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战胜工作压力的秘诀

(2007-04-25 18:31:38)
 身为柯尼卡美能达控股公司(Konica Minolta)Business Solutions U.S.A业务的总裁兼首席执行长,Jun Haraguchi会在公司活动上与温诺娜"贾德(Winona Judd)或Marshall Tucker Band等知名音乐人同台演出。他丝毫不担心这样做会损害自己在员工心目中的地位或商界领袖的形像。他完全投入到表演中,无论是弹奏吉他,夏威夷四弦琴还是吹奏口琴。Jun Haraguchi表示,他乐在其中,同时,这也是向员工展示自己“平易近人”的一种方式。

不仅如此,现年51岁的Haraguchi还相信在会议上开点玩笑并不会影响会议的严肃性。他说,“音乐能愉悦我的性情,我的生活也离不开幽默。”

Haraguchi每天要工作12个小时,以拓展公司在美国的彩色文档和印刷业务,而其竞争对手包括实力强大的施乐(Xerox)和惠普(Hewlett-Packard)。“我们的发展天地广阔,但蛋糕是有限的,我们需要员工付出前所未有的努力。而要创造一个员工乐于努力工作的环境,那么工作就必须变得愉快有趣。”

近些年来,为了在争夺全球客户的激烈竞争中取胜,工作、工作、再工作已经成为职业经理人们的口头禅。根据the Center for Work-Life Policy主席西尔维亚"希维特(Sylvia Ann Hewlett)所做的调查,在美国的职业经理人和专业人士中,有五分之一以上的人每周的工作时间超过了60个小时,并且为全球各地的客户随时待命。

随着经理们承担的工作量越来越大,他们也更加注重让自己和手下的员工在工作和各种兴趣爱好之间取得平衡。

一些公司开始担心超负荷工作会给员工身心带来问题,如高血压、睡眠紊乱和婚姻问题等等。因此,他们已逐步减少例会次数、允许员工在家里完成更多的工作,并鼓励他们休假。例如,IBM在周五下午不再举行会议,而安永(Ernst & Young)和花旗(Citigroup)也为员工提供了更为灵活的工作时间安排。

有些人认为,更为有效的放松办法是每天做一点与工作无关的、令人愉快的事情。对于Wachovia Securities董事总经理兼全球研究主管黛安娜"克莱格(Diane Schumaker-Krieg)来说,这就是瑜珈。作为200名员工的主管,她每天至少工作12个小时,往返于纽约和北卡罗来纳州夏洛特市的办公室之间。

“瑜珈是我每天的小小假期。它让我开心,给我能量,而且我能在任何地方练习,哪怕是在酒店的浴室脚垫上,”克莱格说。有时候,她无暇参加一小时的瑜珈课,只能花15分钟练习头脚倒立。她说,“即便如此,效果也非常好,它让我神清气爽,让我的脑子不再满是数字。”克莱格练习瑜珈已经有20年了,她还向残疾儿童教授瑜珈。

其他一些经理人通过参加志愿活动来减轻工作压力,而这些活动是他们在青少年时期喜爱做的事情。亚瑟"格鲁穆(Arthur Groom)在新泽西州经营着一家高档珠宝公司。他在两年前创立了一家青少年摔跤学校。格鲁穆在高中时很喜欢这项活动。除了传授摔跤技能之外,该校还组织学生到波兰和俄罗斯参加比赛。

格鲁穆向学校的教练们支付工资,但自己并不以此赚钱。学校不向那些没有钱学摔跤的学生收学费。他说,“对于我来说,这比打高尔夫要有趣得多,是一种很好的放松方式。”他必须经常到阿富汗等热点地区去寻找宝石。即使采购回来,切割工艺上的一点小小失误就会断送掉宝石的价值。

那么,那些没有什么特殊爱好和兴趣的经理们该怎么办呢?“可以安静地坐着,聆听自己的内心,”举办创造力讲座的纽约艺术家南希·阿扎拉(Nancy Azara)说。“你可以开始回忆你曾经喜爱的事物,或是一直想尝试做的事,比如绘画和弹奏乐器。”

即使打电话的时候信手涂鸦也能减轻工作压力,阿扎拉指出。她要求经理们不要把那些可以给他们带来快乐的活动变成任务和负担。

Haraguchi小时候想当一名职业音乐家,因此他在办公室里放着吉他等各种乐器,以便有时间能弹一弹。他还想鼓励员工们找到适合自己的放松方式。

为了在工作中培养团队精神,他所在的子公司为新奥尔良的一家创造艺术公立学校建立了援助基金。而他本人则把学校的校训作为自己的座右铭:“努力工作;善待他人。”在结束一天的辛勤工作,或出差后回到家中时,他都会默念这句话。他会在车里坐上几分钟,提醒自己“善待”妻子和两个十几岁的孩子,不要在陪伴家人的时候还想着工作──至少在必须查看来自日本的公司邮件以前做到这一点。

Jun Haraguchi, president and CEO of Konica Minolta's Business Solutions U.S.A. unit, Ramsey, N.J., doesn't worry about undermining his image as a business leader or his authority with employees when he appears on stage with famous musicians like Winona Judd or the Marshall Tucker Band at company events. He joins right in with the performers, playing his guitar, ukulele or harmonica. It's for his own enjoyment, he says, and a way to show employees that he's 'approachable.'

The 51-year old Mr. Haraguchi also believes he can tell jokes at meetings and still have a serious-minded staff. 'Music refreshes my humanity -- and I couldn't survive without humor,' says Mr. Haraguchi.

He is working 12-hour days as he faces the tough challenge of expanding his company's color document and printing businesses in the U.S., where it competes against bigger rivals such as Xerox and Hewlett-Packard. 'The business is big, but the pie is limited -- and we need people who are willing to work harder than ever,' he says. 'But to create an environment where people are willing to work hard, work has to be fun.'

Work and more work has been a mantra for executives in recent years as they compete fiercely for global customers. More than one-fifth of U.S. managers and professionals work more than 60 hours a week and are on call around the clock for clients across the globe, according to a recent survey by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, president of the Center for Work-Life Policy in New York.
As executives carry ever more extreme workloads, they are going further to ensure that they and their employees balance work with other interests and activities.

Some companies concerned about the health and other risks of burnout -- high blood pressure, sleep disorders and marital problems, to name a few -- are reducing the number of required meetings, allowing employees to do more work from home and urging them to use all their vacation time. IBM now has meeting-free Friday afternoons, for example, and Ernst & Young and Citigroup offer flexible scheduling.

But a more effective burnout remedy, others say, is to do something every day that is pleasurable and unrelated to work. For Diane Schumaker-Krieg, managing director and global head of research at Wachovia Securities, that is yoga. She works at least 12 hours a day, oversees a staff of 200 and commutes between offices in New York and Charlotte, N.C.

'Yoga is my little vacation each day. It makes me happy, which gives me energy -- and I can do it anywhere, even in a hotel on a bathmat,' she says. Some days she can't attend an hour-long yoga class and only has time to stand on her head for 15 minutes. 'But it's amazing the clarity that gives me -- and the chance to connect to the nonmathematical side of my brain,' she adds. A devotee for the past 20 years, she teaches yoga to disabled children.

Other executives counter work stress with volunteer activities that reconnect them to something they loved doing as teenagers. Arthur Groom, who runs a luxury wholesale and retail jewelry business based in Ridgewood, N.J., founded a wrestling school for teens two years ago. In addition to teaching wrestling -- a sport Mr. Groom played in high school -- the school takes teams to Poland and Russia where they play against foreign students.

He pays his coaches but doesn't profit himself from the school. The school doesn't charge students who can't afford to pay. 'For me it's a lot more fun than playing golf and is a way to relax' from the pressures of work, says Mr. Groom. He has to travel frequently to hotspots such as Afghanistan in search of precious gems. And even back home, a small miscalculation about how to cut an emerald or diamond can destroy the stone.

How can executives who don't have a special interest or hobby find one? 'Start by sitting very still and listening to yourself,' advises Nancy Azara, a New York artist who runs creativity workshops. 'You'll start remembering things you used to like or have always wanted to try -- like drawing or playing an instrument.'

Even time spent doodling at work while talking on the phone can reduce stress, she says, and urges managers not to turn activities that might give them pleasure into pressured assignments.

Mr. Haraguchi, who wanted to be a professional musician when he was a teenager, keeps his guitar and other instruments in his office so he can sometimes find time to play. He wants to encourage other employees to find their own forms of relaxation.

To foster a sense of community at work, his business unit has raised relief funds for a creative-arts public school in New Orleans. He has adopted personally the school's motto: 'Work hard. Be nice.' He repeats that motto to himself when he arrives home after a long day at the office or after one of his frequent business trips. He sits for a few minutes in his car and reminds himself to 'be nice' to his wife and two teenage children, and not to think about work when he's with them -- at least not until he has to check email from Japan before going to bed.

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