I have been lucky enough to have had primarily positive experiences at the places I’ve worked. Over the past few years, I interned with two organizations whose primary goal was to educate people about mental health and de-stigmatize mental illness. It came as no surprise to me that the workplaces themselves were empathetic and open, filled with accommodating and understanding people.
As much as I appreciated this, I worried that this emphasis on wholeness and well-being was exclusive to organizations whose line of work actually dealt with health. A part of me was concerned that they weren’t preparing me to be in any other line of work.
But then I found myself at Blue Beyond Consulting, supporting marketing and operations, and was pleasantly surprised to realize that self care was held in just as high regard here as the places I’d worked previously. It’s made me realize that health is a fundamental part of any workplace, no matter the line of work, and there can always be a way to emphasize care and well-being for employees, and in turn, to employers.
More than ever before, there is a need for workplaces that encourage empathy, honesty, and authenticity
- In a 2015 Mental Health America report, 80% of participants said they prefer working alone because of unhelpful or hostile work environments.
- In a 2015 survey of U.S. employees conducted by Globoforce, 47% said they don’t think their company leaders care about or make an effort to create a humane workplace.
- Another 2015 survey of U.S. employees conducted by Quantum Workplace and Limeade found that respondents were 38% more engaged and 10x less likely to be hostile when they felt their employers cared about their health and well-being.
An important component in creating a workplace that promotes wellness is having psychological safety among team members. Psychological safety means an atmosphere where people feel respected and valued. Charles Duhigg’s research into psychological safety and teamwork demonstrates that good teams are more adept at understanding how others feel based on nonverbal cues. Successful teams also demonstrate a stronger ability to know when others are feeling unheard or left out. Less effective teams display less sensitivity to their coworkers.
Workplace wellness can come in many different forms. Although I have only been at Blue Beyond a short time, the way our company creates a safe environment has become apparent to me through three different values: understanding, openness, and togetherness.
- I see understanding at Blue Beyond in the way the team supports one another, makes exceptions for each others schedules, and takes on projects, when others may not have the bandwidth for them.
- I see openness in the way our CEO, Cheryl Fields Tyler, fosters personal relationships with our employees, and encourages discussions about the world we live in, and not just the company where we work.
- I see togetherness in the way Blue Beyond welcomes new team members with warmth, and the way the team here is bonded — not just as coworkers — but as people.
Our 7th commitment to creating the future we yearn for is to value mind, soul, heart, and body health in our workplaces. We are whole people and we want our work together to nurture each other and our clients. If we show up like this for our clients, it gives them the space to also show up as whole people. We are also committed to creating psychologically safe groups, where the teams have a safe place for interpersonal risk taking.
I’ve come to realize that the idea that we must entirely shut off our personal lives at work is not practical. We are people, not machines, and therefore must be aware of our health in every space we inhabit and this includes the workplace, since many of us spend a large portion of our lives at our jobs.