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There’s been a lot in the UK news in recent weeks about gender stereotyping, and the impact it is having on children. In a recent example, a well-known shoe retailer was criticised for calling a line of its girl’s school shoes ‘Dolly Babe’, whilst the equivalent boy range was called ‘Leader’. The Guardian newspaper who commented on this also noted that the girl’s version contained pink inserts with hearts, whilst the boy’s version had a blue insert with footballs.

These subtle (or not so subtle) messages have always been around and not just in the UK. I shared this story when I was delivering diversity training in India, and one of the participants shared a story about her one year-old son. He had seen a shiny bracelet, and like many kids that age, wanted to play with it. Another mother saw this and said to the infant – ‘Are you a little girl?’ and the little boy immediately dropped it. Research shows that infants as young as three are learning gender stereotypes from their environment. Should a boy like a doll? Should a girl want to play with trucks? Can a boy be a nurse? There’s no doubt that gender stereotypes (and others) have had a role to play in the reality that we have created in organisations.

The recent media coverage shows that we are becoming much more attuned to gender stereotyping. Like me, you may have seen a number of posts on social media from parents who have committed to raising their kids without stereotyping. A major retailer in the UK added to this by launching gender neutral clothing – to mixed responses. So what is the answer? Should we be raising gender neutral children?

In my opinion - no. There needs to be a balance. Sharing aspects of our identity with others is an important part of our development. Research in the last decade is increasingly showing that having a common identity with others is critical for our self-esteem, developing social skills and well-being. Where social identities (gender or otherwise) become a problem is when people feel that they have to follow the dominant groups (e.g. only boys can play football), or when identities such as gender become associated with certain capabilities or professions. This only serves to close doors and put people into boxes which limits potential.

What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts with me @PK_JonathanT on Twitter.

There has been much furore about the recently leaked memo written by a Google employee in response to Google’s unconscious bias training and other initiatives to even out the numbers of men and women who work in tech roles at the business.

The author of the memo uses as the basis for his argument research conducted that shows differences between men and women on dimensions such as assertiveness, agreeableness and emotionality. He argues that these biological differences in part account for the low number of women in coding. What he does not address is what the root causes of these differences (which according to the original author of the research are very small and of no significance in work) are. From a neurological perspective, there are no differences between male and female brains, and therefore there are no differences between men and women in terms of ability or interest. The differences identified in the original research are as a result of nurture and not nature. In other words, it’s the stereotypes that are held about men and women which have so influenced boys and girls in their formative years that these differences become true in later life. By citing the research out of context and failing to consider the cause for the differences identified, the author is propagating stereotypes that are held about women.

Further, when he considers the qualities of leadership (which he linked to assertiveness) he is demonstrating that he holds a masculine stereotype of leadership, and this way of thinking can lead to women being less likely to be considered for a leadership role. Similarly, in relation to emotionality, the author stated that women are more emotional than men and thus may not cope so well with high stress jobs. This view propagates that women are too emotional and decrease their chances of being considered for high stress roles, thus ultimately blocking progression into senior roles which are often seen as high stress.

Overall, the Google memo is an example of the way women face “double binds” in the workplace. If they behave in a stereotypically masculine way, they are penalized for not being feminine enough. Alternatively, if they behave in a stereotypically feminine manner, they are penalized for being weak (or in this case neurotic and too agreeable). This form of bias, known as an attribution error, often excludes women from roles that require leadership - keeping them out of traditionally masculine fields, and ultimately holding them back. In response, we must continue to raise awareness of bias in a way that includes and engages all, and recognise that whilst there may be some small differences between men and women, these differences are firstly not genetic, and secondly have no impact on the ability of women to perform effectively in the workplace.

We have been working with professional services firms for over ten years and during that time have anecdotally noticed the focus on technical expertise. Although this technical expertise has clear benefits for clients, we have also noticed, that there is less focus on development from a leadership perspective, which in many firms is seen as less important. From a talent pipeline perspective this has often resulted in highly talented and successful individuals not progressing into key leadership roles, not because they do not have the ability to do so, but because they have not had the opportunity to develop these skills or have not had the feedback to help them prioritise them as a development area.

Recently we decided to test this anecdotal experience with some data. We looked at data that we held for lawyers (a profession where technical ability is very prized) against a wide range of people with similar levels of experience who worked in industry. The ability to lead and manage people did indeed differentiate the successful lawyers from the less successful lawyers (in terms of future promotion to Partner) as it did the people working in a corporate environment. However, the difference in people management skills between those lawyers that were promoted and those that were not was smaller than between those promoted and not promoted in a corporate environment, and overall, those in a corporate environment were better at people management than the group of lawyers.

This is the first piece of more rigorous evidence we have to support our anecdotal observations, and it raises the question as to how generalizable this finding is for other technical roles such as engineers, actuaries, accountants, medical consultants to name but a few? Whatever the answer is to that question, the best lawyers are those that have the soft skills to lead and manage people, with underlying behaviours and skills such as ‘building relationships’, ‘questioning and listening’, ‘coaching skills’. These fundamental skills also overlap with skills such as ‘influencing’, ‘business development’ and ‘building relationships’. What this means in reality is that highly gifted and successful lawyers are promoted into senior leadership roles with a set of leadership skills that do not match their technical capabilities.

Why is this important? In our opinion they relate to longer term metrics in organisations such as engagement and motivation, and diversity related issues such as inclusion, attraction and promotion of underrepresented groups. What this means in practice is that these skills need to be considered in people development at a much earlier stage than they currently are. Certainly, for lawyers and, very possibly in other roles where technical ability is highly prized.

Many organisations are looking at developing more effective agile working strategies to enable their people to work with more flexibility, freedom and time/cost efficiency. The immediate focus for these organisations is often on the technology and work space solutions to ensure their teams are equipped to work anywhere with WiFi and a power source.

What often gets overlooked or ignored – sometimes because it is simply too difficult – is the way that people respond and adapt to agile working. The psychology behind agile working is interesting and not at all straightforward, and so in this article I will explore some of the important findings from our own research and work with leaders in this field.

Over a period of five years we were invited, by one of the world’s leading technology companies, to get involved in researching the impact of agile and remote working on their leaders and teams.

We looked in particular at the psychological impact on team members and their leaders, as well as the performance implications and productivity. Through a series of interviews, live observation of interactions between teams that were using video and telecoms technology, as well as gathering data on the personality and attitudes of leaders and their teams, we built a picture of what it takes to be successful in an agile environment.

So, lets examine in more detail one of the key findings, which is that there are definite characteristics that enable some people to be better and more effective working in an agile environment.

While everyone is capable of working in a more agile way, we found that there are certain personality characteristics that relate to greater effectiveness and higher levels of productivity in agile and remote environments. What are these characteristics?

● Workers who demonstrate higher levels of ‘conscientiousness’ (a need for rules, regulations and structure) tend to be rated by peers as being more effective in working remotely. At the start of our research, we predicted that we would find the opposite. We believed that workers who are lower in ‘conscientiousness’ (and therefore more flexible in their interpretation of rules, more expedient and less structured) would be quicker to adapt. Instead, it is those who put in place clear and structured processes for themselves who tend to emerge as being better suited to remote working. Clearly, working in an agile way is not about constant flexibility and freedom from rules, but instead requires a great deal of organisation, personal discipline and self-control to be most effective.

● Workers who demonstrate higher levels of extroversion (those who are sociable, outgoing and talkative) are more effective in working remotely than ‘introverted’ peers (those who tend to reflect and think inwardly, and prefer space and time to reflect). Again, based on what we know about the nature of remote and agile working, we believed that those who are more introverted are likely to adapt to remote working better than those who need the stimulation of others’ company. It seems that the opposite is true. Workers who demonstrate higher levels of extroversion are also considered more effective in remote and agile working. Why is this? We would suggest that they are better at seeking others out, better at using a range of different methods to communicate, and better at proactively getting in touch with others and maintaining contact.

● In addition, our research found that those who are more effective in agile working are typically more open to new experiences and willing to experiment with new ideas and new ways of working. So no surprises there, particularly as agile working is all about finding new and different ways to achieve objectives while maximising the efficiency of time.

This is not to say that employees need to have these attributes to be effective in agile or remote working. But the findings may well help to explain why some people take to agile and flexible working more easily - and effectively - than others. They may also provide team leaders with some useful insights about the individuals in their teams, their preferences for agile working and where they may need some additional support and guidance.

To read more of Stuart Duff's blogs on business psychology topics, click here. For more information on Pearn Kandola's research into agile working please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leading agile and dispersed teams requires many of the qualities that you would associate with leaders of centralised teams. Without doubt, however, agile working throws up an additional set of challenges and risks that are not always obvious.

Our research with agile teams also enabled us to look at how leaders successfully engaged and supported their teams when they were dispersed and agile. We looked at the leadership skills and behaviours that were considered to be the most important for leading remote teams and looked at some of the specific strategies that leaders adopt to make sure that they provide the direction, communication and support needed. We also identified the risks that remote and agile working brings to teams. Here are some of the key findings from our report.

The first and perhaps most important finding was the role that trust plays in effective work in dispersed teams. Trust is clearly a vital ingredient in any successful relationship, but it was consistently recognised as being the most important – and the most challenging – aspect of leading remote teams. Indeed, the greatest risks identified by leaders of dispersed teams are a fragile trust and the risk of being misunderstood or misinterpreted by others. Through our research we pinpointed two quite different aspects of trust. There is cognitive trust (where trust is given to someone on the basis of their knowledge, expertise and decision making skills) and there is emotional or affective trust (where trust is given to someone on the basis of how open they are, how supportive and how caring they are in building relationships).

Both aspects of trust are important in a productive relationship at work, but we found that less effective leaders over-emphasised cognitive trust at the expense of building emotional trust. Meetings were focused tightly on agenda, facts and decision making, rather than also inviting perspectives or sharing how people were feeling about the issues they were working on. Those leaders who made time for both were seen as being much more successful and effective in their role.

Another remarkably consistent finding was that nothing replaces the value and importance of face-to-face contact. This may sound obvious to some, but nowadays there are many easy and efficient ways to communicate through technology. We found that the less effective leaders over-relied on email and voice calls, without making the effort to meet face to face or to use video conferencing wherever possible. What is lost are subtle yet vital elements of communication and contact: body language, tone and many of the factors associated with affective trust.

One other important aspect of effective leadership (and something that we hadn’t anticipated) is just how much more organised and planful leaders of remote teams need to be. When teams meet regularly, it is easy to have spontaneous, off the cuff discussions to keep colleagues up dated on what is going on. When meetings are infrequent and remote, however, it becomes essential to invest more time in preparation in order to ensure that time spent as a team is as valuable as it can be.

To read more of Stuart Duff's blogs on business psychology topics, click here. For more information on Pearn Kandola's research into agile working please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Those of you in the UK may be aware that last week was Mental Health Awareness Week. This has been great for raising awareness about mental health and for challenging some of the stigmas associated with anxiety and depression, with many public figures sharing their experiences. It’s important we keep talking about it. As business psychologists, we also think about how we can promote positive mental health and well-being as well.

I was watching a BBC documentary on sleep the other night, which estimated that a third of us are still getting less than the recommended 7 hours sleep a night. While watching it, it struck me that we’re not very good at looking after ourselves, particularly when we’re busy.

The results are plain to see. The latest Labour Force Survey in the UK revealed that mental health issues (including stress, depression and anxiety) were responsible for 15.8 million working days lost in 2016 alone.

So it’s worth reminding ourselves of the some of the things that we can do to help keep us resilient in the face of our daily pressures.

Which of these are you currently doing?

● Getting 7-8 hours’ sleep - a recent meta-analysis of 152 studies found that quality of sleep was associated with feelings of personal control, reduced levels of anxiety and attitudinal outcomes such as engagement. It’s one of the most important bits of self-care we can invest in.

● Having regular social interaction - we’re social creatures and psychological research is increasingly telling us that our interactions throughout the day contribute to our self-esteem and resilience. This includes chatting to a colleague in the kitchen or exchanging pleasantries with someone in the lift. If you’re a remote worker, think about how you can turn an email into a phone call. Make a more personal connection. Quicker isn’t always better.

● Regularly detaching from work - I talked about this before, but detachment fuels our recovery from the demands of work. Making time for an activity completely unrelated to your work can help you to bounce back (e.g. going for a walk). Combining this with the social point, we have a table tennis table at our Oxford office, which we use for micro breaks throughout the day and to increase our interaction. This helps us to re-charge and refocus when we return to work.

● Protecting time for the things you enjoy - spending time on things that you have intrinsic motivation for (the stuff you enjoy – not chores!) has been found to increase your rate of recovery. How do you spend your evenings? Are you making time for the things you enjoy?

● Scheduling time for relaxation - recent research has that practicing relaxation techniques such as mindfulness can reduce feelings of emotional exhaustion – one of the hallmarks of burnout. While seen by some as a ‘fad’, the science is increasingly showing that mindfulness meditation has its place in the modern world. As an example, our colleague Tracey runs weekly mindfulness sessions in our office to help us re-focus.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list – any nutritionists will talk about the importance of diet, and any runners will testify to the impact of exercise. However it’s these simple things that can really add up. We may not be able to control all the pressures we face at work, but we can enhance our ability to deal with them.

To read more of Jonathan Taylor's blogs on business psychology topics, click here.

Following the shock triumph of Donald Trump people are still asking themselves, how did he win? One group of the electorate that Trump failed to win over and certainly did not help him to become President were the Millennial’s - those born in the period of 1982-2000. A survey conducted before the election showed that if only Millennial’s voted Clinton would have a 504 – 23 vote crushing victory, gaining 41 out of 50 states. In contrast the same survey found that if only those 65+ voted Trump would have 298 – 214 vote victory. This phenomenon of difference between generations has not only been seen over the pond but also in Britain. In the 2016 Brexit referendum 73% of Millennial’s voted to remain whereas 60% of those over 65 voted to leave.

The vast differences between older generations and the Millennial generation may hold potential difficulties in the workplace. While much of the current knowledge about Millennial’s is anecdotal what follows is an examination of the limited empirical research on this topic.

Communication
Millennial’s have been shown to engage in different forms of communication to the generations before them. Research has discovered a constant need for continual feedback, compared to Generation X and Baby Boomers – possibly down to a “trophies for all” upbringing and overprotective parents. When negative feedback is provided Millennial’s have been shown to respond best to assertion, but also sensitivity, and are most receptive when positive feedback accompanies.

An interesting point is that Millennial’s do not like the top down method of communication currently employed by many employers. They are far less intimidated by their leaders than previous generations and work best when they feel they are ‘in the loop’.

Values
This new generation places far more value on their home life, compared to their work life than any generation before them. Research has shown that increased media coverage of key events during their development, such as terrorist attacks, has caused an increased mortality salience (reminders that we will eventually die) and in turn a revaluation of priorities.

In line with this emphasis on home life research has indicated a preference for flexible working. PwC found that the companies with strong flexible structures such as Apple and Google, who do not have historical restraints of “how it used to be done”, have the best Millennial retention.

Expectations and Aspirations
There seems to be a general conception that Millennial’s have high expectations of the workplace, relating back to their sheltered upbringing in a time of relative prosperity. Research by Ng (2010) has shown that in terms of salary expectations new graduates do not have high expectations of their initial wage, but expect a 68% increase in 5 years, which is unrealistic.

Millennial’s want leaders who are forward thinking, looking for continual innovation and aren’t afraid to take risks. They also expect their leaders to offer them development opportunities, with research showing higher retention of Millennial’s when they perceive they are being invested in with learning and professional opportunities.

How to be an Employer of Choice for the Millennial Generation?

● Encourage open-communication. Create ‘bottom-up’ channels of communication which allow individuals to give feedback regardless of their position in the organisation.

● Introduce flexi-working. Allow individuals to work from home and give them more control over and trust in their roles. Oseland (2012) found that flexi-working actually increases productivity and staff satisfaction.

● Create realistic career development opportunities. Be clear on development opportunities from the start of employment and keep staff informed when these change to help create more realistic expectations.

● Increase staff engagement. Provide job autonomy, performance feedback, task variety and responsibility.

To read more of Laura William's blogs on business psychology topics, click here.

If you’ve struggled to maintain a New Years’ resolution, you’re certainly not alone. Whether it was trying to give up smoking, get in shape, or change the way you work, behavioural change can be difficult.

So why is it so difficult?

We like to think that we’re consciously in control of everything we do, but much of our behaviour is unconscious, shaped by our experience, and triggered by our surroundings. Habits are ultimately what drives much of our behaviour, and are key to sustaining a new behaviour. It’s somewhat ironic that the habits we don’t want are often those that we form. However it’s not too late to give your New Year’s resolution another go – here’s some psychology that may help you make the change:

Introducing a new behaviour

We start with intentions, but recent research shows us that intentions by themselves are not enough. We form lasting habits when we repeat a behaviour consistently in a specific context, so to make a behaviour automatic, we need to also think about context - where and when we’re doing it.

If you’ve attended our diversity training, you’ll be familiar with an ‘Implementation Intention’ as a method of encouraging new behaviour. These go beyond intentions (the what) to also pin down the context (the when). And we know that the simple act of making these specific, ‘If-Then’ statements in our minds (e.g. ‘when I see the turning for the gym, I will turn left’) can increase the likelihood of follow-through.

How do they work? When we create these ‘If-then’ statements, our brains begin to associate the situation with the behaviour in our minds, much in the same way that established habits work (albeit weaker). So when the situation arises, it’s much easier for us to trigger the behaviour – it requires less conscious effort or deliberation.

Once you have a clear ‘If-then’ intention in your mind, keeping the context the same as much as possible (i.e. same time of day, location) each time you repeat the behaviour will help to form a habit. And research shows that people with strong habits are more likely to have a regular routine. For example, one study looking at gym users found that 90% of regular gym users had a regular time and location that triggered their behaviour.

Breaking an old habit

Whilst habits are key to sustaining new behaviour, they’re also the reason why changing existing behaviour can be such a pain. If you’re trying to change an existing habit, research suggests that Implementation Intentions are less effective as they’re having to compete with the more established associations. So how do we change our old habits? In summary there are two approaches:

● Where possible, remove the temptation. Remove whatever it is that is triggering your behaviour. Do you procrastinate by clicking on email pop-ups? Disable the pop-up. Do you buy a coffee when you walk past the coffee shop on the way to work? Try a different route. If you can’t remove completely, can you change the context? Habits are very context-dependent. This is also why many organisations find that office moves are a great time for behavioural change interventions – old cues are disrupted, freeing up people to act on their new intentions.

● Change the context. Sometimes you can’t remove the cues. Perhaps you can’t magic yourself to a different office, or remove the vending machine. If that’s the case, try changing the context as much as possible and investing your effort on deliberately replacing your usual response with a better one (e.g. when hungry at your desk, grabbing an apple rather than walking to the vending machine).

There’s no doubting behaviour change can be difficult, but investing your effort in the right way will eventually pay off.

To read more of Jonathan Taylor's blogs on business psychology topics, click here.

Anyone using Assessment or Development Centres (ADCs) for promotions, selection into new roles or benchmarking employee capability, will be well aware of the challenges of creating a realistic, meaningful and valid (i.e. accurate) process. Providing the right level of challenge for participants, while giving regular opportunities for feedback and learning, is a difficult balance to strike.

With this challenge in mind, we have been working with our clients to design progressive, innovative, fair, flexible and accurate assessment and development centres to support talent management. We have designed centres with our clients that deliberately vary the context, the situation and the timing of meetings in order to achieve more realistic and varied measures of capability. For example, we have used short meetings, standing meetings, meetings that are frequently interrupted and difficult teleconference calls. And by doing so, we have been achieving stronger outcomes, increasing the realism of situations and improving the quality of observations and the usefulness of the feedback. None of these alternative designs reduced the validity of our observations – they only enhanced the flexibility and improved the experience for participants.

So it wasn’t a great surprise when, at this year’s BPS Occupational Psychology conference, a number of speakers questioned whether traditionally structured assessment centres were likely to be inconsistent or even inaccurate in what they claim to be measuring. These questions emerged based on recent studies into the effectiveness of assessment centres. Using a new and well regarded approach to analysing all of the possible effects that may contribute to variance in assessor ratings in a standard assessment centre, the studies indicate that less than 2% of the variance in ratings from that assessment centre could attributable to the actual measurement of competencies (see Dewberry, 2017 (in press)). In other words, the final ratings that came from the assessment centre bore little, if any, relationship to the behaviours that they claim to measure.
Why is this? It’s difficult to say exactly, but it would appear that assessment centres are actually better at measuring behaviour within a specific context (i.e. how somebody handles a particular one-to-one meeting or group situation) than trying to do so across a range of different contexts. This perhaps reflects the view that behaviours – and leadership behaviours in particular – are far more ‘situational’ than previously thought by most practitioners.

Our approach has been further backed up by the research of Filip Lievens (2016), which questioned the traditional format and construct of assessment centres. This research proposed that an assessment centre could break with the traditional format of two role plays, each lasting for 30 minutes, and instead run eighteen interactive role plays, each lasting three minutes. For an experimental approach, the results demonstrated good validity and identified, in particular, those most extravert and agreeable, which is ideal if the assessment centre is for a people or sales role. Other methods tested open-ended video responses, rather than written responses, and webinar facilities – in the same way that many employees work on a day-today basis.

All of this raises some critical questions for any organisations using standardised, off the shelf exercises in their assessment and development centre processes. It is impossible to ignore these findings. Instead, we need to embrace it as an opportunity to further question the approach and look at ways to reflect the constant changes in work environments.
Most importantly perhaps, as we make changes to assessment and development methods, we have to continue to improve fairness, reduce the bias that is so inherent in so many processes, and give everyone an equitable starting point, whether they are being assessed for a role or developed for a future position. We have a very interesting time ahead.

To read more of Stuart Duff's blogs on leadership and and other related business psychology topics, click here.

It’s that time of year again - a new year, a new you. No doubt your social media feeds have been filled with advice on how you can unleash your inner Richard Branson and be more productive in 2017. Rather than talk about working, I’m going to focus on the other side of the coin – rest and recovery. You see we’re not the machines that we try to be – in fact, much of our performance can be attributed to how well we rest and recover when we’re not working.

Let’s start with sleep…

As a workforce we’re tired. During the week most of us don’t get enough sleep – and when we’re busy it’s often the first thing that we sacrifice. An estimated 1/3 workers get less than 6 hours sleep a night1. But sleep matters. Decades of research tells us that the quality and quantity of sleep we get has a profound influence on our memory, attention, our ability to process information and capacity to manage our emotions. While the amount of sleep we each need varies with age and from person to person, if you’re currently getting less than 7 hours a night, forming a new habit where you go to bed earlier could have a dramatic impact on how you experience your work.

Recovery during your down time

During our working day, we’re constantly responding to various pressures and demands, drawing on our own physical, psychological and emotional resources to be able to respond effectively. However these resources are finite – and recovery is a physiological need that we all have. The quality of the rest we get during our evenings and weekends can have a profound effect on our performance back at work.

Rest is important – for example, one study found that individuals who returned to work feeling well rested were more productive, showed greater personal initiative, engaged in more organisational citizenship behaviours (voluntarily going beyond what is expected in your role, such as helping out a colleague), and reported that their work felt easier to complete2. But feeling rested is not simply a function of how long we stay away from the office – but rather what we do with the time. In particular, engaging in activities that draw on different resources to the ones we use at work, or that replenish those we have lost during the day can support our recovery. Three types of activity have been associated with greater recovery:

● Psychological detachment
Mentally ‘switching off’ from work – thinking about something else, rather than continuing to ruminate on what happened during the day. Research shows that this can improve mood, reduce negative emotions experienced during leisure time and increase performance once back at work2. But detaching from work can be difficult – very rarely do we end the day with everything neatly tied off. However, simple changes to how you structure your time – such focusing on bigger tasks in the morning, and tackling the smaller tasks towards the end of the day can make a difference. When you do run out of time, writing down where, when and how you will finish any incomplete tasks before you leave work can help you switch off3.

● Relaxation
Any activity that does not place any further demands on you and that allows you to feel calm. This can include activities such as mindfulness meditation, yoga or listening to music, all of which you can do during the working day or at lunchtime. A study in Germany found that individuals who engaged in Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) during their lunchtime experienced a significant reduction in their levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, both in and outside of work, compared to their colleagues4.

● Mastery experiences
These are any activities that give a sense of achievement or personal development. This can include activities such as learning a new language or instrument. Or exercise - for example going for a run, or resistance training. It could even include successfully assembling some flat-pack furniture! Essentially any tasks that give a sense of accomplishment or progression can count as mastery experiences. Research shows that these even simple tasks can be critical for maintaining self-esteem and self-efficacy – particularly when encountering setbacks at work2.

We’re not designed to work continuously – we need regular recovery to perform at our best. By giving some thought now to how you spend your downtime, and by resting smarter, you’ll notice a big difference this year.

References:
1 Luckhaupt, S. E., Tak, S., & Calvert, G. M. (2010). The prevalence of short sleep duration by industry and occupation in the National Health Interview Survey. Sleep, 33, 149–159.

2 Binnewies, C., Sonnentag, S., and Mojza, E. (2010). Recovery during the weekend and fluctuations in weekly job performance: A week-level study examining intra-individual relationships. Journal of Occuptational and Organizational Psychology, 83, 419-441.

3 Smit, B. (2016). Successfully leaving work at work: The self-regulatory underpinnings of psychological detachment. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 89, 493-514.

4 Krajewski, J., Sauerland, M., Wieland, R. (2011). Relaxation-induced cortisol changes within lunch breaks – an experimental longitudinal worksite field study. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 84, 382-394.

To read more of Jonathan Taylor's blogs on business psychology topics, click here.

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