Workplace Wellbeing Professional had the opportunity to attend Wellbeing at Work, an online community workshop hosted by Devon Communities Together to discuss recovery tactics during the post-pandemic era.
The Wellbeing Works session is an open space for employers and employees to reflect upon how they currently handle issues such as stress, burnout and poor mental health. Attendees are encouraged to share and consider different ways to help overcome these challenges.
Since the pandemic, the global workforce has faced a plethora of new and testing obstacles. These include drastic changes to the way organisations run, alongside an increase in personal anxieties such as prolonged periods of isolation and physical health concerns.
Victoria Grimberg, project manager at Devon Communities Together, highlights some of these issues with reference to a study conducted by the American Institute of Stress (The Average Knowledge Worker) which found:
- 43% of workers lack clarity at work
- 53% of workers are unhappy at work
- 67% of workers feel burned out at work
- 70% of workers feel chronically distracted at work
- 84% of workers feel stressed at work
The session highlights how our state of mind can be viewed from a basement/penthouse perspective. While in the basement, we are experiencing a burdened mind, whereas in the penthouse, our mind is far clearer.
The basement and the penthouse
Basement state of mind
Penthouse state of mind
|Quality of connection declines||Sees possibility|
|Decreased flexibility||Adaptable & flexible|
|Mood/sense of humour drops||Collaborative|
|Sense of urgency increases / less likely to rest or take care of yourself||Paces and priorities recovery|
|Big picture and goals more easily forgotten||Outcome focused|
|Values less likely to guide behaviour||Accountable for actions|
|Increase in short-term energy stimulants, e.g sugar and coffee||Boost in physical health|
|Creativity and learning declines||Creative|
|Increase in conflict and anger||Gets to the heart of the issue|
|Avoidance of perceived stressor increases||Curious|
|Confidence declines||In the here and now|
|Less tolerant||Sees a clearer future|
Victoria discusses the following quote: “We are not seeing the world; we are seeing our state of mind’s version of the world.” She explains how when we have a burdened mind, everything we do and think about will be directly impacted by that particular state of mind. Yet, if we can shift into a brighter state of mind, we begin to welcome feelings of possibility which leads us to view the world in a much more positive way.
Before we can make any meaningful changes, we first have to pinpoint where we are positioned between the basement and the penthouse. For this reason, throughout the session, attendees are encouraged to be present and tune in to how we are feeling and why we might be feeling this way.
We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.
Sheryl Sandberg, business executive and philanthropist
Ultimately, the path to achieving a sense of well-being surrounds making small changes which allow us to take the elevator up from the basement into the penthouse. So, what changes can be made?
Energy is the key performance lever – NOT time
An interesting portion of the session discussed energy playing a far more crucial role towards our well-being compared to time.
A typical workday involves seven to eight hours of work time per day. The session encouraged us to swap our thinking around and consider what type of energy we have during these hours, as opposed to how much time we have to complete tasks required of us.
Do I have the most amount of energy in the mornings or the afternoons?
Those who have the most amount of energy in the mornings could consider carrying out the more pressing or complex tasks during this time and leave simpler tasks for the afternoons.
While the change is subtle, paying attention to the rise and fall in our energy levels and delegating workday tasks accordingly, is an effective way of treating yourself correctly so you can remain present and proactive throughout the workday. This is something employers could encourage staff members to think about.
Tasks could be delegated like so:
High energy point
Low energy point
|Complex cognitive tasks||Low complexity tasks|
|Analytical work||Casual meetings / catch ups|
For example, team members with the highest energy levels in the mornings could consider organising their most important meetings for the beginning of the workday.
Simple strategies for post-work recovery
Attendees of the session had the opportunity to share their post-work recovery ideas. Some of these included:
- Walking the dog
- Having a bath
- Listen to a podcast
- Learn something new
- Read a fictional novel
- Cooking food
- Breathing exercises
Victoria also mentions various activities workers could avoid as a recovery technique as they raise our cognitive load and are unhelpful towards relaxation. These include:
- Texting on your phone
- Internet surfing
- Watching TV
- Scrolling through social media
- Reading complex novels
- Consuming too much news
- Talking to someone (however, sometimes this is helpful too)
Thank you Devon Communities Together!
For most of us, achieving a sense of wellbeing is not always a straightforward process and we should expect trial and error to be involved. As a world full of unique individuals, finding comfort, happiness and contentment will look different for everyone because the journey is all about finding what’s right for you.
Accompanied with a relaxing appreciation video, loads of advice, tools, and links to further information, Devon Communities Together provided an interesting and useful wellbeing session for employers and employees.
Wellbeing Works is an exciting opportunity for Devon based businesses, employees and individuals to benefit from the tools, techniques and inspiration we need to prioritise and develop our wellbeing and resilience during the pandemic recovery period. This project runs until the end of March 2023 and is managed by Devon Communities Together and funded by Devon County Council. More information can be found here https://www.devoncommunities.org.uk/projects/wellbeing-works.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and Family History Zone. After obtaining a bachelors degree in English literature and media studies, Joanne went on to spend two years of her life writing and teaching English in China and Vietnam. Prior to joining Black and White Trading, Joanne was a marketing coordinator for luxury property in Brighton focusing on blog writing, photography and video creation.