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Here we are again, another week at work. Despite how you’re feeling this morning, being here at work is actually a good thing, and among all the challenges we face here day-day, I encourage you all to be grateful. Now I’m not saying to be thankful for the difficult people and conversations that you may face, or for you to be happy about the workload and the late-night you may have to pull to send it off. Nor am I asking you to enjoy the anxiety and stress that builds up all too frequently. But, just to acknowledge the simple fact you have a job that you’re being paid to do it, and of course, not to forget you have the ability to leave if you wish… Yep, I know that last one is pretty loaded but ultimately it’s the truth.

That being said, although you can get up and walk out if you like, that’s not what I’m suggesting here. Leaving your job is a conversation for a whole other blog post, one which would include buzz words such as ‘values’, ‘purpose’, ‘fulfilment’ and all that good stuff – But for now, we’ll keep on topic.

I have an idea to offer you that can be used to make the job less of a struggle. We all have bills to pay, which means working/having a job is a must (So let’s just accept that for now)… but before doing others work i.e. the type that is supposed to take place between 9-5 but always ends up being later – the real work needs to be done on one’s self.

That’s correct, what I’m talking about here is self-work/personal development. After all, if we spend most of our waking day working for someone else, does it not make sense that the rest should be spent working on ourselves? Invest in yourself and watch your stock grow!

Why do I need personally develop? I hear you say. In my humble opinion, it’s through personal development that true happiness and more importantly ‘fulfilment’ is found. So if our days consist of work followed by television, the pub, oh and a visit to the gym a couple of times a week to make ourselves feel better – then, of course, we’ll eventually hit the ‘Unhappy Wall’… Hard!

If you’re not looking after your mind, body and spirit (yes spirit) then work life will have a larger negative impact than necessary. I touched on this in last weeks post in Step 3 – but thought I would try and encourage you to take it a little further and approach your personal development as THE most important aspect of your life, after all, if you’re top of your game you’ll be of better service to everyone, both inside and out of the office. 

Personal development can be anything from improving a talent you already have or learning a new one, aiming for your potential, swapping negative habits and thought patterns for positive ones. It can be something simple like time management and finding a routine that serves you… for routine, a book named THE MIRACLE MORNING is a game-changer.

My question to you is ‘What do you currently do in the way of self-improvement?’ Or maybe you don’t need to improve, maybe you’ve got it all sussed out and happy to be exactly the same person you are today until the end of time? If so then I’ve wasted your time and you may discontinue reading now, BUT if you have the self-awareness to realise that some work could be done, then let’s focus on that.

When we decide to work on ourselves, external situations become less important, have less control over us, it loses its power. You become your prime objective, you are your no:1 motivation, and almost bulletproof to all the BS that we often see around us. 

The problem with ‘self-work’ is that many see it as exactly that – ‘Work’. The truth is, it’s unlucky that it will happen overnight, or even over 2 nights… studies say that it takes 66 days for a new habit to become a behaviour, but what’s 66 days out of a lifetime? Another great thing is that you do not need to go through this change alone. There are plenty great coaches out there (Myself being one of them – visit www.mdr-coaching.com for more info) that help clients stick to their goals, overcome their challenges and to hold them accountable to ensure success.

The brain is plastic, (not literally) The brains plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change throughout life. The human brain has the amazing ability to reorganise itself by forming new connections between brain cells (neurons). Therefore allowing us to lose habits and behaviours that may have been great 10 years ago but no longer serve us.

So in conclusion, please don’t let your life revolve around your work, your work MUST revolve around YOU. In order to take control of your life, you must build a relationship with yourself, your mind, your thoughts and your actions. Be active, not reactive, be the cause, not the effect.

Wishing you all a lovely week. 

Until then, Ciao for now.

If you have any questions on anything discussed, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

Contact me direct via mason@projectmindwork.org   

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Less stress in 3 simple steps

Lovely people! If you’ve read my last few posts, you’ll know that I’ve made my thoughts pretty clear on what ‘wellbeing-at-work’ really is and should be – especially as I am seeing more and more that ‘employee wellness’  is being disguised with or replaced by a half-hearted ‘one-off wellbeing day’ or ‘one-off wellbeing week.’ What will a short term wellbeing initiative achieve, not sure?!

Anyway, it’s Monday, YAY! Another week of early starts, ‘motivating meetings, juicy deadlines, exciting emails, time-saving lunches at the desk, office politics, lovely late nights in the office…all the ‘delights’ of corporate life!

How does this make you feel? Totally fine, I hope. Or does it bring on that knotty feeling in the gut…you know the one! Or does your chest start tightening, and maybe you’re little short of breath and your mind is racing? Some would call this anxiety!

Ok, so I know this is all a bit heavy for a Monday morning, but I can assure you, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. I will help those feeling the fear by planting a few seeds that will grow into feelings of calm, peace, acceptance –  making the rest of the week (almost) a doddle.

How though? I currently work with people on a one-one basis or in a team scenario to reduce (in the aim of elimination) the stresses and anxiety levels that many experience on a daily basis and not just on a Monday, the whole week, month, year.  We work together to find simple ways in which de-stressing practices can be assimilated into your average day without any dramatic changes needing to be made.

Before I go into the practices that are designed to make your (let’s say) week a little easier, I’d really like to emphasise the point that those feelings of stress and anxiety are NOT normal, they are NOT part and parcel of a job and they should NOT be accepted as so.  We often hear clients say things like ‘…yeah I’m stressed, buts that’s normal.’ This mindset is dangerous and a fundamental cause of the increase in avoidable mental health issues.

This mindset keeps us holding on to ‘little stresses’ that may seem so minor, or little that you think you can deal with easily. But, all of these little minor stresses got stored. They are the straws piling up eventually breaking the poor camels back. Don’t be the camel.

So, here are three easy steps to make the week a little more, erm…. for now, let’s just say manageable.

  

Step 1

Is to mindfully acknowledge the feeling of stress. recognise it, tell yourself  “it’s ok,” sit with it for a bi,t and understand that whatever the external cause was, it’s now your choice on how you deal with it.

You have a few options. You can let the stress lead the way and dictate a response (which 9 times out of 10 is an emotional one), or you can bring a little calm back to the mind, logically think about the situation that’s causing the stress. If it is something you have to do… either do it or don’t. All the stressing in the world won’t change the outcome. If it is something that has already happened,  it has already happened. You can amp up your stress x10 if you like, but I c guarantee it will not resolve anything. So, you choose how you wish to proceed.

The list of possible stress triggers to some may be obvious or if I listed them here, would be too long and stressful for some to read, but the same principle remains.

The mindful acknowledgment of our stresses is a powerful tool. It allows more control over our actions, our reactions. This positive behaviour change will be noticeable almost immediately. It reduces the size of the ‘thing’ that would usually trigger the stress, but most importantly it will reduce the amount of time your body/mind spends in stress-mode, and lessen the risks from the myriad of health symptoms that stress can lead to.

For more on this, have look back on my post from a couple of weeks ago.

 

Step 2

It is all about you, it really is. So step 2 is – ‘time for YOU’. Why wait until the pressure is unbearable before you decide that you need to step outside and take a breather? Try setting a reminder for a 5-10 minute break every 90 – 120 minutes.

You will be amazed at the increase in focus and productivity this brings. Give your mind a break, just like you would need to sit down after running around for hours on end, don’t make your brain do all this leg work without any break, let it take a seat before you put it back on the treadmill.

Remember, this is your mental health we’re talking about, so it’s not to be taken lightly.  Here, Debbie Hampton discussed this beautifully ‘Why you need to give your brain a break

 

Step 3

Dare I encroach on your personal ‘out-of-office’ time? I do because this really is where the magic happens, but also where a little graft is needed. At Mind Work, our ethos is the ‘Mind Matters Most’, and we all need to understand that it must be treated as so if it’s to be kept fit and healthy.

What’s your meditation? Find it. Sitting in quiet crossed legged for periods of time has tremendous benefits, but let’s just take it one step at a time. Find your meditation, find your zen, walk in a park, workout, read something that makes you feel good, build that brain muscle. Going home and watching junk TV like Love Island is literally like taking a dump in your head. Avoid this.

We always hear the term ‘you get out, what you put in’ the mind is no different. I encourage you to think about this seriously. This also means that what goes in needs to come out, like pretty much everything else. So I’m sorry to say that a trip to the pub won’t do you any favours in clearing out the mental negative-junk that your poor brain has consumed throughout the day.

Everyday stresses are stored, and they build up gradually without you noticing, and by the time we do realise we’re stressed/ anxious or unhappy, we’re often already in the hole with an uphill to climb ahead of us.

Look, I have helped many people out of some really deep holes, so if you feel that’s where you are then fear not because it is impermanent. I promise, there is a way out and it is within your power to get you there.  However, prevention is better than cure right? Why wait for the shit to hit the fan before you start taking steps to improve your mental health, to personal development, to being able to live a happier, better-balanced life?   

 

Make the decision to make the change and look into employing these three simple practices into your days. So, lets recap:

Step one

Mindfully acknowledge the stress/anxiety. Sit with it, understand its cause, react with rational thought.

Step two

Give yourself a mental break. Rest the brain often, avoid overworking the mind.

Step three

Find your meditation out of the office – take your mindfulness home with you, find your release, not your suppressant.

 

Wishing you all a less stressful week ahead. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in contact.

You can email directly via mason@projectmindwork.org

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Who’s to blame – Employers or Employees?

So this is officially a weekly word from Me the founder of Mind Work… I’ll mainly be talking about wellbeing (obviously), but also touching on the daily challenges many of us face, the questions we have around them, and most importantly, ways we can navigate through this (sometimes overwhelming) thing we call life.

Last weeks post was kind of a mini-rant where I touched on what I thought was wrong with the way we approach Wellbeing at work. Although the topic is on the radar for most companies in the west, it is taking its time in becoming ingrained into the culture of the workforce.

But my question is… If we had to lay the blame – because everybody like to point the finger – Who is guilty for the lack of attention given to the physical and mental wellbeing of us all?

The Employer – Or the employee?

The employer, employs to make the company profitable right? Right! Their ideal aim would be to have the strongest team firing on all cylinders all of the time. Yes? Because a company can (and often is) be referred to as a machine. So why the hell does the employers not consider the maintenance of the machine, to be the MOST important aspect of ensuring its performance?

So I’ve got a little analogy – Imagine your boss is driving home from work after announcing a new project deadline to an already tired team (something we hear A LOT at Mind Work) and their petrol light comes on. What do they do? They give the car fuel, they ensure it’s got what it needs to go, to move, to perform.

You get the picture, and this is quite a nice segue to the other party who may be responsible…

The Employee –

Taking it back to the car thing… What is the difference between the machinery and the employees? Well, the car lets its boss know when it’s needing something, oil, water, petrol, etc. Now I’m not suggesting you ask your bosses to pour you a drink, but if you’re allowing yourself to burn out without having the conversation… who is to blame?

For me, this goes across the board. You or I may be feeling fine and in tip-top condition, but if our collogues are struggling, it’s our duty to bring this up, and NOT use it as an opportunity to climb the ladder. Not use it as a chance to compare ourselves thinking how in control we are because I can tell you… Burn out, chronic stress, depression… it can get us all. 

So, what do I suggest? Something that we all know how to do… Talk! But the caveat is to talk honestly, and bravely, to your peers, your colleagues, your bosses, anyone. Just start talking about it. Plant the seed. It may not be for you directly but with the 85% are experiencing a clearly recognisable level of worry regularly, there are a number of people you work with that you’ll be helping.

So before you go off and start the much-needed conversations. I have another question – That I guess (for now) is rhetorical as you can’t reply is – Do we even know what mental health is?

I’m not so sure as many still believe that if we’re not hearing voices that tell us to do things or feel like jumping off a bridge, then we can just put it down to a bit of a mood. If someone is quiet at work and unengaged it may be thought that ‘He/she just doesn’t have the motivation.’  – And with that being the narrative of a large amount companies in this day and age, then it’s no wonder that He/She doesn’t feel too comfortable sharing the fact that the “lack of motivation” actually stems from something a little deeper than just a lull job satisfaction.

I’ll leave it there from now, but in essence – and of course, these are just my views that some may agree or disagree with. What’s important is that we give this topic the respect it deserves.

Have a lovely week.

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How To Run A Marathon… With Just A Days Training!

It sounds almost impossible, doesn’t it? Well, it kind of is. Yet many companies (of all sizes) seem to take this approach to their employees’ wellbeing… more specifically, their employees’ mental health.

Wellbeing has been a hot topic over the last few years and it has lead, no forced, companies to include some kind of wellness activity/event into their “culture”. We have seen a rise in ‘Wellbeing days’ once a quarter… Or maybe even a cheeky ‘Wellbeing week’… once or twice a year. This is NOT enough… it’s like trying to run a marathon with just a days training. Or going to the gym overweight and leaving with a six-pack. As I said, this is just not enough.

Ok, we get it, a lot of companies still have that old systematic approach to business ingrained into their DNA, but where are all the visionaries? The forward thinkers that understand that your workforce is the most important commodity if you want to run a sustainable, and profitable business?

We feel that wellbeing needs to be included in the budgets, right up there next to the marketing and sales spends. The investment is sound too… a proven ROI of 3:1 on a correctly implemented wellbeing programme means that there are no more excuses.

Workplace stress is the 21st century’s greatest health epidemic, and avoidable work-related stress is not only causing problems with our physical and mental health, but problems that we take home and allow to infect our personal lives, and those we care about. Stress at work leaves many of us feeling unhappy. So why only 9% of the global workforce has access to wellbeing programmes baffles me. Financial compensation is no longer enough.

We have somehow come to accept our own stress, deeming it a part of life. Normal. Now I’m not trying and scare anyone but if we just take a second to look at the symptoms that stress can cause, it may highlight the severity and magnitude of what we’re dealing with here…

First, there are the Physical Symptoms;

Low energy, headaches, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, aches, pains, insomnia, frequent colds and infections, loss of sexual desire and/or ability, nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet, dry mouth and difficulty swallowing, clenched jaws and grinding teeth.

Then the Cognitive Symptoms;

Constant worrying, racing thoughts, forgetfulness, and disorganisation, the inability to focus, poor judgment, being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side… none of which are great in a working environment.

Also the Behavioural Symptoms;

Changes in appetite — either not eating or eating too much, procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities, increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes, exhibiting more nervous behaviours, such as nail-biting, fidgeting, and pacing… you get the picture. 

IT HAS TO STOP!

… And they were just the short term symptoms, and don’t get me wrong, a little stress every now and then is not something to be concerned about. But ongoing, chronic stress (which many cases are) however, ups the ante with the problems such as these bad boys;

The Chronic Stress Symptoms;

Depression, anxiety, and personality disorders, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, obesity and other eating disorders, menstrual problems, sexual dysfunction, skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, permanent hair loss, gastrointestinal problems, Accelerated ageing and Premature death!

Basically, this sh*t can kill you.

WE SPEND 1/3 OF OUR LIVES WORKING…. Arguably our best years too, so isn’t it fair that our employers make those years as enjoyable as possible? Yes? No? Or should we all hate Mondays and love Fridays? Could more focus one wellbeing be the answer?

Most wellness companies are in fact ‘wellness platforms’ – Unlike the straight biometric screening or coaching companies, the leading market vendors offer web-based platforms and mobile apps to help deliver and administer their programs.

We get it, it’s so they can scale…  but as amazing as the 21st-century digital world is, it cannot match the human need for a hug or a handshake i.e Technology is unable to replace the benefits made with human interaction.

Imagine a world where companies understood the importance of wellbeing, imagine what the environment would be like to work in. Less stress, less tension, less short fuses. What would home life look like… social circles? Imagine what it would do for humanity!!!

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Wellness, Are Companies Really Getting It?…

Credit where credit is due, there are many companies attempting to give this wellbeing malarkey a go. They’ll have the yoga sessions, a workshop, maybe even an app for some reason? Although we do not think this is enough, Mind Work we are still happy to see as it shows a degree of awareness. It’s undeniable, wellness for employees is a hot topic.

 

That being said, it seems that many have not yet quite grasped the whole reasoning behind the “wellbeing for employees movement”.  A ‘Wellbeing Week’ once a quarter simply won’t cut it. As with anything, commitment is a necessity if you want to see beneficial results for your company and more importantly, your employees. We know that a happy workforce will reflect on your company’s overall output so why do so many fall short when it comes to giving wellness programmes the respect it deserves?

 

Company wellness programs are failing, and one of the reasons are that they’re not ‘Programmes’ at all. Similar to the new years resolution of going to the gym and taking one spin class per week and jumping on the scales to be met with the 2 lbs you added, before declaring it’s not working. Don’t get me wrong, the employees (whom of which the programmes are designed to serve) themselves must also take their fair share of the responsibility with an attitude that seems to imply that they feel like wellness at work is something done to them rather than for them. These programs are often superficial/for show – they don’t elevate company culture, inspire commitment, or even tie to the company’s business goals. Any program that alienates, annoys, and distracts those it means to serve will fail to deliver results in the long-term.

 

Here is a great example of this from Henry Albrecht – Founder, CEO & Board Director at Limeade

“There’s no shortage of “wellness gone wrong” examples, starting with the programs that held people accountable for achieving biometric values but never gave anyone a hint that the company understood or cared about their lives. And frankly, for every egregiously punitive approach, there were (and still are) 10 programs barely skimming the surface of their potential. They’re feel-good distractions embraced by those already in the club. As corporate investments and priorities, they rank somewhere between the company party and bean bags in the conference rooms. Do they even matter?

Most corporate wellness (now often called “well-being”) programs have so far failed to deliver on their potential. But the good news is, with a more holistic well-being and engagement model, employers can achieve much bigger results than companies and employees have envisioned to date – results that go well beyond health and health costs to something richer: true work engagement.”

 

There are a number current reasons to why programmes don’t seem to be working. Three of which Henry Albrecht highlighted as being ;

 

1. Wellness Programs Don’t Work the Way Our Brains Work

Although the narrative indicates that the health of employees seem to be the driving force behind the reason of implementation, I think it’s safe to say that the main reason that these programmes have found their way into companies is in order to reduce the costs that poor employee health, both physical and mental rack up i.e. make the company more money (which is totally fine of course).  On one hand we have the fact that healthier people will cost less to insure and less likely to take days off. The influencers embraced this, and the idea spread. There was a second and more suspect premise embedded, though: that you can pay people to comply. Those who don’t participate won’t get the same insurance benefits, effectively shifting costs from willing participants to unwilling ones. And it worked… in a short-term way.

Ultimately, however, this punitive Industrial Revolution mentality often created more resentment than value. It sent a clear message of accountability, which on the upside saved some lives and caught some serious issues early with its focus on important preventive care protocols. No one wants to be told that they need to improve their health to avoid financial penalties; that message absent an immersive cultural commitment to whole-person well-being breeds resentment and won’t help companies with long-term engagement and retention.

And these are much bigger, higher-value goals than lowering health costs.

Even when messaged positively, telling people the “right” thing to do and holding them accountable for doing it “or else” is fundamentally out of touch with how people think, work, and act  – and what they want. What exactly do employees want? Barry Schwartz and others have shown that people crave a sense of purpose at work, as well as community, belonging, value, autonomy, and mastery. The science of motivation is the relevant science for voluntary programs. Prioritising these things has the potential to boost the bottom line while making employees happy, too. What’s more, creating caring and supportive companies – with high expectations – will help us take on the widespread isolation and suffering we face as a society.

 

2. “Wellness” Is Largely Irrelevant to the CEO

If you ask a Fortune 500 CEO about corporate priorities, you’ll generally hear a standard list that includes increasing revenue, profit, market share or stock price, serving customers well, globalisation, technology disruption and maybe winning that Great Company award. Some might even go out on a limb and mention attracting great leaders, retaining top talent, or even creating a great culture as a way to achieve these other goals.

Where is employee well-being on the CEO list? Is it even in the top 20? Is it “a given” but not explicitly measured or managed? Wellness isn’t seen as a strategic part of culture creation that can increase engagement and ultimately lead to a company’s success. It’s a check-the-box, unimportant thing that ends up buried at the bottom of a long list of employee perks. For many companies, it’s program number 21 from one of the least influential departments: benefits.

I see this disconnect every day with our customers, both in under-appreciated human capital functions and in the C-suite. And it’s not surprising given the way we’ve sometimes done these programs. But there’s no reason for this to happen anymore. Consider these findings from Limeade:

  • 88% of employees with higher well-being are engaged at work, compared with 50% of employees with lower well-being.
  • 98% of employees with both higher well-being and a higher perception that their company supports their well-being say they want to be working at the same company in one year.
  • 99% of employees with both high well-being and organisational support would recommend their employer as “a great place to work.”

It seems like focusing on an energetic and engaged workforce has potential, but…

 

3. Wellness Programmes and the ROI issue 

Wellness programs have historically been chartered with lowering healthcare costs – but proof of their results has been tough to nail down. One reason is that health costs fluctuate for reasons unrelated to health – like network design, unnecessary surgery, generic drug strategy, economic incentives for hospitals to do more procedures, and other “supply-side” issues. The second and third reasons are the ‘how our brains work’ and ‘irrelevant’ reasons outlined above. But there’s an important fourth reason, too: we have been looking in the wrong place.

Research shows that employee engagement and turnover are much bigger drivers of a company’s financial success (or lack thereof) than medical costs. And well-being has a direct connection to these outcomes.

Taking a broader look at the results associated with an engaged and energised workforce should have the potential to convince a CEO or CHRO to take a more strategic approach to employee well-being. Having a model to help the C-suite see these connections is the key to breaking through the noise.

 

In Summary 

So with all that being said, why is it still such a struggle/almost controversial for companies to invest in wellbeing programmes along with engagement? CEO’s and decision makers should be putting this stuff at the top of their agendas instead of continuing to subscribe to the ‘old-school’ systematic protocols that have been ingrained into the both the companies and the individuals running them.

A new approach from the forward thinking C-Suite is the only to build sustainable businesses in a time where burn-out is on everyone’s lips and more people are quitting their jobs than ever before . Just like that start-up culture prides itself on being ‘agile’, your wellness programmes should be strategised in the way.  Actually including them into the model and the culture of the business instead of a nice-to-have add-on. A genuine focus on not only employees physical health, but mental states of wellness that encompasses their purpose at the company, community, belonging, work well-being, emotional well-being, autonomy, mastery, their energy, and even financial well-being. These are the true pathways to enjoy continuous innovation, loyalty and keeping companies happy in good times and bad.

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2019 Corporate Wellness Trends

In 2019 we are hoping for employee wellbeing to continue to grow and for more employers to look after their employees by understanding that it’s the best way for them look after you… We’ve saying this for ages, it just makes sense and something you or your boss must get… If your employees are happy and healthy they’ll be more productive and more likely to stay with the company longer.

We’re now going to use this time to offer you/your employer an insight to what 2019 looks like in the way of corporate wellbeing. It we cover how best to use wellness programmes while ensuring working well with your employees to reach your targets. We shall. also be covering:

  • Wellness programmes strategy
  • What we mean by ‘Wellness’
  • Technology and personalisation
  • Investment

 

Corporate wellness

It’s not a new concept, and many execs may understand the concept of wellbeing and maybe even its importance, however, many are still caught up with the ingrained systematic models preventing the true benefits wellness programmes can have on companies. Having wellness within your company should be a priority, and thankfully, it is in many organisations and becoming ingrained within their cultures. It is these companies that are seeing  an increase in productivity, a decrease in absenteeism and assisting in strengthening the corporations within their respective markets. Mind Work are pleased to see the growth on investment in corporate wellness but would like to see the implementation more thought-out with clear goals in mind.

 

Employee demand

Ideas about wellbeing are changing in many areas of the world. People are less cynical and skeptical about how things such as mindfulness and meditation can impact general wellbeing, and there is a growing demand for health and wellness support from employers. This includes corporate fitness centres, nutrition programmes and coaching programmes. The mindset shift is proved when companies remove programmes and there’s an outcry from staff.

 

Change in corporate culture

There is increased diversification with different programmes being offered. We’re transitioning from talking about wellness in a traditional sense — eating right, exercising more and making sure you’re taking necessary medication — to looking at holistic health and the trend towards talking about wellbeing as wellness.

Mind Work’s programmes approach health from a mind, body and spirit perspective. Within this, it’s not just exercise, nutrition and medication — the physical side — but also behavioural health, social connectedness, sense of purpose, character strength, meditation and mindfulness. We’re using these components that comprise wellbeing to make sure that we offer solutions that will help individuals achieve a better state of wellbeing.

Employers are starting to embrace this as well — going beyond traditional corporate wellness programmes to address emotional health, from both work and personal perspectives, and the need for social connections.

 

How do you measure success?

Although we are heavily focused, and ambassadors of human interaction with our programmes, we have developed software that allows teams/employers to track mood alongside productivity in real-time. 

Up-front analysis of an individual’s needs is essential: defining personalised care at the right time. The second element is measuring whether they are achieving their health goals, being more productive at work and are less absent. Is the employer seeing lower turnover of employees, are they seeing better performance as a result?

This is the way the industry is moving as a whole: looking at individuals holistically and providing well-being solutions that meet them where they want it, when they want it.

 

Risk assessment

Corporations large and small should be looking at their demographic to understand where there are areas of risk. This needs to go beyond eating right and exercising, to include ‘do you have a part of your population that can’t pay their bills?’, ‘do you have a part of the population that’s unhappy at work or is really struggling in the workplace or at home?’. Work to understand their character — strains, strengths and traits. Are these people in the right jobs based on who they are? Is their personality a good fit for where they are? Are they struggling with their boss or co-workers?

Understanding a lot of these will involve a shift for many corporations and they will need support in this. They’ll also need help deciding what to do with this data, how to build the best health and well-being packages for each person.

 

Technology and personalisation

There is an increasing demand for personalisation in many industries and digital tools are helping to deliver it — and at scale.

Currently, corporate wellness can be personalised to the level of specific groups rather than individuals. Many people think personalisation means ‘individual’ — ‘me and my specific needs’. And while we use a lot of data and insights – your age, basic health details, even personality information about what makes you happy or sad — this is only used to define which wellness programme is best suited to you. This means individuals are enrolled in a wellness programme with like-minded others and those with similar well-being issues.  However, as we discover more with data and build out solutions we will have programmes that have more and more bespoke aspects — tailored to individuals.

There are so many new digital wellness and well-being tools on the market, but the key is that, for them to work, they need to be entertaining, interactive and engaging — and they need to mean something to the individual.

The other keystone to wellness tech is consolidation. There are so many apps and services and sites for every different need, person and condition — it’s overwhelming. How does a person know what’s good or bad, or what they need for their current state of health? Health care companies need to better help members navigate the options and help employers choose and implement the right tools for their members.

We work with our clients and their teams to ensure that the services we offer are for them and coincide with the main objectives.

 

Increasing investment

Investment in corporate wellness is shifting. More corporations are supporting wellness programmes, adding them as part of their benefits — including components of wellbeing and incentives programmes

For the corporations already offering wellbeing initiatives and programmes, it is unclear whether a significant amount is increasing their funding of these programmes. But they are definitely shifting their budgets into different areas of corporate wellness and expanding their offerings. This is often to offer a more diverse range of programmes — often based on learnings from previous programmes.  

How much should companies invest in wellness programmes? While firms can’t do enough to support employees to make sure they’re living as healthily as they possibly can, there is always going to be an employer benefits ceiling as far as budget allocation is concerned. And so, it’s important not to waste the budget. Companies should seek to learn and improve their programmes to support the best health outcomes for their employees that, in turn, boost productivity and profitability.

 

Barriers

As mentioned previously in this post,  the adoption of corporate wellness is growing but there remain challenges.

One challenge is how we prove success. The outcomes from programmes and tools are long-term — life-long — so it’s very hard to measure whether one specific programme or group of programmes has been successful from a health and health care standpoint.

Companies want to know: ‘Is this mindfulness programme actually reducing my costs?’ In short YES. If you’re the type to understand that instant gratification isn’t the best approach for your long-term plans. 

Please contact us to arrange a chat with one of the team and discuss what Mind Work may be able to do for your company.

 

 

 

sources:

1 Artiga & Hinton, 2018
2 Shankya, H., & Christakis, N. A. (2017, February 1). Association of Facebook Use With Compromised Well-Being: A Longitudinal Study. Retrieved from American Journal of Epidemiology: https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/185/3/203/2915143
3 Killingsworth, M., & Gilbert, D. T. (2010). A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind. Retrieved from American Association for the Advancement of Science.: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/330/6006/932

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Consequences of Stress in Your  Organisation

Here are some of the impacts that stress can have on a business or organisation: 

 

Absenteeism, presenteeism and ill health. Employees who are stressed may be absent from work due to stress, they may come to work but not be able to perform their duties to the normal standards and they may suffer from other health problems developing from the stress (e.g. long-term chronic, mental health and other conditions and potential addictions). These factors will significantly impact the business or organisation due to lack of resources, the loss of knowledge and experience and the impact of this on other employees. There may also be health and safety incidents as a result of stress.

 

Morale and motivation. The above will, in turn, have an impact on employee morale and motivation, both in terms of the employees who are struggling with stress and the employees at all levels in the organisation who have to pick up their responsibilities.

 

Staff turnover, recruitment, and training. As a result of the above, staff turnover may increase and experienced employees may leave the organisation. The business or organisation will then have to recruit new employees with the associated time and costs of this recruitment and training.

 

Productivity and efficiency. Employees who are stressed and coming into work are likely to be much less productive and efficient than usual and this combined with employee absences, low morale and motivation and staff turnover will have a negative impact on overall business and organisation productivity and efficiency.

 

Customer service. It is very difficult to maintain customer service levels with staff absences, high staff turnover, morale and motivation issues and low productivity and inefficiencies. Stress can therefore result in customer service issues and problems, with customer complaints and potential loss of customers.

 

Communication and relationships. Where employees are stressed another impact can be on communication and relationships in the business or organisation. People who are stressed can be angry, irritable and withdrawn, which together with low morale and motivation and high staff turnover, can impact team dynamics, communication within and outside the company and both internal and external relationships negatively.

 

Business and financial performance. All the above will result in a deterioration in the company or organisation performance, in terms of sales, profitability and cash flow.

 

So what can a business or organisation do to prevent or minimise the above impacts? Here are some ideas:

 

Understand the data. A good starting point for any business or organisation is to evaluate the level of stress of its employees by gathering data such as the level of absence, long-term illness, staff turnover, Human Resources or Employee Assistance Program calls and health and safety incidents as a result of stress and softer data such as employee feedback, management experience, customer feedback etc. This can be done through surveys, group and team meetings and one to one meetings. You may also want to seek external help with this analysis.

 

Risk assess the business or organisation. Alongside the above it is a good idea to risk assess the organisation to understand the current situation in all areas (both what may be creating stress for employees and the impact of stress on the organisation).

Areas to consider include:

– The working environment such as the physical surroundings, equipment provided, and heating and lighting (e.g. an open plan working environment may be creating stress for employees due to high noise levels impacting concentration).

– The culture of the organisation such as support for staff, values and beliefs and management practices (e.g. Management not accepting that there are stress issues and not providing any support to employees or a practice of everyone having to stay until the boss leaves could be creating stress).

– How employees are treated such as clarity of job and role descriptions and objectives, communication on a team and one to one basis, training, expectations around working hours and deadlines and career opportunities (e.g. ambiguous and unclear job and role descriptions and objectives or lack of training or too much or not enough work for or responsibility given to an employee could be creating stress).

– Resourcing such as employing the right number of people to meet the company’s requirements and having the equipment to do the job properly (e.g. employees may be stressed because the organisation is understaffed and they are working long and unreasonable hours).

– Scheduling and planning such as poor project planning or management chopping and changing their requirements of their employees (e.g. Unrealistic deadlines and work schedules can create stress for employees).

You will need to personalise any risk assessment to your business or organisation and may want to seek outside help to complete it.

 

Mind Work are able to come in and work alongside your team to assist you in understanding the data, set goals and determine a strategies and solutions in order to increase company productivity and ultimately, profitability. Alternatively, there is some useful advice available at the UK Health and Safety Executive website.

 

Support individuals with stress management. As an employer you can support your employees to prevent and manage stress. This may be through open conversations with line managers, providing Employee Assistance stress support services, stress management training (such as our online video based stress management course for business owners, directors and managers and listening to employees concerns and taking action to improve things for them.

 

Make organisational changes to prevent and reduce stress. The risk assessment will highlight areas that need to be improved or changed in the organisation in order to reduce or prevent employee stress. This could be anything from changing the culture of the organisation to recruiting additional staff. You can get some ideas from the areas mentioned in the risk assessment areas above.

 

Hopefully the above has got you thinking of the potential impact of stress on your business or organisation and what you can do to prevent and reduce stress.

 

Author: Liz Makin

 

 

 

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