Today’s R U OK? Day are an important reminder to be kind to yourself and to those around you. You never know who could be silently suffering from life’s ups and downs.
This is especially important to be aware of at work. Conservative estimates on the effects of absenteeism suggest it is costing Australian employers more than $10 billion per year, and the rate of burnout in young Australians is only rising.
As business leaders, we can help manage this by creating mindful workplaces and putting some steps in place to encourage thoughtful conversations.
A happy business is a productive business. After all, we spend one-third of our lives at work, so there’s quite a bit of opportunity to provide a positive impact on our employees’ lives.
Here are some tips to encourage a happy workplace:
Ask how people like to be managed and if there are certain tasks or aspects of the role that makes them anxious.
Some people prefer visual learning or examples, some people like structure and some people prefer to be left to their own devices. Part of being a good manager is having these conversations with people so they feel heard and cared for.
Another great exercise is when training staff, ask them to identify what types of personality types they are. Your whole team will soon get to know a bit more about each other and how they help complement each other’s skill sets.
Encourage staff to stretch and be active during work hours.
Can they walk around the block and have that meeting? Many offices are now implementing workout challenges using Fitbits between staff for some friendly competition.
Exercise has an incredible impact on overall wellbeing and productivity.
Are you providing a safe workspace?
Do they have a comfortable chair and are they looking straight at their screen or slouching? Making sure people have a bright and comfortable workspace can have a huge impact on their productivity and wellbeing.
Training is often overlooked by employers, especially busy startups where staff are learning new skills every day.
Why not take time out on a Friday afternoon for some training on mindful meditation, learning a new skill or even bringing in a specialist mental wellbeing coach?
By teaching your staff coping mechanisms with stress, how to speak to others about mental wellbeing and how to help each other, you’re improving not only your workplace but teaching them lifelong skills.
Wellbeing vouchers as rewards.
Too often workplace culture is focused on drinking alcohol, which believe it or not, not everybody enjoys. Companies such as Deliveroo have provided employee discounts for Blys on-demand massages and wellness services. You can reward your staff with wellness vouchers instead of bottles of booze.
R U OK? Suggests to keep an eye on employee behaviour and encourage conversations by simply asking them if they’re okay.
Make sure you check in on them and monitor for unusual behaviour or if they look like they’re having a hard time.
In addition to looking out for mental wellbeing struggles, following some of these steps will help foster a safe and open working environment that will help improve overall wellbeing.
- Ilter Dumduz is CEO and founder of Blys