How to make your staff WANT to make your business succeed
How many people leap out of their bed on a damp, grey Monday morning to face the morning commute with the multitudes of other workers queuing at the traffic lights? They might have care-giving responsibilities for a relative, a school run to negotiate or sullen teenagers to gee-up and motivate (mentioning on behalf of a friend…).
Do you LOVE what you do?
Perhaps you are lucky enough to run your own business in an area that stirs your passion for life? Or perhaps you have a team of people working with you and ahem enjoy the colourful, ever-changing aspects of managing different personality types.
Regardless of your situation; top of the chain, middle management, in an educational setting or are customer facing, I’m guessing that there are times when things don’t go swimmingly. Am I right?
As a yoga teacher, I can’t tell you how many people regularly come to their yoga class feeling defeated, unhappy or just plain bored with their 9 to 5. Or 5 to 9. Or 12 to 8. Let’s face it, we live in a 24-hour culture with some teams of people manning the desk 24-7, 365. Thats a whole lotta numbers right there, yes?
It’s fair to say that most times, some people are not happy with their numbers - either the hours on their working rota or their payslip or their tax return.
Many moons ago, I worked in a corporate setting for a large bank, I really enjoyed it. But of course, I was young and it was expected and almost a given that you moaned about your job. My years spent working in different guises in local and city banking in the big smoke afforded me untold valuable life lessons about myself and about people, corporations and the bigger picture.
It also afforded me some lovely connections and the most beautiful friendships. Anyhoo, I digress.
One of the valuable things I learned was that whilst most people work for the pay-cheque, it is merely the carrot that gets them through the door but it is not what motivates them to be happy in their job.
I’ll repeat that
money does not make people happy in their work
So how do you experience staff morale in your workplace?
A lot of the people I speak with report feeling overwhelmed with pressures concerning deadlines and regulations. They tell me how they are doing the work of two, sometimes three people because of financial cuts or due to staff absence. Lots tell me they feel
overworked and under-appreciated
You might not physically pay or sign the cheques, and that’s ok given the fact that money isn’t a motivator, but in your own personal role, I wonder how much influence you have over how another person experiences their day.
I have a mantra that
what someone thinks of you is none of your business
and I believe that to be true;
we cannot control the thoughts, actions or behaviours of another person.
However, it is also my belief that
we all have some impact on other people’s lives
by the way in which we conduct ourselves.
We are all connected
All of those the common complaints mentioned above can and will cause stress. Even just looking to our beloved National Health Service, here in the UK
Of course, there are external factors to stress such as relationship or family problems, money worries and bereavement, but let’s make no bones about it
stress is a big deal
and there are things that you can do to help alleviate this being a major problem within your team.
How can I help my stressed employee?
Appreciate your co-workers
I’m sure your workload is very likely high and sometimes may be impacted by the productivity or influence of the very person that you think may be affected by stress. But a kindness can go a long way.
No one is expecting you to trip over yourself to roll out a red carpet for a team member who’s backlog might be causing you a bit of a headache. But I wonder if you can place yourself in their shoes with this little ol’ thing we know as
empathy in the workplace
Holding the door open for someone or exchanging non-work related pleasantries by the coffee machine can work miracles. There’s a reason why there are work Christmas parties and team building events and the like. It’s to build connections and relationships with the people you work with everyday. You might like to read What about the ‘Othering’ for a different kind of take on how we might accidentally put people in a box and entirely separate them from ourselves.
Every single person is fighting a battle that you know nothing about. Honestly.
You know that guy who always looks disheveled, shirt slightly crumpled, ALWAYS late submitting his reports to deliberately nark you off? He’s juggling a career, the school run and parenting two small children single-handedly after his wife was diagnosed with a really nasty illness.
The b*tch from two floors up who has a face like a smacked backside every time she hassles you for your input to a team project? Her husband just left her for another man.
The lazy guy who is routinely late arriving and out of the door like a flash at 5pm? He is knackered from caring for his elderly mother who’s in the clutches of dementia.
These scenarios are clearly made up but seriously; extend some kindness to your fellow humans.
We work to live NOT the other way around
Perhaps you’ve noticed that there’s some discord within your team environment. Is there anything you can do about it?
It’s a very real thing that stress hormones can and will cause inflammation, illness and disease in a human bean (not a typo, cheers Grammar Police - I just love Roald Dahl and happen to believe that a little bit of silliness, playfulness and magic can be fantastical for grown ups as well).
This will result in your team members being off sick with coughs, colds, viruses or even stress-related issues such as anxiety and depression. In turn, you will find more workload being deposited at your door. And so the cycle continues.
But we can stop it in its tracks.
Whether you control the purse strings in your place of work or not, there is always room for making positive changes.
As well as making improvements to acts of human kindness (see above), perhaps you might be able to introduce the idea of workplace wellness to your HR team or the peeps in control of time allocation or employee management budget.
I recently had the pleasure of working with the beautiful Carley Mellors-Blair of The Healing Touch Academy within a large corporate company in Leeds delivering mindful movement sessions throughout the day - and what a great investment it was to their hardworking team!
Mindfulness practices, lunchtime yoga sessions, massage, nutritional lessons or demonstrations and information about self care can be HUGELY beneficial. Showing the team members that they are cared for and invested in can go leaps and bound in the direction of helping staff members to feel valued, trusted and supported.
Of course, if you are interested to bring in a professional, qualified instructor to lead mindfulness practice, yoga sessions tailored to your team or to speak about the physiological impacts and benefits of stress and stress-management, take a look at this resource and do get in touch 😜)
You could take action in an easy-peasy way of suggesting that someone might like to attend a yoga or meditation class. You could even go with them if they are nervous of going alone. (Offer them my What to Expect page, if it might be helpful.)
Crisis point with stress-related absence?
If you happen to have a member of your team who is struggling with absence due to the effects of stress, anxiety or depression, perhaps you can consider supplying extra support within the work setting. Speaking personally, I would be more than happy to have a discussion with you about how I can support your employees in and around Nottingham, and if you are outside the area, I am sure there would be another like-minded yoga teacher who would be able to provide that level of support.
It goes without saying that employment laws and regulations are in place for very good reason. In this hustle and bustle of modern life, it is very easy to work more hours than we should and unfortunately, this can be exploited. Albeit with good intention.
I used to work crazy hours in the city, yet I was probably clocking up the least hours in the whole division. It wasn’t that it was expected, it was because there was a buzz about the work we were doing. So I’m not just talking about exploitation by management teams, I’m also talkin’ ‘bout the individuals who have a tendency for perfectionism to the exclusion or neglect of all else, like self-care. Or families.
These regulations are in place to protect all.
In particular, be mindful of female employees who may be pregnant, undergoing fertility treatment or who have small children. With my hand on my heart, I can tell you it’s exhausting. I am lucky enough to have been blessed with two healthy pregnancies and babies but some are not so lucky straight away. Until I undertook my pregnancy yoga teacher training a few years back, I had little concept of what it means physically to undergo such emotionally traumatic processes.
In terms of pregnancy, HR departments should also be aware of the government stipulations that pregnant women are entitled to paid time off work to attend antenatal appointments as deemed appropriate by their medical professional.
Yes, that can include yoga classes. (I am currently leading Women’s Wellness lunchtime yoga classes at the very beautiful Bahia Yoga Studio in the centre of Nottingham to celebrate not just pregnancy but all the varied stages of the feminine energy. Check out their website for current dates, times and prices or get in touch to find out how I can help you.)
I have a particular passion for women’s wellness and it may interest you to know that if you happen to have or (have had) a uterus, the normal fluctuations of your wonderful, beautiful hormones will mean that you have varying levels of energy during different stages of your cycle. In fact in some eastern countries, women are given time off to honour their need for rest. This is a practice known as seirikyuuka, started in the late 1940’s. This does not mean women are weaker or less able, on the contrary, it means allowing a brief period of rest to enable a woman to function to the best of her ability. Interesting, right?
I digress again, but what I’m saying is that these issues affect society as whole. Even if you don’t have a uterus. Because of course, fertility treatment and the birth of a new baby will also affect men in terms of stress levels, sleep quality, pressure of responsibility.
The burden of responsibility lies with us all to look after each other.
although, to be fair - it’s not a burden at all. It’s all part of being a normal, kind human being.
Are there any small changes you can make in your workplace? Of course, don’t forget that if you happen to be a solopreneur like me, these things also apply to you, too! We can be so hard on ourselves, please do allow yourself some kindness and appreciation.
When people feel valued, listened-to and appreciated they feel happier to be part of something bigger and want to contribute towards its success.
Stress levels reduce, staff sickness absence falls and your good team members stop looking for another job.
That’s gotta be a win, right?
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