As supervisors, managers, directors, CEOs and others in leadership roles, we are in a unique position to influence the well-being of our employees. The way we balance our duties at work with our duty to care for ourselves is being observed by those around us. Unfortunately, most of us have not been given the blueprint on how to execute a healthy balance. In fact, a lot of us have seen the opposite modeled for us.
It is not uncommon for employees to worry that those in charge will view their self-care pursuits as a lack of dedication to their responsibilities. If we are the ones in top leaderships roles, we often offer benefits without using them ourselves. We work for 45-50 years or more and do so to the best of our abilities without accessing tools and developing the skills we need to be healthy and fulfilled. We struggle to take all of our vacation days, work well past our contracted hours, miss out on much needed sleep, experience a great deal of stress and then expect our employees to engage in the Wellness Wednesday activities that we are too busy to attend ourselves. And then there are those of us who have somehow figured out how to balance work, family and self-care and are doing so privately. Or even worse, we offer subpar benefits that we would not even think of utilizing ourselves.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 12 billion working days are lost every year to depression and anxiety at a cost of $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. If we want to truly get our employees engaged in wellness activities, we need to make some changes from the top down and model how to focus on our well-being so it can spread to those around us.
SOME WAYS TO MODEL WELL-BEING AS A LEADER:
- Show up and participate in scheduled wellness activities. It may sound cliché but we need to be the change want to see in our employees. Attend the events, workshops, yoga and meditation classes, etc. Encourage your employees to show up. Give them the green light to be there by showing up yourself. And maybe even throw in an incentive or two.
- Be more open and honest about HOW you are doing. “I’m good, how are you?” is the automatic response to “Hi, how are you?” but what if you were more genuine? How might that shift the conversation. How might it normalize not being ok? How might it help you to implement preventative care strategies with a high ROI?
- Share WHAT you are doing to care for yourself. When you take time off to prioritize your mental health, you give your employees permission to do the same. When you go to therapy you help to destigmatize mental health treatment for your employees. And so on…
It is no longer enough to simply provide services for our employees. It is our responsibility to show them how to use them, how to prioritize their well-being and invite them to join us on this journey of self-care. Remember, well-being is contagious! And it is also great for business.
To learn more about how to improve your employee well-being and company culture please contact Chamin at 917.476.9381 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.