By Michelle Coates Mather 

Improving work culture is increasingly becoming a priority for many smart companies and a key factor in many job seekers list of must have’s before taking on a new job. 

Burnout is costing Canadian companies a whack load of money and it’s costing Canadian employees their health, sanity and livelihood. This is not a problem companies can afford to ignore.  

But why is this happening?  

We live in a world that wears the “I’m so busy” title with a badge of honour. The lines between work-life and personal-life have never been more blurred. We’re attached to our phones 24 – seven; we’ve become addicted to the idea that we must be available for our employers, our employees, and our clients at ALL times. Finding time for one’s personal wellness is…. well, hardly a priority. 

But it needs to be and now.  

Organizations are ultimately all about people. Real people who have been hired to advance a company’s objectives, vision and values. Each of them is critical to a company’s success. If you’re a smart company you will invest as much time thinking and investing in creating a company culture that is in line with your core values as you would client acquisition, marketing, or project development because the wellness of your employees is essential to your bottom line. Period.  

But here’s the good thing. The overhaul can start with small, even subtle shifts in behaviour that can have a lasting and positive impact.  

So, we asked our Nurtured Life team for the top three “negative” work habits they’ve experienced and how companies could solve them. 

The problem: It’s common for employees to receive emails like this:  

“I know you are home sick today but when you have a moment could you please review and provide feedback on the attached memo before end of day? 

The Fix: Ban sick-day emailsWhat a novel idea? Unless everyone else in your organization is completely incompetent (highly unlikely), there is no reason why you should be emailing your employees when they are ill or home with a sick child, or loved one. Why add unnecessary stress to their already weary state of mind? 

The problem: It’s common for your managers to lean excessively on high performers: 

“I know you have a lot of deliverables on your plate right now, but I really need you take the lead on this file, you’re the only one I trust to deliver.” 

The Fix: Share the workload love!While logically it makes sense to task your most competent employees with the mission critical tasks; you over-reliance on them is a sure fire way to burn them out. Not to mention this tendency is hardly motivating for other team members who aren’t being given a chance to flex their brain muscles and show you what they are made of. Share the workload love. You might just be pleasantly surprised.  

The problem: It’s common for employees and employers to eat their lunches at their desks:

I have way too much work to do! So many deadlines to meet, I don’t have time for lunch today. I’ll just eat at my desk.” 

The Fix: Encourage Self-Care!!! It’s important for bosses to lead by example. If you’re eating at your desk, they likely are too. Why not have a healthy lunch brought in for your team from time to time, or start a lunchtime break challenge to entice your team to get out of the office, or eat with their colleagues in your boardroom. Let them see you getting out of the office for a run or walk, or better yet, have a personal trainer or yoga instructor come to your office at lunchtime to get those bums out of those seats. Start prioritizing your own self-care and they’ll get the signal that it’s okay for them to do the same.

Michelle is Director of Content Marketing and Communications of Nurtured Life Company. Mama to two beautiful kiddos, Michelle is an advocate for re-defining work-life culture to meet today’s modern realities. She believes we all have the power to prioritize personal well-being; sometimes it’s just a matter of getting out of our own way.

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