How To Take the First Step to Effect a Positive Cultural Shift For Higher Performance
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
Here'a a startling statistic.
“300,000 people with a long term mental health condition leave employment every year, equivalent of the whole population of Newcastle or Belfast,” the report by Dennis Stevenson, a mental health campaigner, and Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind, says.
Whether you are a CEOs, entrepreneur, leader, manager or other, you're not immune from unhelpful stress affecting you at some point. A survey undertaken by organisation, Lee Hecht Harrison, reported that nearly 70% of those in senior positions are struggling with their emotions in the workplace and 84% feel the need to curb their emotions and natural behaviour at work. I've spoke to many business leaders who have reported it is lonely and stressful at the top. Further, having worked in the corporate sector form many years as well as with private 1:1 clients, I know first hand that we are all human. In office, however, there's a temptation (and expectation) to cover that up and imagine we are super human.
Many organisations (or the people running them) underplay the impact that positive mental health can have on performance. It's not a criticism, just an awareness that can lead you - if you fit one of these roles - to embrace doing something differently. Take a look at what well-being really is because when well-being is enhanced with active awareness throughout an organisation, here are just a few things that can happen:
morale, health and retention can improve;
productivity can be elevated and
a greater sense of success is achieved all round.
What will this do for your prosperity as a business?
Larger companies such as Virgin as well as SMEs such as Brighton-based digital marketing agency Propellernet are embracing this to some degree, with companies offering things such as
-well-being days or treats in the office (pamper afternoon, massage, nap pod, lunchtime yoga)
- subsidised classes for fitness or mindfulness or hypnotherapy
- healthy food options in the workplace cafeteria
- a quiet room
- 1:1 coaching
- regular manager-employee check-ups
Other "perks" include
· desk yoga
· ergonomic desks
· wellness training
Not all organisations are ready to invest in well-being initiatives though; at times, it is misunderstood and at others, it is thought to be costly.
The workplace is changing.
Younger adults entering the world of work are seeking more than just a job or two until they retire. The more experienced generation have often followed an expected version of what work and a career looks like in their respective fields but, whatever the path followed, that greater sense of personal success and well-being go hand in hand. I invite you take a moment to reflect on that.
Imagine, for a moment, as you enter greater awareness and control over your frustrations at the extended delay of a deal through mindfulness or tai chi or boxing (whatever you fancy). As the mind is more balanced, rather than rushing ahead into the depths of frustration, then anger or worse, instead you maintain composure, clarity and strong communication when it matters. Awareness is key but there’s more to maintaining this composure.
It’s helpful if the messages around well-being come from the top. When employees see that the directors and owners are living the well-being message, these behaviours will be immersed into the company.
How can you embrace a shift to a culture where well-being is an integral aspect of your business?
· If you’re the boss, just start talking about it openly. Share with your peers and your employees what you do to relax, what you enjoy.
· Ask your people what they want.
· Invest time in developing the internal intranet with daily well-being tips and tools.
· Allow directors and employees set times of the day, if they choose, to take a 10 minute mindful walk or practice meditation in a dedicated room.
· Develop a monthly well-being newsletter or a company Well-being Handbook with tips.
· If money allows, bring resources/manpower in weekly to support your culture for well-being at work.
· Invite speakers for short 15 - 30 minute talks to boost energy and awareness. If this interests you, let's talk.
· Collectively practice mindful movement; it need only take 10 minutes and can be great fun.
· Encourage bi-annual quiet, social media free retreats
· Introduce some of the options listed above.
For yourself, get support. That shows strength - it shows you are human. This could be a therapist, a coach or a buddy in a similar seniority. Work on your well-being and be an example.
If you're a start up, leader, or HR professional, who wants to see a shift but doesn't know where to begin, or is apprehensive about the impact such changes can have, get in touch. Understanding is the first step.
There is so much organisations can potentially do. Some things cost very little but the impact on business can be huge.
Be mindful of your people - they are your biggest asset. Other organisations are ready to commit to well-being at work – don’t get left behind.
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