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Teach Your Team To Listen To Their Bodies

Written by Katriina Tahka

Workplace wellness programs don’t have the best track records, especially if you look at places like the USA. Many of these programs, while intending to be helpful, become invasive and place undue pressure on workers. True wellness doesn’t come from a fitness program that coerces people into cooperation. True workplace wellness is tied in with your company culture. It enables each employee to meet his/her own unique needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all program because each person has a unique set of challenges.

What Workplace Wellness Has To Do With Listening To Your Body

True wellness is the natural result of meeting your physiological, emotional, and mental needs. Employers can’t dictate to employees what those needs might be. For example, a worker that is overweight may not be lacking in physical activity but actually finding it difficult to find the time to see a specialist caregiver due to rigid working hours. An employee with low productivity might not need a gym membership but rather the time to attend children’s events so that when the employee is at work, morale is higher and the worker’s productivity improves. Employers need to move away from pre-defined “wellness” and create a flexible workplace that empowers each person to make the calls that meet their own body’s needs.  This is how functioning teams are built.

The Anatomy Of A High Functioning Team

As the leader of your time, you’re responsible for ensuring that the business meets its own KPIs and generates the needed income to sustain itself each month. High functioning teams consistently beat their monthly targets, having a team like that remains the envy of most entrepreneurs. High functioning teams tend to have high energy too. When researchers analysed the anatomy of a high functioning team, one incontrovertible fact became clear: High functioning teams are happy. Work is fun. Their tasks require less self-discipline because they’re allowed to socialise on the job. High functioning teams have the freedom to listen to their bodies and meet their physiological, mental and emotional needs making them a more capable and collaborative group. These workplaces enjoy far high productivity levels and improved revenue generation. The key to creating a high functioning team lies in developing a safe workplace that encourages self-expression.

How To Create A Safe Place For Self-Expression

Self-expression is one of the by-products of listening to your body. A team that can confidently display who they truly are will perform at a faster pace and with greater energy levels. Employers whose team members have the ability to listen to their bodies and not over-exert themselves are better workers in the long term. Employers can implement principles that improve the employees’ opportunities to meet their bodies true needs without sacrificing work time. This includes ideas such as:

  • Allowing staff to take lunch breaks at the same time
  • Flexible work schedules, provided the tasks are completed as required
  • Encouraging as much conversation outside of work as possible
  • Clearly communicating the company culture and each person’s KPIs
  • Creating a space away from desks for relaxing and socialising, like a lunchroom
  • Adding warmth to leisurely spaces by adding sofas and a coffee machine
  • Encouraging a diverse workforce that includes members of society from all walks of life
  • Having an open-door policy - means members of your team can approach a senior staff member or your internal HR person with any issues they may be having, professionally or personally. By offering support rather than penalising poor performance (which is often due to major life traumas or changes), the company can create a long term hard worker

The Role Of D&I In Setting The Standards For Listening To Your Body

We’re living in a time of greater acceptance of alternative lifestyles. We’re also living in a time where a significant portion of the population has a disability - around 20% of Australians have a visible or invisible limitation. We can’t expect individuals with exceptional circumstances to hide their limitations or their differences in order to be seen as good workers. Employers need to start creating a safe space in the workplace for self-expression. Naturally, there are necessary parameters that must be followed, especially where the company culture calls for specific dress codes to be followed. Diversify in a way that empowers your company.

Workplace Wellness: How To Make It Work For Everyone

Employers have steered clear of blending work and health issues in the past. As it becomes increasingly apparent that productivity levels and personal wellness are closely linked, employers have started to take an interest in the health of their employees. While this is a great change, it’s crucial to remember that only the person in the body can know what it truly needs to thrive. The best way employers can support the wellness and optimise the productivity of their workers is by empowering them to nurture their own well being by giving them the flexibility to get the care they need.

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