by Kim Perone
Today, the work pace in the workplace is faster than ever. As companies try to accomplish more with less, employees are feeling drained and wondering what they are trading for a paycheck. Approximately 77 percent regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42 percent say their coworkers need such help, according to the American Institute of Stress.
Technology offers a 24/7 work week, which has some obvious benefits, but can leave employees feeling tethered to their office around the clock. Stressed employees describe self-medicating with television, drinking, eating, shopping, video games and other potentially unhealthy options to reclaim a sense of calm in their off hours. While more commonly associated with promotion of physical health through a focus on weight, nutrition and exercise, workplace wellness has broadened to include emotional health.
The progressive workplace is including emotional well-being in their wellness programs as anxiety and stress take center stage in our lives. The advanced employer plays a supporting role in teaching good emotional well-being which increases productivity, reduces turnover and results in greater sustainability for both the employee and employer. Here are some ways progressive companies bring wellness into the workplace, to ensure mutual success.
Begin meetings with a moment of silence and a focus on breath to allow everyone to arrive at the present moment with their full attention. Foster compassion over judgment to enable clarity. Companies around the globe are learning how to use compassion to create a response over reactive culture. Particularly important for leadership and teamwork, mindfulness reduces irritation, distraction, frustration and conflict that inhibits success.
Employees can set intentions daily. Note an accomplishment for today and the desired feeling. When we anticipate disaster, we often get it. When we anticipate success, we get that, too. The universe tends to comply with our thoughts, and we receive the reality we expect.
Good Emotional Hygiene
Emotionally strong individuals step back in stressful situations, rather than plow forward. Emotional housekeeping tools offer ways for de-stressing on a regular basis instead of enabling the “pressure cooker” effect. When we feel our feelings routinely, we are less likely to blame, fight or explode. We often judge ourselves too harshly and in turn, others too harshly, as well.
We are all energetic beings; however, we often do not realize how much of others’ energy we are absorbing. When we understand how to protect our energy and hold firmly in our intentions and moods rather than assuming those of others, we have less stress and more energy. Wellness at work involves understanding that to serve, we must replenish.
Some are seeking life balance and finding it, while others think that life balance is not an achievable reality and feel despair. In a society where overscheduling occurs regularly and down time is unfairly labeled as laziness, we are simply following outside expectations and driving ourselves mad. Bucking the trend and creating a schedule that works for our families is the key for healthy employees and sustainability in the workplace.
Get clear on response expectations and create boundaries. Just because someone sends an email at 2 a.m. does not mean they intend the recipient to read and respond at 2:05 a.m. Set times for technology use. Turn off unnecessary alarms and notification sounds. Limit “scroll time” if it is feeling unproductive and stressful. Technology engineers are studying ways to keep our eyes on programs, apps and social networking longer to sell more advertising. The modern workplace does not want its employees to be looking at their phone and multitasking constantly, but rather building focus for task completion.
Finding a few moments of peace is often impossible in a busy workplace. More companies are offering areas for employees to pause and find stillness during their breaks.
Making wellness at work a priority provides a competitive advantage and an opportunity to create a culture based on motivation and inspiration over fear and exhaustion. By raising the level of consciousness at work, we are shaping the workplace of the future.
Kim Perone is a certified life coach at Inspired Life Coaching and co-founder of The Center for Clarity, Compassion & Contentment, in Burnt Hills. with life coach Helene Verdile. For more information about an eight-week wellness program that can be offered as a lunch and learn, call 518-301-3593 or visit Center4C.com.