Watching Shonda Rhimes on TED rekindled my dormant desire to write thank-you cards more often. So, I’m kickstarting my 365 days of thank-you-note writing. Here’s my first installment, a public thank you to the Thrift Shop man:
Should employees be held responsible for their employees’ health? Some say yes. Should we go so far as to include Employee Health as a line item on the annual report? Possibly.
Of course employers should support worker well-being. But should companies be held accountable for those employees who choose to smoke, booze it up (after hours, of course) or refuse to exercise or meditate. Now, that’s a slippery slope.
Your tinsel doesn’t twinkle. Your snow doesn’t glisten. Your santa doesn’t jingle. Humbug is your go-to quip.
Hark, there’s hope!
If your annual Scrooge is workin’ for you, then keep it up! But if you want to feel better, here’s how:
Wake up, sip your cocoa and head out the door with jingle bells in tow. Today is a new day. And “Thank You” is your new phrase. Memorize it. Stick it in your pocket. Pull it out at every hint of Grinch squirt.
Meditation is not one-size-fits-all. If a quiet-your-mind approach doesn’t work, try a mantra-based session, where you repeat a word (e.g., “calm”) or group of words (e.g., “I am calm”) of your choice for several minutes. If a mantra doesn’t resonate, try just listening to nature sounds and focusing on your breath. Do a little research on the different types of meditation.
As I walked through the halls of High Point Market last week and NeoCon in June, I remembered what a profound effect design can have on our well-being. Our work as designers, architects and contractors can make a huge impact in commercial and residential design. From the type of lighting we choose to the way we situate our structures on a plot of land.
I’m reposting my open letter to CEOs because I want the word out. We as managers, as directors, as presidents, as chiefs, we as leaders of all types have a responsibility to not only do right by our customers but also, and possibly more importantly, to do right by our employees. Employee well-being and customer satisfaction are inextricably linked. Happy employees, happy company, happy customers. Please pass this on and embrace it yourself, as we’re all leaders in one form or another…
If it’s true that actively disengaged workers are costing the US $550 billion (Gallup) in economic activity annually and stress is costing American businesses $300 billion per year (World Health Organization), doesn’t it follow that even if we make slight improvements in employees’ lives, the net savings or contributions to economic activity could be in the hundreds of millions, if not in the billions?
How do we do this? There’s no pill…no single solution; however, small steps add up to big changes. One small step is tweaking how we view our employees. Whole beings who have whole lives walk through the office doors each morning with whole stuff going on…stuff from home, stuff from yesterday at work…emotional stuff, mental stuff, physical stuff, spiritual stuff, social stuff (some add environmental). How can you, as a CEO, address each of these facets of health in each of your employees?
As we work to lift the mental health stigma, we’re missing the boat. The conversation should be: What can we do to promote a mentally healthy environment for ourselves and others every day?
Mental health is a spectrum; don’t delude yourself, we’re all on it. It ranges from “normal” emotions to “abnormal” emotions…from happy and perky at one end to suicidal thoughts at the other. And most of us aren’t hovering around happy and perky.
We don’t realize how much our daily emotional and mental health affects us. How we feel affects every single thing in our worlds. Just take a snapshot of any scenario from yesterday. What happened? What were your feelings around the event? How did you react? How did you feel physically based on what you thought and did in response? If it was a negative exchange at work, for example, maybe you got a knot in your stomach and couldn’t concentrate on your project for 45 minutes after the encounter.
I propose a twist on the oft-annoying and unproductive team-building retreat. Instead of meandering through a corn maze (ahem, which I have done), take your team on an outing that will really produce some change…through awareness.
Dig in the dirt. Get in there with your hands and on your knees. Plant small plants individually. Plant large shrubs and trees as a group. Dig. Pat. Shake. Rake. Mulch…make it pretty. Perfect for a service project, too. Donate the team’s time to a local Habitat® project.
There’s something strangely powerful about walking meditations.
While walking along the Seine in Paris, I zoomed in on my feet and videoed myself teetering on the cobblestones. As you’ll see in the video, I’m walking way too fast for a walking meditation; but you will be drawn in by the movement and the sounds…just as I was. The meddlesome thoughts about your boss or your spouse will disappear as you take each step along with me. You’ll hear the captivating Notre Dame bells in the background and my tourist comrades’ voices fading in and out.
Grab your phone, or equally fun recording device, and make one for yourself and notice how transfixed you become.
**Check out our YouTube channel for more walking meditations.**