BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D

 

There hasn’t been enough attention on vitamin D like it deserves. Vitamin D is nicknamed the sunshine vitamin, however, it is not actually a vitamin but a steroid hormone precursor.

There are plenty of important bodily functions that require vitamin D and it also affects our genes. Because of this, higher vitamin D levels correlates with lower incidence of bad health conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, dementia, and cancer.

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AIRPORT THERAPY DOGS

Airport Therapy Dog Programs in the US 2017

 

The concept of airport therapy dogs in 2017 experienced a significant surge in popularity! We’d bet it’s because of their pawsitive influence on travelers. After all, who can resist an adorable dog? They’re there to help you feel relaxed, stress-free and happy at the airport. And we think they’re doing an excellent job!

Dogs can pick up on emotions and even distinguish between positive and negative feelings, possessing one of the key building blocks for empathy. The way dogs respond to negative emotion is identical whether the emotion is expressed by humans or by dogs. Emotional contagion occurs across species, perhaps unconsciously. Since dogs share their natural environment with us humans, our emotional vocalizations are of relevance to them. It indicates our close relationship.

Dogs respond to humans in distress with comforting behaviors. Dogs’ feelings do sometimes mirror our own. If dogs increasingly express behaviors indicating negative emotional states in response to negative emotional sounds, it’s reasonable to interpret this as being driven by emotional contagion.

Since dogs are affected just when hearing emotional vocalizations, we should become more aware of the emotional state of dogs in our everyday contact with them. Insights on the emotional capabilities of animals in general and dogs specifically are important to consider with regard to their welfare and their ability to suffer. At least it should affect our ethical considerations of dogs.

Pigs, cows, chickens, fish, and other farmed animals are smart and unique individuals just like the dogs and cats we share our homes with. But behind the closed doors of modern farms they endure brutal cruelty. Most spend their entire lives in dark, crowded, waste-filled sheds. Some are locked in cages so small they can barely turn around. Because many animal cruelty laws do not protect them, farmed animals are often beaten, mutilated, and painfully slaughtered. Together, we can expose and end this abuse. Join us in helping protect farmed animals by inspiring compassionate food choices and policies.

The commodity status of animals refers to the legal status as property of most non-human animals, particularly farmed animals, working animals and animals in sport, and their use as objects of trade. Free-roaming animals are held in trust by the state; only if captured can be claimed as personal property.

Animals regarded as commodities may be bought, sold, given away, bequeathed, killed, and used as commodity producers: producers of meat, eggs, milk, fur, wool, skin and offspring, among other things. The exchange value of the animal does not depend on quality of life.

The commodity status of livestock is evident in auction yards, where they are tagged with a barcode and traded according to certain qualities, including age, weight, sex, and breeding history. In commodity markets, animals and animal products are classified as soft commodities, along with goods such as coffee and sugar, because they are grown, as opposed to hard commodities, such as gold and copper, which are mined.

These 17 facts about meat are going to make you reevaluate your entire life.

  1. Animals at factory farms are confined to spaces so small they can’t turn around, lie down comfortably, or stretch their limbs.
  2. The World Health Organization placed processed meats like bacon and hot dogs in the same category of cancer risk as asbestos and cigarettes.
  3. Growing feed crops for livestock uses a whopping 56 percent of water in the United States.
  4. The leading source of sodium in the adult American diet is chicken.
  5. The meat industry emits more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation in the world combined.
  6. People who eat seafood ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic each year.
  7. Piglets who are deemed too sick or small are killed by being slammed headfirst onto concrete floors. This barbaric standard industry practice is called thumping.
  8. In 2011, the USDA reported that 90 percent of defects discovered in chicken carcasses at slaughter plants involved visible fecal contamination that was missed by company employees.
  9. Chickens raised for meat have been bred to grow so quickly they frequently become immobilized under their own weight and endure chronic pain.
  10. Long-term vegetarians live on average four years longer than their meat-eating counterparts.
  11. The meat industry kills bears, coyotes, wolves, foxes, prairie dogs, and other wildlife so people can keep eating meat.
  12. Millions of birds are boiled alive each year.
  13. 20 percent of fish caught by commercial fisheries is bycatch, or unwanted fish. Additionally, other animals like sea turtles, seals, whales, porpoises, dolphins, and sharks are trapped in huge trawling nets and often die.
  14. Fish at factory farms suffer from severe depression and sometimes drop out, or float around lifelessly.
  15. Dehorning, tail docking, debeaking, and castration are mutilations performed daily at factory farms without painkillers.
  16. Most cows, pigs, and chickens at factory farms won’t feel the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto trucks and sent to slaughter.
  17. Not a single federal law protects animals during their lives at factory farms, and the law that protects cows and pigs at the slaughterhouse—the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act—does not extend to birds or rabbits.

The best way for individual consumers to protect animals from cruelty is simply to leave them off their plates.

CLAIRE KING CONSIDERING EUTHANASIA

 

Claire King told us: I do worry about when I’m older and becoming a burden on people around me. I can understand why people choose assisted dying – and it’s getting to the point where I would consider it myself. Most of my family will be gone. It’s not a selfish thing. It’s a decision at a certain age, when you’re becoming a burden to others.

The topic of euthanasia was touched upon during an episode of the soap opera. Disability costs a household an extra £550 per month on average. King developed rheumatoid arthritis, like her mother, in the 1990s and a number of her joints were removed as a result.

The actor, who played Coronation Street’s Erica Holroyd and her brother Piers, 52 care for their father and mother, both of whom have a number of health difficulties. Her father John has specialist carers as well. Neither consider looking after their parents to be a burden, and King insists that caring for her parents is simply something they grew up doing.

 

Under current British law, both active euthanasia – a person deliberately intervenes to end someone’s life – and assisted suicide are illegal. Depending on the case, euthanasia can be regarded either as manslaughter or murder, and assisting someone with suicide can be punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

CRAFTING A CHANGE MANAGEMENT PLAN




 

By Andrew Conrad

As children, we’re taught to always have a fire escape plan. Whether at school or home, we drill exactly what to do to get out of a dangerous situation quickly and safely, so that if a real emergency comes up, we’ll be ready.

For project managers, a change management plan is like a fire escape plan for when you need to guide your team through change, whether it’s expected or unexpected.

Of course, not every change has to be brought on by a catastrophe such as an actual fire or drastic budget cuts. Change management also involves more routine changes, such as new personnel, new facilities, or implementing new software and tools.

The important thing—as we learned from fire drills—is to have a plan ahead of time. The day before you completely transition to your new project management software isn’t the time to scramble to get your team on board.

At its heart, change management isn’t entirely different from project management. After all, the essence of project management is adapting to change during the progression of a project.

One simple way to look at it is that change management involves people, while project management involves tasks. In other words, change management is about coaching personnel through change so that they can continue to accomplish their tasks.

Let’s take a look at some basic guidelines for crafting a change management plan.
Crafting your change management plan

By nature, some change is unpredictable. Say, for example, one of your beloved principals leaves on short notice to start a new company in Dubai, land of drone taxis. Now you have to coach your organization through accepting a new leadership structure.

A sound change management plan will give you a head start on dealing with unexpected changes, as well as change that is easier to prepare for. For example, moving your growing company into a fancy new building with an on-site coffee bar and yoga studio. While you may have years to prepare for a change like this, there’s a lot to account for such as where will everyone sit, how will they get to work, and where will they park?

Every change management plan has three primary phases: planning, direction, and reinforcement. Let’s take a look at each phase.

1. Planning

Plan to keep planning

It may seem redundant, but the first phase of any solid change management plan is planning. This phase may last several months, or just a few days, depending on the circumstances. But the more you’re able to get out in front of the change, the smoother you can expect it to go.

This phase includes steps such as:

Estimate how the change will affect your organization. Risk management tools can help you prepare for unforeseen costs. It also helps to consult an organizational chart to map out which teams and individuals will be significantly affected by the coming change.
Assemble a change management team. This team should be representative of every department within your organization that will be affected by the change. Leading up to the change, the change management team should meet—almost like a project kickoff meeting—to ensure organization-wide buy-in, and to make sure that all stakeholders voices are heard.
Establish a timeline for the change. This is where your project management skills can really come in handy. Using tools such as Gantt charts, burndown charts, and milestones, determine when the change will begin, when you expect it to be fully implemented, and what milestones you need to hit along the way to stay on schedule.

2. Direction

Change management gone awry

This is the meat of change management, because it is the phase when the change is actually happening. That could mean when your employees actually start using new collaboration software during a live project, the week that you actually move into your shiny new building, or your new CEO’s first few weeks. If you planned thoroughly, this phase should go smoothly.

This phase includes steps such as:

Training and support. No matter how much time your team has had to play around with the new software or watch training videos, there will inevitably be problems that come up the first day they start using it on the job. It pays to have a point person or vendor support at the ready.
Communication and responsiveness. Nothing can make your team feel more abandoned than a lack of communication during uncertain times. It’s not just about letting your team know when and why the change is coming, but communicating with them throughout the process and responding to concerns as they come up.
Adjustments. As change rolls out, despite your best planning, something will happen that requires adjustment. Maybe the formatting features in your new CMS don’t actually work and you need to continue drafting in Google Docs for the time being. Or maybe your new Scrum Master’s insistence on having the daily Scrum outside in the courtyard, even in February, is rankling the team and you need to step in.

3. Reinforcement

Celebrate successful change

So you adequately planned for the change, your new software didn’t explode and burn down the building, and all of your employees have been able to stay on task without missing a deadline. That’s great! But you’re not done yet. Your team might be excited early on to use the new software or work in the new building, but your job as a change manager requires that you follow up to make sure that the change holds.

This phase includes steps such as:

Follow-up training. As new features roll out in your new software, you’ll need to make sure that your team knows how to use them. This is also a good time to check in and make sure that they’re actually using the software correctly, and get their feedback.
Continued communication. You may have caught on by now that communication is of the utmost importance during every phase of change management. Using the new building example: the first week or so will likely be full of the excitement of moving into a new home. But once everyone is settled in, you’ll want to follow up to find out how everyone is enjoying the new cafeteria, how the new parking garage is working out, or if anyone has been working from home four days a week because they’re convinced that the building is haunted.
Monitor the situation. This step neatly dovetails back into project management. Once change has been fully implemented and you’re no longer worried about whether it’s going to derail your team from accomplishing their tasks, you can go back to managing projects and preparing for the next change.

 

EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY

 

By Todd Kunsman

Employee advocacy has continued to grow and be an important strategy for companies to implement. Especially as social media continues to be a popular aspect to most businesses, employee advocacy is no longer just a “trend.”

Many large and recognizable companies like Dell, Adobe, and others understand the importance of employee advocacy and have seen significant success.

Yet, employee advocacy is also a time-consuming process and success comes with dedication to the long game.

And during this initiative, it’s also easy to make some mistakes that could hinder your positives results and ROI.

The best way to prevent mistakes is to study the patterns of people who have been there before you.

Here are the most common mistakes that our customer success managers and community of experts come across.

Asking All Employees to Be Social

Not every employee wants to be social—if you try to force them into becoming more visible on social media, they’ll only become annoyed or overwhelmed.

Additionally, some employees are not into being noticed on social and feel uncomfortable doing so. By trying to “require” everyone to get involved, you can be alienating employees and making them feel “boxed-in.”

Resist impulses to encourage everyone to share, and make employee advocacy optional for employees who are interested in becoming public-facing influencers within your community.

Respect your boundaries as an employer, and remember that an employee’s social media activity isn’t a reflection of his or her self-worth.

Trying to Solve a Culture Problem with a Tool

A big challenge for companies is if there is a culture problem internally, an employee advocacy platform will not solve that problem.

In fact, if people at your company do not believe in the mission, feel disconnected, or recognize lack of company transparency, a tool will not work.

It’s important to get executives of your company on board and work on correcting the company culture before addressing employee advocacy with a platform.

Additionally, larger businesses tend to not be able to operate quickly when it comes to tech changes.

The company may recognize the value and need for getting their workforce on social, but it requires a lot of decision-makers like management, communications, and legal before anything can take place.

Because of that challenge, many organizations find it near impossible to be a social business.

Yet, these views can be corrected.

Give employees space and flexibility that they need to take ownership of their own social media identities.

Recognize, that as an organization, rigidity over an employee’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn presence is a major overstepping of boundaries.

Instead, come up with a set of policies that reflect what your organization needs from a privacy, compliance, and security standpoint. With this very minimal set of guidelines, give employees the freedom to have discretion with their social media accounts.

Not Having a Tool in Place

If your company culture is in a great place and executives are on board, another mistake is not valuing the importance of a tool to make employee advocacy easier.

The current status quo in employee advocacy is for marketing team members to email the rest of their companies with recommended content to share. This process simply doesn’t work for two reasons:

The first is that workplaces are dealing with information overload, meaning that team members won’t necessarily remember to share something that they discover via email—not to mention, an email feels a bit forced.
Secondly, employees don’t want to be loudspeakers for their employers. While it makes sense for them to share company-branded content from time to time, they’ll want to keep this level of self-promotion in check.

You’ll want a platform that can help you curate interesting, industry-related content from known sources within and outside of your organization.

Rather than positioning employees as loud-speakers for your organization, an employee advocacy platform will empower teams to be community advocates and educators within the space that your company operates.

Treating Employee Advocacy Like Marketing

Traffic, brand awareness, lead generation, and sales, are indirect by-products of an employee advocacy program.

Rather than approaching this channel like any other system for driving ROI, it’s important to take a step back and design your strategy around the benefits to your employees.

Employee advocacy should, at its heart, position your team members as educators, influencers, and thought leaders. It’s an investment in them as leaders, professionals, and most importantly, individuals.

Don’t design your employee advocacy to be a pure sales channel either. If you’re too fixated on ROI, you’ll risk chasing sales and sales alone.

By focusing more on your employees, you’ll see improved marketing results and employee engagement.

Forgetting the Sales Equation

As mentioned above, I told you to avoid treating employee advocacy like a marketing channel.

While that is important, it is, however, important to incorporate employee advocacy into your sales initiatives by asking account managers and sales reps to share content.

To stand out, your brand needs to be extremely trustworthy.

Your marketing presence has to achieve the same outcome of a heartfelt handshake or warm hug—which can be extremely challenging to do in a digital environment when your sales reps are limited to short emails, sales decks, and automated campaigns.

Here’s where the idea of social selling comes in.

Contrary to what the name suggests, social selling isn’t about using social media to blast your company’s sales agenda. In fact, the concept is simply an updated look at an age-old idea — that relationships drive sales success.

Final Thoughts

Employee advocacy is a rewarding strategy for businesses to implement and can help boost lead quality, web traffic, brand awareness, and help with social recruiting.

Yet, as great as the results are, it’s easy to make mistakes that can have a negative impact on your company’s employee advocacy success.

But, with the five above mistakes listed, you can quickly avoid those issues in your own instance and remedy any mistakes to get your company on the right path.