Wellbeing at Work, since the beginning of Covid pandemic, finally got the spotlight it deserves.
As with everything, that comes with advantages: companies & individuals truly focusing on it and expecting more from the experience at the workplace.
But it also comes with many disadvantages:
Initiatives are being made for the sake of “just doing something”.
Initiatives that can be superficial, not adjusted to the culture and needs of the organization, or simply poorly done due to lack of investment (not just financial, but also investment of time & effort).
That is what today I am sharing the most common traps that I see happening when companies dive into wellbeing topics with more enthusiasm than strategy.
Trap #1: Not aligning wellbeing strategy with your organizational culture
Too often it happens that organizations focus on “adding on” some quick wellbeing initiatives & “sprinkle” them in addition to other work on developing organization.
But they fail to integrate them properly and to truly understand how wellbeing in organization is a consequence of all other aspects of organization.
The best wellbeing strategies are often not even called wellbeing strategies – instead, they involve putting company values into the foundation of everything else, continuously improving communication and collaboration in the organization, quality development of leaders & employees’ skill development.
Trap #2: Ignoring the fact that there is too high workload & levels of stress
Wellbeing cannot coexist with continuous high pressure and lack of time for self-development. It cannot be implemented in a culture that is a perpetual hamster wheel of “getting a lot of things done quickly”.
In every organization, there is space for occasional stress and moments of high pressure – but high pressure cannot become the default “modus operandi” without impacting wellbeing negatively.
While equipping people to deal with stress better is an important element of building resilience in the organization, it’s not enough to create wellbeing.
Individual resilience needs to come with quality management practice and project management that will ensure long-term alignment between the workload and amount of (human) resources available.
Trap #3: Pushing all the responsibility for wellbeing only onto companies... or only onto individual
I am sure you’ve seen this one: an employee complaining how his/her company is not doing enough for their wellbeing… without that same employee taking any initiative in their hands.
And companies offload the responsibility for wellbeing on employees, pretending that it is fully individual responsibility to take care of ourselves.
The reality is somewhere in the middle: an individual cannot keep their wellbeing high within the toxic environment, and strongly benefits of having support and initiatives to back them with their wellbeing.
But the company also cannot “pamper” employees into wellbeing – ultimately, each of us is responsible for our own wellbeing, and it requires us to work on our mindset and thinking patterns, our emotions, habits, relationships with others, skills of resilience and stress management, personal boundaries, and much more.
We are in this together – and we have to do the work on both individual and organizational levels.
Trap #4: Pretending that wellbeing at the workplace is only about what happens at work
Wellbeing at work cannot exist in a vacuum. Each of us brings our whole selves to work.
How are you supporting employees when they have challenges out of work?
Are you taking into account that their social connections out of work actually contribute more to their well-being than all they do at work?
Are you supporting them to integrate their personal strengths and authenticity into their work?
Making it personal (while still keeping it professional) is the only way that we can approach wellbeing at work.
Trap 5: Relying on superficial perks
Fitness at work. Fruit in the office. Team building trips once or twice per year. Foosball or ping pong tables.
They can all be nice as add-on to boost employees’ health and positive emotions, and they are all positive initiatives – but wellbeing at work still happens in all the hours when work happens. Not in the breaks when we enjoy the perks.
Deep wellbeing at work comes from purposeful projects, challenging yet interesting tasks, positive interactions with colleagues and clients, being proud of the impact that our organization and team are creating… Keep the perks – but focus on those true foundations if you want to keep wellbeing high.
Do take a moment to reflect which of these 5 traps might be luring at your workplace – and what will you do about avoiding it?
Here are a couple of quick tips on how to do Wellbeing at Work better:
There is so much more to explore within this topic – but already these will give you a great, strong starting point.
Do take a moment to reflect: how is your organization & team implementing each of these?
If you need support, feedback and ideas with looking into how your organization does wellbeing – you know where to find me.
Are you looking for new ideas to implement as part of wellbeing initiatives in your organization?
Or in the midst of making new plans & strategies?
Explore our page on Wellbeing at Work to get new ideas.
On the same link, you can also download a booklet there with the list of topics on which we deliver webinars and workshops.
Reminder: to promote Wellbeing at Work during September (the month of wellbeing at work), you can use two of our actions:
Looking to book a webinar or workshop for your organization? Book during September 2023 to receive 15% discount (currently booking for November, December & January)
Book 45 min long free discovery call to discuss your initiatives of wellbeing at work, and receive feedback, advice, and new idea