Wellbeing in the workplace is here to stay! It’s the responsibility of the employer and our right as an employee. After all, as we all know, a healthy, happy workplace makes for a more productive, more profitable business and, what’s more, a healthy, happy employee makes for a more content, relaxed work place and can positively improve the home life. But can it really be this simple?
For the most part, employers are aware of their responsibilities towards their staff. They are only too aware of rising costs due to increasing sickness, low productivity, on going grievances and early resignations, and they understand, in most cases, the impact of workplace stress on these. The key question, however, is how do employers tackle this?
For the employer, wellbeing in the workplace can be addressed in two ways. On one hand they can consider their management practices; things like ensuring a reasonable workload, effective conflict resolution, offering fair working hours, training, development and allowing people to have autonomy, are all good practice and will lead to a better working atmosphere and more contented employees. On the other hand, and perhaps more importantly, they can consider promoting a more holistic, overall approach to taking care of their employee’s physical, emotional and mental health.
I recently had the opportunity to take part in Wellbeing Week with a local employer. This forward-thinking company chose, over the course of a week, to offer their employees a range of holistic treatments and therapies to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing. By doing so, not only have they shown that they care about their staff, they have taken it a step further and embraced the individuality of each person working for them.
Let’s be honest – what works for one person will be miserable for another. Some of us enjoy a relaxing massage while others prefer exercise, some people are open to talking about their feelings while others may find this more difficult. Most importantly, in this situation, what constitutes a stressful work environment for one person may lead another to thrive. We therefore need to understand that wellbeing is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. The Life Coaching sessions I ran at this Wellbeing Week covered a surprisingly broad range of topics, many completely unrelated to the workplace, yet they illustrated clearly how interconnected work and home life is for most people.
Which leads me to the question – should wellbeing be the sole responsibility of the employer? Naturally they have a key part to play and a duty of care towards their staff, but, given that many of us spend more time at work than we do sleeping in our own bed, surely we need to consider taking some of this responsibility onto ourselves? Of course, happiness and satisfaction at work is important to our self-esteem and future prospects, but our sense of wellbeing extends far beyond this and touches every area of our lives. So yes, our employer is responsible for our wellbeing during working hours, but who is ultimately responsible for our personal happiness and contentment? Shouldn’t we, as individuals, take the excellent practices demonstrated in many workplaces and carry them over into our personal lives?
Let’s take a few of those workplace practices and see how they could work in our personal lives.
Creating a positive culture – do we have a clear vision and purpose for our life? Can we honestly say that we have a goal or a future in mind?
Training and development – are we challenging ourselves to try new things or continuing to do what we have always done?
Security – how comfortable and confident do we feel in our own life? How valued do we feel in the roles we play?
Good communication – do we have people we can talk to? How do we express how we are really feeling?
Reward – so many of us feel that life is sometimes an uphill battle, but how are we celebrating our successes and rewarding ourselves?
The list could go on! The point is, that whilst many workplaces are taking steps to take care of our wellbeing, we should also be taking our own steps to ensure our physical, emotional and mental health. We have a vast array of options open to us, from exercise, good nutrition and social events, through to holistic treatments and therapies, and counselling and coaching. Are we, as individuals, putting enough emphasis on our own wellbeing to be able to thrive in the fast-paced world we live in?
Wellbeing is not something that should be thought about once in a while, or when we hit a crisis point, wellbeing should be at the forefront of our minds at all times. So why not take the principles followed by thousands of employers and apply them to our personal lives as well? If any of this has rung true with you, either as an employer or someone managing their own life, then you are very welcome to get in contact for an informal chat about some of the Life Coaching options that are available and how they might work for you.