Many people were looking forward to this year, as it served as a fresh start after the horror of 2020. Last year brought untold hardships to millions of people, including those who lost their jobs or suddenly had to work from home.
On the other hand, essential employees have had to deal with the stress of keeping up with demand while trying to avoid falling ill. It’s safe to say that circumstances haven’t been ideal all around, and everyone needs to find the time to prioritize taking care of themselves.
While self-care has been in fashion for a while, many people don’t know what it is or how to practice it.
Why We Need Self-Care
Several studies have shown that self-care can reduce stress levels and lead to a better quality of life—something that today’s workforce craves.
People work long hours and then return home to a stressed partner, rowdy children, a slew of other responsibilities, or all of the above. A downhill slide can begin on all fronts without individuals taking responsibility for their well-being.
Self-Care At Work
One obvious obstacle to self-care is a lack of time. However, alleviating this issue is possible if people can integrate self-care into their workday.
Not only that, but having an understanding employer could allow people to practice self-care at home with the knowledge that their workplace recognizes them as individuals with needs.
10 Ways to Encourage Employees to Focus on Self-Care: A Ten-Point Plan Of Action For Employers
Before embarking on a self-care strategy, employers must determine their workers’ stressors. Once they have this information, they can begin to address them head-on. With that in mind, we have ten suggestions to help businesses take care of their workers’ well-being.
Provide Regular Supervision And Constructive Feedback
Research into the role of self-care in an academic environment has shown that balancing the demands of performing well with looking after oneself is in itself stressful.
An employer can create a safe space for workers to discuss their worries by scheduling time to interact with employees.
This isn’t an opportunity to dole out unconstructive criticism but a way to make people feel heard. When employees feel listened to, they’re more likely to ask for help before situations escalate into a crisis.
Ensure Adequate Lunch And Tea Breaks
Eating well is a vital aspect of self-care, but sadly, many workplaces challenge this. A guaranteed day break can help workers relax and focus on the task. Even better, provide food on-site that is healthy and nutritious.
Busy employees tend to fall into a fast food trap, whether in the form of a takeaway or just whatever was easily available when they left for work.
They leave work exhausted and end up struggling to cook for themselves. Having better options at work can alleviate the pressure and lead to healthier diet choices.
Have A Water Cooler
This might sound ridiculously simple, but hydration is the most basic ingredient to staying healthy. Unfortunately, it’s so easily overlooked.
Employees might binge on caffeine to get through the day’s demands, making them feel jittery and restless. Having fresh, cold water can make it a little easier for workers to drink something that won’t leave them feeling frazzled or struggling to focus.
Having healthier employees will more than make up for someone being off for a day. Overworking usually receives praise in business, but research has proven that burning the candle at both ends leads to reduced productivity.
Consider a system where being active or participating in meditation sessions results in a reward—maybe an extra day of leave after reaching a certain milestone.
Allow Staff To Say No
Healthy boundaries are integral to self-care, involving being direct when a task feels unachievable. This doesn’t mean letting your employees walk all over you.
Allowing employees to speak up when something’s not sitting right with them will improve communication and allow both employer and employees to have clear boundaries and expectations of one another.
Create A Support Network
There are many ways to offer emotional support to workers, including providing good health insurance plans, meditation classes, or counseling. Providing opportunities like these has reduced sick leave absenteeism by over 25%.
Integrate Self-Care Activities Into the Workday
Using work time to relax might sound counterintuitive at first.
On the contrary, giving employees a set slot for meditation or another type of mindfulness practice prepares them for the day more effectively than having them roll out of their cars into the office with only a cup of coffee to wake them up.
Don’t Let Employees Take Work Home With Them.
Working all hours of the day and night has been somewhat glamorized, but it’s clear there are few long-term benefits. Allowing employees to leave work at work will reduce stress, significantly contributing to absenteeism and productivity loss.
Make Work A Comfortable Environment
This sounds a bit obvious initially, but we can’t help but overemphasize the impact of a calm, pleasant work environment.
This could include having adequate lighting (preferably from a natural source), plants, ergonomic chairs and desks, and wireless keyboard and mouse set-ups for ease of use. You can also allow employees to personalize their workstations.
Encourage Regular Breaks From The Screen
Don’t cultivate a workplace atmosphere of fear among your employees; being too scared to leave their desks will result in stress and loss of concentration.
Staring at a computer for 8 hours can be disorienting and leave you feeling drained. Allowing people to get up and walk around—within reason, of course—will encourage workers to refresh now and then.
Old-fashioned ideas of work—strict timekeeping and authoritarian bosses—don’t cut it anymore. Implementing strategies to encourage self-care will improve productivity and help employees feel good about being at work—a sadly uncommon sentiment over the past few years.