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How To Promote Wellness In The Workplace

With teams of every size returning to offices across Australia, mindful leaders are looking for ways to promote and facilitate the wellbeing of their teams. Inspired by the thought leaders who will be hosting talks and workshops at Conscious Work – our festival of workplace wellness taking over Sydney’s Botanic Gardens in July – we’ve put together a list of twelve different ways to promote wellness in the workplace.

 

1. Encourage authenticity 

It may sound irrelevant to workplace wellness, but encouraging employees to show up to work as their authentic selves is vitally important for creating a healthy company culture. As explained through our article inspired by Mikey Ellis, when employees (and humans in general) feel free to communicate with more honesty, areas of uncertainty will be addressed and ultimately, solutions will be reached far more effectively. A workplace which welcomes diversity and authenticity will not only facilitate effective communication, but will encourage positive mental wellbeing. When employees feel they are embraced for the person they are, negative emotions associated with personal insecurities (such as social anxiety) will be negated.

2. Encourage connection

Once your team feels confident to be themselves, it makes sense – both for the success of the business and the wellbeing of the team – to encourage them to connect more with one another. The feeling of “belonging” is one of the most powerful drivers of human behaviour, and according to recent research by Glint, this is particularly true in the workplace. One simple method for fostering a sense of belonging is by facilitating and encouraging connection.

3. Encourage individuality

This is similar to authenticity, but in this instance, refers to personal approaches to work. Depending on various personality types and mindsets, various people work best at different times of the day, in different settings and under different conditions. Of course, there are limits to how well a group workplace can meet the needs of everyone, but if there are simple steps that can be taken to ensure your team can work in a way that best suits their success and peak productivity, take them. This might mean allowing flexible start and end times, or varying the times of meetings to ensure everyone is allowed time to complete deep work at their peak time.

4. Encourage deep work

The concept of deep work is promoted extensively by Cal Newport, and although it seems simple, is an increasingly difficult thing to achieve in today’s noisy world. You can read more about the concept of deep work in our article here, but essentially, it involves switching off from other distractions and allowing yourself time to focus on one task at a time. In order to encourage this in the workplace, normalise slightly slower email response times, so employees don’t feel nervous to take time away from their inbox to focus on the task at hand. Allowing for and encouraging deep work won’t only mean your team will get more done, but that sense of achievement and state of flow that comes from immersing yourself in deep work will promote positive wellbeing amongst your employees.

5. Plan ahead

To minimise stress levels in the workplace, and thus improve general levels of happiness and contentment, take the time to anticipate periods of increased workloads or heightened pressure. While it may be impossible to mitigate the pressure of “crunch time” entirely, acknowledging it, preparing the team and offering support will improve employee morale when the going gets tough.

6. Allow for perks

A sense of monotony and boredom does not a happy workplace make, so facilitate and encourage perks and experiences to break up the office routine. These perks might include bringing pets to work (which can improve employee morale, connection and creativity), organising team outings and organising office drinks.

7. Allow employees to give back

Giving to others has been found to radically improve mental wellbeing, with research showing that those who volunteer their time experience lower levels of stress, anger and anxiety.

8. Encourage exercise

As we explain in our article on why you should make walking a part of your work day, exercise has been found to improve creativity, happiness, health, energy and focus. A healthy workplace culture is one that encourages employees to take care of their physical wellbeing, so encourage your employees to exercise in a way that suits them. If this means allowing flexible lunch breaks or making space for bike storage and changing rooms, take those steps and you’ll reap the benefits of a healthy, happy, creative team as a result.

9. Encourage good nutrition

The food we eat has a major impact on our mental and physical wellbeing, so take the steps to make healthy food accessible and appealing to your team. This might mean getting fruit boxes delivered to the office, or allowing extra time for team members to get out to a food outlet that offers genuinely nourishing options. (For healthy meal inspiration, you can browse our range of nourishing recipes here).

10. Encourage mindfulness and meditation

We’ll be discussing the numerous benefits of mindfulness for both physical and mental wellbeing throughout the month of May (inspired by May’s Conscious Curator – author and founder of Mindful In May Dr Elise Bialylew). You can read our tips on how to incorporate meditation into your work day here.

11. Encourage rest

Having a nap room in the office might not be possible for your business, but encouraging rest is important nonetheless. Research shows that well rested humans make healthier decisions, report higher levels of happiness and are more likely to think creatively.

12. Set the standard

Regardless of how much information about the importance of a healthy approach is touted, if that’s not demonstrated by leadership, it’s unlikely to effectively filter through. Make sure you’re not only promoting wellbeing in the workplace, but are practicing the steps that you’re preaching. For instance, normalise getting out of the office on your lunch break, taking time away from your inbox to focus on deep work and communicating with vulnerability and compassion. When positive behaviours are exhibited by someone in a position of authority, they’re more likely to become ingrained in the company culture. You can read more about the concept of authentic leadership in our article inspired by the work of author, coach and founder of Of Kin Kylie Lewis.

 

If you’re a leader looking to shake up the wellness in your workplace and connect with like minds, secure your ticket to Conscious Work here.

Lead image from Seed Spaces, Glebe.

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