Overwhelm Is An Understatement

Today, I have the privilege of sharing a guest blog post from Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans

What are you doing to lower stress and encourage the wellness of your talented people?

A manager in Dublin bought his employees walking desks so they could get and stay fit. (No – he wasn’t kidding.) Meanwhile another manager in Spain transformed a closet into the perfect space for a much-needed power nap. What’s It All About? The pressures to do more with less. Move faster than the competition. Be more creative, more innovative, more distinct. Do it with fewer dollars. Be available at all times. These pressures push many to say that work just asks too much.
So what about you? What example do you set as a manager, and what do you expect from your people? Ask yourself these questions:

Do I promote workaholism? Am I a workaholic?
Do I expect my employees to travel or work on weekends? How often?
Do I hold numerous early morning or early evening meetings?
Do I compliment employees for their long hours or, instead, for the quality work they complete?

How did you do? Often managers discourage balance by the examples they set or by what they expect and reward. Try this:

*Set the example you want them to follow. If you want them to have more balance in their lives, you have to model it. Share what you do to achieve balance in your life. Your employees may think that you have none. (We hope they’re wrong.)
*Hold a balance discussion at your next staff meeting (or in one-on one meetings). Dedicate the whole meeting to the topic.
*Ask people what they juggle in their lives and what matters most to them. (Be ready to hear that work is not the number one priority for many of them.)
*Support your employees in achieving balance. Encourage the activities that they love; ask about their golf lessons or their children’s school plays.

Stretched and Stressed

Hans Selye, the founder of the field of stress management, said, “To be free of stress is to be dead.” We agree that just living is often stressful. But Selye and others have found that, although optimum levels of stress produce peak performance, overdoses can definitely lead to poor performance and even to illness.
Try some of these stress-busters. You go first – then pass on the ideas to your talented people:
Shift some of the work to others if possible. Think about who could help and how to ask for the help.
Take more breaks. Get up; move around; go for a quick walk.
Take a break from “electronic leashes”—declare a smart-phone-free Wednesday morning (unless that increases the stress!).
Learn relaxation, visualization, or breathing techniques. Take a stress management or mindfulness class.
Exercise as a way to relieve stress. Join a gym or take up power walking, yoga or jogging.
Implement “no meetings on Fridays.” Think of the work you could get done!
Take a vacation—a real one.
Savvy managers view wellness and stress reduction initiatives as strategic business tools, not as employee perks. If your employees are well and feel a balance between work and life outside work, you are far more likely to have a well-functioning organization. Your best employees will work hard, produce for you, and stick around in an environment that promotes their emotional, mental and physical health and fitness.

Beverly Kaye is the Founder of Career Systems International. Sharon Jordan-Evans is the President of the Jordan Evans Group. This blog post is based on concepts from Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. This bestselling book provides twenty-six strategies to keep talented employees happy and productive. In addition to updating and revising all information for the fifth edition, the authors have included more international stories and statistics. Available January 2014 on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere!

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