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Longer shifts at workplace can increase your error rates: Survey

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New Delhi, Dec 6: If you thought that working long hours may help you please your boss, think twice. According to a survey, people who work longer shifts typically make nine per cent more errors than those on shorter shifts.

This demonstrates that attention spans drift over a long work day, says a survey by Global software firm Pegasystems Inc, while revealing how ineffective software and poor processes are hindering productivity for many workers.

The survey found that workers are saddled with too many of disconnected apps, leading to poor processes, increased errors, and wasted actions that could otherwise be automated.

From digital distractions to extraneous activities, there are many events over the course of the day that take workers’ attention away from productive tasks.

Workers check their email 10 times per hour, or once every six minutes, throughout the course of their day.

Employees spend 13 per cent of their time on email, of which only 23 per cent is spent on value-generating work.

On average, workers perform 134 “copy and paste” actions each day — highlighting how often employees must switch between applications using same data to complete a task.

“Many organisations instinctively try to solve process issues and improve employee productivity by throwing more software at the problem without truly understanding the root cause of their inefficiencies,” said Don Schuerman, CTO, Pegasystems, in a statement on Wednesday.

Employees commit 845 keying errors per day or once out of every 14 key strokes, which shows the potential to automate more of their workflow to reduce manual mistakes.

Workers multitasking between 30 applications or more in a single shift have a 28 per cent higher error rate than those using fewer apps.

“By streamlining these processes and eliminating repetitive tasks, companies can give employees the right tools they need to succeed and be happier in their jobs,” Schuerman said.

The survey is based on the analysis of nearly five million hours of desktop activity of operational support employees — who primarily perform routine back office, data entry, or contact center tasks — at Global 2000 companies from January to September.

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How fasting can improve your overall health

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Fasting may not be just a religious or political practice. It may actually protect you against age-related diseases and improve your overall health, researchers say.

The study, led by a team from the University of California-Irvine (UCI), found that fasting affects circadian clocks in the liver and skeletal muscle, causing them to rewire their metabolism, which can ultimately lead to improved health and protection against age-related diseases.

The circadian clock operates within the body and its organs as intrinsic time-keeping machinery to preserve homeostasis in response to the changing environment.

And, while food is known to influence clocks in peripheral tissues, it was unclear until now how the lack of food influences clock function and ultimately affects the body.

“We discovered fasting influences the circadian clock and fasting-driven cellular responses, which together work to achieve fasting-specific temporal gene regulation,” said lead author Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Professor of Biological Chemistry at UCI.

“Skeletal muscle, for example, appears to be twice as responsive to fasting as the liver,” Sassone-Corsi added.

The research, detailed in the Cell Reports journal, was conducted using mice, which were subjected to 24-hour periods of fasting.

While fasting, the mice exhibited a reduction in oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and energy expenditure, all of which were completely abolished by refeeding, which parallels results observed in humans.

“The reorganisation of gene regulation by fasting could prime the genome to a more permissive state to anticipate upcoming food intake and thereby drive a new rhythmic cycle of gene expression. In other words, fasting is able to essentially reprogram a variety of cellular responses,” Sassone-Corsi said.

“Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to positively affect cellular functions and ultimately benefiting health and protecting against age-associated diseases.”

This study opens new avenues of investigation that could ultimately lead to the development of nutritional strategies to improve health in humans.

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Scientists decode different ways human face conveys happiness

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While disgust needs just one facial expression to get its point across throughout the world, happiness has 17 — a testament to the many varied forms of cheer, delight and contentedness, finds a study.

On the other hand, to convey fear humans use three expressions, four to convey surprise, and five each to convey sadness and anger.

The researchers explained that the differences in how our faces convey happiness can be as simple as the size of our smiles or the crinkles near our eyes.

“This was delightful to discover, because it speaks about the complex nature of happiness,” said Aleix Martinez, Professor at The Ohio State University.

“Happiness acts as a social glue and needs the complexity of different facial expressions; disgust is just that: disgust,” Martinez said.

The study showed that humans can configure their faces in thousands and thousands of ways to convey emotion — from anger to sadness to riotous joy — but only 35 expressions are actually similar across cultures.

For the study, published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, the team assembled a list of 821 English words that describe feelings and then used those words to mine the Internet for images of people’s faces.

The words were translated into Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Farsi and Russian, and plugged into search engines popular in 31 countries across North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia to download an equal number of images.

They found approximately 7.2 million images of facial expressions across a variety of cultures.

Based on computer algorithms, the team found that the human face is capable of configuring itself in 16,384 unique ways, combining different muscles in different ways.

The researchers took the 7.2 million images their searches yielded and sorted them into categories, looking for those that expressed emotion across cultures. They found only 35.

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Too much or too less sleep can increase heart disease risk

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London, Jan 15: Men who sleep less than six hours a night may be at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who sleep between seven and eight hours, a new study suggests.

The study showed that poor quality sleep of less than six hours increases the risk of atherosclerosis by 27 per cent compared to seven to eight hours of sleep.

Atherosclerosis refers to the build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls throughout the body.

On the other hand, women who slept more than eight hours a night had an increased risk of atherosclerosis.

“Cardiovascular disease is a major global problem and we are preventing and treating it using several approaches, including pharmaceuticals, physical activity and diet,” said Jose M. Ordovas, researcher at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) in Madrid.

“But the study emphasizes we have to include sleep as one of the weapons we use to fight heart disease — a factor we are compromising every day,” he added.

For the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the team included 3,974 bank employees among which all were without known heart disease and two-thirds were men.

In addition, alcohol and caffeine consumption were found to cause short and disrupted sleep.

“Many people think alcohol is a good inducer of sleep, but there’s a rebound effect. If you drink alcohol, you may wake up after a short period of sleep and have a hard time getting back to sleep. And if you do get back to sleep, it’s often a poor-quality sleep,” Ordovas said.

Lack of sleep has been known to raise the risk of cardiovascular disease by increasing heart disease risk factors such as glucose levels, blood pressure, inflammation and obesity.

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