Corporate well-being: Communication is king

hen speaking about a company’s well-being we must consider business success along with the employees’ comfort and prosperity as well. These two must work in a team to empower your company, otherwise, their dissonance will drop your business down. Organizations need to realize that team’s well-being is about understanding employees, which can be only achieved within employee-centric organizations. And here, no better tool than communication has ever existed.

Rolique is a company with a people-first culture, and we are pleased to have a Psychology Consultant Natalka Ilchyshyn for supporting and advising us on continuing corporate well-being.

We had an interview with Natalka, and here are some useful tips to notice for everyone who keeps the ball rolling.

Let’s take a look

1.Employees’ well-being comprises much more than just physical health.

Speaking about health. Firstly, physical health — is an important aspect of overall wellness, but not solely one. Another significant aspect is mental health. Unfortunately, this aspect goes overlooked or neglected far too often. As a rule, we pay more attention to physical health problems, as the markers that something went wrong with our body are more obvious and clear to us. Oppositely, mental health markers tend to remain hidden. Symptoms of mental health problems might be apathy, feeling rundown, insomnia, fatigue, troubles with concentration, lack of inspiration and motivation, bad mood. Because these symptoms are non-specific and have a generic nature they are easy to overlook and blame on other concerns such as too much work, family issues, difficulties in relationships, or even raw weather. But actually, these ignored markers are signals we must take care of ourselves. We have a lot of duties in our lives, even without including being good employees, we have to be a good wife/husband, parent, child, friend. All these drain our mental resources.

Our emotional needs are as much essential as the needs of our bodies. We know, that we need to eat, drink water, have enough physical activity. If we meet all these requirements, we’ll reach good shape. However, our emotional resource is limited. There are situations in which we gain energy, but, there are many more in which we waste it, for example — conflicts, deadlines, stress, physical diseases. And all this combining with a difficult, tense atmosphere in the team or/and personal life, leads to feeling extreme fatigue and exhaustion. In this case, we often questioned ourselves, doubt our own competency.

However, the most important thing is — we should care about our mental health, because it is health.

I often use this metaphor for my clients: when you buy a home plant, there is always a guide on basic care with it (need to be watered three times per week, 100 ml per day). Unfortunately, we come into this world without any guidance. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have to mind ourselves. Taking care of our resources regularly, having enough time for spending on interesting stuff and hobbies are essential.

2.You don’t need superpowers, you are already a hero for us

The point is corporate culture. Practically every CV includes this quality: stress-resistant. It seems to me that is the only place, we have an excellent level of personal control. Actually, stress resistance is an innate quality, moreover, it depends on the character. And it’s ok to be more or less stress-resistant.

A person can be less stress-resistant, but it doesn’t affect the quality of his/her work. In case of low resistance to stress, all you need — is to organize your workplace (reduce triggers or distracting factors) and work itself. But it’s harder to realize this solution if your company wants you to cope with different levels of stress. In other words, corporate culture asks you to be a hero in love with challenges. It’s ok when you are that courageous superhero, but if you are not? When this character is far from your nature, it causes tension. Then, you’ll never feel free to talk about your needs or problems with managers. Because if I admit, I’m not a hero, that I have weakness, that would be a kind of confession: I’ve failed, and I don’t belong here.

It’s a good practice when company leaders and managers inspire their employees to adopt self-care practices and become an example for others to follow. Corporate culture should claim: spending time on yourself is ok, keeping work and life balance is essential. Cause the situation gets graver when it comes to emotional exhaustion. It takes much effort to admit that I suffer from exhaustion and I need help. In this case, corporate culture matters too. A company should be opened to employees’ issues.

Maybe, you’ve heard about the Dutch system, where staying overtime is uncommon and inappropriate. That’s why the Dutch are considered to have the best work-life balance in the world. Opposite to that, we have a culture that declares complete devotion to the work: available every time, every minute I’m ready to check my mail. That is not wrong but can cause bad consequences. We need to learn, how to establish boundaries between personal and professional, other way, our work, and our health will both suffer.

3. Communication is king

The meaning of communication just can’t be overrated. It is a solution to all issues we’ve discussed earlier. That’s a versatile tool for finding out the true situation in a team. After all, communication is a habitual part of us, and companies aren’t faceless beings. Besides, according to the research, employees, who felt involved in detailed corporate communications, reported increased productivity almost 5 times more often.

We are all different and we all have different needs. For instance, extroverts feel comfortable in open space, because he/she can interact with others. Quite in a reverse — an introvert, who prefers to have a more private space. This is all normal, as normal to share your emotions and talk about your needs. Sometimes a person does not even understand, what exactly prevents him/her from being productive. So company leaders should be more initiative and take the first step to help employees. For instance, a company can offer a menu with all possible options for creating the most comfortable working space and environment.

It is also important to realize, that employees will be more open to communication if they feel support. Collecting negative emotions is harmful to everyone. It’s hard to deal with an emotional explosion when the cup of endurance runs over. That’s why managers and leaders should prevent such situations.

There is no magic wand here, but when I’ve, as a manager, noticed, that my colleague feels not comfortable, I ought to be supportive and arrange a conversation. Sometimes asking is enough. It’s a good idea to use I-statement (message)— a type of message that is less provocative comparing with those starting with you. I-message is a style of communication that centers on the feelings or opinions of the speaker rather than on qualities that the speaker attaches to the converser. I-message gives us more chance to be heard.

4. Working remotely: Productive and connected

It’s hard to overcome some barriers even during live conversation. There is always a possibility to be misunderstood. And speaking about online communication, is it even possible to be effective? The answer is yes.

Online communication could be effective, but we must consider, this is a different sort of communication.

Before the lockdown, we preferred to communicate livelily, especially when it came to discussing important private questions. We also had informal conversations. We had small talks near the coffee machine, during lunchtime, while walking to or from the office. Now, it all has turned mostly to formal interaction. Formal correspondence, working communication in chats. But informal communication is essential. After all, we communicate with people not only as colleagues.

And, it seems to me, it is right to bring more casual into corporate communication. Some employees tend to think of their managers as unapproachable, perfect, scary people. It’s ok for managers to show, that I am a real person like you, and I also, for example, have running kids behind my back during the online meeting.

To create a reliable, non-fear-based environment is a basic rule. Our brain targets safe and unsafe situations, people, and objects faster than a blink. And if the situation is dangerous — an employee occupies a defending position. But we are here not for conflicts or fights. Therefore it’s important to create working conditions in which everyone will feel secure.

Thanks for reading so far. Take care of yourself and stay healthy.
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