What employees want! The Wellness Generation.

This is a changing world and the world of work is no longer what it was even 18 months ago. COVID has highlighted underlying concerns and sped up the process of employment changes and our relationship between work and play.

“Now more than ever, people are evaluating their lives and how and where they invest their energy – and they want an employer that supports the lifestyle they aspire to.”*

Having met and discussed this viewpoint with employers across a range of industries the responses are not always favourable! I’ve often received quite controversial answers from the older generations trying to understand the mindset of their younger colleagues! But regardless of whether you agree with Gen Y and Z or not, it is an opinion that’s not going away.

The global pandemic has greatly exacerbated this opinion and there are a staggering number of reports indicating that mental health concerns in particular have leapt up across the working population:

“This need to improve wellbeing has never mattered more. Worldwide, employees’ daily stress climbed to 43% in 2020. The findings in this report indicate that we are in the middle of a global mental health crisis that will only intensify without broadscale intervention.”*

It’s also not a case of simply providing a ‘token gesture’ to employees and hoping that’s enough! It often requires a cultural shift and this needs to come from the senior leadership team. For some organisations this will take a monumental effort and a period of time to adapt and adjust but for the majority of modern organisations it will be constantly improving, tweaking and reviewing what is already in place.

“Today, workplaces that want to compete for talent know they can’t depend on the status quo: Employees now expect a real commitment to supporting thriving lives from leaders. That is, it’s imperative for leaders to not only care for but also actually improve their employees’ wellbeing.”*
If you feel your organisation needs some help with bringing their offering in line with the changing workforce, we are here to help! Talk to me about our Wellbeing Audits to help you embed health and wellbeing in your culture.
*source: Gallup, August 2021

It can be lonely at the top. Combatting C-suite loneliness.

My Clients come from a real mix of businesses and range from Grads to CEO’s and every management level in between. I always promote open conversation with them – the mental health of my Clients is just as important to me as their physical health. 

 I say this all the time, but my intention is for someone to walk out of their session with me feeling better than when they walked in. I’ve observed it’s often the most senior of my Clients, the people that are on the top of their game and have professionally reached the pinnacle of their careers, that struggle the most. 

Apart from with their immediate family they rarely have the opportunity to talk through personal concerns with other people. It can be lonely at the top. People always turn to you, but who do you turn to?*

Data compiled by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence revealed 53% of executives are struggling with mental health issues, compared to 45% in the wider workforce. The study also found it was the C-suite that were finding it most difficult to adapt to the virtual way of working (85%) caused by Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

Mental Health Awareness Week’s key focus this year is ‘Loneliness’. Purely from a professional perspective, it got me thinking about what this actually means to the senior people around me. 

It’s a big topic to cover but I’ve summarised some useful tips below that I hope you find useful: 

Surround yourself with positive people

This may seem like a slightly ‘left of field’ philosophy but when you are faced with negativity in your team and your peers constantly, this can make you feel very lonely.  Consider the type of leader you are and if it might actually be you causing the negativity – is it stemming from the top of the organisation? Are you controlling and micromanaging – not allowing your team to flourish by inspiring and trusting them.** If you aren’t sure, ask them for their honesty!

 Is it possible another member of staff is causing negativity amongst others? If you can get to the root cause of the negativity and create a workable strategy to combat this, you are very likely to find your loneliness improves as you are surrounded by positive, like minded people when you are at work. 

 Find a suitable peer group

Having a professional peer or support group around you that you can rely on, trust and respect the opinion of will certainly combat loneliness. It doesn’t have to be a group of people in the same industry as you or of a similar age, in fact the most inspiring groups to learn from are those that have a different perspective. 

Using the wonders of today’s technology, your peer group doesn’t have to be in the same geographical proximity to you either. But as per the first suggestion, ensure this group is a positive influence on you and you feel fully supported and listened to. 

 Create a new challenge

This can be in the workplace or personally, but coming up with a new goal for yourself, your team or your industry can be highly rewarding.  As part of a team you create comradery with others that isn’t just due to your position in the workplace. It could be anything from kicking off a company football team, to organising a fun away day where the whole team (including you) get to learn some new skills. It could also be something more long term where you can really build on your challenge and engage others. Creating a new challenge will give a wider purpose over and above ust the role you perform and involve others in a positive way.

 Surrounding yourself with positivity, interesting people you can learn from and find support in, and creating a worthy challenge you could involve and excite others in as well, will help to combat loneliness at the top. 

 *Please also see another of my recent blogs entitled ‘The oxygen mask principle. Helping yourself first.’

** Reference to Stephen M.R. Covey, Trust and Inspire.


The oxygen mask principle; Helping yourself first.

If you’re a leader of your business, I am sure you view it as a massive part of your job to ensure your staff reach their full potential and there is cohesion and collaboration between teams. And that your teams feel healthy, cared for and engaged. This promotes increased productivity and a happy workforce. Doesn’t it?

But what if you are trying to do this and it’s just not working? There are many factors that could be in play, but have you considered that if you aren’t happy and healthy, your staff won’t feel the same way either? I have many conversations with business leaders across many different industries and sizes of company and this principle always rings true. Lead by example;

You must help yourself before you are able to help others.

“Just as an airline asks you to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others, you cannot be effective in raising those around you if you don’t work on yourself first.”
Stephen M.R. Covey, Trust and Inspire.

I was reminded of this in the front seat pocket when I was on a flight last. I always wondered why this would be the case. If the mask did fall down I would instinctively try to attach it onto my children first. This would be a very short-term fix though. If I lost consciousness because I didn’t fix my own mask first, I would longer term be useless to them.

It is very similar when attributing this to health and wellbeing in the workplace. Company leaders are keen to help their staff (quite rightly) but as an Inspirational leader they should start with themselves. Promote being healthy by showing others the correct path. Go first and show them it is possible, then give them the tools to be able to follow you down the same positive path.

How do you do this though?

Here are a few ideas that you can adopt that will allow you to help yourself and promote this:

Honesty is the best policy:
Be open and honest with your team/family/friends/peers as to your intensions. If you externally express what you are doing then not only will you feel you are being held accountable, you will also have a starting point in which to demonstrate your progress. You will be very pleasantly surprised as to the positive encouragement this will bring.

Set a specific, measurable, timely goal:
As a leader, you will be very used to doing this with your team. It doesn’t have to be something outrageous like an ultra-marathon when you haven’t even been running before, or to become a fully qualified councillor when your degree is in accountancy. Just something that will challenge you enough and you believe is achievable over a set period of time. Add in milestones as well – in this way you will know you are improving. An example could be; committing to a yoga session each morning from 7am – 7:30am before starting your working day.

Efficiency is key:
‘I don’t have time though’ – the biggest excuse I hear on an almost daily basis! This is the most challenging part of turning your lifestyle around and getting into a sustainable, improved routine. Like a meeting that you would schedule in your diary and not miss, schedule it all in; Your fitness sessions, what you are going to have for your lunch (don’t skip it!!) and time to relax and reflect on your day. This all doesn’t have to take long – this whole list could take just 30 minutes. You can spare 30 minutes.

Helping yourself first will show others what is possible, then how to do it themselves, then to see your results, then to start to see their own results. Let’s see what this does to the company’s results!