As a Manager, Why Should I Focus on Staff Well-being?
Picture your ideal team member. They’re probably really engaged, open to new opportunities, use their initiative and collaborate well with their colleagues.
Now picture the opposite. Consider how unproductive your team might be if everyone is switched off, finding it hard to deal with challenges and lacking capacity to behave well towards their colleagues.
In the majority of cases, it’s not the work that’s behind motivation and emotional issues, it’s actually well-being. Consider how productive your operations would be if everyone was energised, engaged, open to opportunities, using initiative and collaborating.
When measures are put into place to encourage staff well-being, you start to move people towards this ideal. They feel valued, gain confidence and become empowered. The result is improved communication with colleagues and customers. As such, the investment in people enhances the work environment, boosts customer relations and aids business growth.
Staff Well-being: What does it Mean?
The importance of staff well-being has been bandied about for years, but what does it mean?
Well-being is when our psychological, physiological and social needs are met, allowing us to thrive. A Christmas party or a bonus in the pay packet can boost staff morale, but if your employees physiological, physical and social needs are not being met, the effect can be short-lived. We will explore these three components in more detail, but it is important to say that everyone is different so be aware that the priority of each need will be different for everyone.
The Three Components of Well-being
Well-being is less about something that happens to us and more about how we feel inside.
We need to feel safe, calm and in control to approach daily life with positivity and purpose.
When anxiety and fear are high, it is impossible to perform well. In fear mode, we lack focus, get easily confused and tend to act defensively. Psychological needs are all about the things that help us to mentally function well.
Our bodies are complex machines which require the right fuel and maintenance to operate efficiently. They need plenty of hydration, nutritious food, regular exercise and adequate sleep to operate well.
When people feel under pressure or undervalued, poor habits begin to creep in. Skipping meals, comfort eating, working long hours and feeling too exhausted to exercise, all impact on the physical performance of the machine. And if the body isn’t humming, the brain can’t either so that in turn triggers the vicious circle that we’re then less likely to be able to meet our psychological needs too.
As human beings, we like to belong. We draw on the compassion, encouragement, fresh perspectives and shared experiences of time spent with others.
Social distancing has clearly shown how operating in isolation can have a detrimental effect on our confidence and mental health. A big part of social needs in the workplace is helping people to feel connected and valued by their colleagues.
Stress Management in the Workplace
Hopefully you can see now how the absence of well-being in your team can exacerbate or even create more stress. It is impossible to avoid stress altogether and some individuals are actually motivated by tight deadlines. The pressure of getting a big order out on time can build team spirit, collaboration and a sense of reward. Issues arise when the pressures are sustained and the three well-being needs are not being met.
As a manager, it can be difficult to know how to support everyone with stress management, especially as this can put you yourself under even greater pressure.
A solution is bringing an experienced mindfulness trainer into the workplace.
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a series of workshops which encompasses the three elements of well-being and provides practical resources to improve them. Through exercises, mindfulness meditation practices, discussions and reflections, the training helps employees to understand their own needs and those of others within the team. The open and honest nature of the workshops encourages greater empathy and collaboration and this results in improved reliance, compassion and stress management.
Mindfulness for Returners to Work
When people are returning to the workplace, they will likely need greater reassurance to manage stress.
Currently, many employees are preparing to return after a period of furlough. Whilst we have all been affected by Coronavirus, our experiences have not been the same. Some staff may have enjoyed a break from the usual routine, others may have faced financial hardship, isolation, the loss of a loved one and uncertainty.
Even if you had a strong team at the start of the year, the pandemic could have rocked the boat. The MBSR course can be especially significant at this time, as a means of supporting everyone as they adapt to new ways of working and changes in their circumstances.If you would like to know more about this effective method of managing workplace stress, please contact Jo Clarke at Inner Space Works on 07889 295959 or firstname.lastname@example.org.