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Try and look at your company culture objectively. If most people consistently work a 70 hour week, despite being on a 40 hour contract, any new people will observe and slip into the cultural norm. Whilst this might give you short term gains, staff will quickly develop burnout, feel exploited, work out their hourly rate, and worst of all, not make productive use of the time they are working, instead using the time to bemoan their plight to other co-workers and spread feelings of resentment towards the organisation. If the managers and sending and expecting replies to emails at 11pm and 5am, staff will feel that their personal time is being invaded. If managers are dictatorial and dogmatic rather than collaborative, or take credit for the achievements of their staff and blame them for their mistakes, any colleagues promoted to those positions will behave in that way because that is what they have experienced from their managers.
To change the social norms, encourage managers to listen to staff and work as a team to provide solutions to problems rather than imposing new process. If people feel that they have been part of the solution, they are much more engaed in trying to make it work. Encourage staff to take breaks, work effectively rather than long hours, and reward achievement. Encourage a collaborative approach and an open environment where problems can be discussed openly without fear of retribution. Put in place a structure wellbeing programme to promote good physical and mental health and encourage people to work together to maintain their health in a mutually supportive environment.
Whilst success is seen as reaching the top of the management structure, earning most money, reaping most benefits and stamping on others to get where you want to be, a dog eat dog culture will prevail. Encourage initiative which promote a kinder, more supportive workplace and strive for happiness. Allow people to be who they are, provided it doesn't negatively impact others, encourage volunteering and helping others, both at work and as part of a society, and promote healthy living - both physically and mentally. Redfine success as living authentically, purposefully and healthily and promote the goal of creating a better environment in the workplace.
If people exist only as individuals they eventually feel isolated and in competition with their colleagues. Teams need to know each other and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses in order to be able to function effectively. Difference should be embraced. Although most research shows that our natural instincts are to surround ourselves with like-linded personalities with a common ethos, team building models all recognise that in order for projects to succeed, a variety of skillsets and approaches are necessary. A team full of 'completer finishers' will never make any changes or get anything implemented, whereas a room full of plants will conflict and not see projects through to the end. Encourage teamwork and help people to recognise where they fit and how they contribute.
If new staff are just given a workspace and a job specification and left to achieve their goals independently, they will bring the culture from their old workplace, which is always a bit of a gamble. People recreate what they already know as it is the path of least resistance, but if this doesn't match with your culture or where you want to be, there will be conflict. So don't leave it to chance. When new people join you, assign a buddy who already demonstrates the culture you are aiming for. Ensure they introduce the new person to all of the specialists, that they know where to go for help and that it's OK to ask for help, and most importantly, ensure that it's more important to be kind, collaborative and supportive than to shine by being selfish, isolated and concerned only with the success of their department. Introduce the idea of shared goals, company-wide success and humanity.
If we do not actively create the culture we want, another culture will develop on its own, which could be terminally damaging to the reputation and sustainability of your organisation.
It's official - workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense!
A recent study by the World Economic Forum, resulting in their Global Agenda on Mental Health 2014-2016, concludes that a mental health issue is not a lack of morality or of weakness, and outlines how organisations benefit both financially and in terms of economic engagement and motivation when practical steps are taken to support staff through difficulties and proactive measures are implemented to improve staff mental health awareness.
For many years, employers have acknowledged the benefits of promoting good physical health to their workforce, but increasingly, mental health is starting to appear on the agenda. It's easy to see the effect on work colleagues when someone comes into the office in a bad mood, but it's perhaps less obvious when a colleague is experiencing a slow and gradual decline into a state of depression.
However, the effects are real - not only on the individual concerned, but also on their colleagues; in terms of feelings of impotence (not knowing how to help), of guilt (not being able to help), of anger (if their workload increases because of someone else's lack of productivity or their absence) and in terms of general distraction. To address these issues, not only benefits not only benefits the affected individual and their line manager, but also all of their colleagues, and potentially, the profitability of the business.
For the small investment of only £50 per counselling session, an employer could avoid weeks of paid absence.
For a one-off fee of £450, a group of staff could learn about the most common mental health problems, how to identify if they are a colleague might be suffering from one of them, and most importantly, action they can take to reduce the effects of and manage such conditions or how to help a colleague in distress.
Read the full report at: http://b.3cdn.net/joinmq/7eb7e59295b1ecd263_rgm6iy3yj.pdf
Stress is a natural human condition that exists to aid survival and allow us to grow and develop. A certain amount of stress aids resilience and the ability to cope with stress. However, it is important to understand what is the right amount of stress for an individual and when the stretch which develops them starts to become a strain, transforming the postitive effects of stress into a negative impact. This is when stress starts to become a problem.
Just a physically, we need to stretch, grow and develop at our own pace in a supported way, just reaching the limits of our comfort zone and pushing ourselves to exceed them gradually, if these limits are pushed too much or too quickly, strain can ocurr. Likewise, external factors can have an impact on our ability to cope with stress, so just as you may tone down physical exercise when you have a cold, if addtional stresses are building up to create a larger volume of stress or for a prolonged period, this may start to result in poor mental health.
These are many and varied. Some situations which one person may find motivating, others may find stressful. For example, hosting a party or leading a group discussion. Much of today's stress is brought about from the increased pressures of the modern working environment, but other aspects of modern life are also more stressful than in years gone by. Money worries, relationship breakdown or family disharmony, sense of self and worth, health issues and bereavement are all quoted as the main causes of stress but workplace stress is very high on the list. Stress can lead to other mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Stress, depression and anxiety current account for nearly half of all health related absence from work, so it is important that mental health is given the same consideration as physical health issues. Poor mental health leads to poor physical health and vice versa.
Just as each person is individual, the way in which stress manifests itsself in each of us can vary. Symptoms an be physical, behavioural, cognitive and emotional. Some of them include:
As well as trying to identify and reduce the specific causes of your personal stress, it is important to practice self-care to maintain good mental health and build your resilience to short bursts of stress. CCC advocates CLANGERS!
It is also important to understand and address your approach to change as a positive attitude to change can dramatically reduce your stress levels.
Relaxation techniques are also a good way to combat the signs of stress and ensure that periods of stress are interspersed with periods of lower adrenaline levels to keep your hormones at a healthy balance.
Meditation, breathing exercises, CBT techniques, yoga and guided meditation are all helpful tools to manage stress on an ongoing basis and there is a wealth of information online to support your personal management of stress. Try as many as possible to find the techniques that suit you best.
If you find that you personally are not managing your stress levels successfully and stress is starting to have a lasting impact on your ability to function in everyday life and relationships, you should seek counselling support. Simply call your nearest reception to arrange an appointment.