Leading by Example to Enhance Employee Physical and Emotional Wellbeing

“Wear your lifebelt before helping others”

Studies show that employees earn an average of 9 hours Of overtime pay per week.

Does that surprise you? probably not.

An overworked culture – with long hours and constant exhaustion – is still seen as a sign of respect within the workplace. This is despite the WHO revealing the long-term negative consequences of such behavior, including fatigue, grinding, And possible deterioration in mental health.

So, why are so many of us other executives still leading the way?

A badge of honor

There are many practical factors associated with overwork and taking on as many tasks as possible that are thrown our way. But socio-economic factors associated with ‘overwork’ are also deeply ingrained in our workplace culture.

Many of us just work long hours to maintain our workplace, pay debts, or then we are first in line for the desired promotion.

For those who adopt a culture of long and intensive working hours, there is often a performative component involved. Overwork is often seen as a strange sign of success.

Whether it is defined by a glorious work title or lifestyle, or even by proving actual exhaustion, the ‘well done’ associated with overwork lasts.

Overtime also depends on the type of industry and the position you are in. For example, people in jobs designed to help others, such as line managers, tend to work longer hours that can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion.

Enter the global epidemic

The epidemic has intensified negative work behaviors in all work hierarchies, with the COVID culture affecting employees, line managers and senior leaders.

Although working from home has its benefits, it also means that there is technology around us constantly throughout the day. There is no clear separation between ‘being at work’ in a work environment and ‘being at home’.

Financial volatility has also risen during this time period, prompting many companies to take a ‘we need to do more with less’ approach.

Worryingly, mass layoffs and vacation plans have led to higher workloads, stricter deadlines and increased concerns about job security. As a result, many managers have taken on much of this extra effort to cover the workloads of the new staff members who have disappeared.

Makes yourself responsible

Overwork is usually a top-down problem. This can only be addressed by a substantial change in management behavior. One of the big concerns is that many people in leadership positions are convinced that there is no problem with it.

However, managers need to recognize the risk of burnout and decline in mental and physical health if they continue to work this way.

Furthermore, they demonstrate unhealthy behaviors to their teams, which can have far-reaching negative side effects. The more employees follow your example, the more likely it is that physical and mental health problems have spread and become an all-company epidemic.

What’s more, it does not help companies. Employees who feel an unbalanced state of well-being are 33 percent It is more likely to look for a new role elsewhere. Conversely, when an employee experiences positive well-being, it drops to 8 percent.

Given such findings, managers need to explore ways to protect their mental health and well-being, which can be reflected in their teams, and encourage others to follow suit.

Where to start

Start small. Take those breaks. Make sure you take all of your annual leave, and set a specific time when the devices are off, and you are not looking at them. Everyone needs a clear headroom and others need to know that this is an expectation of the whole society.

Get a temperature check on how those around you feel about their workload by running a few short, informal, online or in-person sessions so that staff do not feel extra stressed.

There are unexpected benefits to caring for employees who feel unable to disconnect from work. Additional employees will be loyal to you, as a manager, if you spot signs of distress and encourage them to take a break.

Promoting emotional health

Leading through example is easier to achieve if you feel confident about it.

You need to be aware of the support offers provided by your workplace. A useful well-being strategy in the workplace combines physical offers such as private health assessments, on-site gym memberships or subsidized with emotional well-being support.

It is important to contact human resources and ensure that the policy contains these perspectives. Ask about the possibility of further training in mental health awareness, to help you spot signs of possible mental health issues in yourself and others.

Suggestions from companies like Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be something worth considering as a regular investment. The presence of an emotional wellness therapist in the workplace clearly indicates that conversations about mental health are desirable and expected.

Digital or virtual therapy solutions can also be effective. Remember, for many people, the idea of ​​sharing a vulnerability or acknowledging a problem, is a barrier in itself. However, some studies show Psychological treatment conducted online Effective as face-to-face meetings. During 2020 Nuffield Health caregivers provided 3.7 million minutes of remote care.

Encouraging physical activity

The evidence points to this Managers who take care of their physical health are more effective leaders. Frequent exercise Increases brain health, Improving memory function and the ability to process new information. Exercise can also improve sleep, which is often disturbed by stress, depression and anxiety.

It is important not to ignore physical health in workplaces where there are high stress levels and a culture of long working hours.

The less anxious you are and the better you respond to the circumstances around you, the better you will work under pressure.

Managers need to look for gaps in their routine where they can replace something with sitting and exercising.

Why not try to shake up your work routine with activities by organizing walking and talking sessions? These can make gatherings more efficient, as employees are more likely to be full of energy than asleep during a brisk walk.

When the restrictions start to get over, take advantage of all the offers from your company like discounted or free memberships to local gyms, classes, or attending a sponsored workplace group at a charity event like a fundraiser. Encourage people to join you, to increase physical activity in all your teams.

For those who work from home, continue to offer a level of flexibility when people exercise. This is so that employees feel comfortable exercising when they are comfortable. It is important that those who have started a fitness routine at home will not stop because they feel guilty exercising when others are in the office.

By Gosia Bowling, the national leader in emotional well-being, Nuffield Health.

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