How are you feeling right now? Tired? Burned out? If so, you’re not alone.
Workplace stress is a growing epidemic in the U.S., costing over $300 billion each year in lost productivity, sick time and job turnover. And it affects people at every level – 87% of workers worldwide say they are not engaged at work. 96% of senior leaders say that they’re burned out!
That’s why it’s so critical to overcome this global crisis by challenging the collective delusion that burnout is the price we have to pay for success. The science is clear that when we prioritize our well-being, our productivity, decision making, and creativity go up across the board.
We recently hosted a webinar Your Quick-Start Guide to Thriving Employees with Joey Hubbard, Director of Trainings at Thrive Global, Maeve Lucas, Managing Director and Account Strategist at Accenture, and Lisa Holden, Employer Communications Manager at Glassdoor.
State of the State on Workplace Stress and Burnout
41% of employees believe that work-life balance is impossible to achieve. It’s more important than ever for employees to find a job that fits their life, and for employers to actively showcase what they can offer in terms of work-life balance for their employees.
Technology is a huge driver of productivity and innovation, but it can also be really detrimental to our work-life balance, so the question becomes how do we manage the way technology has removed the barriers between work life and home life.
Burnout does not need to be the price we pay for success. Hubbard talks about how – instead of going after work-life balance – we can find work-life integration by addressing the whole human. By changing our perspective, people are can respond to themselves in a way that allows them fulfilling work and home lives.
Collective Delusion Debunked
Hubbard discusses our collective delusion – the belief that overwork, burnout and long hours are how we get ahead. That delusion, he says, is no longer accurate. The science tells us that people working longer hours are not as productive because mental and physical fatigue messes with cognitive function. So it follows that when you change your approach, the culture of translating that science into an everyday reality will impact their lives positively.
The 4 Pillars of a Healthy, Mindful, Successful Life
At Thrive Global, they look at wellness in terms of 4 pillars: wellbeing, wisdom, wonder and giving. Because it’s relatively simple to diagnose issues and much harder to implement change, the question for them becomes: how do we shift global wellness so there’s a downstream effect that decreases preventable stress-related diseases. It’s all about making sure that people have what they need to take care of their health and wellness so that they can bring their thriving selves to the workplace.
Sleep: The Ultimate Performance Enhancer
1 in 3 adults doesn’t get enough sleep (7–9 hours) on a regular basis. Looking at the science around behavior change raises the question: how do you create change in a process that’s simple and easy to implement? Neuroplasticity allows us to change neural pathways that are consistent and daily. High-performers tend to want to take on several things at once, but they fall off the wagon. What’s more effective is doing small things strategically; there’s greater impact because there’s a low barrier to entry.
The key is practicing one thing over and over again – whether it’s cutting out caffeine after 2pm, reading a book before bed, or creating a bedtime routine – in microsteps to get the best result. At Accenture, it’s about building the idea of health into their core company values, which means reframing outdated perceptions about what commands the highest praise: “heroics” like pulling an all-nighter or consistently contributing high-quality work?
Key Microsteps for Unplugging and Recharging
We’re addicted to being plugged in. It’s a problem – and it’s getting worse. It’s critical to find small ways we can correct for the toll that takes so that instead of we controlling it, instead of it controlling us. The question is: How do we take charge so that we can allow ourselves to be focused and really connect? Because that ability to connect is key to our ability to have a thriving life.
71% of Americans sleep with smartphones next to their beds. And it’s not surprising. We get dopamine surge when we plug in, which clouds our conscious knowledge of how often we look for that hit. Studies have shown that just like other addictions it can take up to 72 hours of being away from our phones for our systems to really relax. Here are a few microsteps recommended by Thrive Global:
- Eat lunch away from your desk without your phone
- Take a walking meeting
- Practice meditation
- Set a designated time off of email
- Have device-free meetings
- Encourage employees to go device-free at dinner
These simple changes are creating impact in work life and home life that’s playing a big role in reducing burnout and increasing motivation and overall wellbeing.
How Your Company Can Help Employees Thrive
- Walk the talk. Make it a point to reward steady, solid work rather than grand acts of workplace heroics – and model that behavior at an executive level.
- Refine your employer brand. Organizations that prioritize employer brand are 130% more likely to see increases in employee engagement.
- Engage your employees. Solicit honest feedback by giving employees a platform where they submit feedback anonymously. When you have pros and cons, you can analyze and respond accordingly.
- Embrace feedback and transparency. 90% of job seekers say it’s important to work for a company that embraces transparency; 65% agree that their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.
- Use analytics and tools. Use technology to pulse check your employes on a regular basis so you can identify highs and lows, pay closer attention, then work to make changes.
Set your company apart by letting your candidates and employees know you prioritize their wellbeing and understand the connection between thriving employees and a thriving business.
The science is clear that when we reduce stress and burnout, we make better decisions, we’re more creative, collaborative, focused and productive. Wellbeing enhances productivity, so offering a work environment that supports employee well being is an unqualified win-win. Take the Glassdoor Pledge to Thrive, and get a badge on your Glassdoor profile that showcases your company’s well-being policies.