5 Ways To Encourage Your Team To Practice Self-Care At Work
Self-care is a concept that took the world by storm. Gaining traction in the 2010s — and really picking up steam around 2015 — self-care is something that many people grasped onto in a world that felt increasingly chaotic.
On Instagram alone, there are nearly 24 million usages of the hashtag #selfcare, many alongside pictures of self-care moments, such as bubble baths, time in nature, or even eating a plate of french fries (or some other guilty pleasure). Self-care is a way to slow down and give back to yourself in a way that works for you.
Despite the fact that self-care seems to be everywhere, it’s less common at work. Not surprisingly, few people consider responding to emails, attending meetings, and conversing with clients to be self-care. But because work tends to take up the majority of our hours, self-care is often put on the back burner until the workday is over.
Meanwhile, employees are feeling burned out, overwhelmed, and downright exhausted.
It’s up to an organization’s leadership to encourage self-care to keep employees happy and healthy. In turn, employees remain productive and motivated at work.
At CareContent, self-care isn’t a buzzword — it’s a part of who we are. We recognize that taking some time to ourselves helps us perform better as a team. Here are 5 ways to encourage self-care on your team to benefit not just your employees, but also your company as a whole.
1. Establish online — and offline — hours.
Whether you’re a team of five or five hundred, establishing — and sticking to — set work hours can go a long way with self-care.
As many companies shifted from working in the office to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, people actually ended up working more hours than before. In the US, UK, Austria, and Canada, employees working from home worked an average of 2.5 hours more than before the pandemic.
As a team, establish hours when employees are expected to be available — and also when they can completely shut off — to avoid confusion and frustration. Outside of these set hours, there should be no expectation to respond to emails, attend meetings, or even put mental space into work.
2. But allow for flexibility when possible.
While set hours lead to consistency, also offer flexibility when you can to promote self-care.
Previously, commutes, drives to lunch, and the infamous “water cooler chats” broke up the day. Now, as employees sit in front of their computer at home, let your team take breaks when they need to. Allow your employees to attend a doctor appointment during the workday, take a long lunch every once in a while, or take a walk midday to unwind.
As long as your team is meeting deadlines, remaining productive, and communicating effectively, let them figure out how to get there.
3. Actually encourage taking time off.
These past couple of years have consisted of a lot of time at home — and very little time anywhere else. Due to COVID-19, many people canceled vacations, get-togethers, and other reasons for time off.
Unfortunately, this is the opposite of self-care.
Time off doesn’t have to be taken for just vacations. You can also encourage time off in other ways. You can standardize certain days off, such as half-day Fridays in the summer or mandatory birthdays off. Or, you can simply be vocal about letting your team know they can and should take time off, even if they’re just bingeing Netflix all day.
4. Have meaningful conversations about self-care.
The best way to know how your team is doing is to actually ask them. At CareContent, we are committed to getting honest feedback from all team members.
While we have our approach, there are plenty of ways to do this, such as surveys, one-on-one meetings, and round-robin check-ins during larger meetings. A combination of a few of these approaches can ensure you’re getting the information you’re looking for.
Go beyond asking them how they are — ask them what they need. What would help them practice self-care, maintain a work-life balance, and feel appreciated in their role?
Then, of course, it’s absolutely crucial to follow up on requests in a real way.
5. Set a self-care example for your team.
Everyone needs self-care, including business leaders. But practicing self-care will not only help you — it will also ensure your team knows self-care is a priority in your organization.
Whether it’s sticking to a morning workout, setting an email signature that identifies your online hours, or taking a mental health day every once in a while, make sure your employees know that you practice self-care.
Model the behavior you want to see in your workforce, support their endeavors, and then watch your employees thrive.
Small Gestures Lead To Big Changes In Self-Care
Even small gestures can make a big impact on your team. Give your team an extra day off around the holidays. Send out a small e-gift card with a note saying, “Coffee is on us this morning!” Or, just take the time to say “thank you” to your team.
Self-care is all the rage in organizations recently, but it’s important to practice what we preach. Encourage your team to practice self-care for the benefit of their health and your overall company’s health.
At CareContent, we create content like this to drive traffic to your site. Let us know how we can help you with your content strategy goals.
CEOs Need Self-Care, Too: 3 Self-Care Tips For Business Leaders (And Anyone Else)
Do you work to live — or live to work?
This is a question that a lot of career-minded people grapple with. When you love your work, it’s easy to become obsessed with it. But, it’s also important to maintain a healthy balance. And that starts with self-care.
Self-care has been a bit of a buzzword recently, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people have found themselves working from home, and then having a tough time putting a hard stop on work. Others are in fields that have been particularly demanding during the pandemic, such as healthcare or information technology. And others are simply taking their extra time and putting it toward work.
CEOs are particularly susceptible to overworking, and COVID-19 hasn’t made it easy to disconnect. This can affect not just their well-being, but also their ability to lead, guide, and inspire.
Overworking isn’t just unhealthy for leaders — it can negatively impact their companies, too. If CEOs consistently put work over their own health, employees may feel the need to follow suit.
Here are 3 ways CEOs can — and should — practice self-care, with a few tips on how some CEOs (including our very own) make it a priority in their lives.
1. Start small, then build on your self-care routine.
When you run a company, there are a lot of people who need you. While you’re being pulled in different directions, it can seem downright impossible to make time for self-care.
Start small with your self-care. Do a 5-minute meditation session each morning, join an online workout class, or set aside 10 minutes to journal each evening.
Or, take after Founder and CEO of CareContent, Kadesha Thomas Smith, and do something simple — get some sleep. “I have realized that I am not in my 20s anymore. I cannot function at a high level on a low level of sleep. If I wake up and send my kids off to school and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten enough sleep, I will get back into bed,” she says.
Remember, if you’re one of the many CEOs now working from home, you might have extra time on your hands without having to commute anywhere. Munjal Shah, Cofounder and CEO of Health IQ says before COVID-19, he would have lost hours of his week to his commute. Now, he’s found more time — and more consistency — for workouts.
Take note of how each act of self-care makes you feel, and keep doing the ones that provide a noticeable benefit. Before you know it, you’ll have a routine that not only works, but works well for you.
2. Separate work from home — figuratively and literally.
If you’re working from home (or constantly taking the office back to your home), now’s the time to draw a line in the sand. Work and home need separation for both to thrive on their own.
Set aside a time, space, and even dress code for work. By dressing the part and going into a separate physical space, you can get into work mode. More importantly, you can leave work mode when your workday is over by leaving that space and dressing down.
Consider turning your email off for weekends (or a time that makes sense for your company), like CareContent’s CEO. “I turn off my work email Friday evening — and I don’t turn it back on until Sunday night or sometimes even Monday morning. I am tempted to check that email over the weekend, which could lead to work over the weekend, and that would not be giving myself a healthy break,” Kadesha explains.
Leave weekends and evenings for time with family, friends, and, of course, yourself. And encourage your employees to do the same, like Kim Lawton, Founder and CEO of Enthuse Marketing Group. Since the pandemic, she’s not only insisted that employees take frequent breaks, but she’s also encouraged them to end their workdays earlier to maintain a work-life balance.
3. Make self-care a work thing.
Great CEOs lead by example, and that includes with self-care. If you prioritize wellness in your daily schedule, your employees will know that’s not just acceptable, but encouraged.
CareContent’s CEO does this with exercise. “I consider my workouts sacred time. I work out four times a week, typically in the morning. That time is untouchable. I don’t schedule any meetings, I don’t have any tasks. All of my priorities orbit around that time for the day,” Kadesha says.
This act of self-care sets the tone at CareContent, and it’s become a part of our culture. As a result, it’s not uncommon for an employee to take a walk for a quick break during the workday or discuss their most recent workout achievement with a coworker over G-chat.
You can also make self-care a company-wide priority. For instance, Patrick Bardsley, CEO and Cofounder of Spectrum Designs, has begun offering mindfulness sessions during work hours to prioritize both mental and physical health. He emphasizes that there should be no stigma for taking care of either one.
Whether you start a wellness competition, set up a company-wide virtual workout program, or simply allow employees to talk a walk over their lunch break, there are plenty of ways to bring self-care into the office.
Self-Care Your Way To Success
Working endless hours might feel like you’re being productive, but it can actually have the opposite effect. Even as the head of a company, it’s important to take breaks and allow your brain time to process work and stimulate news ideas. This also makes work seem less tedious and overwhelming, putting you in a better mood (a win-win for everyone).
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance starts with self-care. By making self-care a priority — and encouraging your employees to do the same — everyone in your company benefits.