Home' HR Monthly : May 2017 Contents Event or The Great Managers
Stop wasting your money on Leadership Training that
doesn’t deliver behavioural or cultural change!
Definition: Insanity /ɪnˈsanəti/
1. Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
Occasional or event style leadership training
is like drinking from a fire hose! Loads of
information, but almost none of it sticks. In
fact, as little as 10% of the information is
retained, with most (if not all) participants
quickly returning to their old, bad habits.
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your Managers from good (or not so good) to
Great. And that is exactly what the Great
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courses I've attended in the past are all crammed into 1 or 2 days. There's no time for
a thought to develop; for awareness of one's own behaviour; or time to implement a
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Information & Analysis Manager The Shepherd Centre
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Last month, I provided an outline of some of the bright sides from the
new global digital world of business for the HR profession and its people.
As always, however, alongside any bright side there lurks a dark side.
Modern technology is no exception to this rule.
Humans learn a lot from experience, but sometimes the pains of
the past generations are needed to provide lessons for the future. The
generation since the second world war has taught us about the negative
and sometimes fatal effects of skin cancer and smoking-related cancers.
Ou r cu rrent generation has absorbed the lessons of the junk food era,
but it is still facing challenges in curbing obesity. The high tech devices
stuck to our ears and inside our pockets are the nex t inter-generational
challenge to our health, and our practices in response are still a giant
The artificial light coming from our ubiquitous IT devices is being
shown – from the latest medical research – to disturb our body clocks,
and also cause increased incidence of obesity, insomnia, type 2 diabetes,
high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. The US Environment
Protection Agency has estimated that Americans today spend 93 per cent
of their life indoors, which cuts back their dopamine intake, a natural
chemical that is essential for positive energy and regeneration in human
beings. Furthermore, continued exposu re to bright LED screen lights
will further reduce a person’s dopamine neurons, and so compound
the problem. As a comparator, du ring the industrial revolution we
saw the reduction in sunlight for those working long hours in factories
was heavily correlated to increases in rickets, tuberculosis, vitamin D
deficiency, and poor sleep patterns.
Early this millenniu m, the World Health Organisation concluded the
introduction of wireless technologies such as wi-fi, smartphones, and
smart meters has seen a rise in electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS)
that can cause debilitating conditions for humans. Three per cent of
Australians are estimated to have severe exposure to EHS, and 35 per
cent are experiencing mild to moderate exposure.
The fine print for our new consumer technology products is picking
up on this emerging evidence. For example, Apple states in its iPhone6
product statement that we should ‘carry the phone at least 5mm away
from your body to ensure (EHS) levels remain below the as tested levels’.
Furthermore, Apple advises you to keep the iPhone away from
continued contact to your skin. Similarly, running your wireless router
in your bedroom 24x7x365 will impede you r sleep, and may be inju rious
to your long-term health. Charging your phone at the bedside is unwise,
as is wandering around all day with a bluetooth headset on; hovering
around a microwave waiting impatiently for your dinner to heat up; or
falling asleep in bed watching Netflix.
Immunity levels can deteriorate, stress and anxiety can increase, and
headaches occur more frequently with these patterns of technology usage.
Smart meters have been shown to reduce the level of red blood cells for
those in the immediate proximity, and the risks will increase as more
consumer devices within the home are linked to smart meters.
So what is best to do at home and work? The most successful antidotes
are similar to those we have established for reducing sun damage to our
skin, and between junk food and obesity. We need to self-regulate or
encou rage sensible consumption (quantity and quality). At home, we
should place our tech devices outside our places of sleep for ourselves and
ou r children, and not leave it close by for excessive overnight activities.
Further workplace flexibility arrangements are positive to the ex tent
that they release your work colleagues to move around outdoors, and
also break up their continued and excessive IT usage patterns at the same
Many consumer electronic companies are researching technologies
to introduce EHS blockers, and it’s worth inquiring about product EHS
exposure effects, guidelines, and available blocking remedies – especially
before your organisation purchases a new work standard device for its
In addition, modernising your work office environments to find ways
to better capture natural light for your workers is highly recommended,
as is enforcing work breaks outside (but without encouraging ‘smokos’
Relying on 3/4G coverage intermittently and turning
WiFi routers off is also a sensible approach, as is
encou raging employees to work ‘off line’, when
they are doing independent ‘writing up’ work.
Finally moving smart meters well away from
concentrations of your workforce, and applying
EHS shields as they come onto the market can help
mitigate these exposure risks.
There is a statutory fiduciary duty for employers
to deliver a safe and healthy workplace and HR
is often vested as the custodian for this. Be
alert to the new risks from technology
in our working lives. Exposure to
technology doesn’t look to be as fatal
as smoking, but it’s certain that higher
risks to hu mans follow from excessive
usage, and so ou r profession needs to
develop guidelines of moderation in
The dark side
Is the unbridled use of technology storing up health problems for the future?
BY PETER WILSON AM FCPHR AHRI CHAIRMAN
To read past Perspective columns by Peter
Wilson, visit bit.ly/hrmonline
20/04/2017 5:13 PM
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