With looming deadlines, big projects and daily KPIs to hit, the office can be a breeding ground for stressful situations. If unchecked, work-related stress can boil over into your personal life too, affecting your health, sleep and provoking other issues along the way.
The mark of a good manager, however, is the ability to improve the wellness of their team and reduce stresses placed on them in the process to some degree.
1. Eating well and staying healthy
A somewhat undervalued aspect of office wellbeing, and stress in general, is the importance of eating well and staying healthy. The team at Super Wellness got in touch with us and provided a bevy of insight on the matter.
Increasingly, employees have their lunch at their desk. While this may strike some as convenient, Super Wellness pointed to the negative effects as a result of your desk-side dining location.
Desk dining, they say, generally means “our body remains in a state of alertness and is unable to switch into ‘rest and digest’ mode, where the nervous system is geared to breaking down food and absorbing nutrients.” The effects on digestive health can have a knock-on effect on our mental health, so they advise taking the time to unwind, away from your desk, and socialise with colleagues over lunch.
When it comes to rewards, unhealthy foods are often the go-to motivator. Super Wellness suggests alternative rewards centred around wellbeing. “Offering a healthy food preparation workshop’ they say, ‘can be inspiring and deeply enjoyable for employees as well as beneficial their long-term health. Finishing early to go for a team walk when the sales target has been achieved could be invigorating and bonding for everyone.”
Kate from KateCook.biz, echoes a similar sentiment, particularly with regard to how diet affects us as people. She says: ‘Get the foundation right. Companies can help inform staff through education programmes, a better food environment (e.g. taking out vending machines), better food in staff restaurant. Companies can gently nudge employees to better outcomes both for the employee and for the benefit of the company.”
Kate suggests four tips with regard to nutrition that can help foster better wellbeing:
1. Eat a good breakfast – not commercial cereal – eggs would be ideal.
2. Eat real food (avoid low-calorie food devoid of nutrients) and allow time to plan your meals.
3. Concentrate on veg rather than fruit – getting your veg count up is essential.
4. Eat oily fish at least three times a week – mackerel and sardines are plentiful and cheap, and good for the brain.
2. Tailor your methods to the individual
Of course, different things work for different people; what might be effective for some might not be suitable for others.
Jeff, from Tonic365, says “Avoid one-size-fits-all solutions. Instead, find out what wellness means to individuals and provide options that are of real value.” A subsidized gym membership will be beneficial to some, but flexible hours might be more of value to people with family commitments. Likewise, a focus on healthy eating could boost energy levels, but other members of staff might be in need of ideas to help them sleep.
“Wellbeing workshops tackling key topics and healthy living clinics with individual consultations are two great ways to find out what the issues are within a team or organisation, while at the same time offering valuable tips and advice”, says Jeff. “Tracking progress is crucial to engagement and success with wellness initiatives so aim to set up regular touch points and collect data wherever possible.”
3. Make hours more flexible and offer remote working
Relaxing the rigidity of your office’s working hours can help to ease the stress of the working week, especially if they have things outside of work that affect their routine. Whether it’s family matters or health issues, allowing members of the team to come in and finish later (and vice versa) is an excellent way of reducing burnout and allows them to work at a time when they feel they accomplish more, as a result.
If this isn’t possible, then consider allowing them to work remotely once a week. Not only do studies show that employees increase their productivity when telecommuting, the change in environment has a positive impact on them as a team. Just be sure to outline expectations and boundaries when implementing these methods.
4. Slow down and start meditating
Mindfulness and meditation are becoming more and more popular in offices. The practice is an excellent way of clearing the mind, and has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve positive emotions. Whether they use meditation apps on their breaks or you create a more structured programme for everyone to become involved with, it’s a highly beneficial practice that’s well worth looking into.
This is something the SEFE Marketing & Trading management are particularly tuned into. Our L&D advisor Irina Shchebreva, explains: “At the SEFE Marketing & Trading Group, we believe that work should have a positive impact on the lives of our employees. Our holistic wellbeing approach helps us all to be the healthiest and happiest we can be both now and in the future.
“To help enhance the wellbeing of all our employees we have developed our wellbeing offering which comprises of annual week of wellbeing workshops, employee assistance programme, informational resources like wellbeing app and monthly newsletters on topics of health and wellness. In addition, SEFE Marketing & Trading London office has a Wellbeing corner which is a room where any employee can book in order to enjoy a massage chair or just have time to themselves.”
5. Educate them on the matter
Whether members of your team are experiencing stress or not, it’s important to keep them educated on the matter. Show them how to recognise it, as well as the signs that it’s affecting them physically and mentally.
If necessary, look to professional speakers who are willing to talk to your team, whether it’s a mindfulness expert, a yoga instructor, or a time management pro. These people can help your team better understand themselves in an environment that can easily lead to stress.
Using these techniques can help you better manage a team capable of resisting the onset and effects of stress, providing endless benefit to their output and performance.
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