How We Come Together for WellBeing(s)
June is National Employee Wellness Month. This annual initiative is sponsored by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, Virgin Health Miles, Stop Obesity Alliance, and supported by nearly 100 other companies to help business leaders share and develop successful strategies for the prevention of chronic disease and maintenance of employees’ good health.
The month allows us the opportunity to highlight how wellbeing-minded organizations lead to more productive, engaged workforces and create company cultures that drive recruitment, strengthen employees’ discretionary effort, and urge retention.
Quality of Work/Life Depends Upon Quality of Wellbeing
The ability to improve one’s own and other people’s wellbeing paints an optimistic picture. We are more in control of this feat than we often acknowledge. Feelings of wellbeing are fundamental to the overall health of an individual, enabling them to successfully overcome difficulties and achieve what they want out of life. Individuals who have a greater sense of wellbeing are the individuals in your organization who drive excellence and your success.
Work represents an important — and time consuming — part of life for most adults. As a result, it is important to gain an understanding of the factors that contribute to employee well-being. Such knowledge can form the basis for organizational practices intended to improve workers’ lives. Balance is a key ingredient.
The Balancing Act
The most overlooked and one of the most important words in wellness is “balance.” We spend our entire lives trying to keep things in balance - bank accounts, diet, time management, along with work and life.
When work and/or life gets out of balance, chronic stress may result and chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace. It is easy to get so busy with being busy that we forget the importance of balance in our lives.
Here are five variables I believe need to be kept in balance for optimal success:
1. Work and Play - Don’t Do It Alone. Interacting with others can yield real benefits, so encourage building and maintaining relationships. Interactive collaboration can help us reach goals faster and drive through deadlines more quickly. It can actually make high-performance fun. Camaraderie, building a sense of community is an important ingredient for the well-beings of an organization and the wellbeing of the organization itself. Building healthy, interactive coalitions supports a learning organization and strengthens accountability.
2. An environment that encourages physical and mental health. Allowing time and space during the work day for health-building opportunities will come back to the workplace many times over. The balance provided by short bouts of other “non-work activities” during the work day has proven to enhance employee work performance. As little as 20 minutes of exercise can boost mood and 11 minutes of lifting weights can boost metabolic rate. And daily meditation can be a lifesaver to restoring some order and balance during disordered and imbalanced times.
3. Perfectionism – friend or foe? There is a fine line between doing a great job and perfectionism. Balance is important. A perfectionist’s work is typically quite successful and revered…but at what cost? If it makes life miserable for you or others in the process of getting that perfection, it may be time to look for a more balanced approach. When perfectionism makes us forgo time with family and friends week after week, you hurt yourself and others. When it ruins health, relationships, and sense of balance in life, perfectionism is no longer a friend. And if it leads you and others to significant stress.
4. Time for Daily Reflection (Personal and Professional). How often do we run from task-to-task without much conscious thought other than trying to get all the day’s “to dos” done? Reflection helps process work and life events. It can help us prioritize our activities and make a meaningful difference in our productivity and focus. Rather than always running on the hamster wheel, allow time for mindful reflection so that headspace is clear to prioritize and work towards those priorities with a clear mind.
5. Work/Life Balance. With the millennial generation of workers projected to take up 75% of the workforce by 2025, many leaders think it’s time to redefine what work-life balance looks like.
Work-life balance is an important aspect of a healthy work environment. Maintaining work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace. Millions of workers say their job is bad for their health and has caused them to eat poorly, smoke, drink more alcohol, and exercise less.
Besides the physical effects of stress – like high blood pressure, body aches, and heart issues – these bad health habits can also translate into poor work performance. Stressed out employees have trouble focusing, thinking clearly, and making rational decisions.
While it’s not reasonable to expect a business to function properly with zero workplace stress, employers need to recognize the red flags of overly stressed employees and know when to take things down a notch. Preventing and helping employees manage stress will keep your employees healthier, happier, and more productive.
By creating a work environment that prioritizes balance, employers can save money and maintain a healthier, more productive workforce.
Collectively, each of the work environment variables discussed here can be addressed by organizational policies and practices.
Happy National Employee Wellness Month!
We want to hear from you…
Investment in the wellbeing of employees is an investment in the wellbeing of your organization. How do you help your employees’ well-being? Please comment below.