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Why self-care matters in the workplace

Published by: LifeWorks,

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), self-care is “what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.” This includes nutrition, environmental factors, lifestyle, and hygiene. If you want to improve overall employee wellbeing, you need to bring self-care into your office.

As an HR professional, you can play an active role in improving your staff’s quality of life. Do this by educating employees on how to practice self-care both at home and in the workplace.

Here are some common issues that may be hurting employee wellbeing and a look at how self-care can help:

Stress

To put it simply, stress happens. Whether you’re at home with your family or working in the office, you’re going to experience some form of stress. However, stress can become an issue when it begins to feel uncontrollable.

We conducted a study with HR.com that found that 71 percent of HR professionals say their employees need help managing their stress levels.

One of the best ways to help employees with stress management is practicing mindfulness. While it seems to be just another trendy term, the activity of being mindful has numerous health benefits and is the most effective way to deal with stress.

Start educating employees on how to be fully present and aware. Not only does it prevent feeling overwhelmed, it also helps people manage their reactions to emotions and thoughts.

Hire certified educators to conduct mindfulness seminars, where they can lead your team in practices like progressive muscle relaxation and meditation. In fact, a June 2017 study found that meditation can even reverse DNA reactions that cause stress, which is why hosting office meditation breaks can be helpful.

Also, don’t forget the power of leading by example. You should practice mindfulness throughout your day as well, and encourage management to do the same.

When employees see others stay present and calm, especially during stress-inducing situations like hearing a client complaint or finding an inventory error, they’re more likely to stay grounded and manage stress in those moments. They’ll be more aware of their thoughts and emotions, and with awareness, they’re better equipped to let them go.

Hypertension and weight gain

One of the most common self-care goals is to lose weight and manage blood pressure. The latter is especially worrisome because high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is often called ‘the silent killer,’ due to the fact that symptoms aren’t easily detected.

To help employees manage this, start educating them on proper nutrition. Remind them they have control of their gut health and that by adopting healthy eating habits, they can lose weight and better manage their blood pressure.

Consider providing discounted services to encourage healthy meal planning. For example, Hello Fresh allows members to customize a weekly menu. Once they select recipes from the website, they receive fresh ingredients delivered to their door.

Other services, such as Cook Smarts, helps members plan their meals and educates them with cooking lessons, guides, and infographics.

To take it a step further, start an online forum where employees can share their meal plans and recipes with one another. This way, your employees start forming a community focused on eating more nutritious meals.

Lastly, in order to keep employees aware of their blood pressure, install blood pressure stations in the office. This way, they’re able to regularly track their progress.

Employee burnout

The second area employers think employees need the most help in is finding a work-life balance, according to our study. If they can’t manage their home and work life, they are at risk of burning out.

Some of the most successful companies know the importance of employee wellbeing, which is why they make work-life balance a priority. For example, Intuit offers ‘unstructured time.’ They encourage employees to spend up to 10 percent of their working hours to pursue an idea they’re passionate about. This benefit aligns with the company’s values, which celebrate passionate people and innovation.

Unsurprisingly, Intuit is one of the most well regarded companies on Glassdoor. They ranked in the Best Places to Work 2017 list, and their company page shows a 4.3 star rating, with 96 percent approval of their CEO, Brad Smith.

Adopt policies that help employees better manage their home and work life, such as flextime. If you offer telecommuting options, your staff can work from wherever they are most comfortable.

Most importantly, review your core values and update them to reflect your focus on employee wellbeing. To engage your employees in ongoing discussions and to encourage feedback, start a ‘work-life balance’ committee. This way, you can adjust policies to fit what employees prefer.

Self-care starts at the individual level, and you play an active role in each employee’s journey to better health. Provide them with the information and resources to make the right changes to their lifestyle, and build your policies around empowering them to take the best care of themselves.

Make your employees feel loved