20 Dec Three simple tips every manager must know to kick start a wellbeing programme in 2020
The statistics are clear: the number of people suffering from chronic stress and burnout has been increasing year on year.
In 2018, work-related stress, anxiety and depression accounted for more than half of all working days lost due to ill health. The largest known study of stress levels in the UK, based on 4,619 respondents, found that 74% felt so stressed they have been unable to cope, 51% reported feeling depressed, and 61% reported feeling anxious.
Burnout has been included in the eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Although not yet a medical diagnosis, it is now considered a syndrome that results from chronic work-related stress that has not been successfully managed.
With all this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the World Health Organisation has dubbed stress the health epidemic of the 21st century.
For all these reasons, wellbeing has become a hot topic in organisational life. With more and more studies showing positive links between wellbeing, productivity and performance, managers are increasingly interested in implementing wellbeing programmes to help reverse poor productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism – and also to boost morale.
So, are you considering the wellbeing of your team or organisation? Do you currently have a wellbeing action plan? And, if not, are you planning to develop it in 2020 to enhance the health, wellbeing and productivity of your team?
If you are, read on.
I have been consulting on organisational wellbeing for nearly 10 years and to date have worked with more than 100 organisations. I want to share three simple tips that will help you kick-start your wellbeing programme in 2020 and make it a success.
Here they are:
1) Don’t do it all on your own. Get a small team together – simply look for a couple of colleagues who are knowledgeable and passionate about the subject and are fired up about making a difference.
You may ask colleagues from HR, L&D or H&S who are traditionally well placed to start you off, but don’t worry if your organisation is relatively small and you don’t have any dedicated professionals. Ask around and invite people who are inspired and committed to make it happen. Who comes to mind right now?
Leadership is essential to the success of every project. The same goes for organisational wellbeing. Without a strong leader, this programme will get postponed and delayed … because it always looks like there are so many more important things to do!
The leader’s job is to put wellbeing on the agenda and make it stay there. You’ll need a team of true supporters and cheer-leaders to deliver the results you want and make a real difference for your team.
2) Developing a wellbeing action plan is a huge and often daunting task. It’s easy to roll out a few ad-hoc activities and brand it as ‘wellbeing’. It may even look like a job well done. I have seen quite a few wellbeing programmes run like this and, although it might be the very first step towards creating wellbeing at your workplace, this ad-hoc approach will never achieve the engagement and results you really want.
A wellbeing action plan has a clear vision; it is linked to your organisational objectives; it is based on an understanding of your team, it has a focused and time-defined plan of action and a couple measures of progress.
I always recommend focusing on a maximum of two priority areas at a time. Don’t try to do too many things at once. Choose quality over quantity. Take small steps but take them consistently.
3) Address stress. I have seen many wellbeing action plans that don’t address stress at all. Consider the data – work-related stress accounted for more than half of all working days lost due to ill health in 2018. If you want results, you will need to put stress at the heart of your wellbeing action plan.
Stress can lead to poor mental and physical health, increasing sickness absence, poor engagement, low productivity, conflict, poor customer service and poor innovation.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. When people understand how stress works, they can turn stress into success!
To really understand how stress works – in a way that is consistent with contemporary knowledge and neuroscience – we have to rethink our approach to stress. We need to refocus from trying to prevent stress by addressing external triggers and promoting stress management techniques.
To effectively address stress, we need to look in a completely different direction – we need to utilise the current research and learn what is happening ‘inside human mind’ when we face challenges. Even the smallest insight into this process proves to be a boost in wellbeing, resilience, creativity and resourcefulness.
If you are developing wellbeing plans and really want to make a difference – let’s talk. I am offering 30 minutes consultations in January 2020 so that you can kick start your wellbeing programme and achieve the results you want.
Image by Brooke Cagle
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