It’s October, and as the year comes to a close with celebrations such as Cup Day, Christmas Parties and New Years Eve, it’s time to reflect on the workplace wellness trends of 2018 and see how your workplace is doing.
You must have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard the buzz from a friend who undertook yoga, meditation or even Qi Gong recently at work. Or perhaps your company offers a more comprehensive service setting and tracking your health goals, positive psychology, mindfulness workshops, wellbeing excursions, free fitness trackers or perhaps office challenges competing for weight loss or fitness goals.
These days, wellness programmes aren’t just about encouraging employees to take their physical health into higher consideration, but also their mental and emotional wellbeing which directly results in their ability to focus, be more productive, energised and happy in the workplace.
Emotional & Mental Health Awareness
As I was writing about workplace wellness a few weeks ago, I was thinking how often you see mental health announcements around Melbourne and throughout social media these days. Advertisements for Black Dog, R U OK and Beyond Blue seem to be everywhere with companies supporting mental illness by posting images, or quotes including the words “Are you o.k.?” It’s encouraging to know that mental health is no longer a taboo subject, and the more people that come forward with a problem they are facing, the more educated we collectively become. Mental health training awareness is a growing trend for management, which can help to recognise and understand common signs and behaviours of mental health conditions in the workplace, and gives them confidence to approach staff dealing with those effected, such as taking a ‘mental health day’ to combat anxieties.
Mental health effects around close to 50% of Australians at some stage of their life, so the more we can talk about it, the easier it becomes to find solutions and help others help themselves.
Global companies such as SAP software solutions are beginning to offer their employees app-based health and diet coaching to track their goals, or chatbots that provide knowledgeable assistance, while other businesses are incorporating ideals like this into workplace wellness schemes to motivate their employees to become healthier. Some offices will offer their employees healthy snacks, on-site café’s, healthy snack vending machines or full meals that will help them achieve their goals, and stop them clogging up their bodies with sugar-heavy foods that will offer a quick pep, followed by a slow steady slumber.
As suggested in our blog last week, being tired isn’t only due to lack of sleep, but also our diet, lack of exercise and perhaps even losing our connection with the great outdoors.
According to Sage People, money worries can be one of the biggest contributors to stress, with PWC finding that 53% of employees are worried about their finances causing them to be either distracted in the workplace, or being absent due to health issues caused by concern.
Some employers are including debt management tools in their financial wellness programs, while others include private coaching sessions with a finance professional, employee saving schemes or profit share incentives.
Most smart watches these days can track your heartbeat, letting you know when its elevated and giving you a nod towards rising stress or stupor. They encourage you to get up, take a walk, do some exercise, or perhaps have some time out. In 2017 however, Apple released its first medical accessory, Kardiaband, that provides a medical grade EKG reading in 30 seconds leading the technological front in wellness, with other introductions such as devices able to read emotions and adjust lighting in the room to suit. It’s said by introduction of such tools, our employees will increase productivity, mood, healthful behaviours and reduce stress.
As mentioned in our workplace wellness blog a few weeks back, having a friend in the workplace can help employees performance blossom as much as their social circles, thus promoting positive business outcomes and mental wellbeing say the team at Sage People. Those that have a best friend in the office are considered to have a higher overall wellbeing, and are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs, more engaging with customers and produce higher quality work.
Time to promote more social events perhaps? If that’s out of the question, then consider switching to a more open plan workspace, break-out rooms with social activities, job design, collaboration opportunities, and encouraging more interaction at work – like walking an email, instead of sending it electronically. Some companies even give staff a collective day off to spend working for a charity of their choice, and creating a bigger difference in their local community.
Subsidised DNA Testing
Trending in America since October 2017, DNA kits are now at the forefront on wellbeing in Australia and our employers are catching on. SAP, the global company leading wellness welfare, has instigated subsidising the test kits, announcing that it wanted to ‘empower our employees against disease before they get it'.
By January this year, 4,900 genetic tests had already been purchased by staff, giving them a greater chance at a healthier lifestyle.
Moving From A ‘Me’ To ‘We’ Culture
Australia’s ‘tall poppy syndrome’ is apparently next to be capped, with companies shifting the focus from competition to collaboration. While individuals are still encouraged to chase their own vantage point, strong teams are being curated based on how they can intertwine to yield bigger success through supporting and building trust. This ideal from holistic services’ 2018 report allows a business to diversify, utilise a broader sense of talents, experience and skills, and additionally relates back to creating harmonious relationships within the work place boosting staff morale.
70% of organisational culture comes from its leaders, and if you’re one of many that reports having a boss you don’t agree with, you’ll be left feeling deflated and unmotivated to achieve. Bad management quickly trickles down the office line with employees feeling stressed, or even handing in their resignation in favour of a better working culture. Engaged employees that like their bosses style are reported to be 44% more productive, while those feeling inspired by their leaders actions work up to 125% harder to impress them.
Wellness programmes offered for senior leaders to help ensure they model positive wellbeing practices at work, and encouraging alignment with the company’s mission, vision and core values.
Timely! As the blog last week suggests, well rested employees ultimately perform better, and even a 15 minute nap has proven to have mental and physical health benefits in and out of the office. The workforce has already shelled out $26.2 billion on financial costs associated, with another $40 billion allotted for loss of wellness. If it hasn’t struck your company as an issue so far, you can count on the fact that it will in due time.
In fact, Forbes confirms that many Americans are also facing sleep deprivation with the emphasis on success taking more waking hours to achieve. If you can’t educate your staff on the importance of quality sleep through sleep awareness programmes and testing, then perhaps a free trail of our sleep pod is a worthy option. You don’t have to arrange it just yet though; sleep on it and see how you feel.