelers who are apart from their spouses and children for significant periods of time may experience family breakdowns, and/or close friendships may also suffer from extended periods away from home; business travelers often want to spend all their free time with their families after a trip.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. For the most part, the hypermobile individual is also among the “mobile elite”: they make more money and have better access to quality health care than the general public. And they’re worldly.

Still, the next time you snap another selfie against yet another city skyline, consider its cost. It may be greater than its worth.

Drive to Succeed by Lowering Vehicle Risks
Owning and operating commercial vehicles comes with a variety of responsibilities and expenses. Insurance is one of these.

Your commercial insurance agent is the best resource for determining what policies will best meet the needs of your business and what discounts may be available. But what many business owners don’t realize is that once your coverage is in place, there are many additional steps you can take to protect your assets and employees. These can help you reduce accidents, keep insurance premiums lower, and save precious time and money.

Consider the following risk-reducing measures:

Business-only – Limit the use of business vehicles to work-related travel only.

Phone-free zone – Texting and talking on cell phones are common causes of accidents. Establish and communicate a corporate policy of not allowing phone use while driving.

Mandatory seat belt use – This is the law in most states. Require all employees to wear seat belts.

Zero drug and alcohol tolerance – Even one drink can impair driving abilities. Make it crystal clear to employees that there is no drinking while or before operating company vehicles. (And, of course, that also includes recreational drugs.)

Secure vehicles – Park vehicles in well-lit, secure areas, and require employees to lock them at all times. Also consider alarm systems for company vehicles. (A bonus: car alarms may also lower your insurance rate.)

Healthy pace – Don’t push yourself or your employees. Drivers in a hurry are more likely to cause accidents. Allow plenty of travel time between jobs or appointments.

Background checks – In addition to screening for criminal history, check all employees’ driving records. If an employee has a history of violations or accidents, do not allow him or her to operate company vehicles.

Best behind the wheel – Consider employees’ personalities when assigning driving duties. Does anyone have a bad temper? Is someone impatient? These traits can increase risk of accidents. Choose employees who will be the best drivers to entrust with company vehicles.

Drivers’ education – It can be helpful to provide a refresher course to anyone who will be driving company vehicles. Proper safety practices regarding backing and following distances should be covered in these courses.

Specialized training – If your business uses any specialized vehicles, ensure individuals operating these machines are properly trained and licensed or certified. Don’t make exceptions, even if another employee could step in to cover for a missing employee or in times of heavy workloads; if they aren’t qualified, they don’t use the vehicle.

Scheduled maintenance – Ensure your vehicles are well maintained. Require all employees to report any suspected maintenance issues. Preventive maintenance and timely repairs will increase vehicle longevity and decrease costly last-minute repairs and accidents.

Driver rewards – Make efforts to recognize safe drivers. Reward those who remain accident-free for a certain period of time. If the entire company has an accident-free period, celebrate.

Regular review – Check with your insurance agent every six months to ensure your coverage is appropriate. You may be eligible for discounts for safe driving or green vehicles. Be sure to ask.