The new dimensions of workplace wellbeing – Workplace Insight

Posted: April 10, 2020 at 2:47 am


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A healthy, engaged and productive work environment starts with conversations about peoples needs. So whether you have always been on a co-located team or are a veteran of remote work, there are new circumstances and the old rulebook doesnt quite help. The change has been sudden, in a sustained moment of uncertainty, and has disrupted employee routines and support structures.

People who are used to working from home are not necessarily used to their homes being a coworking facility for the whole family. People who are used to living alone are not necessarily used to being alone all week, around the clock. Teams who are used to connecting virtually are not used to doing so while worrying about the future and their loved ones that they cannot reach.

Peoples ability to work well together as a team requires them being physically, cognitively and emotionally well. In our day-to-day routines, we have learned to fine-tune our surroundings, processes and habits to find our productive balance.

This has been thrown into disarray, and you can help people by having conversations about their needs and how to adjust their individual and teamwork practices to create a new balance.

New dimensions

To that end, here is a checklist based on the six dimensions of wellbeing that Steelcase WorkSpace Futures researchers identified for establishing a healthy, engaged and productive workplace. Whether you lead a team or are a member of a team, these are good topics of conversation to make sure everyone is thinking holistically about their wellbeing.

Vitality

As we know, staying healthy requires sleep, a balanced diet, exercise and an adequate, safe environment.

Being contained at home reduces our options. Ask people to think about the following:

Do you have a space at home where you can work comfortably, in terms of posture and noise levels? If its not ideal, are there small creative adjustments you could make to improve it?

Goals:

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has become synonymous with meditation, but its much more than that. Its about being attentive in the present moment, whether its listening closely to what someone is saying, or listening closely to your own bodys needs and your emotions. Practicing mindfulness helps us become more aware of what helps us feel better and can actually boost our moods and immune system.

Are you able to be present with what you are doing or who you are speaking to?

Goals:

Authenticity

Increasingly, people want to be able to be themselves at work and not hide behind a mask. However, for many, this new working arrangement might expose them more than they would like video conferencing can feel suddenly too intimate, as colleagues can see into our homes and relationships more than they can when we work in the office. People might feel like they are letting team members down if they have to take care of young children instead of being in the meeting or cant deliver the originally agreed-upon deadline. Consider discussing:

How do I feel about having virtual meetings from my home?

How is my work schedule disrupted, and how does it need to be adjusted to fit this new reality?

Goals:

Belonging

Feeling connected to and cared for by other people is a fundamental human need. Social distancing and isolation over time will impact wellbeing, and for many will eliminate the daily informal interactions that they were used to.

What are the interactions you used to look forward to and are now missing?

Goals:

Meaning

One of the most important elements to feel well on a day-to-day basis at work is to know that your work is building toward something and helping others. This can be difficult to see when working remotely and solely on devices. Explore ways to make your work more tangible.

What gives you the most satisfaction from your work on a daily basis? How has this new situation changed your ability to get that satisfaction? How might you find new creative ways to obtain that satisfaction?

Goals:

Optimism

In these highly uncertain and constraining times, we can feel anxious and helpless. Its important not to give in to that sentiment, and remember we still have opportunities to make the most of the situation.

Is there anything in particular you are struggling with? How could you, your family or we as a team make it better?

Goals:

There is no right or wrong. These are suggestions individuals can explore to find what they respond to best. Leaders can encourage their teams to share their ideas with each other. And above all, remember to be kind and forgiving to yourself and everyone else well get through this together.

Beatriz is the WorkSpaceFuture manager for Steelcase EMEA based in Munich and specializes in the psychology of human emotions and behaviors, and how they relate to working life and work environments.

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The new dimensions of workplace wellbeing - Workplace Insight

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April 10th, 2020 at 2:47 am