Friday, January 23, 2015

When it comes to mental health in the workplace there is perhaps no other greater efficiency improvement method than having a workforce that is healthy and stable as well as excited to come to work. Here are some of the top tips that you can use for improving overall mental health which will improve your profits and efficiency overall.

1.Offer support for mental health disorders: ultimately a mental health disorder is one of the most crippling effects in a business because it's a productivity killer that you can't really see like a physical ailment. Preparing support for mental health disorders and offering up a strategic plan for somebody that is experiencing a mental health issue can prevent employees turnaround and ensure that you have everything you need for providing support to each one of your employees ensuring their future productivity.

2.Identify risks before they become issues: if you are meeting very difficult deadlines or there are stress factors in the workplace such as difficulties with management, a high stress environment or otherwise, identification of these risks to employee’s psychological health can help you prepare for conditions of mental health that will affect your efficiency. Reducing these psychological factors to improve employee health can help you remain more unified as a business.

3.Provide proper training: recognizing employee stress from a management perspective is very important. Identifying some of the issues within your workforce that could be compromising your employee’s health psychologically is very important to recognize. You can have eyes on your business at every level and as a result you definitely need to look into giving your management staff the training that they need to recognize issues of mental health and to provide proper reference for support or support directly.

4.Have a healthcare worker review your current processes: it can be hard to identify some of the issues within the processes and policies of your business especially with you being so close to them. Sometimes an objective eye from a healthcare professional can make the difference and let you know when it's time to intervene. Luckily there are plenty of companies willing to come in and give your business an official assessment into the state of your current policies and ways that you can improve your processes and policies for better mental health overall.

5.Address issues in the workplace to keep employees at work: ongoing issues of mental health can cost your business when it comes to absenteeism. Rather than your workforce consistently being out on personal days or mental health days it is important to have proper programs in place to keep your employees at work. Even if it means an effective half day of work that is far better than missing out on an entire day from your employees.

6.Work with healthcare officials: if you have an employee that's off on a break due to a psychological health condition it's important that you work with healthcare officials to ensure the safe return of that employee. Taking efforts to make their transition back SP1 will ensure that you get all of your skilled employees back in the shortest amount of time from one of these breaks.

7.Do what you can to minimize relapse or recurrence of serious mental health events in the workplace: if you find that there are certain triggering events for psychological disorders this could prompt a return to disability leave. Eliminating these potential triggers before they lead to lost time is very important. Always think of the new employee transitioning back from a break and think about keeping them in the workplace rather than pushing them to make up for lost time immediately.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do you know how to fish? Not many people know how to go fishing. In this post, I will teach you the "Fish Philosophy" by Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D.,, the authors of Fish Tales.

Four principles anchored the Fish Philosophy:
1. "Play"
2. "Make their day"
3. "Be there"
4. "Choose your attitude"

According to the authors of Fish Tales, the "Fish Philosophy," is a twelve weeks program. It is a program that is geared for work and your personal life. Well let's go fishing.

Let's go fishing and hook the fishes

Not many people go fishing and have luck catching their first fish. When you go fishing, you have to know where the fishes are and when to throw your line. For the most part, you cannot catch any fishes if you don't know how to play. Now you'll learn about the importance of play.

The importance of play

Play brings spontaneity and creativity to work. It is a way to build energy among staff in a lighthearted way. It operates in a less stressful environment and gives each employee more legs. Play brings passion, focus, commitment, and fun to work. So now, you know why people play at work and the possibilities that can open from play.

We cannot talk about play without talking about teamwork. For the next post, I will include some team-building activities you can use at work when you implement the "Fish Philosophy." Well that's all for now. Put your "Play" on for the next lesson.

Coming up! How to get your play on with team-building. Stay tuned for more workforce tips. Thanks for reading and come back for more tips.

Source: Fish Tales by Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D., John Christensen, & Harry Paul.

Copyrighted © 2009 by Annmarie Edwards

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Impact of real-life experience

Applying real-world experience at an early age in the classroom will help students developed entrepreneurial skills and give them the experience of the workforce setting. It is time for teachers to tap minds and prepare students for the workforce.

According to the 2007 Census Bureau report, entrepreneurship is a fast growing field in the United States of America. Additionally, in 2005 alone, 22 million entrepreneurs were responsible for creating jobs and build stability in their family.

In 2007, the U.S Census Bureau also highlighted a special group that needs our immediate attention. 21 percent of children in this report were living below the poverty line. This figure is staggering seeing the U.S is a developed country and no one in fact should live below the poverty line more so our children.

What is the solution to this dilemma?

Students learn about the world through the news media, internet, family friends, teachers, and schools. Social studies is an integral part of the curriculum. Teachers can tap this source and use it to teach students about the workforce and how it impact them. It is imparative to develop young minds and this should begin in schools. Students need to be responsible thinkers and doers.

My fifth grade class in 2000 had the experience of learning about the business world by setting up a real-life restaurant in the classroom. At the time, they were studying how to calculate taxes in math. They wanted a restaurant to apply the skills they learned in math class. They had a blast with this experience because it was applying real-world skills to what they were learning.

For this activity, I was the facilitator. Students were elected manager, assistant manager, waitresses, waiters and cook. The students experienced real problems of the workforce. Two of the crew members came unprepared for work. They weren't dress appropriately for their waiter job. As a result, they were placed in the kitchen as helpers.

What students learned from this activity?

At the end of the lesson, they learned the behaviors of real customers. For instance, customers sometimes order things and then they change their minds. The boys complained about the girls couldn't make up their minds which were frustrating to them. Overall, they had a good time. Third, fourth and fifth graders were their customers. It wasn't such an hard activity after all.

To Teachers

Let this new school year be one of innovation, where you bring excitement, creativity and accountability to teaching. The students are ready so lets begin. I wish you luck in this new school year as you embark on this journey to prepare young minds for the future. Please keep in touch and let me know if you like this article. Thanks for reading and please visit my other blogs for more tips.

Copyrighted 2009 by Annmarie Edwards

Annmarie Edwards is an artist and educator who gives tips on workforce training and art.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What can birds teach us?

Birds begin their morning with a song. They wake you up about 5:00 a.m. everyday doing the same thing. They build their nest with sticks, feathers and animal hair. Birds are resourceful animals. They have a natural instinct to hunt for food, take care of their young ones and be family to others. They are social beings.


Birds are happy animals who band together in groups. An example of group bonding is the geese. They fly in different shapes in the sky. When one member of the band is out of place they slow down and get that one back in the group. If one geese goes down during flight their is always one to go and assist that fallen bird. This is a great lesson for workers to assist each other when needed. The birds show us that we don't live and operate in a vacuum. To survive we all need each other.

Bird Lessons

Birds provide humans with lessons they can apply in their work and life. They form communities and are protective of their young ones. They are happy as they begin their day. They are grateful for each opportunity. Birds represent different forms of life, always happy as they begin each new day. A great leadership lesson.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Emyloyees The Catalyst for Business

Treating employees with respect should be the mantra for all businesses. Employees first should be the mission of every company. A disgruntle employee means bad business. Just imagine having a whole group of unhappy employees. This will inadvertently affect your customer base.

Create an atmosphere of well being

When employees are happy the business grows. Employers can create a healthy atmosphere by giving feedback, acknowledging workers for good job done and get to know your employees by name not by function. Treating people with care and respect will build loyalty and goodwill amongst all. What this will translate to is good business and higher productivity. So now you know how to take care of your bottomline.

To every business out there begin a "You Care Campaign" at your place of business. This will instill more confidence and job growth in your employees. Begin today and reap the reward tomorrow. Stay tuned for more hot topics.

Copyrighted © 2009 by Annmarie Edwards

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

By Annmarie Edwards

The value of workforce training can provide benefits to your workers and customers. Workforce training program provides workers with the necessary skills to perform their jobs. Here are seven tips on the benefits of workforce training:

1. Workforce training can act as a motivation for staff in providing skills and knowledge to do a better job.
To avoid your staff burnt-out you should make training and development program an essential part of your workforce. This is critical in keeping a motivated workforce.

2. Save time and money.
A trained workforce will help your organization save time and money by providing your customers with excellent services. Also, employees morale will go up when they have the skills they need to do their jobs. Training helps to promote efficiency and decrease workers turnover rate.

3. Career development.
When you provide workforce training for your workers you are able to promote them by setting up a career path for them at the onset. Workforce training provides you with a lens to what knowledge and skills your workers have and what they lack. A career development path helps workers to advance to the next level in their career. This is what workers need to motivate them on-the-job to take part in training.

4. Training is effective leadership.
Workforce training shows how effect a leader is in providing workers with the skills they need to perform their jobs. You should give workforce training your highest priority in building your workforce. Training managers can set up a learning lab and a library on-the-job. These are resources for workers to use as needed.

5. Performance evaluation.
Workforce training helps managers track workers performance through performance evaluation. Workforce training provides the lens to how workers are performing. Managers are able to see if production goes up because of training and if their customer satisfaction improves.

6. Build consistency.
Training provides consistency to your workforce by keeping workers up-to-date with current trends. Setting a time for training and adhere to that time will help you in building consistency.

7. Build connection.
Workforce training helps managers and workers build connection in learning how to do a better job. Making time for your workers in providing answers and support will help you to build connection.

Annmarie Edwards is a workforce trainer who provides businesses with tips on workforce training and issues on her online workforce training blog.

Copyrighted © 2008 by Annmarie Edwards

Monday, September 8, 2008

By Efrain Tionko

Development of a Continuous Improvement Culture

Serious tournament players often have their individual (physical and mental) exercise routines and regularly read up on the latest theory to ensure that they stay on top of their game. But what makes a chess player world-class as opposed to just being good is his ability to not just keep up with the latest theory, but to challenge existing ones and potentially contribute new ones.

In chess, we often hear and read about a world-class player
introducing a "novelty" into a known system or "refuting" an accepted theory. In business, the application of best practice models is not necessarily enough to gain genuine competitive advantage. What advantage can be had when the competition applies the same principles, gets the same compliance certificates, and recruits the same "black belts" as you?

Genuine competitive advantage can only be had if there are business
intangibles that you are able to do and gain that none of your competitors can. A continuous improvement culture, one that always looks for possibilities and is not averse to challenging existing systems, will help the business leader find these intangibles.

Recognition of Key Decision Points

We often wonder how the world's best players can quickly trot out moves
in succession, then just suddenly hunker down and think, and not make a move for more than half an hour. One easy answer, especially at the start of a game, is the player is familiar with existing theory and only starts critically thinking when the opponent makes an unfamiliar move.

A more subtle reason is most world-class chess players instinctively recognize, from years of practice
and practical experience, key decision points in a game. These key decision points are often situations where there are at least two serious moves consideration and the move that is next chosen can dictate the direction the rest of the game takes.

There are many of these types of decision points in the life cycle of any business:
divestment considerations, new business opportunities, interest rate variations, etc. It is important the business leader not only recognizes key business decision points when such arise, but invest necessary resources to ensure that he makes the correct decision.

Taking A Decisive Action

Personally, I believe this is the most important capacity
a business leader can learn from chess. A game of chess is complex: Chess players claimed there are far more possible moves in a chess game than there are atoms in the universe. So a chess player can spend all the time that he wants looking as far ahead and considering complex a decision tree as he can handle. Also, after all the time a chess player spent analyzing, it is more likely there are far more moves that he failed to consider than he took. Yet a chess player has to make a move and a quick one at the most in gaining a competitive edge.

Business leaders have to make most key business decisions under similar circumstances. What often sets great business leaders apart are their ability to recognize when they need to take a decisive action, and take this even with limited information.

Playing chess in the workforce is not that hard in grooming workers to take decisive action in their work. Businesses need critical thinkers who have the ability to advance forward even with limited information. Chess develops the mind in using strategies to advance floundering or expanding business. Chess as a part of workforce training will help businesses keep employees challenged for a long time(Annmarie Edwards, Workforce Trainer).

Efrain Tionko is a Senior Consultant at Northgate Arinso Australia. You can learn more about his services @

Copyrighted (C)2008 by Efrain Tionko
By Efrain Tionko

A business practitioner views on chess

As a keen tournament chess player,
I believe chess offers genuine life skills learning, especially for the young. Some examples include problem solving, planning, pattern recognition, and critical thinking.

How Chess Skill And Competency Applied In Real-world

One can write a book about how chess skill
and competency applied in real-world business environments. In fact, former world champion Garry Kasparov did just that, in his book "How Life Imitates Chess." I haven't personally read the book, but I can share some thoughts based on my personal experience as a chess player and business practitioner.

Best Practice Application

Chess theory, especially on opening play, has been developed over many decades
of tournament application. The chess theory that we know today based on endless analysis on games played over the years. The best chess tournament performers are often those who are up-to-date on current theory and know how to apply these in practice.

It is the same with business.
Business principles developed through the years have given us the various best practice models that we know about today. It is important for the business leader who wants to get ahead to understand and be able to apply these best practice models.

Seeking a Competitive Advantage

Management theorists have long supported businesses
seeking and preserving a competitive advantage over their competitors. While models and frameworks have suggested and debated on how businesses can keep the competitive advantage, business leaders agree that a business that does not have competitive advantage cannot survive.

The game of chess is all about competitive advantage
. The opening stage of a chess game sees two opponents jostling for the advantage. The middle game often sees one getting the advantage while the other seeks counter play. The endgame shows whether a player can successfully press his advantage to win the game.

The chess idea of "seeking counter play" is relevant for business,
especially when one works in a mature industry with powerful market leaders. Does one price match? Is it possible to be a niche player? Can a business leader create a new or alternative market? Stay tuned for part 2 where I will discuss the development of a continuous improvement culture.

Efrain Tionko is a Senior Consultant at Northgate Arinso Australia. You can learn more about his services @

Sunday, September 7, 2008

By Annmarie Edwards

In business, leaders can use chess in their workforce training to develop their workers analytical thinking skill. Competition in the workforce using teams is a way to infuse fun and motive staff. Mrs Laughing Pants recently asked a group of business experts "If You Were A Chess Piece Which One Would You Be And Why?" Here are their answers:

Laura Sherman Chess Coach Expert points out that although each chess piece has an important role her favorite piece is the knight because of its unpredictable moves. (

Demress Stockman Partner / Business Operations Manager
favors the rooks. These are important pieces as they have staying power and provide support for the pawns and the kings. (

John Ashburne, Mining Metals, and Energy Advisor
agrees with Sherman the knight is a favorable piece because of its dexterity in hopping over other pieces. Also, Ashburne notes the knight movement of stealth and surprise gives it a powerful role strategically. (

Efrain Tionko asserts the pawns represent the ultimate team players in organizations, those that quietly play their roles according to organizational needs without much fanfare, but whose collective effort can make or break the company. (

This question shows experts preference on their chess piece.
In the game of chess, the most notable position is the king and the queen. Why would leaders want this position? Some sees this role as the overseers of other people's action. They like to supervise and take control.

Other pieces like the pawns, rooks, and knight offer versatility.
The pawn is the weakest piece but can move forward and can advance two positions. The rook moves defensively and can take over the board. The knight represents wealth and can save an opponent with cash. Using this strategy, you have to be careful when making your moves.

Playing chess gives players the opportunity
to think under pressure. A leader learns when to make the right moves. Chess offers intellectual challenges and helps teams gain confidence. If you're not using chess in training your workforce it is time for you to capitalize on this tool in building an intellectual workforce.


Copyrighted © 2008 by Annmarie Edwards

Saturday, September 6, 2008

By Annmarie Edwards

Using chess as a form of workforce training
will help leaders build connection and motivate their workers to the next level. Setting a time for workers to play chess will help them to rewind and relax. Infusing fun in the workplace is a highly effective motivator. Playing chess can motivate workers to move to the next level. A motivated and energetic staff is the key to productivity.

Businesses need to set a play date for their staff to rewind and regroup with their peers and team members. A play date is a form of building camaraderie among business leaders and their workers. Playing chess in a fun environment will stimulate the mind to use strategic thinking while having fun in mind mapping the opponents.

Playing Chess In The Workplace

Experts in the field see the use of chess play
as an additive in building staff morale and help in strategic thinking. Chess is a form of teamwork that can improve productivity as teams are challenged to compete with each other using their higher order thinking skill.

Are businesses overlooking this vital tool
which has the capacity to increase strategic and tactile skills? Not to mention the analytical skills workers can develop with chess training. A focus mind when developed is able to overhaul problems of great difficulty and bring the team home run. Every team desire is to score goal and chess can help businesses score goal with less effort.

Bill James Chief Executive at Sydney Consulting LLC added that Chess forces the player to look as far ahead as possible and consider the scenarios resulting from various plays, it would serve as a good model for creating strategy and decision making (as well as implementation). It is also relevant because it teaches you to deal in definitions (the capabilities of the various pieces...strengths & weaknesses). It would also serve as a model for demonstrating various styles and strategies for securing the end game. Importantly, it shows that a well thought out plan of attack can raise a weaker opponent to victory. (

Playing chess is all about winning and using strategic planning to beat your opponent. When team members play a game of chess using all its components can raise the bar for excellence in the now and the future. That is what businesses want...excellence so go ahead and get your team on board and play chess. Bring the master minds on and score home run.

Annmarie Edwards AKA Mrs. Laughing Pants is a workforce trainer who uses and apply different strategies in her training program. Her passion is to work with world communities building one community at a time. She informs businesses on how they can improve their bottom line using tips and strategies.

Copyrighted (C) 2008 by Annmarie Edwards


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