Last month, we opened our wellbeing article with the results of a study suggesting that an increase in wellbeing could bring about an improvement in workplace performance, amongst other positive outcomes. It also showed that employers can have an influence on an individual's sense of wellbeing in the way they run a workplace. Mandy Brook’s report ended with the 11 key factors for increasing wellbeing to boost performance in general, with the key thread being good, open communication with colleagues and employees.
So, where and how to start that conversation? I would suggest quite a radical approach, in that you have an open and honest conversation with yourself first - how are YOU feeling? How are YOUR levels of wellbeing, and are they affecting your workplace in a positive or a potentially negative way?
Let's face it, February is a gloomy month weather wise, with Christmas and most likely any New Year's resolutions a distant memory. If you're anything like me, all you want to do is eat your own body weight in carbs and hibernate until spring arrives. (If you're feeling upbeat and positive give yourself a huge pat on the back, but remember to see how others around you are doing). So, what can we do to help keep motivation levels up, and support the positive mental health of those around us at work?
Firstly, check in with people - ask how they are and whether they need a little extra help, perhaps simply acknowledging that February has the potential for motivation levels to drop but reminding them how important they are to your business, and how much they are valued. Try it, you may be surprised at how easy it is to make a big difference to someone's day.
There are many tried and scientifically tested ways to support mental and physical wellbeing, from brain and gut boosting food to daylight lamps that will get your people through this period and emerge into spring like butterflies, with renewed vigour and vitality, all whilst feeling the love and support of a boss who values them!
Here are a few free mood boosters to help your employees:
Lack of daylight can produce symptoms of persistent low mood and tiredness, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD for short. Lumie.com make a desk lamp which can alleviate symptoms with an hour a day's use. One lamp could be shared between a number of workers, and if anyone is diagnosed as suffering with SAD, the purchase will be VAT free.
Gentle exercise is a mood booster - it relieves stress, improves memory and creativity and helps us to sleep better. Consider replacing an email with a one-to-one conversation whilst taking a walk.
Meditation is one of the greatest things we can do to support our health and happiness and there are plenty of apps to download to guide you through the process. Going to bed a little earlier and listening to a meditation can help you drift off to sleep more easily, or waking up a little earlier to listen to a Mindfulness of Breath meditation will help to calm and prepare you for the day ahead. Try apps from either the Oxford MBCT Centre, or Finding Peace in a Frantic World, both available to download for free.
Kim Evans is a Wellbeing & Performance Coach and Mindfulness Lead at The Wellbeing & Performance Company. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the team on 01424 236900. www.twpc.co.uk