Giving the Gift of Well-Being in the Workplace
Does your organization have a wellness program? Is it meeting your employees’ needs? What are you—as a leader—doing to foster well-being for yourself and those with whom you work? There are several simple practices that you could incorporate into your organizational rhythm that would make a difference for you and your team.
Why Well-Being Matters
According to SHRM, “research shows that employee health status directly influences work behavior, attendance, and on-the-job performance,” (Chenoweth, 2011). Incorporating well-being practices into the daily life of work is a way to demonstrate care for your teammates and their whole selves, not just what they accomplish on a task or project. Well-being practices can provide opportunities for team building when participation is high, and they have the potential to be a positive influence on interpersonal dynamics.
Ways of Well-Being at Work
Well-being in the workplace can take many forms. Here are a few examples from my own practices:
A Gratitude Practice
A simple way to start incorporating well-being into the workplace is to begin a gratitude practice. Did you know that expressing gratitude is often as beneficial to the sender as it is to the receiver? There are many ways you could begin a gratitude practice, so reflect on what might work best for you. Here are few suggestions:
- Send gratitude texts, emails, calls, or cards. Take time to reflect on what and whom you are grateful for and create the time to send each person a note of thanks, whether it’s in the moment, at the end of the day, or the end of the week. Don’t get hung up on the method, just do it. Research shows that there isn’t a significant difference in feelings of happiness based on the method of expression of gratitude.
- Start meetings with a round robin of gratitude. Ask teammates to share thanks for coworkers to start your meetings on a positive note.
- Write a letter of gratitude to one of your mentors or a close colleague who supports you. Even if you don’t send it, it will still have a positive impact on you, but of course sending it will positively impact the other person too.
Walking meetings are an alternative to sit-down meetings for one-on-ones or small group meetings. Being in motion changes the energy level in positive ways and can help get those creative juices flowing. (Think about all those great ideas you’ve had when you’ve been engaged in movement!) Keep in mind that team members have different physical abilities and those who choose the walking option will move at different paces.
Can you spare five minutes? Then you can take a mindful break and you can invite your team to join you. In a previous position, when my team returned to the office in June 2020, it was amidst a lot of uncertainty and stress. As we prepared for a new academic year with continued unknowns and constant change, I wanted a way to foster resilience in the team. I had begun a personal daily meditation on my own and found it helpful. I decided to offer a voluntary “mindfulness moment” during the workday when we could come together and pause. Every team member participated, even the ones who had to continue working remotely, and it was a great way to bring us together when we were working in different locations. We experimented with different times of day and different kinds of meditation. I used several different apps to make it easy to run. Without fail and without any prompting at the end of every session, someone expressed gratitude for the time to pause together.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Well-being at work can be the gift that keeps on giving all year long. Better than the jelly of the month club, it shows your team that you really care, and it costs you nothing but time and attention. As a bonus, it’s a gift that gives back to you! As you navigate the busy holiday season, take some time for well-being for yourself and consider giving the gift of well-being to your team.
Chenoweth, D. (2011). Promoting Employee Well-Being: Wellness Strategies to Improve Health, Performance and the Bottom Line. https://www.shrm.org/foundation/ourwork/initiatives/the-aging-workforce/Documents/Promoting%20Employee%20Well-Being.pdf
Hopper, E. (2021). What is the best way to deliver a thank-you? Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_is_the_best_way_to_deliver_a_thank_you?utm_source=pocket&&utm_medium=email&&utm_campaign=pockethits
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