What does the term “self-care at work” conjure for you? Is it snatched moments fitted in and around your busy schedule, accompanied by a feeling of guilt over time taken away from the grind?
Perhaps self-care is something you aspire to include more of in your schedule, or simply something that would be a “nice to have”, as you marvel at others who appear to be running a successful business, exercise regularly, run a home, and maybe a family…and still have time to devote to themselves and their wellbeing.
For many, self-care belongs in that mythical “spare time” that occurs after the daily work is done, along with household and family chores, and everything else that cannot legitimately be described as “work”.
But here is where the world is changing.
With more emphasis on health and wellbeing, and “filling our own cup, before we fill others”, there is a definite move towards integrating self-care into our working day and creating a strategy around that, than leaving “me-time” until after work is done.
Not only is it easier to commit to self-care when it is part of your overall business practice, but regular pauses during your working day will improve your productivity, your focus, and your stamina.
As more and more of us suffer from burnout, surely we owe it to ourselves, our organisations, and our employees to implement self-care at work, but more than that, to include it in our business strategy?
So, here are some suggestions of ways to improve your self-care at work, and for leaders and managers to create that all-important strategy.
Top Tips for Self-Care At Work
Review your habits Creating a company-wide strategy, aimed at encouraging good wellness habits is the first step in introducing or improving a culture of self-care. This may also work to your advantage by providing an incentive for you to “lead from the top” in demonstrating your own self-care at work.
This could involve any number of suggestions (why not ask employees for their own idea of what self-care activities they currently undertake or would like to see encouraged?) But here are some ideas for starters:
Encourage people to log off and shut down. You want your staff to know that they are expected to maintain a good balance between work and life outside.
Discourage eating lunch at their desk. Have you got a staff room, or could you create one? Consider ways that you could encourage staff to leave their desk to provide a mental respite in their day.
Encourage walking meetings. Getting out and about has been proven to not only improve mental and physical wellbeing but can allow our subconscious brain full rein to go into creative mode and provide creative solutions to work challenges.
Walk the Talk. (Quite literally!). Set a good example to your team by creating and following your own self-care rules. Your behaviour has a significant impact on your team, and it will be difficult to implement a clear strategy of self-care at work if you are not seen to be leading from the front.
Improve workspaces. When was the last time you reviewed staff workspaces for practicality, posture, and comfort? Within many organisations, this is a one-off practice, but times and needs change, so invite employees to feed back what works for them and what doesn’t. Standing desks have become increasingly popular and may provide a worthwhile investment for your organisation.
Ask for feedback. Adopting a clear communication strategy and a collaborative approach to implementing self-care at work can help to ensure “buy-in” from your team. Discuss the level of stress in your workplace, when it is most prevalent, and brainstorm ideas on how to minimise it. Could collaborative working help? Might, for example, regular mentoring or coaching be a solution? Develop the solution together with your team and ensure regular reviews are diarised.
Build pauses into the working day. Often diaries are filled to the max with meetings and tasks, allowing little breathing space in between. How could you change your organisation’s approach to ensure that everyone retains their optimal productivity, whilst not feeling they are upon a hamster wheel of one meeting after another? How about swapping, standard one-hour meetings for fifty-minute ones instead?
Learn to say NO! Setting professional boundaries around time can ensure you don’t default to a “yes” when you really mean the opposite. Learning how to gracefully refuse anything which doesn’t serve your purpose can take some practice, but creating some stock emails or verbal responses can help.
Create wellness reviews. Encourage employees to monitor their own well-being and to report any concerns to their line manager.
“Self-care isn’t selfish (it is a gift to all concerned) You can’t serve from an empty vessel”Eleanor Brown
Evaluate the results of your self-care at work.
One of the easiest ways to monitor the results of your self-care at work is to use a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). Below is a template evaluation that you may choose to follow:
Self-care at Work – Conclusion.
Reviewing and improving your self-care strategy is not just good for your health and that of your team, but can lead to better staff retention levels and improved performance and productivity. It doesn’t matter the size of your business, from an individual worker to a large organisation, we all deserve to be and give our best, so why not consider how you could integrate a self-care strategy into your business culture?
If you would like to implement a strategy of improved self-care at work, no matter if you are a sole trader or a larger organisation, I can help. I have supported many SMEs and organisations in navigating improvement in their processes through the creation of effective strategies
Why not click the link and book a no-obligation call today? I can advise on the best strategy for you and your organisation, and how to implement it to ensure full team opt-in and support you to improve the performance and productivity of you and your team. Follow the link and book a call with me today.