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The new norm in the future of work? Well-being

With remote work becoming more than just a trend, so is corporate well-being in the future of work. Frankly, to me, it’s just – well-being and we need to start thinking about creating work environments that support it.

With a global pandemic prompting leaders to happily wave goodbye to old ways of working, we saw many making lifestyle changes that reminded them their well-being was more than just important. It needed to be re-prioritized. 

From relocating to be closer to family, moving out of big cities and travelling less to be home for dinner with family, leaders were finding ways to prioritize the self in every sense of the word.

You can be sure to see this as the norm across the corporate landscape in the future of work. At least by the companies, who are forward-thinking, lead with a people-first approach and are building sustainable businesses. 

Since the word well-being can sometimes be a vague concept (especially in the workplace) where people attach things like yoga, meditation and journaling to its meaning, it’s important to highlight – well-being is the basis of helping you live a life of vitality. 

I love defining well-being as:

The state of being and living a healthy life in mind, body and spirit.

-Lisa De Nicola

This means the 80% of your time spent working, your well-being shouldn’t be an afterthought you cater to but rather, supported wherever you work.

McKinsey report showed that 96% of companies globally provided additional mental health resources during the COVID-19 crisis but, only 1 in 6 employees reported feeling supported. 

Everyone deserves to feel supported in their workplace. This IS normal to expect and during a crisis of all times, is not the time to say you don’t. If anything, it says you have a bigger problem on your hands.

To make well-being practical and achievable in the workplace it starts with a culture that breeds balance, wellness, flexibility and people over profits. The shared beliefs, values and behaviours that make up what I like to call the heartbeat of an organization need to be alive and well.

Otherwise, you’re looking at surface-level solutions built upon programs and tools that go unused and are a band-aid for a bigger problem that needs correction.

We build a healthier corporate landscape when we recognize well-being is prioritized and employees can thrive.

The hustle work culture that’s been glorified for far too long has been a challenge for years. What’s different now is not just a generation demanding change and better ways of working. There’s also preference and far more choice than ever before.

Plenty of research supports the benefits of being at our best when our well-being is prioritized. From higher levels of productivity, better decision-making, higher levels of engagement and fewer sick days. 

So how do you build a culture where well-being is practiced and prioritized?

Get clear on what well-being means for your organization. 

What does it look like when employees’ well-being is prioritized? 

What will your measure of success be? 

How will you encourage and reinforce its importance?

How will this be modelled and sustained over time?

Important questions to ask to ensure you’re painting the right picture and working towards the right goal.

Model the behaviour of well-being in the workplace starting with leadership.

  • Conversations around well-being and overall health, should be embraced and welcomed at an organizational level

  • Leaders – consider your daily behavior that you can demonstrate prioritizing your well-being, i.e. think the times you send emails, time off, etc.

  • Hold workshops that support what well-being looks like day to day to help educate and increase awareness. These should take place regularly throughout the year, especially during busy times of year where stress is likely to be high

  • Managers should be trained on how to engage and check-in both in team meetings and 1:1 with employees to see how they’re doing (normalizing the conversation) and to help employees feel supported. Trust and openness will be important, to create a safe space for others to share

Encourage nurturing and investing in well-being by offering tools and resources for employees to self-educate and assess.

When building a culture of well-being, like any other cornerstone of a culture, it needs to be practiced daily. Everyone’s idea of well-being will look different and be at different levels. Allowing employees to assess where they are and what they need to spend more time nurturing provides a starting point.

Ensuring they have the appropriate tools and resources to do so will be vital to supporting their well-being.

Your well-being doesn’t have to be some private part of you that you cater to outside of your work. If there’s anything that’s been highlighted in the past year and a half, it’s that your health matters more than anything! Yes, more than your job.

The way we work is changing, where we work is changing and now, well-being will become the new pillar of what makes a healthy corporation because it’s too important not to. The leaders of tomorrow and the sustainable businesses that will make up the future will share a common value – the well-being of its people.

What signposts would you look for in a company that values well-being? Let me know in the comments below!

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Lisa De Nicola

Lisa De Nicola is an Intuitive Leadership Coach and a Corporate Magic Maker (a Trusted Advisor who believes in Magic) dedicated to helping businesses bring out the essence of their biggest resource - their people. She coaches bold leaders to help them become the Director of their life so they can do business and life on their terms. With 15 + years of corporate experience working in the world of talent for multi-national, global organizations, Lisa shares her knowledge, spiritual tools, practices and business insights to leaders looking to transform the way they lead from the inside out.

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  • Amazing article—important topic. So many highlightable points. Like this: “”This means the 80% of your time spent working, your well-being shouldn’t be an afterthought you cater to but rather, supported wherever you work.”

    Interesting stat from the research about the large majority of companies giving the support/resources during the pandemic but the employees still didn’t feel supported. I love the idea of asking the employees themselves–what do you need to feel supported?

    Thanks, Lisa for always writing such thought-provoking content. Much appreciated.

    • Thanks Jenn!! We spend so much of our time at work, it’s going to be a huge priority in the workplace moving forward. I agree, you can’t go wrong with asking employees themselves how they want to be supported! They’ll appreciate it and want to be included in decisions supporting their overall well-being.

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