Researchers from the University of Houston in the U.S. discovered that employees who have to juggle multiple tasks such as constantly answering emails and being distracted by colleagues can experience negative emotions, which in turn causes a tense working environment.
Study senior author Ioannis Pavlidis led a team, along with Gloria Mark and Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna, which analysed the mixed emotions that were experienced by employees as they took part in an essay writing task.
One group was asked to answer emails before they began writing, while the other group was frequently interrupted to answer emails as they were writing.
The facial expressions of those in the first group remained mostly neutral during the writing task, which was uninterrupted. However, in the second, interrupted group, participants expressed moments of anger.
“Not only do people experience stress with multi-tasking, but their faces may also express unpleasant emotions and that can have negative consequences for the entire office culture,” Pavlidis explained.
He said that those who had to juggle several tasks were significantly sadder than those who did not and that they even experienced sadness and fear during the task.
“Multitasking imposes an onerous mental load and is associated with elevated stress, which appears to trigger the displayed sadness,” he added. “Because multitasking is a widespread practice, the display of these negative emotions can persist throughout the workday for many people.”
And negative emotions, especially in open office environments, can have “significant consequences” on the company.
The study has been published in the Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
How to survive isolation with your roommates, your partner, your kids – and yourself
By now, we all know that voluntary social distancing is key to mitigating the spread of Covid-19. In the grand scheme of things, lying low for a little while is a small sacrifice to make for the increased safety of all, though it certainly will pose challenges, not least of which being to our relationships.
“It will become easy to think of one another as a burden,” writes the Atlantic’s Helena Fitzgerald, “especially when we are cooped up together or when isolation breeds feelings of abandonment.” This raises the question: how can we best manage the unusual social circumstances we’re in?
What if I’m stuck with my roommates?
In 2017, engineer Ansley Barnard spent eight months living in an isolated dome habitat with five other scientists as part of Nasa’s Hi-SEAS program, which was developed to simulate the experience of traveling to Mars. During that time, she learned several lessons applicable to anyone living with roommates.
“Talking about a potential conflict early on prevents things from getting worse,” says Barnard. “Our strategies in the habitat were to be open about our feelings and avoid blame. It can help to carve out private places in the same home so that you can decompress alone if you need to,” she says.
Barnard and her team ate dinner together every evening, using that time to set aside any issues and work on their relationships with each other. “I think having a positive attitude and looking at your situation as a temporary opportunity instead of a setback can help keep you moving forward,” she says.
What if it’s just me and the kids?
According to Joshua David Stein, editor of the parenting publication Fatherly, if you’re practicing social distancing with your kids, now is the time to readjust your rule structure.
“Just like how when you take kids on a plane they can watch as much TV as they want – it’s kind of the same, at least for now,” he says. Fatherly has compiled a list of at-home activities for bored kids, the internet abounds with kid-friendly podcasts, museum tours and educational videos, and Stein notes that it’s a good time to get outside and take advantage of local parks, too.
If your kids are worried about grandparents they’re unable to visit during the pandemic, Stein suggests: “without lying, frame it in a way that will assuage their worries as much as possible. Like, ‘Grandma is doing fine, for her safety and our safety, we’re going to rely on FaceTime for now.’” It’s also to be expected that your patience will wear thin at times. “You’re going to freak out at your kids a little bit,” says Stein. “It’s not the best thing in the world but it’s not the end of the world, don’t beat yourself up about it, try to do better next time.”
What if I’m suddenly spending a lot more time with my live-in partner?
“This is a situation where you kind of know what is going to happen so you have time to come up with a gameplan,” says Erin Davidson, a couples and sex therapist. “Chat about what to do in moments where things are stressful – normalize that it’s OK if you get on each other’s nerves, and decide on a signal that means ‘OK, we need to take a moment in separate rooms, or recognize better communication is needed, or perhaps someone needs a hug or to talk about emotions that are coming up.’”
Davidson says both partners should get comfortable asking for – and giving each other – space. While it may be a tricky time to date, low-risk, symptom-free partners living in relative isolation together can certainly use this time to have more sex. “There’s a website called MojoUpgrade.com and it’s fun because both of you fill out ‘yes-no-maybe’ questions about sexual things you want to try individually, and then it only emails you with the things you both matched up with a ‘yes’ on,” she says. “It’s a low-pressure fun thing you can do.”
What if I’m alone?
For the last three years, writer and musician Kristal Jax has been making ironic, Barbie-heavy memes about coping with mental illness, trauma and social issues, which she posts to her Instagram account @Dyingbutfine. Several of Jax’s recent posts have centered on Covid-19, including a “quarantine bingo” meme and a multi-post filled with ideas for how to distract yourself while home alone, such as by crafting, cleaning or making your own memes. “I find humour is a way to connect and let off steam when you’re really upset or anxious – just have some kind of catharsis,” she says.
In addition to taking on domestic projects, Jax says reaching out to offer support to others, if you’re able, is a good way to feel less alone. “I find helping people during times of crisis really helps you control your own anxiety, because you’re like, ‘Oh, I have a purpose,’” she says. “If you don’t know someone well enough to know how they would feel about you checking in on them you could still send a message to them saying, ‘Hey, I’m checking in on friends right now, do you need anything?’” And if you’re completely cooped up, “know that you staying home is you doing something,” says Jax, “even if you feel powerless.”
AEFUTH doctors narrate how they’ve been forced to borrow money after working for 5 months without pay
A number of resident doctors working at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital (AEFUTH) in Abakiliki have taken to Twitter to cry out over non-payment of salaries since they started working at the institution.
The doctors, who were employed to AEFUTH in December, alleged they have not been paid since they resumed work till now (5 months) and there is little to no hope of receiving their salaries until the COVID-19 crisis is over.
Most of the doctors ahave taken to borrowing money from friends and they shared how embarrassing it has been for them as medical doctors and essential workers, working everyday during the lockdown, yet having to borrow money from friends who are staying at home.
A medical doctor who works at AEFUTH told LIB of a resident doctor at Abakiliki who broke down in tears during surgery after he got news that his father suffered a stroke and is now in a coma.
In the presence of patients, the doctor was inconsolable as he lamented the fact that he never received his salary for one day since he started working and as such, he cannot take care of his sick father or reward him for all the years he sent him to school.
Doctors who spoke to LIB explained that they were informed that in order to get paid, their bio-data will have to be captured into the IPPIS first. Unfortunately, the IPPIS office in Abuja is on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the affected doctors said: “They keep telling us that unless IPPIS comes to capture us that we will never be paid. Even if the pandemic keeps getting worse as it is currently getting.
‘Even if it lasts for 2 years. They keep saying there is no way we will be paid. Imagine the injustice.
“Some of us had good jobs we were doing before we got here. We only came here to work for the government and do residency. Imagine my sadness to have left a comfortable life for this evil system that doesn’t care if I died or not?
“I wonder why they are so inefficient. How could they simply refuse to pay us unless the pandemic ends?
“I have tried all my best to get a loan but nothing is forth coming because I have borrowed so much already. I have tried to sell anything of worth that I have but no buyers are coming since the pandemic froze the economy. I am totally broken and bankrupt and feeding is now very difficult for me.”
The doctors said they have gone to complain to management but were threatened with retrenchment if they keep complaining.
Another doctor told LIB: “It’s not like we hadn’t started earlier to plead with them to find a way to pay us only for them to keep telling us to basically keep quiet and die in silence in order to still keep our jobs.
“Imagine that? Threatening workers who are being owed with sack simply because they are asking for their salaries?
“I remember the first time we went to ask the management about our salaries. Having waited for four months, we had gathered a few of us and went to the management to ask for our pay. We were almost in tears as we went. We were hoping for something hopeful only to get told to go home if we were tired of working.
“They didn’t even consider that we were heavily in debts and basically had no means of survival even if we went home.
“Can you imagine me going home to depend on my aged parents? The wickedness in this country will astound even the devil.”
He continued: “I have not been paid any salaries since I started working for the federal government as a resident doctor.
It’s been 5 months now without pay, and counting. It’s been 5 months of starvation and lack, of desperation and fear, of anxiety and total despondence.
“I am the first born who is supposed to cater for my family. Especially with the coronavirus pandemic which has totally erased my old parent’s other means of livelihood.
“It’s been five months of total hopelessness because the hospital I am working for, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki has been telling us all sorts of stories pertaining when we will be paid. The last time we were addressed we were simply told to keep quiet and wait for the pandemic to be over before we would be captured by IPPIS and hence, be considered for payment.”
A married father who works at AEFUTH lamented about the situation. He said the salaries owed them has made him unable to fulfill his responsibilities to his family. He added that his wife and children are starving and his wife has been forced to take up odd jobs to provide for the family.
Below are tweets from doctors narrating their ordeal.
5 important things you should do daily before you start working out
The things you do before you visit the gym and after has a whole lot to do with achieving that body goal you’re aiming for.
Whether you’re working out for a physical or mental balance, you need your routines to be as beneficial and 5 important things you should do daily before you start working outeffective as possible.
If you know and understand the things you need to do before and after every workout session, you’ll know how to make your fitness routine work for you.
From the kinds of food you need to eat or the habits you need to do away with, we got you covered on the pre-workout tips you need to achieve a great result in 2020.
Here are the things you need to do before hitting the gym in the morning or evening.
1. Get adequate and quality sleep
The only time your body gets to fully rest is when you sleep. Your body automatically goes to recovery mode when you sleep.
You must get enough and quality, so you’re energized to the point that you can go through your routines without any hurdles. If you can’t do 7-8 hours, 6 hours is still manageable.
Ensure you don’t show up at the gym without adequate sleep a night before.
2. Eat up
Filling up your stomach before you hit the gym is very important to achieving the right body goals. If you workout on an empty stomach, your body gets the energy it needs to sustain itself during the workout by burning your muscle mass.
We know that’s not what you want. You want to build your body mass not burn it.
Ensure you eat 1-2 hours before you start your exercises. You’re not eating to be full, just something light to supply your body energy.
3. Drink more water
The importance of getting hydrated can never be overemphasized. Drinking water is very crucial to your workout. Remember you’re sweating it out in the gym, you need to replace the moisture that was lost while exercising.
Being hydrated helps to maintain your energy levels while you’re working out.
4. Dress the right way
Your fitness routine might involve jumping, stretching, running, and getting into certain poses and positions that have nothing to do with your athletic qualities
Wearing the right clothes is important. Get the right sneakers, sport bra and jeggings for a smooth workout routine.
5. Have a dynamic warmup
Preparing your body for what lies ahead is very important to your fitness routine. A dynamic warmup will build your core temperature, help your blood flow to your muscles, lessen risk of injuries and makes your body flexible.
Ensure you have between 7-10 minutes warm-up session to help put your body in the right position for what lies ahead.
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