Wellbeing is not one size fits all.

Nicky and I have recently been speaking at the Eventwell Summit which was a wellbeing event for Event Planners in the UK and US. My talk was about the wellbeing landscape and how one size does not fit all when it comes to wellbeing. The underlying or common issues for workplaces differ greatly across sectors and so should the wellbeing support offered if it is to have a positive impact.

Event planners are in a great position to support the wellbeing of people in the businesses whose events they organise. My aim in the session was to provide some thoughts on how to apply wellbeing across sectors, based on the experience we have had as wellbeing and culture change trainers. The research we found around three different sectors was interesting so we thought we would share it with you.

What is wellbeing?

happiness and jumping

Much is spoken about mental health and wellbeing and the definitions of both will vary depending on who you ask. We are Time to Change Champions so we get the conversation started around mental health using our lived experience. Check out their website for more information on mental health in the workplace.

Dame Carol Black describes wellbeing as a ‘feeling of contentment’ and one of my definitions of wellbeing is when you feel you can identify, participate and enjoy all that life has to offer you. But that’s just my definition. Perceptions of mental health and of wellbeing are often determined by your own personal experience.

What about stress?

 

woman and computer

 

Even without a classified mental health condition, the thoughts in our head can impact our output and our ability to enjoy life. Prolonged stress can be the starting point for common mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. Discover Your Bounce was created to tackle stress as it is even more contagious than Covid19  – you can catch this one over the telephone!

Did you know that in a team of 10 under stress:

8 will struggle to concentrate

6 with take longer to do their job

5 will be unhelpful to their customers

And 3 just fell out with the rest of the team!

So, there is good reason for companies to evaluate the impact of stress on the team. Enough stress to make the project exciting (good stress) is one thing, particularly when there is an end goal. Prolonged stress, fighting something against which you cannot win, is something else entirely and it is counter-productive to your performance and therefore to the business as a whole.

What is emerging through Covid19 and after the Australian bush fires is the need for sustainability in business. Prolonged, high stress situations are not sustainable and the growing investment area of Environmental Social Governance – also known as ESG  – is driving governments to legislate for a sustainable future. The social aspect is where discrimination legislation falls such as equal pay and pay gap reporting. However, employee abuse, such as through overwork or bullying, may be found in this area in the near future.

Different strokes for different folks

The rush to create a wellbeing plan can often get side tracked by solutions over needs. So a running club is created because one of directors runs  – without any thought as to whether that will support the needs of the team or the needs of the business. Here are three broad examples of different sector needs demonstrating the different areas for improvement that those sectors have identified. All three describe their workplaces as having a level of stress but the solutions may be quite different.

Event Planners

Statistics from EventWell – the Event Planners wellbeing charitable organisation –  show that whilst the mental health statistics  in the UK show that 1 in 4 have a common mental health condition, it’s 1 in 3 of event planners. Stress has led to 42% of event planners changing jobs, which isn’t surprising as it is the 5th most stressful job in the world according to CareerCast!

So it’s very much a sector with a background of stress and deadlines.

Three areas have emerged as causing stress for event planners (before Covid!)

  • Communication – Event Planners are the conduit for the event as a whole.
  • The physical demands of running an event such as technology, AV equipment and timings which rely on the co-operation of others.
  • Inner critic issues. This is where there is a need to be perfect as that is what the client/employer wants from the event. This transforms into self-doubt and extra pressure, particularly when things don’t go to plan.

So, the needs as a sector could focus on supporting how to build relationships and form boundaries alongside self-awareness to support our inner critic. Also enhanced communication skills such as active listening and collaboration skills. In addition, relaxation and rebalancing core activities such as meditation, yoga and mindfulness for the stress which is already there.

A wellbeing plan can contain practical skills and personal development, as well as being an aid to tackling the existing pent up stress situation.

Building plans in Construction

Construction is a male dominated arena and health and safety feature highly to keep them safe in a physical way. But when you dig down you will find that this sector has an underlying issue – that issue is suicide. Suicide is the most common cause of death in the UK of men under 50. In the US, men are 3.5x more likely to kill themselves than women and in 2016 they accounted for 7 out of every 10 deaths which means there are twice as many suicides as there are homicides. When creating events and plans for a male dominated industry consider suicide awareness. The UK charity Building Mental Health (BMH) supports construction with suicide support and mental health awareness in the UK and there are other trade bodies who have noticed the need and can provide support as well. BMH provide a free toolbox talk which we present as part of our Social Passion Project, but there are a lot of different initiatives.

Making wellbeing add up for Accountants

I qualified as an accountant in 1996. Accountants are stressed – with 98% saying they have experienced workplace stress. This is not the same stress as event planners or construction workers.  We have deadlines and annual pinch points around filing documents. This sector knows it has a stress issue too – but it’s around culture. Research by CABA shows that:

41% are overworked

33% suffer as a result of office politics

29% feel undervalued

28% have meeting fatigue

Ongoing current conversations in this sector are around adapting to working from home and spotting ill health within your team if you aren’t in the same room. How do you develop people without the face to face interaction? This is more around leadership training, communication, coaching and soft skills which, when matched with relaxation techniques and tips will support longer term development and therefore contribute to wellbeing.

The Wellbeing Balance

 

How can you balance wellbeing for yourself and for your business?

There are 4 areas of wellbeing: mind, body, spirit and vision. The key to this is vision – what does good look like for you? What is on the horizon? What is the pinch point? Tackling mental health and stress is a balance of life.

Mind  – consider mental health and having a positive growth mindset

Body – Physical activity but also hydration and sleep

Spirit  – With this we mean creativity, community and happiness. The benefits of having a community and feeling supported, understanding what makes you happy and understanding your purpose. Being creative is also good for tackling your mind monkeys head on.

Take a look at these areas and put together a recipe that fits for you with aspects across mind, body, spirit and vision. Maybe you want to try some mindfulness in Mind, try an online yoga class in Body, join a positive uplifting group on Facebook in Spirit and create a vision board of what good looks like for you in Vision.

Underlying both a personal and corporate strategy for wellbeing is changing mindsets –  which is why vision is so important. Every sector and every company has a culture underlying and the pinch points show where individuals are not supported. It can manifest as absence through stress, staff only staying for a short period etc. It’s by looking at these pinch points where humanity rubs again the culture we can see the immediate need and a meaningful wellbeing conversation can start.

Practical Help

Here are some practical ideas for starting to create a wellbeing programme for yourself or your team.

  • Make wellbeing a strategic decision. Consider it as both a maintenance and development schedule for your people. Make it a cultural decision. If it is for you – make a commitment to try something new.
  • Discuss as a group the stress points in the business, what would the team like to have happen? What is it we are not talking about? In your wellbeing, what dampens your day? What would good look like?
  • Not everyone is on a personal development journey so consider easy access tips and techniques, short slots on different topics to get people interested and talking about their wellbeing. Take feedback often. Try new things yourself and be honest about whether it is working for you.
  • Consider each of the four elements of wellbeing. In our experience when we have covered all four aspects at a team day, feedback from delegates of which was the most useful is evenly spread across all four of them.

Free help from the Bounce Team.

We give away a free monthly wellbeing session so check out our website: www.discoveryourbounce.com/events

Try our Facebook group – Discover Your Bounce Community with daily tips and inspiration. We are live at 9am on Monday and 11 am Wednesday and Friday with The Daily Bounce sharing wellbeing tips and techniques. Within the group we also host popular wellbeing challenges such as our gratitude challenge which had 850 interactions across 26 days.

We also have a wellbeing blog and all can be found via our website.

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About The Author

Sharon Critchlow

Sharon Critchlow is a Wellbeing Advocate, speaker and facilitator at Discover Your Bounce for Business. Passionate about people being the best they can be she is a Time To Change Champion for mental health and holds a Masters level qualification in strategic coaching for performance. Sharon is a qualified accountant and has 20 years experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. www.discoveryourbounce.com www.time-to-change.org.uk