A day in the life of a stressed out House-Person

Would you like you roof cleaned?

I was there doing the washing up – yes I know this is unheard off – when that black and white idiot of a dog of ours starts the hound of the Baskervilles impression and begins to bark the bloody place down. I don’t know what it is with Border Collies but they spend most of their day looking at the entrance to the drive waiting for someone to turn up then proceed to bark their flipping heads off – she’s turned postie into a nervous wreak I can tell you – and when they do get out they proceed to pee all over the visitor as a sign of submission. Anyhoo – ‘shut up you black and white bloody idiot’, I shouted just as she disappeared out of the front door on a blood quest – crap I’ll have to sort that out else she do someone a mortal – so I quickly squeezed out the sponge and in so doing sprayed water all down the front of my taupe trousers right across the front so it now looked if I had had a nasty accident and p*****d myself.

‘Oh hello would like more information about our roof cleaning service?’, said this chirpy lady who was standing on one of our garden chairs whilst our dog circled menacingly still barking of course. ‘Roof Cleaning!?’ ‘What? – will you bloody well shut up else I’ll strangle you!’ ‘Oh there’s no need to take that attitude’ – ‘Oh not you I meant that idiot.’ ‘Oh, I see – yes we offer to come around and clean the moss off you roof – it’s a new service we have started in the area.’ ‘Oh I suppose ‘offer’ means you do it for free?’ Well no you do have to pay but its reasonably cheap for a roof like your its only about £250.’ ‘WHAT!? £250 to loosen up and crack all the tiles and remove the moss I have been faithfully growing over the last ten years – No Way Jose.’ ‘I quite like the moss really so can live with it and as you can see I rather distracted right now.’ ‘Oh yes, wet yourself have you?’ ‘Yes I have wet myself because some bloody idiot called by when I am doing the washing up and…’ (from there it went down hill a bit). ‘Oh I see can I get down? – ‘Oh yes she quite friendly really we only trained her to go after idiot salesreps who waste my time with useless offers.’ ‘Oh I’ll go then – can I leave you our leaflet should you change your mind?’ – full marks for persistence though – and I walked back in to find a dog biscuit to reward black and white idiot for a job well done, to load the dishes into the dishwasher and find the newspaper.

Stress From Outsourcing can kill – we need to manage those staying as well

Stress From Outsourcing can Kill

I was struck by the similarity in the situation when people are laid off during redundancies and the stress caused by the move from one company to another during outsourcing – it strikes me that this is an under researched area and something we as managers should pay more attention to.

Pioneering studies in Scandinavia that took place some years ago, where centralized health care allows researchers access to vast databases of medical conditions and treatment, showed a strong link between downsizing, layoffs and illness. A study by Finnish researchers published in February (2004) in the British Medical Journal, found the risk of dying from a heart attack doubled among permanent employees after a major round of downsizing, with the risk growing to five times normal after four years. What was surprising about this study was that ‘surviving’ employees – those left behind – suffered as much stress as those who left. Those hit hardest by layoffs in this study – losing more than 18 per cent of their colleagues during the worst years of recession – suffered the highest risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Two other studies in the same vein suggested that other forms of strain in the workplace can also affect health. An analysis of medical records for 24,036 Swedish workers from 1991 to 1996 found that in workplaces that underwent large-scale expansions, the workers were 7 percent more likely to take sick leave of 90 days or more and 9 percent more likely to enter a hospital for some reason.

What these studies showed was there is a relationship between work related stress and real physical outcomes – for those remaining as well as the obvious strains to those leaving. Outsourcing shares many of the factors that were shown to lead to this heightened risk and we should be aware that an over cavalier approach to managing people in this major change process could possibly lead to people dying before their time. It is not enough that we have to act carefully and ethically as other Blog writers on this forum have said we have to act with responsibility and care for people – in the final analysis if it could be shown we acted in an unfair and reckless manner in dealing with people during an outsource we also might find ourselves liable in law. More research is clearly called for in this area.