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别让健康计划累垮员工 (双语)

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2016年03月04日

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  别让健康计划累垮员工 Healthier workers are those not made ill by their job

  Why pay employees to exercise when you can threaten them? That is the somewhat menacingconclusion some people have drawn from a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicinelast week.

  既然可以威胁员工锻炼,为何还要花钱让他们锻炼呢?这是一些人从《内科医学年鉴》(Annals of InternalMedicine)近日发表的一项研究成果中得出的有点危险的结论。

  The researchers challenged a few hundred people to take 7,000 steps a day and offereddifferent incentives to different groups. They discovered that people were much moremotivated by the fear of losing money than the hope of earning some.

  研究人员要求参加实验的几百人每天走7000步,并且对不同的小组实施不同的激励措施。他们发现,比起想要领到一些钱,害怕被罚钱带给人们的激励效果强得多。

  For the $6bn corporate “wellness” industry — which aims to cajole employees into beinghealthier — the implication seems to be clear. Employers should put down carrots and startbrandishing sticks.

  对于以劝导员工强身健体为宗旨、规模达60亿美元的企业“健康”行业而言,这项研究结果的含意似乎很清楚。雇主应该放下“萝卜”,转而挥舞“大棒”。

  The study hit a nerve with me because last year I strapped on an array of gadgets to allowmy bosses to track my exercise, heart rate and sleep patterns for a week. Companies weregiving these devices to employees as part of their wellness initiatives and I wanted to try one.

  这项研究触及了我的痛处,因为去年有整整一周的时间,我在身上绑上了一系列小设备,让我的老板追踪我的锻炼、心率和睡眠模式。作为员工健康计划的一部分,很多企业给员工派发了这类设备,我当时也想一试。

  In the course of that week, I think I figured out the answer to the question of how best toincentivise employees to exercise more. It is not to bother at all.

  在那一周里,对于如何更好地激励员工多锻炼这个问题,我认为我找到了答案,那就是顺其自然,根本别费事。

  Admittedly, it is hard to argue with the wellness industry’s sales pitch that a healthierworkforce is more productive and cheaper (if you are on the hook for employee healthcarecosts, that is). The question is how you go about it.

  健康行业的推销词是更健康的员工更有工作效率,成本更低(如果你要承担员工健康成本,那么的确如此),这一点的确无可争辩。问题是怎么做。

  Wellness programmes that encourage employees to exercise more, eat better food and giveup smoking are popular but the hard research, such as it is, suggests that these “lifestyleinterventions” are the least effective part of any strategy. A seven-year study of PepsiCo’sprogramme concluded that the company did reap lower healthcare costs but all the savingscame from the “disease management” part of the programme: the bit that helped people withexisting problems such as diabetes.

  鼓励员工多运动、吃健康食品和戒烟的健康计划很流行,但详实的研究,虽然不一定正确,认为这些“生活方式干预”在任何一种策略中都是效果最差的部分。对百事公司(PepsiCo)健康项目历时7年的一项研究得出结论,该公司的员工医疗成本的确降低了,但节省的资金全部来自于健康项目中“疾病管理”的部分:即帮助原本就患有糖尿病等疾病的员工的那部分。

  There is also the risk of unintended consequences. When I was wearing my gadgets I felt Iwould be judged not just on what I did at work, but on what I did in my free time too. Onenight I walked around the block at 11pm because I was worried my “step count” was too low.My flatmate thought I was slightly unhinged.

  这种健康计划还可能造成意想不到的后果。当我佩戴那些设备时,我感到不仅仅是我工作时间的所作所为,连我在空闲时间的所作所为都会成为评判我的标准。我有一天夜里11点还在街上转悠,因为我担心我的“步数”太少了。我那个室友都觉得我有点精神失常了。

  I wasn’t the only one, it turns out. When researchers André Spicer and Carl Cederströminvestigated the effects of corporate wellness programmes, they found they often ate intoemployees’ free time and made them anxious.

  事实证明,我不是唯一出现这种情况的人。当研究人员安德烈•斯派塞(André Spicer)和卡尔•塞德斯特伦(Carl Cederström)调查企业健康项目的效果时,他们发现这些项目往往挤占了雇员的空闲时间,让他们感到焦虑。

  Stress and anxiety are the health risks you can miss if you are too focused on issues likefitness. A friend of mine used to work at a big management consultancy where he did longhours under a lot of pressure.

  如果你太专注于健身这样的事情,压力和焦虑可能会成为你注意不到的健康风险。我的一个朋友过去在一家大型管理咨询机构工作,在那里他需要在巨大的压力下长时间工作。

  As a coping strategy, he started going to the gym late at night. He said it was the only time hefelt he had any control over his life. He was doing so much exercise he would have won a goldstar in most wellness programmes but in fact he was burning out.

  作为一项应对策略,他开始深夜到健身房锻炼。他说,当时那是他唯一感到他能掌控自己生活的时间。他的锻炼量非常大,按说能够在大多数健康项目中赢得嘉奖,但事实上,他把自己弄得精疲力尽。

  This is what irks me about initiatives that simply urge employees to run more and eat better.Such wellness programmes are based on the idea that your health affects your work but ignorethe fact the reverse can also be true.

  这就是仅仅督促员工多跑步、改善饮食的健康计划让我恼怒的地方。这种健康项目基于一个想法——你的健康状况会影响你的工作,却忽略了反过来可能也是对的。

  The evidence that work can be bad for your health is abundant. Studies show links betweenshift work and heart attacks, between poorly designed chairs and back pain and betweenworkplace bullying and anxiety.

  工作可能有害你的健康的证据很充分。多项研究表明轮班制和心脏病、设计不好的椅子和背痛、工作场所霸凌和焦虑之间存在联系。

  Surely this should be a rich seam for the wellness industry. Tools that help you figure outwhen you the employer are the problem would be much more useful, since fixing these mattersis directly within your power.

  当然,这对健康行业来说应该是个宝库。有些工具能够帮助你弄清楚在哪些情况下作为雇主的你才是问题所在,这样的工具应该有用得多,因为解决这类事情正好在你的能力范围以内。

  I met a start-up recently called Soma Analytics that aims to provide employers with adiagnostic tool just like this. Its product is an app for employees’ smartphones which, it isclaimed, picks up on subtle shifts in their stress levels — changes in tone of voice, forexample, or quality of sleep. The employer does not receive individualised data but it can seewhen a whole team, division or demographic appears to be stressed out.

  最近我接触了一家叫做Soma Analytics的初创公司,该公司就为雇主提供这样的诊断工具。该公司的产品是一款安装在员工智能手机上的应用,据其宣称,该应用能够监测员工压力水平的细微变化——比如语调变化,或者睡眠质量。雇主不会接收到个人数据,而是会在一个团队、部门或者某一类人压力过大时发现情况。

  Johann Huber, one of Soma’s founders, hopes this will prompt companies to figure out whenthey are working particular teams too hard, so they can address the problem before peoplestart going off sick or quitting.

  Soma Analytics创始人之一约翰•胡贝尔(Johann Huber)希望,这能够促使企业发现它们什么时候让某些团队工作过量了,从而在员工生病或者辞职之前解决这个问题。

  Technology like this will have its critics but at least it is aimed in the right direction. Companiesshould stop urging employees to be “well” and focus on not making them sick.

  有人会批评这样的技术,但至少这类技术的目的在方向上是正确的。企业应该停止敦促员工保持“健康”,把关注点放在别害他们生病。


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