We designated the month of September “Wellness Month” at Business Talent Group (BTG). One of the driving reasons for my joining BTG just about a year ago was the organization’s core values, which underpin our company culture. With wellbeing a top priority in our company, it wasn’t a surprise to me when Kathy, our Head of People, and our Co-CEOs, Jody and Amelia, asked our culture team to implement wellness initiatives aimed at bolstering our people as we navigate pandemic life and virtual working.
I took a lesson from a Fortune 500 manufacturing organization, where I consulted for a two-year period during my tenure at Deloitte. The company’s culture was focused on safety—no surprise given that many of their employees work in factories and production lines. That safety culture permeated the company, and leadership would begin every meeting with a safety tip. Each meeting, one attendee would be designated to come prepared with a few pointers about safety in the context of a particular topic—as for me, one summer I covered pool safety and, another time, the importance of sunscreen. This simple but important practice, among others, seemed to considerably move the needle on the number of accidents and injuries in the workplace. So if we were to advocate for wellness at Business Talent Group, I knew we needed to make it a top-of-mind topic throughout the organization.
Twice weekly during September, I started our internal company meetings with a five-minute overview on different wellness practices. Here are some of the topics I covered that you might be interested in exploring as you seek ways to focus on wellness within your organization:
- Practicing Gratitude: Research shows that practicing gratitude increases overall happiness and wellness. This is sometimes referred to as the “Gratitude Advantage.” Three simple ways to build the gratitude muscle include:
- Writing daily about the things that we are grateful for, known as gratitude journaling
- Celebrating three wins a day, no matter how small
- Deliberately and specifically expressing gratitude to people in your life (family, friends, colleagues, etc.—whether in person or by text, e-mail, or phone)
- “Forest Bathing”: Also known as “nature therapy,” forest bathing originated in Japan and encourages immersion in nature (forests, in particular) to transform your health and happiness. The movement has considerable momentum right now, especially in places where forests and mountains abound, such as the western United States. You can read more from an expert, Dr. Qing Li, in his book Forest Bathing.
- Making time to laugh and be kind: Both laughter and kindness have demonstrable health benefits for both the giver and the receiver. These practical tips for practicing kindness are easy to implement—and most of them are possible even while social distancing.
- Taking care of your eyes: With frequent Zoom meetings, extended work hours because of a lack of commute, and overall increased screen time, our eyes are more vulnerable than ever to strain and fatigue. The American Academy of Opthamology suggests some simple interventions that can help with this.
- CBT journaling: The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy journaling method uses the principles of CBT—traditionally carried out in-office with a therapist (or, these days over Zoom)—and allows an individual to process anxiety, stress, or other emotions through journaling. There are free templates available online, which you can print, compile and write on, but a number of companies also produce journals for purchase. I was impressed by one from Therapy Notebooks, created by psychologists and designers, and had it delivered to my door. It’s quite a beauty!
These days, many companies are offering employees a wellness stipend to cover the purchase of books, anti-glare glasses, yoga mats, gratitude journals, and other items. It’s one way for leadership and employees to support each other and create a company culture that values health and wellbeing.
BTG’s focus on wellness has gone a long way for many of our people, and we are pleased to share these tips with other organizations as you consider keeping your employees happy for the continued social distancing our world expects.
Tatiana Hoff is a Client Success Principal at BTG. For fifteen years, she has advised and served organizations across industries to elevate the employee experience through human capital, strategic communications, and transformation initiatives.