As the Covid-19 crisis continues to unfold, most of us are starting to wonder what’s next. As we follow the progress of the virus on curves and graphs, we are readying ourselves for the next stage.
Before the crisis hit, a clear vision for the future provided a strong anchor for individuals, teams and leaders to navigate the way forward. Now, in a new normal which is defined by the uncertain and unpredictable, many people are left feeling disorientated and unclear about the future.
As businesses prepare for the great unlock, leaders are flexing to the latest developments whilst their own resilience is stretched like never before. At the same time, teams are readying themselves for the next wave of adjustments.
With so much yet to be discovered, the invitation is to find solid ground.
Time to reset?
We will soon be launching Reset, a new programme specifically designed to meet the challenges of life after lockdown. It includes the best practices, tools and techniques to support you and your colleagues as you navigate the way forward. Reset will be available in 2 formats:
Reset for All: Thriving through uncertainty
Reset for Leaders: Leading through uncertainty
Look back on this time with pride, knowing you’ve done your best job when things were at their most challenging.
To find out more, contact email@example.com
How do you create a wellbeing programme you’re proud of, and that actually gets the results you want?
It’s no secret that the costs to business of poor mental health have soared – £45 billion per year according to the latest research. But fixing the problem isn’t easy. There is no one-size fits all solution and buy-in from leadership teams and managers is essential.
Deloitte wanted to find some answers, and in January this year they published their latest report ‘Mental health and employers: refreshing the case for investment’. What they found deserves our attention.
Some wellbeing programmes are achieving a massive ROI of 11:1.
And what is it that makes the difference? Here are the 5 factors to pay attention to:
- Focus on the whole organisation to drive large‑scale culture change
- Support a large number of employees
- Take a proactive approach to mental health, focusing on prevention
- Develop the resilience of the organisation
- Take a data driven approach using technology and diagnostics to support those who are most at risk
So, forward-thinking organisations aren’t just tackling poor mental health, they are taking a proactive approach to developing resilience and optimising wellbeing.
Filling the resilience skills gap
With Mental Health First Aiders and Wellbeing Champions in place, many organisations are now looking to upskill their team so that they can deliver targeted interventions that support resilience.
To meet this need, the team at The Wellbeing Project developed Wraw.
Wraw is a scientifically validated psychometric tool that gives a robust measure of resilience and wellbeing at every level of an organisation. It is supported by a suite of resources, toolkits and masterclasses that ensure lasting change.
We are now working with organisations around the world to upskill their in-house teams of coaches and trainers to deliver Wraw. They develop the skill and confidence to deliver targeted resilience interventions where they are needed most, and the organisation experiences the impact of a wellbeing programme that delivers the results they’re looking for.
Become an accredited resilience coach and trainer with Wraw
On March 19th, Desiree Ashton, a leading expert in resilience and head of the Wraw Academy, will be hosting a short webinar on Wraw accreditation. If you’d like to find out more, or reserve a place, just follow the link: Wraw Webinar
How can employers create workplaces where millennials thrive? Our guest writer, Flora Meadmore, takes a look at the defining characteristics of this generation, cutting through the soundbites to find what really matters.
Millennials are now the largest demographic in the workplace, making up one third of workers. Not only has this created a change in consumer habits, but the workplace itself is now being considered in a very different way. The social setting and conditions within which a generation comes of age will naturally affect their future demands. They will demand something different from the previous, fashioning new trends and ideologies, which shifts the whole of society into a new domain. But those trends don’t end with the clothes we wear, and the products we eat. They cover the whole of society like an umbrella, and each demand trickles down into different cracks of social life, such as our interaction with one another, the family, the arts, politics and most topically, the workplace.
People’s perception of the world can be understood through the way in which they behave and what demands they have. Whilst there may be some unnecessary hype and over-excitement around millennials and how they are drastically changing modern society, it’s important not to dismiss them entirely on the basis that every generation brings about changes. The way society moves forward is by listening to new demands and changing structures to accommodate them.
Each demand and trend communicates what exactly it is that millennials are prioritizing, and therefore reveals what they consider meaningful. Naturally the digital has affected the way people view the world, from being constantly exposed to the (mediated) lives of others to being reminded about the state of politics and the environment 24/7.
Are they more socially conscious?
Millennials today make up a large portion of the spending power body. As a group of consumers, they are the fastest growing group of socially conscious thinkers, consuming a greater proportion of organic, biodegradable and sustainably sourced materials and food. Whilst it’s debatable how much people are actually invested in environmental issues, it seems to be the narrative of the newer generations.
Companies need to be aware of ‘greenwashing’ – where they pretend to be more environmentally friendly than they actually are – in order to build trust with their consumers. While it may work for some time, consumers are getting increasingly discerning when it comes to authenticity. Companies that cultivate transparency are much more likely to be trusted, invested in and purchased from in the future. Research has found that there’s a link between wellbeing and how people feel about the place they work. Lord Mark Price speaks about workplace happiness, its relation to employee wellbeing and how it affects performance. Based on his study at Engaging Works, people are reported to be happier when they feel proud to work for their company or find the work that they do meaningful.
Another emerging priority is flexibility in the workplace. Flexible work has historically been seen as a practice for carers or people with children. More recently however it appears people have begun taking notice of the benefits of flexi-work on wellbeing. With more people working from home, using flexi-hours and freelancing, work-life balance is of increasing importance in modern society.
As the rise of the Internet has raised awareness on the different opportunities and choices available to millennials, people no longer feel confined to one company and one job. The goal is no longer to reach long-term, full time employment and climb the ladder in the same company you started in. It seems the goal is now project-based, flexible work in order to spend more time fulfilling another passion.
What does this mean for employers?
Employees are increasingly seeking out companies that have the same concerns as them – whether that is for the environment, social justice or simply making work-life more flexible. The ‘meaning over money’ narrative has seeped into the professional world, shifting our understanding of work and the workplace as a whole.
These demands come hand in hand with wellbeing and employee happiness. As more importance is placed on mental health and employee wellbeing, companies need to find ways of introducing structures that foster this new way of thinking about work.
Flora is a freelance writer, holds an MA in Media and Communications from LSE and works in the entertainment industry in London. She’s interested in digital anthropology, photojournalism and memory.
In this month’s news, Sarah Thum-Bonnano, business psychologist and mindfulness expert at The Wellbeing Project, explores how the practice of mindfulness can help to reduce some of the harmful effects of digital technology and the ‘always on’ culture.
In just 10 years, technology has revolutionised our lives. It has brought huge benefits and transformed how we interact with one another. But it hasn’t come without a cost.
In the UK alone people check their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes of the waking day. This ‘always on’ culture, has broken the boundaries between work and home life, is disrupting sleep and is impacting our mental health.
To take back control, and stay in charge, it’s crucial that we better manage our relationship with technology. I propose a two-pronged approach:
- Practice mindfulness to build awareness of our behaviour patterns
- Learn practical strategies to break the habit
Build awareness through mindfulness
Mindfulness is an ancient mind-body awareness technique that can help us slow down, and notice our behaviour and the impact it has. Through regular practice, we can learn to be present, to observe and to participate in our life moment-by-moment.
As we build awareness, we can start to notice our daily habits and the impact they have. We are then in a much better position to make choices that support us and the people around us.
Practical strategies to break the ‘always on’ habit.
Once, you’ve decided to change the way you do things, it can be helpful to have a few strategies up your sleeve. Here are just 3 ways you can reduce your phone time:
- Commit to switching off your phone at least one hour before you go to bed.
- Buy an old-fashioned alarm clock. Leave the phone out of the bedroom.
- Take a tech break. Leave your phone at home and go for a walk.
Small changes can make a big difference. And they start with taking a moment to pay attention, and notice what’s happening.
To find out more about mindfulness and our other Flourish workshops, follow the link.
Both in the UK and globally, 2019 has seen wellbeing in the workplace continue to be recognised as both a strategic and human priority. And here at The Wellbeing Project we’ve been hard at work building awareness and driving change for our incredible clients and partners.
Here are just a few highlights.
Creating a world where everyone lives well at work
From its launch last year, Wraw has gone from strength to strength. Our network of accredited practitioners has spread across the UK. And we have worked with organisations around the world – from Canada to Singapore – to develop the resilience and wellbeing of their people.
To spread the word, we made a short video about Wraw. Watch it here.
The Madworld Summit aims to bring fresh thinking to mental health in the workplace. One of our business psychologists, Sarah Thum-Bonnano, was invited to feature in their TechTalks. She shared how Wraw is bringing a data-driven approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing.
Embedding best practice
This year, our friends at St. John’s Ambulance brought together industry-leaders for their Embedding Mental Health Best Practice conferences. I was delighted to be invited to moderate panel discussions and meet the delegates. I’ll be joining them again in February in Birmingham and I’d love to see you there. Find out more here.
For over 10 years, The Wellbeing Project has been working to support workplace wellbeing and resilience. This year, the Business Elite Awards recognised our work as were named the UK’s leading business resilience service. A big thank you to all our clients we’ve been lucky enough work with over the years.
Sharing big ideas
Over the course of the year, we’ve met people from pretty much every industry and sector who care about supporting the wellbeing of their people. In October we joined the PM Forum to talk about the Mindful Business Charter and how the professional and financial services sectors are promoting healthy high performance. We were inspired to hear how leading financial institutions are committing to workplace wellbeing.
New year, new ideas
Our aim is to always be at the cutting-edge of wellbeing and resilience development and there’s a huge amount in store for us in the new year. Here’s a taste of some exciting things to come:
- Wraw Spark, a digital wellbeing assessment and development platform
- A new coaching model to develop wellbeing and resilience
- Data-driven strategy and planning with Wraw
And to finish…
….I’d like to take this chance to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.
Money is often at the forefront of our minds, influencing our thoughts, moods and everyday decisions, yet we generally prefer to keep quiet about it. Our financial circumstances can be a huge source of personal stress, and are often so closely linked to our identity and sense of status that they can lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment if we think they are anything less than perfect. Clearly, money is a highly emotionally-charged subject, and this results in a reluctance to talk about it altogether.
With this in mind, it perhaps isn’t surprising that many workplace wellbeing initiatives fail to incorporate any element of financial wellbeing into their programmes. But this is an extremely important area to address, with countless statistics demonstrating the far-reaching impact it can have on both employee wellbeing and engagement.
How is engagement impacted?
Across different organisational levels, age groups and salaries, the specific roots of money worries may differ, but the resulting harmful effects are much the same.
Stress due to finances is distracting at best and all-consuming at times—consider serious worries about debt, for example. It is not surprising, therefore, that money concerns have been found to detract from employees’ performance. Financial worries also cause sleep problems and can even lead to mental illness, both of which further inhibit employees’ ability to work effectively. Individuals plagued by money stress are likely to struggle to concentrate, make effective decisions and work efficiently, and are more at risk of making mistakes.
Neyber’s report ‘The DNA of Financial Wellbeing’ revealed that almost half of employees feel that financial pressures are impacting their job performance. However, around half of organisations do not consider the financial wellbeing of their employees their responsibility. It seems clear, though, that paying attention to this aspect of staff wellbeing is beneficial at both the individual and organisational level.
Looking ahead, a new challenge for financial wellbeing and employee engagement is likely to arise too. A recent report by the Pensions Policy Institute suggests that up to 12 million individuals in the UK may currently be under-saving for retirement. Whilst many people express a desire to keep working during later life, those who are unwillingly forced to work due to lack of sufficient pension funds are likely to be unengaged and unmotivated—and this will be detrimental to productivity.
What can be done?
Financial wellbeing is not just about giving someone a pay rise or promotion. A large part of improving financial wellbeing is education—equipping people with the knowledge and understanding they need in order to feel confident and in control of their finances, whatever their situation. It is about providing people with the support they need to manage their money, and the opportunity to learn about how they could do this more effectively.
Another common misunderstanding about financial wellbeing training is that it involves telling people exactly what to do with their money. This is not the case either; it is more about raising awareness so that individuals understand what is best for them and can make their own, well-informed financial decisions. Many employees, for example, are simply not aware that making the minimum pension contributions alone is unlikely to provide them with the funds they would like for retirement.
Is financial wellbeing training worthwhile?
When employees feel less pressure from money worries and more in control of their finances, they are not only able to be more present and focused at work, but are also likely to be more motivated as they feel that their employer cares about their wellbeing.
An additional positive outcome of offering such training in the workplace is that it opens up a wider conversation around money and finances—a topic that currently is often treated as taboo. And the more freely people can talk about it, the less it plays on their minds and consumes their thoughts, making the whole subject altogether less intimidating.
Find out about how The Wellbeing Project can help to support your employees’ financial wellbeing here.