Emotional Wellbeing

How to Deal with Burnout: A Guide for Team Leaders

September 25, 2022
The Wellness Tribe

Many employees feel the shift to remote work has been a welcome change from the in-office routine despite the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. In contrast, for others, the disadvantages of remote work became apparent as weeks turned into months and months into a year.

If you have access to the internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and don't need to commute, separating work and personal life can be challenging. Late night work and weekend work become more common. Our survey found that 77% of employees have experienced burnout. If staffing levels are cut, workloads increase and burnout quickly become a reality.

The good news is that it is preventable. Employee engagement through an employee wellness program is one important component. Employees that are engaged are happier and more productive. Greater resiliency benefits the organisation as well. However, effective tools and consistent efforts are required to keep staff engaged, reduce burnout, and guarantee that everyone is working toward the same goals.

Here are six strategies to help employees avoid burnout, increase employee engagement, and build resiliency.

Facilitate Better Communication

Facilitate Better Communication
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It is necessary to communicate with your employees to understand their perspectives, difficulties, and perceptions of the organisation and management. Assessments should not be restricted to once a year. More frequency and consistency are crucial in mixed work environments, where employees may feel like they are working in a vacuum. Employees should be able to communicate through all channels available to avoid mental health issues that may arise from isolation.

Small chat groups and meet-ups like virtual lunchrooms and happy hours, as well as one-on-one meetings centred on progress and goals, are all examples of communication touchstones. You can create connections through them, unwind, reduce loneliness, and spot other people who are struggling. But, again, this could help you intervene before things get worse.

"Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence." - Sheryl Sandberg

Allow Employees to Take Time Off.

In many organisations, downtime must be considered to meet demand. Although the redistribution of work may be complex, downtime cannot be ignored. Provide employees with the option of taking breaks, personal days, or vacations when necessary.

Your company's typical working hours should be clearly communicated to employees. In addition, they should be encouraged to turn off their phones and laptops when they are not working. Recognising that they have the right to separate work and personal life will encourage employees to do so. In order to motivate employees to do these things, you might want to introduce some employee wellness initiatives. 

Even short breaks throughout the day can help improve their mood and productivity. Make it clear to your team members that they should not check their emails while on vacation. Find someone to cover their position if it is essential. Upon their return, they will be well-rested and ready to work.

Make Collaboration Easier by Investing in Tools.

Make Collaboration Easier by Investing in Tools.
Photo by Akson on Unsplash

Retention requires high levels of engagement and communication. Employees don't quit their jobs because they're awful. They leave lousy managers behind them. Organisational goals are more likely to be achieved by employees who clearly understand their responsibilities and are supported in fulfilling them.

Using employee engagement and performance management technology can help to boost productivity, knowledge sharing, and cooperation. Engagement will close the gap by providing coaching and feedback to both in-office and remote employees, connecting individual and team objectives to the organisation's strategic priorities.

Concentrate on the “Why”

Burnout is typically caused by a gap between a person's values and tasks. Although you are worried and exhausted, you continue to work, forgetting the reasons you joined the company or job in the first place. There is a risk of harm from it. 

Creating a shared sense of why is a task for any leader must determine why we are motivated to complete the goal. As a leader, it is your responsibility to energise your team. Remember the purpose and why it is crucial for the business and your customers. People are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs if they share common beliefs and connections.

Commit to Mental Health and Empathy

There is increasing recognition that mental health is vital for individuals, groups, and society. Moreover, those their leaders support through empathy are more likely, to be honest and accurate. 

When companies build stronger relationships with their employees, employees report it improved mental and physical health by 23% and 17%, respectively. Companies that provide holistic support to their employees report an increase of 21% in high performers. Additionally, employees feel heard and validated, resulting in a more productive work environment and a happier mind body soul.

Prioritise Your Own Health.

Before you can help your team members manage their stress, you must work on your own. Consider how you can help your employees get what they need instead of hunkering down and focusing" on your task.  

The best start is by taking care of your physical and emotional health first; you need to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep at night, eat healthfully, exercise regularly, meditate, and find another person to vent to who isn't "your boss.". Taking care of oneself is more than a luxury; it is a necessity.

Workplace

Surviving (and Thriving) After a Bad Day in the Office

July 1, 2023
Nitesh Padghan

We've all experienced those days at work when everything seems to go wrong. The stress starts mounting, your workload appears insurmountable, and even the smallest workplace frictions feel amplified. 

During these challenging times, understanding how to navigate and transform these experiences can have a significant impact on your overall well-being and productivity. 

Drawing from years of expertise in corporate wellness, let's dive deeper into effective strategies that can turn your challenging workday around.

Understanding the Undercurrent

When you're caught in the whirlwind of a bad workday, it's essential to understand your emotional state. Emotional self-awareness—the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions—is a critical aspect of emotional intelligence. It allows you to pinpoint the stress triggers, thereby enabling you to navigate them more effectively.

During such challenging times, find a quiet, private space. Close your eyes and focus on your feelings without attempting to alter or judge them. Identify your emotional state and label it—this could range from feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or frustrated. Acknowledge the events or interactions that have led to these emotions. This process not only allows you to dissociate from immediate emotional distress but also helps in developing a comprehensive coping strategy.

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it." - Maya Angelou

The Power of Mindful Breaks

In the face of mounting stress, one might feel compelled to plow through the work without any breaks. However, this approach often leads to mental fatigue and diminished productivity. Short, regular breaks offer an opportunity for your mind to reset, reduce stress, and enhance mental agility.

Consider adopting the Pomodoro Technique—a time management method that encourages you to work in focused time blocks, typically 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. During these breaks, engage in mindfulness activities such as meditation or deep-breathing exercises. 

Mindfulness helps ground you in the present moment, offering a respite from the anxieties tied to your work. Even simply enjoying a peaceful moment staring out the window or savoring your coffee can provide a calming effect.

Regain Control with the Eisenhower Box

When stress is peaking, it often stems from a feeling of losing control over your tasks. The Eisenhower Box—a productivity tool named after the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower—can help you regain this control. This method allows you to categorize your tasks into four quadrants: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important.

By visually organizing your tasks, you can identify what needs your immediate attention, what can be scheduled for later, what can be delegated, and what can be eliminated. This approach not only helps in efficient time management but also provides a sense of control and accomplishment as you navigate your way through the workday.

The Power of Communication and Collaboration

In the chaotic throes of a demanding workday, it's crucial not to overlook the value of communication and collaboration. Strong communication fosters a supportive environment that can significantly lighten your emotional load and lead to more effective problem-solving.

Start by openly discussing your current challenges with your colleagues or superiors. Express your thoughts and feelings in a constructive manner, ensuring to focus on the situation, not the individuals involved. For instance, instead of saying "I can't meet this deadline because of all the other work I have," try expressing it as, "I'm concerned about juggling the current project with the upcoming deadline. Do you have any suggestions, or could we possibly redistribute some tasks?"

Remember, your colleagues might be unaware of your workload or the challenges you're facing. By communicating your situation, you not only relieve some of your stress but also open up opportunities for others to provide assistance or offer solutions. It can also stimulate a collective discussion about workload distribution, eventually leading to a more balanced and manageable workflow.

The Role of Self-Care in Workplace Wellness

While professional strategies are critical in managing a tough workday, don't underestimate the importance of personal self-care practices in maintaining overall workplace wellness. Engaging in self-care activities is not indulgent; rather, it's a vital part of preserving your mental and physical health, particularly during challenging times.

Consider the various forms of self-care and how they could be integrated into your routine. This could involve physical activities, such as going for a walk, doing yoga, or hitting the gym. Physical exercise triggers the release of endorphins—often referred to as 'feel-good hormones'—which can help to alleviate stress and improve mood.

Nutrition and Mindfulness

Nutrition also plays an essential role in managing stress. Consuming a balanced diet fuels your body with the necessary nutrients it needs to cope with stress. Therefore, even during a hectic workday, make time to prepare and consume nutritious meals. Hydration is also important, as even mild dehydration can lead to feelings of fatigue and decreased cognitive functioning.

Mindfulness and relaxation activities can also significantly contribute to stress management. This might involve practices such as meditation, deep-breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation. These activities promote a sense of calm, improve focus, and help in detaching from immediate stressors.

Lastly, make sure to prioritize rest and sleep. Lack of sleep can amplify feelings of stress and reduce your ability to cope with challenges. Ensure you're getting sufficient sleep each night to allow your body and mind to recover from the day's stresses.

Closing Thoughts

While bad days at work are inevitable, they don't have to dictate your overall work experience. By harnessing emotional self-awareness, taking mindful breaks, employing effective time management strategies, fostering open communication, and prioritizing self-care, you can transform a bad day into an opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Corporate

Reshaping Corporate Norms: How to Craft a Blameless Culture

June 1, 2023
Mohit Sahni

Our collective journey in life is replete with the occasional slip-up. We've all been there, forgetting the pot on the stove, leaving the hair straightener on in a rush, or recalling a friend's dinner invitation only when lunching the next day.

Do we criticize ourselves for these lapses? Highly unlikely.

Throughout the corporate world, errors and missteps are inevitable. As the founder of a company that focuses on corporate wellness, I want to emphasize that the way we react to these mistakes determines the course of our team's culture. Casting blame and criticism only breeds fear and distrust. Our aim is to cultivate an environment where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities, revealing valuable insights into potential flaws in our systems, procedures, and processes. We affectionately term this the "no-blame work culture."

Why is this critical, you may ask? As you climb the ladder in your career, managing larger teams and influencing the entire organization's culture, this mindset becomes indispensable.

The Quest for a No-Blame Culture

In our research, we endeavored to explore the methods leaders employ to create blameless cultures within their teams. We focused on companies we have worked with throughout India and are vocal advocates of no-blame cultures, examining their core principles, mission statements, public statements, and leadership strategies. 

In total, we connected with twenty-six first-time managers and fourteen HR professionals over half a year, gleaning insights into the mechanics of constructing a no-blame culture, with topics ranging from fostering accountability sans blame to promoting transparency and encouraging growth from mistakes.

Our findings were enlightening. A blameless culture's foundation rests on communication and transparency. As a leader, establishing clear expectations, addressing mistakes candidly, and admitting personal errors are critical to fostering a blameless culture.

Creating a Haven for Learning and Growth

It may come as a surprise, but a significant number of managers try to obscure their mistakes – about 88% of the ones we interviewed confessed to doing so. More importantly, prioritizing "blame avoidance" over learning and growth was observed to drastically dampen the team's motivation and productivity.

To counteract this, we propose adopting a clear "no-blame" policy. Make your team feel safe by acknowledging the inevitability of mistakes in group and one-on-one meetings. During these discussions, encourage team members to share their experiences, their recovery measures, and the lessons they drew from their errors.

"We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success." – Arianna Huffington

Creating a Culture of Transparency

A blameless culture thrives on openness and fairness. To make this possible, it's essential for organizations to implement transparent systems for documenting mistakes and the actions taken in response. A well-documented protocol for handling different types of errors ensures fairness and consistency across the organization.

In a blameless culture, transparency isn't just about documenting mistakes—it also means celebrating the efforts made to rectify them. For example, recognition programs can be set up to celebrate employees who successfully turn around a mistake or make significant strides in preventing future incidents. This not only motivates employees to take ownership of their actions but also empowers them to take risks, knowing that their efforts will be appreciated and rewarded.

Moreover, transparency helps cultivate trust, as it demonstrates the company's commitment to fairness and its dedication to learning from mistakes. When employees see their leaders admitting their errors, it fosters a sense of trust and mutual respect. This is a cornerstone of a blameless culture, as it helps reduce the fear of being singled out and encourages more open dialogue about errors and learning opportunities.

Rewarding Lessons Learned

A culture of knowledge-sharing results in fewer mishaps and enhances team collaboration. Encourage such a culture by rewarding employees who share their learnings from mistakes. You could create a "failure wall" where employees share their experiences or kick-start team check-ins with a discussion of a "lesson of the week."

By creating a workplace where setbacks are treated as stepping stones, you foster a culture of innovation, drive progress, and help employees learn from mistakes without fear of repercussions. This type of culture ensures that mishaps are quickly identified, analyzed, and turned into learning opportunities, setting the team on a path to resilience and prosperity.

Teaching a Proactive Attitude

An essential aspect of building a blameless culture is fostering a proactive attitude among team members. This attitude encourages employees to anticipate potential problems and take steps to mitigate them before they occur.

One way to nurture this attitude is by providing regular training and development programs that equip employees with the knowledge and skills to identify potential issues. For instance, our company, The Wellness Tribe, offers sessions that focus on critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making, enabling your team to foresee potential hurdles and address them effectively.

Another strategy is to create a platform where employees can share their insights and suggestions for improving processes and systems. This not only helps identify potential improvements but also boosts employees' confidence, giving them a sense of ownership and involvement in the company's progress.

Closing Thoughts

A proactive culture goes hand in hand with a no-blame culture, as it encourages employees to take calculated risks, learn from mistakes, and continuously improve. By promoting a proactive attitude, companies can make their teams more resilient and adaptable, making them better equipped to face future challenges.

In essence, as we strive to cultivate this no-blame culture, we at The Wellness Tribe are committed to ensuring that you and your employees not only feel safe to make mistakes but also learn, grow, and thrive from them.

And that, we believe, is the true essence of corporate wellness.

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This month we are focusing on food and how it affects your mental health. Join us as we bring in the most relevant interesting content from across the wellness segment.

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