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Starting The Dialogue On Employee Well-Being

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I’m not sure where the idea started that in order to be successful, you have to prove how much you’ve overworked yourself. Or how little sleep you had when were able to complete all of that work.

Maybe it’s the work ethic of older generations mixed with the drive of the younger crowds who come after them to prove their worth. Whatever the case, it just doesn’t work, not anymore. Luckily, Generation Z seems to be in on that knowledge, according to the UK based magazine, Campaign.

Jonathan Openshaw, editorial director at The Future Laboratory, says there is a power shift afoot in business. “Generation Z have new expectations in the workplace and millennials are already well-known as being professionally promiscuous. Talent is more about change management than ever before,” he explains. According to The Future Laboratory, Generation Z, who will make up 20% of the industry’s talent pool by 2020, do not have faith in existing institutions to provide them with a road map for life. “The sense that burning yourself out is good and necessary to success is being fundamentally challenged,” Openshaw explains.


© Flickr user Ryan_M651

This information doesn’t come as a surprise to NABS, a service in the UK dedicated to public aid and advice. In fact, calls into NABS for emotional support during 2015 were up 67% and only increased during the first half of 2016. Mental health has always been a taboo topic, especially when it comes to discussing depression in the workplace. It’s almost criminal to be depressed or stressed out. But isn’t the state of your mind as important as the state of your body? We talk open and freely about exercise and how to trim down yet many people silently struggle to find the will to leave their bed every day. Diana Tickell of NABS stated:

“If the talent of our people really is our unique selling point, we need to think realistically about what kind of environment we are creating. What we haven’t got to in the UK is embracing our mental health in the same way we talk about exercise. We need to talk more about how we feel.”

So how do you balance being open and honest about your emotional state in the world of business where it’s mostly a dog-eat-dog world? Will we still throw each other under the bus to get that promotion and climb the ladder to success? Probably not. Companies like Glassdoor are busting the image that many industries portray by letting real employees, past or present, tell everyone how it really is at their job. Many businesses are starting to realize that if they want to attract and keep employees, they need to change the way their company works. You don’t get to work and suddenly drop your baggage at the door. How much easier would life be if that were true! Patrick Watt at Bupa explained:

“Wellness is about organisations creating an open culture where staff can seek help when they need it. On a practical level, it is about asking colleagues ‘How are you?’ and being prepared when the answer is bad.”

Hopefully, this will shine a spotlight and revolutionize the workplace. This shift in thinking is truly about many companies stepping out of their comfort zones where work is work and personal life is just personal. If your work demands you show up to work, then that includes bringing your whole self to work. Brandon Atkinson, chief people officer at AppNexus put it best:

“There isn’t a playbook for developing an inclusive culture like there is for bringing yoga and fitness into an organisation. But you cannot be a true advocate of bringing your whole self to work if you don’t address these issues.”

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Alyssa Shea

Alyssa Shea

Alyssa Shea transplanted from Illinois to South Carolina. She loves to write, read, and spend time with her dog and her family. Alyssa is very active on social media. She has been part of the AccelaWork team since 2013.
Alyssa Shea

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