One of the things that I took away from this year’s WorkHuman conference hosted by Globoforce is that well-being must be employee centric. Organizations cannot mandate well-being. They do need to create the environment for well-being to thrive, then let employees embrace it.
That being said, there are a few specific things organizations should consider when it comes to supporting employee well-being.
- Well-being and wellness are two different things. Many of us use the terms interchangeably, but there’s a distinction to be made. Wellness tends to focus on our physical health. Well-being not only includes our physical health but our emotional, financial, spiritual, etc. A recent article on the ATD blog shared that just 24 pecent of employees whose companies offer a wellness program actually participate in it. The reason? Because the focus is on wellness and not well-being.
- Each of us has a different burnout point. Stress is a very subjective thing. What is stressful to one person might be completely normal to someone else. It’s important for us to recognize how stress impacts us personally and be prepared to discuss our stress triggers.
- Digital devices aren’t a substitute for communication. Technology is a wonderful thing. Both individuals and organizations benefit from mobile devices. That doesn’t mean we can or should stop speaking to each other. It also doesn’t mean that we’ve instantly become omnipotent. Communication still needs to exist in many forms.
- Learn how to set expectations. Life goes on while you’re sleeping, eating, etc. You don’t have to answer non-emergency communication within ten minutes. Emergencies – yea, those need immediate attention. But define what constitutes an emergency.
- Then learn how to respect other people’s boundaries. If we want other people to respect our boundaries, we have to respect theirs. This doesn’t mean that you can’t send you an email at 10p – maybe you’re in another time zone. It does mean you shouldn’t expect someone to answer it right away.
- Organizations cannot mandate digital detoxes. Instead, they should support a person who would like to take a digital detox. Especially when we’re talking about vacation. Employees work hard to wrap up loose ends so they can not pay attention to their email inbox for one week. Give them a break.
- Never underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep. There’s tons of research talking about the value of sleep. It helps our productivitiy. It makes us think better. It improves our physical health. Not to mention that whole reduction of crankiness. Allow employees to get their sleep.
- Don’t confuse organization and well-being. Although disorganization can lead to unproductivity which can lead to being overwhelmed and stressed, being organized doesn’t mean you’re automatically productive and not overwhelmed. Try your best to get organized then discover the best way to deal with your stress.
The American Psychological Association estimates the cost of job stress to be around $300 billion per year. There’s so much conversation about the presence or absence of work / life balance and the importance of employees having a sense of well-being. Even if your organization isn’t ready to develop a formal well-being program – although it’s probably time to have that conversation – these are mantras that can be embraced at every level of the organization. And my guess is that organizations who are able to support employees at this level would find more engagement and retention as a result.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby0