News and advice on management and the business environment — September 2016

People who are good with numbers tend to be more sexually active, while emotionally sensitive accountants are more likely to bend or break the rules under pressure.


Your math ability has some, uh, surprising benefits

Accountants, rejoice. UK researchers have found that people who are good with numbers tend to have sex more often than their less-numerate counterparts.

A study by the International Longevity Centre UK shows a correlation between the total number of sample math questions (e.g., calculating fractions, percentages and compound interest) adults can answer correctly and their level of sexual activity. Impressively, the results hold true for all age groups. So, for example, while about half of those under age 60 who were able to answer only one sample math question had sex in the past year, that figure jumps to 90% for those who were able to solve four or five math questions accurately. Similar patterns were seen for those in their 60s — roughly 70% of the math whizzes had been sexually active in the prior year compared with only 40% of the math strugglers — 70s (49% versus 28%) and 80s (20% versus 10%).


Biometric bracelet pinpoints what — and who — is killing your calm

WellBe bracelet

Your fitness tracker may help monitor your physical health, but what about your mental health? Enter the WellBe, available on Kickstarter, which claims to be the world’s first “anti-stress biofeedback bracelet and app.” It uses your heart rate and a “patent-pending algorithm” to measure your stress, and even crunches the data to determine which places, times and people make you the most tense. While you might already have an inkling of what (marathon meetings, unrealistic deadlines) and who (time-stealing colleagues, micromanaging bosses) press your buttons, the app will help you cope by reminding you to breathe or drink water when your stress level is skyrocketing.


Flattery will get you everywhere

It might make your stomach turn, but office politics is necessary to get ahead, say two-thirds of Canadian professionals. In a poll for staffing firm Accountemps, 50% of respondents said gossiping or spreading rumours is the most frequent form of politicking at their company, while 23% said flattering the boss is the workaday route to success. Taking credit for others’ work (18%) was also cited as a common campaign.


Work costs $3K a year

Employees spend an average of US$276 a month — or US$3,300 a year — just going to work, a CareerBuilder survey finds. It asked more than 3,000 US workers how much they spend on everyday expenses such as driving/ public transit, lunch, daycare, pet care, coffee, clothes, shoes and accessories to determine the total cost of bringing home the bacon.


Empathetic accountants may be less ethical

What makes financial professionals bend or break the rules under pressure? Being sensitive to others’ feelings and mirroring their emotions, a new study finds. In “Why Controllers Compromise on Their Fiduciary Duties,” published in the journal Accounting, Organisations and Society, Dutch researchers saw a correlation between subjects’ emotional sensitivity and their willingness to flout the rules. The findings suggest why the stereotypical reserved accountant who remains “controlled amidst an ocean of emotional pressures” may be the smart hire.