By Aoife Delaney
HEALTH & WELL-BEING:
Wellness in a time of Extreme Change
By Aoife Delaney, Director of Marketing & Sales, DMC Network & President-Elect, SITE
Wellness in a time of Extreme Change
The last three months have brought about a level of change that most of us will never have experienced in our lives before. CoVid has not only changed the way that we work, it has effected every facet of our lives – from the way that we shop for groceries, to how we interact with friends and family. While much of the world is now coming into various stages of opening and adjusting to a new way of live, we are by no means returning to what would have been normal for us when 2020 began.
Change can make the best of us anxious, and our wellbeing is something that can so easily be effected with this anxiety.
Because most working professionals spend a third of their time at work (a frightening statistic in itself!) the workplace is an important place to address wellbeing that is often overlooked.
The below are just a couple of ways where both the employer and the employee can effect change:
What can the Employer do?
Practice Compassionate Leadership
Know the facts on how your employees have and continue to be effected – look and listen, consider stress surveys as you navigate the coming weeks and months of a new way of working.
Digital Mental Health resources
Invest in supportive mental health resources – a little goes a long way. Research shows that mindfulness meditation can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression and can have a significant impact in the workplace. Reference apps like Calm, speakers that can be hired to talk through times of stress, hiring a yoga teacher and bringing virtual yoga into your weekly routine are all resources that can be introduced into your company.
Consistent, clear information
Moments of uncertainty tend to leave room for many contradictory — and sometimes unsettling — stories. It’s important that teams receive frequent, clear, and reliable information. Make sure that, as new facts emerge from trusted public health sources, that information is clearly and immediately provided to employees in language they understand. Advise your team not to share alternative messages on internal channels to keep clear guidelines and prevent misinformation.
Take care of yourself
Employees often take their cues from their managers, so it’s essential that Managers take care of themselves, too. Think of it like an airplane: you must put on your own mask before assisting others. Some of the strongest leaders I have seen in the industry at this time are those that have taken days off from work to switch off and recharge, and are open about telling you and putting it on their out of office.
What can the individual do?
Of course, you don’t just need to be a business owner or manager of a team to implement wellbeing into your life.
This may seem obvious, but now is the time to remind yourself that you cannot pour from an empty cup. Those of us in the hospitality industry are one of the most guilty professions in terms of give give give, and not looking after ourselves. We have one of the highest burnout rates of any career globally. A crisis situation such as the one we are in is the ‘perfect storm’ in terms of putting ourselves at the end of the priority list, so ensure to make time each day for you.
Look for the Alternatives
Recently I watched a debate on who the lockdown/isolation/social distancing period was hardest on- the introvert or the extrovert. The introvert no longer getting any personal space at all if they live with people, or the extrovert, who is used to a busy social schedule. It was an interesting debate, particularly for those of us in this industry as we are, in the main, extroverts. CoVid19 has a lot of us are craving personal contact and spending proper physical time with other people, so this is a time that we are not getting that. What are the alternatives that we can create at the moment? I prefer a physical yoga class, where I can get hands-on adjustments, smell the incense in the room, buzz off the vibe of other people practicing with me, but, where I live, that is still simply not possible right now. Virtual Yoga has offered me the ability to continue to be part of a community online with real time classes (not pre-recorded) and great class lengths and times to suit me, this really helps. Look at IMEX’s recent innovation with Planet IMEX. I think all of us will agree that we cannot wait for IMEX to come back and be a part of our industry schedule, but with IMEX Frankfurt not taking play in May, what was our alternative this year? Here’s a company being really creative – and worth us acknowledging that creativity when looking to our personal wellness.
Have honest conversations
Your boss and company know that this is not business as usual. They may not be in a place at the moment to have addressed wellness, don’t let that stop you bringing it up. Progressive companies are encouraging a healthy balance between work and personal responsibilities for their team, and seeing the benefit of it. These work-life balance practices are truly essential for employee retention. And while yes, even having a job at the moment is a blessing, employee retention and loyalty will become an important again in the future. Share your personal situation – the adjustments to your working day that you would like to propose (adjusted working hours to compliment your Husbands day and childcare needs, the ability to support an elderly parent or neighbour, changing reporting times etc). Also, if you have suggestions that you feel will benefit the team – share them!
Honest conversations may also be with friends and family.
Many of us are now in positions of being made temporarily or permanently redundant- we are a resilient bunch! But this period of uncertainty isn’t easy for anyone. Having an honest conversation with a friend or family member on your headspace can be hugely beneficial. It may be sharing some disappointments, some fears on what the future will bring, some sadness for elements of your job that were coming up that are no longer an option – these are all valid feelings, and are worth acknowledging. Finding that person to talk to will help – and when the time is right, to spar with on future opportunities, new career ideas etc.
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