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Well-Being at Work. Who is Responsible?

Feb 02, 2015

By Mary Sisson.

Should we all contribute to creating a culture of well-being at work… or is it down to the leaders in the organisation?

I read with interest the growing number of articles reminding us of the importance of work life balance and well-being. I am bombarded with health and fitness initiatives in order to be more productive and effective at work. We at Awbery are currently researching recovery strategies relating to management burnout and have a brand new programme designed to develop leaders to be ‘Fit to Lead’.

I absolutely agree with the fundamental point that we are the product of our personal discipline in terms of nutrition, sleep hygiene and exercise, balanced with time to clear our head and refresh ourselves mentally. The CIPD and McKinsey research confirms it is not getting any easier for people to juggle pressurised personal and working lives.

But, isn’t it everyone’s responsibility to take account of their own personal approach to all of this, and not always lay it at the door of employers to redress the balance for us? How many times do you hear members of your team say “I’m drowning… I’m continually working late… I’m not getting any time at home and my emails never stop.”

We are all grown-ups and own the answer! Let’s start by doing what Nancy Kline suggests and periodically taking time out of the ‘busy-ness’ to allow ourselves ‘time to think’.

Do you allow your emails to be in your life 24/7?

Is that your own choice?

We are all perfectly capable of making choices which will bring a healthy balance to our lives, and we all make choices every day which have either a positive or detrimental effect on our own wellbeing. We may not have choices around the volume of work we are required to deliver, but we have a choice in how we set ourselves up to be the best we can be and deliver results at our peak.

Rather than burning out.

Perhaps if everyone in a workplace took it upon themselves to change just one thing, like drinking the suggested amount of water daily, reducing caffeine and sugar, eating healthily or taking regular breaks from their work (perhaps walking at lunchtime?)… then the culture may start to grow and develop organically.

We haven’t the time for our leaders to set the bar. Perhaps if we all turn our phones and emails off at 6.00pm and back on again at 8.00am we will allow our mind the time to tune out and relax. We all used to have a traditional alarm clock, maybe that’s a starting point… leave your phone in your work bag, and not inches away from your head.

Leaders - you absolutely need to be ‘fit to lead’ and role modelling good practice is great, but maybe your starting point is to encourage everyone to take responsibility and contribute to a climate in the workplace that takes well-being seriously, leading to a positive, healthy and productive team spirit.

Ask yourselves, what can I do tomorrow as a leader or team member that will make a positive, sustainable difference to my own well-being at work?



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