Occupational Wellbeing

The Ethics of Layoffs: The Impact of Email Notifications

March 29, 2023
The Wellness Tribe Team

Losing one's job is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. The impact of job loss is only compounded when the method of communication used is impersonal and insensitive. 

Recently, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) made headlines when CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to lay off 10,000 employees in a cost-cutting move. However, it wasn't just the number of layoffs that caught people's attention - it was the method used to notify affected employees. 

In a move that has been criticized as impersonal and dehumanizing, many employees learned of their job loss via email. This raises important questions about the ethics of layoffs and the responsibility of leaders to exhibit ethical behavior in the workplace. 

In this article, we will examine the impact of email notification on laid-off employees, the responsibility of leaders in handling layoffs, and alternative approaches to layoffs that prioritize compassion and transparency.

The Emotional Toll of Layoffs via Email

When it comes to layoffs, the way in which an employee is notified can have a significant impact on their emotional well-being. Learning that you've lost your job via email can be a particularly traumatic experience. 

It's a stark reminder that the company you have devoted your time and energy to sees you as nothing more than a number on a balance sheet. For many employees, receiving a layoff notice via email can trigger feelings of shock, anger, and betrayal.

Dehumanization in the Workplace

Employees who are laid off via email often feel dehumanized in addition to the emotional pain of losing their jobs. They may feel like mere objects or disposable commodities. The lack of personal interaction during the layoff process can exacerbate these feelings, leaving employees feeling isolated and alone during a time when they most need support.

To make matters worse, layoffs via email often provide very little information about the circumstances of the layoff, leaving employees with unanswered questions and uncertainty about their future. This lack of information can be particularly damaging to employees' mental health, as they are left to fill in the gaps themselves, often with worst-case scenarios.

The Human Element of Layoffs

It's clear that layoffs via email have a profound emotional impact on employees. As companies seek to become more efficient and cut costs, it's important that they don't forget the human element of the process. 

Companies should strive to communicate layoffs with compassion and transparency, providing support and resources to affected employees to help them through this difficult time.

The Responsibility of Leaders

Leaders have a responsibility to exhibit ethical behavior in the workplace, especially when it comes to handling layoffs. Ethical leadership is about treating employees with respect and dignity and making decisions that take into account the impact on all stakeholders. 

When leaders fail to communicate layoffs honestly, transparently, and humanely, it sends a message that employees are expendable and their contributions to the company are not valued. This can damage employee morale and create a toxic workplace culture. 

Leaders must take responsibility for the impact of layoffs on their employees and make decisions that prioritize the well-being of both affected and remaining employees. 

By exhibiting ethical leadership, leaders can foster a positive workplace culture that values employees as people, not just as cogs in a machine.

Alternative Approaches to Layoffs

Layoffs are often seen as a necessary evil in the business world. However, it's important to remember that there are alternative approaches that can mitigate the negative impact on employees and the company's culture. One such approach is to handle layoffs with compassion and transparency.

Voluntary Buyouts

Many companies have shown that taking a compassionate approach to layoffs can actually improve employee morale and retention in the long run. For example, instead of laying off employees without warning, some companies have opted to offer voluntary buyouts, giving employees more control over their own futures. 

Other companies have implemented "soft landings" programs, which provide laid-off employees with job search resources, training, and even financial support.

Involving Employees

Involving employees in the layoff process can also be beneficial. This can include giving employees advance notice of potential layoffs and providing opportunities for them to give input and feedback on the process. By involving employees in the process, companies can demonstrate that they value their contributions and care about their well-being, even during difficult times.

The potential long-term benefits of compassionate layoffs are significant. By treating employees with respect and dignity during the layoff process, companies can foster a positive workplace culture that values employees and promotes loyalty and commitment. This can lead to improved morale, higher productivity, and a more motivated workforce.

Moving Forward

Layoffs can have a profound impact on both employees and the company's culture. The way in which layoffs are handled can either exacerbate this impact or mitigate it. In this article, we have explored the emotional toll of layoffs via email, the responsibility of leaders to exhibit ethical behavior, and alternative approaches to layoffs that prioritize compassion and transparency.

In the end, ethical leadership and a commitment to employee well-being are essential for creating a workplace culture that values employees as people, not just as resources. By taking a compassionate approach to layoffs, companies can demonstrate that they truly care about their employees and prioritize their well-being, even during difficult times.

Productivity

The Surprising Power of Aiming a Little Lower at Work

September 1, 2023
Nitesh Padghan

In today's fast-paced corporate world, the spotlight often shines on one metric: productivity. We're often lauded for our capacity to churn out work, with the mythical 100% productivity level dangling in front of us like a golden carrot. 

But let's pause and rethink. What if, in this relentless quest for absolute perfection, we're missing the mark? What if the real secret to a productive and balanced work-life isn't in pushing ourselves to the absolute brink, but in aiming for a more sustainable 85%? 

This might sound counterintuitive in a world obsessed with maxing out potential, but diving deeper, we might just find that this 85% approach is the missing piece in our modern work puzzle.

The Trap of 100% Productivity

The allure of 100% productivity is strong. We're conditioned to believe that it’s the gold standard of efficiency. Yet, diving deep, we find it's more of a trap.

Employees pushing relentlessly for this elusive 100% often find themselves on the brink of exhaustion. Imagine running a marathon at sprint speed - unsustainable and unhealthy. The cost? Burnouts, decreased mental well-being, and ironically, a dip in true productivity.

Take Sarah, a graphic designer at a top-tier firm. Chasing perfection, she worked late nights, skipped meals, and even sacrificed weekends. But her relentless chase led to chronic fatigue and, eventually, a two-month medical leave.

The Sweet Spot

Enter the game-changing perspective of business author Greg McKeown. He suggests 85% as the sweet spot of productivity. It’s not about doing less but doing sustainably.

At 85%, employees can maintain consistency, quality, and enthusiasm without burning the candle at both ends. It encourages a culture where work is essential, but so is well-being. It’s about giving your best, most days, without the overwhelming pressure of perfection.

The Science Behind 85%

When we talk about productivity, it's often cloaked in terms of output and deadlines. But there's a whole layer of science, both psychological and physiological, that underpins our capacity to work effectively. Let's dissect this.

The Physiology

Firstly, let's address the body. Steve Magness, an exercise physiologist, sheds light on the concept of "overtraining" in athletes. Just as athletes can't constantly push their bodies to the max without risking injury, employees can't constantly push their minds to the brink without detrimental effects. 

Our brains, like muscles, require periods of rest to recover and regenerate. When we consistently operate at 100%, we're essentially in a state of chronic "mental overtraining", which can lead to burnout, decreased cognitive function, and even mental health issues.

The Psychological Perspective

Now, on to the psychology of it. Aiming for 100% productivity can inadvertently set us up for a binary perspective: perfection or failure. This doesn't leave room for the gray areas of learning, growth, and innovation, which often happen when we're allowed to make mistakes and iterate. 

Psychologists have long championed the importance of a growth mindset, where challenges are seen as opportunities to learn rather than as threats. By setting a productivity goal of 85%, we mentally allow ourselves that buffer to experiment, fail, learn, and ultimately grow.

The Neuroscience Angle

Lastly, neuroscience offers another perspective. Our brain operates in cycles, with periods of high alertness followed by periods of rest. These are called ultradian rhythms. 

Typically, after 90 minutes of intensive work, our brain signals a need for a 20-minute break. Pushing beyond this natural cycle by aiming for constant 100% productivity can lead to diminishing returns in focus and output.

How to Implement the 85% Rule in Your Workplace

Incorporating the 85% rule into your workplace isn't just about changing a number on a performance sheet. It's about embracing a new philosophy of work, one that values sustainability, well-being, and holistic growth. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make this shift:

1. Begin with Awareness

Before diving into changes, initiate a dialogue. Host workshops or seminars that shed light on the science and philosophy behind the 85% rule. Employees are more likely to embrace a change when they understand its rationale and potential benefits.

2. Set Realistic, Compassionate Goals

Rethink target setting. While it's essential to maintain ambition, ensure that your goals are both challenging and achievable. Instead of pushing teams to their limits every single time, offer them a spectrum of targets that prioritize quality over sheer quantity.

3. Foster a Culture of Well-being

Move away from the "all work and no play" mindset. Introduce wellness programs that cater to both physical and mental health. This could range from meditation sessions, and ergonomic workshops, to even short breaks for relaxation. Remember, a well-rested employee is a more productive one.

4. Promote Open Communication

Create safe spaces for employees to voice their concerns, share their experiences, and offer feedback. Whether through regular check-ins, town hall meetings, or anonymous feedback systems, ensure that there's a two-way communication channel.

5. Rethink Assessment Metrics

Shift the focus from purely quantitative outputs to more qualitative ones. This might mean valuing creativity, innovation, teamwork, and problem-solving skills as much as, if not more than, sheer output.

In a world that often glorifies the hustle, the 85% rule offers a refreshing, sustainable, and, ironically, more productive alternative. Implementing it requires intention, effort, and a genuine commitment to the well-being of your team. But the rewards, both in terms of output and employee happiness, make it well worth the effort.

Conclusion

The quest for 100% productivity is a mirage. It promises an oasis but often leads to a desert of burnout and dissatisfaction. On the other hand, 85% is not just a number but a philosophy - one that champions sustainable effort, well-being, and a holistic approach to work.

Companies and employees alike stand to benefit immensely. It's high time we redefine success, not by the relentless grind but by the balanced, joyful, and sustainable journey. So, here's a challenge: Aim for 85% and watch both happiness and productivity soar.

Mindfullness

Mindfulness Matters: How to Stay Steady during Storms

October 28, 2022
The Wellness Tribe Team

During these times of wars, illnesses, crimes, economic turmoil, and all the bad things happening around the world, it can be hard to regulate our worry and stop dwelling on worst-case scenarios.

This is where mindfulness meditation may be most beneficial. What is mindfulness, what are its advantages, and how can we incorporate it into our everyday lives?

Mindfulness: What Does It Mean?

Mindfulness Matters: Holding Steady in the Storm
Photo by Kyson Dana on Unsplash

Mindfulness refers to focusing on the current moment without judgement. Our innate human capacity to be completely present without being overreactive or overwhelmed is known as mindfulness. When we practise mindfulness, we return our attention back to the present moment, enabling us to regulate our thoughts rather than the other way around.

Mindfulness is also the polar opposite of spending life on autopilot, which most do without even recognising. How can you know if you're in autopilot mode?

Do you find yourself ticking off task after task without taking a break? Do you often contemplate when doing something as simple as assisting your kid with homework? 

If you answered yes, it's time to embrace mindfulness. Pause for a minute. Take note of your child's giggles.

Find Your Peace in the Midst of the Turmoil and Enjoy Benefits Such As:

Mindfulness Matters: Holding Steady in the Storm
Photo by M Venter

Improved Emotional Stability

Studies, as well as our experts, suggest that attentive people manage stress better and avoid harmful coping mechanisms. They are aware of their own feelings as well as the emotions of others. Therefore, they approach events calmly and cope effectively with unexpected circumstances, ultimately leading a happy healthy life than those who don’t practice mindfulness.

According to research, those who practise mindfulness better manage anxiety caused by diseases, making it more relevant in our daily lives.

Better Professional Performance

Mindful meditation enables us to concentrate on one task at a time, reducing our tendency to get distracted. It also increases creativity by removing negative thoughts that stifle creative thinking.

Practising mindfulness helps us concentrate on the present and allows for better ideation, clear communication, and active listening —- all of which are valuable qualities to have a perfect work life balance.

Better Interpersonal Relationships

Mindfulness practice helps us create better ways of interacting with others. It teaches us to avoid emotional responses and approach every interaction with empathy and patience – something we could all use right now.

Overall, mindfulness is related to increased regard for people and their feelings, making it simpler for us to change our actions to better our relationships. This is especially true when it comes to having wellbeing at workplace as we start to deal with every situation mindfully. 

In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity." - Albert Einstein

Here’s How to Get Started With a Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness Matters: Holding Steady in the Storm
Photo by RF._.studio

Set Your Intention for the Day:

Mornings are ideal for this, but if you can't, choose a time that works best for you throughout the day. Simply take these few steps:

  • Sit up straight with your spine relaxed, not stiff.
  • Take three slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Consider your day's schedule and ask yourself what your purpose is.
  • Respond to the question and state your objective, which may include being kinder to yourself, eating well, getting certain tasks done, and so on.
  • Check-in with yourself throughout the day to make sure you're on track.

It is important to take frequent breaks while working since sitting continuously can be harmful to your health.

Pay Attention to the Sound:

When you are feeling nervous or upset, focusing your attention on the noises around you may be relaxing and centering practice. You just need to complete the following activities:

  • For a minute, sit comfortably with your eyes closed.
  • Focus on the sounds around you and identify them. For example, the clock ticking, the fan whirring, and the leaves rustling. 

After one minute, take some time to notice how relaxed and present you feel. Do this every day to enhance your general mental health.

Get Some Stretches In:

Need a quick boost when working from home? You may do the following as long as your chair has a back:

  • Put your left hand on your right knee.
  • Place your right arm on the chair's back.
  • Stretch gently.
  • Take note of the stretch; after 60 seconds, return your body to its original position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

Eat Mindfully:

Eat what you really want to eat, and don't rush through your lunch breaks. Take your time enjoying it. Be sure to pay attention to:

  • The different textures in your food
  • The time and effort put into putting it together
  • The explosion of flavours in your mouth

Dive Deep Inside Your Body:

It's easier than it seems. Close your eyes and:

  • Take note of any areas of your body where you experience tension; it might manifest as an ache or a tightness.
  • Bring your focus to a point in your body where you are not stressed.
  • Concentrate on the lack of tension as well as body sensations such as a steady pulse and a relaxed jaw.
  • Keep your attention on this for 10 seconds.
  • Consider that feeling extending throughout your body for another 10 seconds.
  • Return your focus to the initial source of tension in your body.
  • Focus on the difference if it feels different.
  • Repeat this practice many times, noting where and when the tension has eased so that the sensation might extend to the rest of your body.

Final Thoughts

You don't have to practise every single mindfulness method to feel better and more present. Experiment with various routines and strategies to see what works best for you and your schedule. After that, practise, practise, practise. We're going through a difficult period, but we'll emerge stronger.

Allow yourself to breathe, take a break, and be appreciative of the current moment in the meanwhile – it's the best any of us can do.

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