10 practical tips to improve wellbeing in the workplace

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Effective ways to feel better and be more productive.

Read time: 3 minutes 

  • Enshrine autonomy, no matter the role

  • Help employees identify their core values

  • Learn the signs of burnout

60% of employees say they’d feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing, according to a survey by Mind, the mental health charity. With burnout on the rise, employers can no longer afford to overlook employee wellbeing. Here are our top tips.

Enshrine autonomy in the business plan

Employees who are free to make their own choices are happier and more productive. This means giving them some freedom to tackle their day-to-day tasks as they see fit. Autonomy means trust, and employees who feel trusted are more likely to be engaged with their work and in turn produce good results. The challenge for leaders is to know when to step aside. 

Protect your productive time

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by emails, requests for meetings and phone calls, so it’s important that you set boundaries and protect the time you’re most productive during the day. If you’re most creative in the morning, you know what time needs to be protected. Think about mechanisms that allow you to carve out time for yourself and then communicate that to your colleagues, such as blocking out time in your calendar. 

Draw a line in the sand

It’s important to shut off at the end of a workday. There is good evidence to suggest that reflective writing at close-of-play can help us avoid rumination, particularly if the writing focuses on the positive events. Consider writing about individual members of staff who have shown you support. A blanket rule is to conduct activities that are different from what you’re doing during the day. For most of us that means taking a break from screens. 

Get familiar with signs of burnout

Spotting the signs of burnout is difficult as the condition often develops slowly. Burnout also manifests itself differently from person to person, which makes it even harder to spot. People experiencing burnout often show reduced performance, anxiety, low mood, difficulty concentrating, absenteeism, and a range of physical symptoms associated with exhaustion.

Identify your core values

Whether you’re happiest at home or in the office, the most important thing is to remember why you’re working in the first place. These are your core values. This will differ from person to person, but some examples include, building meaningful relationships, creating a new product or service, or developing your skillset. During difficult times when you wonder why you’re grinding away, having well-defined core values helps remind you sense-check what you’re doing and make adjustments if necessary. 

Create coping strategies

There are two coping mechanisms to keep in mind when thinking about wellbeing. The first is emotional coping — how you cope with your own emotions — and behavioural coping, or the ways you manage your behaviour. Emotional coping is about recognising negative emotions and then reframing them as opportunities. Behavioural strategies include seeking out opportunities that are beneficial to you, like a project that improves your skillset. 

Develop teams

Teams work best when they’re made up of people who bring different qualities to the table. Introverts and extroverts are fundamentally different and finding ways to bring together these disparate personality types using skill and negotiation is a key way to boost wellbeing for all. 

Build psychological safety 

Research tells us that people perform better in places where psychological safety is high. How do leaders create psychological safety? There are three rules: build adequate support mechanisms, both from leadership and other team members; ensure that each of your interactions with employees is good; and, finally, give employees meaningful work.

Remember the connection between mind and body

Here are a few quick tips: Don’t overdo caffeine. Keep very well hydrated. Stay away from simple carbs as they impact your blood sugar. And when you exercise, make sure to do it outdoors, because that will multiply the benefits and get you away from any screens. 

Take a holistic approach

When designing a health and wellbeing strategy it’s important to consider elements from several key areas: health, work, values, personal growth and lifestyle. Employees are multifaceted so a varied approach is required for wellbeing. Remember that everyone in the organisation has a responsibility for wellbeing, so communicate expectations from the top. 

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