5 Tips from Elmarie Pretorius, International Speaker, Trainer, Author and Owner of The Mindspa Institute, a soft-skills training company.
“Stress is the trash of modern life – we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life” ~ Danzae Pace
With 2020 being a royal mess-up the overall stress levels of individuals across the globe has increased dramatically. Suicide has become a huge problem, and the negative impact it has on families, communities and businesses are very real. Mental health and how we as business owners create workplace wellness, is now more important than ever, especially in the workplace.
Why is workplace wellness so important?
Today employee wellness is not a nice to have anymore, it is essential to every business’s growth and success. A positive culture and investing in the wellness of your staff especially at work, assist with: staff morale; their productivity as well as their personal mental and physical health.
With the proper knowledge and skills training of workplace wellness, you as a business owner or business leader can promote and encourage your staff to make healthy lifestyle choices. This greatly benefits them as well as the company culture in which they work.
Why should employers invest in employee wellness?
The answer is simple. You will save your business unnecessary costs or losses because of absenteeism and stress. Another plus is also that of attracting and retaining new talent, and improving your staff’s overall productivity, hence growing your business successfully.
Maybe some of my wellness-ideas will help you. Let me tell you what I did as a business owner, to create and ensure the wellness of not only my own employees but also myself at my Soft Skills Training Company, The Mindspa Institute.
Tip 1 – I re-established a connection with my team
All of my employees, including myself, felt “detached” from each other during South Africa’s state of disaster. Suddenly we were all placed under lockdown and soon realised that we loved, and actually missed coming to the office to connect and bounce off ideas from one another. It also helped us “escape”, if you can call it that, from our home stresses. While in lockdown, each one of us at The Mindspa had a different scenario happening while working from home. Everyone had their own worries. After a while I felt I was losing grip on what was happening with my staff and my business. We called an online meeting and brainstormed how we can reconnect with one another again. A decision was made to make our online meetings a permanent fixture of our daily lives. It helped greatly to restore a sense of routine and focus.
Tip 2 – I emphasised the importance of having a healthy and balanced lifestyle
Healthy habits include enough family and me-time, time for sleep, relaxing, exercising, drinking enough water and eating a healthy diet. I must admit that this was very hard for me to do. Suddenly I woke up later, had irregular working hours and the fridge now became my comfort. We were not allowed to exercise and I myself, I admit, used this as an excuse sometimes. But I realised that as the leader of this team, I had to lead by example. I started getting myself into a routine again. I communicated to my team that I wanted them to try and remain in an office routine although they worked from home. This way they could finish their work and keep to office hours and still be able to have family time in the afternoons. We promoted healthy eating and exercise amongst each other and shared healthy recipes and home workout programmes on a regular basis.
Tip 3 – I concentrated on boosting my team’s mental health
Mental health is just as important as physical health, especially during this pandemic. There are a lot of added stresses, uncertainty and worries that came along with this Pandemic. People might feel isolated or under pressure with finances or balancing work and home. I made sure that my team attended our stress management courses that we also offered to our clients, so that they too could equip themselves with techniques on how to deal with stress. I talked to them about looking after their own mental health. I reassured them that I have an open door policy, and that they could talk to me about any issue on their mind. I felt like I was a support to them and vice versa.
Tip 4 – I lead my team through this time with EQ
EQ aka emotional intelligence, tells you when you need to take a step back and just relax for a while. I kept reminding myself that I am leading and dealing with a diverse group of individuals. People, just like me, each with their own problems and worries. Leading my team with empathy and emotional intelligence became my number one strategy. I kept reminding myself to be focused on being more mindful, more self-aware and self-regulated. Through this I tried to inspire my team to do the same.
Tip 5 – I made a point to celebrate my staff’s achievements and wins
When we all used to work from the office, we had a bell fastened to the office wall. Each time one of my sales consultants signed a deal or got a contract, they would run to the bell and ring it with pride. This motivated them as well as the entire team as we got to celebrate our “wins” together. It has been very difficult to do so in person for the past few months, but we found a way around it. We started celebrating via our WhatsApp group and engaged with one another as a team and praised each other for jobs well done. All the gifs and memes became something we would look forward to and I could see that my team appreciated the recognition. It motivated them to achieve even greater success.
Workplace wellness is a topic of great discussion and relevance, especially now. Considering the amount of time we spend working as well as the ‘new normal’ we suddenly had to adjust to, you as a business owner or employer need to take the wellness of your employees very serious and monitor it constantly. Although we at The Mindspa Institute have a specific course called Wake Up to Workplace Wellness, we are currently experiencing a very high demand of Emotional Wellness in the workplace.
Our Emotional Wellness has been placed at risk because we have all had to cope with increased stress. This 4 hour long powerful, inspiring workshop will help all of us to take a moment to re-evaluate ourselves and our situations, give us coping mechanisms and help us to take the first steps towards creating wellness even in these uncertain times.