“Couldn’t sleep at all last night…”

Anyone remember the oldie by Bobby Lewis called Tossin’ and Turnin’? Didn’t think so, BUT I’m not going to let that stop me today. Why? Because today’s blog is about sleep; more importantly lack of it and the dangers it creates.

Sleep deprivation may mean different things for different people BUT the one sure thing is that it’s not good. Lack of shut eye is linked to some major health issues including an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. And guess what? Lack of sleep can cause accidents!

In the workplace, that’s a problem. Consider these points. Sleep deprived workers communicate less, have slower response times, decreased vigilance, lack focus, make more mistakes, experience short term or working memory loss, exhibit inappropriate moodiness and the inability to adjust and are likely to take greater risks. And let’s talk about driving impairment. Twenty-two hours of sleep deprivation results in neurobehavioral performance impairments that are comparable to an 0.08 percent blood alcohol level.

In this 24/7 world we live in, everyone is trying to do more, faster, harder, non-stop. At one time, not so long ago, being able to function on only a few hours of sleep was like a badge of honor; gave you bragging rights. That’s not a badge I want to wear anymore. There’s too much at stake – for me and for my co-workers.

The National Safety Council just unveiled a Fatigue Cost Calculator tool to help address workers’ fatigue levels and begin to address sleep disorders. Input the type of industry, number of employees and the shifts they work and the tool calculates the annual costs of sleep disorders. And, oh, by the way, the estimated cost to U.S. employers is estimated (by one source) as about $18 billion!

NSC and Brigham Health (who partnered with NSC on this project) know it’s about a lot more than the money. In addition to using the tool, employers should establish sleep education programs and voluntary screening for sleep disorders. Employers need to recognize sleep disorders as a true health problem. Otherwise it won’t be a matter of if your workplace has a sleep deprived related accident but when and to what consequence.

Peaceful dreams.

Posted by MJ Thomas

What do you think?

Today’s blog is about opinions and perspective. For example, if I were to ask what you think the image pictured here represents, what would you say? A butterfly? A lobster with its claws out? A blob of ink? What? The point is there are probably many answers out there. Are they wrong? No, they’re just different. News flash! When you ask someone’s opinion, they won’t always agree with yours! Whoa.

Two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different. There’s always more than one way to get to the same place. Differences are an opportunity for learning. It’s how we handle them that makes the difference.

Different opinions in the workplace are a given. Different strokes for different folks, and so on and so on and scooby dooby doo. What really makes or breaks a situation is how we handle these differences.

Here are a few things to remember when handling different people and their views that I picked up from an article in Economic Times.

·         Respect is paramount – disagreement should never be mistaken for disrespect.
·         Look inward – it’s easy to assume the other person is wrong. But could it be that you’re being too  rigid in your stance? Try to look at things from another point of view. Set stubbornness aside and try  to understand. It could give you a new perspective.
·         Be nice – revenge, sarcasm, anger, eye rolling only serve to escalate things.

As DODINSKY, the New York Times best-selling author says, “Always remember we all have our own opinions and beliefs. We have different ways in dealing with life’s troubles and joys. To survive our differences without hurting each other is what GOODNESS is all about.”

Celebrate the differences.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Keep your eye on the ball!

As I write this, the Cleveland Indians are preparing to face the Detroit Tigers tonight and a chance to make it 22 wins in a row. In case you haven’t heard, the Indians are on a winning streak – a huge one. In fact, one that broke the American League record for straight wins.

Cause for distraction? You bet. It’s all over the media, fans are going crazy, prognosticators are prognosticating; everybody’s talking about it – except maybe the team itself. Sure, they have to talk about IT when someone sticks a microphone in their face and directly asks the question, but if you’ve been keeping track, it’s pretty clear that the team – from Manager Terry Francona on down – is more focused on the “one game at a time, show up and do your best to outplay your opponent today” goal.

Indians' right fielder Jay Bruce summed it up like this, “You know everyone talks about the streak and being consumed with it. What consumes us is the daily kind of schedule and game we have to get ready for.”

It doesn’t mean they don’t acknowledge the success or enjoy it: it just means they haven’t lost sight of the long-term goal. They stay focused. They don’t let up.

Now hang in there with me while I make a leap to connect this with your work safety program. What, you say? Told you it was a leap.

How many times have you walked through an organization and seen a sign that recognizes the number of days the facility has been accident or injury free? It’s a great thing to acknowledge and recognize; let employees know what a good job they are doing keeping everyone safe and accident free. But, you can’t let up, you can’t slack off, you can’t be lulled into complacency by the numbers. A successful safety program requires focus – each day, every day, 24/7.

Workplace safety should always be a priority. Making it so is one of the best decisions your company can make. Stay focused and stay safe.

Now, Go Tribe!

Here’s to the elder statesmen of the family!

This week’s blog isn’t about safety or the latest technology or a review of the latest headlines. It’s about grandparents. This Sunday is National Grandparents Day – a time to “honor grandparents and to help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.” Exactly.

When I think about my grandparents, who have long since passed, it brings back so many great memories and life lessons learned. My grandparents were immigrants from the “old country”; people who came through Ellis Island to America looking for great opportunity. They worked hard. They weren’t school educated, but they were wise, very wise. And that wisdom guided their children (four boys and three girls) and grandchildren to be good people, work hard, do the right thing and cherish family. They survived the great depression, losing a son in the service of his country; illness; and their faith remained unshakable. They lived to be in their 90’s: they were the best. Grandma and Grandpa’s house was a haven for “us kids” as I refer to me, my brother and my cousins. We were fortunate that we all lived close by and during the summer would meet there daily to hang out, play and most likely annoy them to the max. If we did, they never let on. Grandma was a great cook who was always feeding us. Grandpa would hand out what he called “lucky money” – a quarter here, fifty cents there and always with a wink of his eye and the “shhh” sign indicating that it was just between us. And the stories, oh the stories they would tell us; a valuable lesson in every one of them.

They instilled in us a true sense of what it means to be family – through good and bad; ups and downs; when we were lovable and when we were not so lovable. As kids, we thought they would live forever; always be there. Then they weren’t. If you are lucky enough to have your grandparents still with you, don’t take it for granted. Listen to them, learn from them, spend time with them. It will enrich your life beyond expectations.

In the words of Alex Haley, "Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children." Big kids too.

Posted by MJ Thomas