Category Archives: Workplace

Leadership in Times of Crisis

Leadership in times of crisis

Hard times are when we need Leadership more than ever. Leadership is not a part time job. It’s about showing up as a leader every day. There are no born leaders, leadership is not about being chosen. Leadership is about choosing to do the right thing that will make a difference in the most amount of lives in the shortest amount of time, that is sustainable and scalable. That’s what great leaders are all about.

Great leaders require three things. The Right Psychology, The Right Methodology, and Flexibility.

Starting with the right psychology

Crisis = opportunity. That is the psychology of a leader. Whenever there’s a problem or a crisis, on the other side of that crisis, there is always opportunity. In order for us to find that opportunity, we have to ask ourselves three questions. First, where is the good in this? Second, what can we learn from this? And finally, the third question is, how can we use this to find opportunities to improve the quality of our lives, our organizations, our families, and our tribes? You’ve got to get your psychology right.

Second, is the right methodology

This is about following a simple five step system that will make the biggest difference in the shortest amount of time that is scalable and sustainable. The five simple steps of this methodology are as follows.

Leadership in Times of Crisis
  1. A vision that outlives the leader

“Without a vision people perish.” Proverbs 29:18. You need a vision, and not just any vision. But a crystal clear vision that can outlive you. This is the only way for it to be sustainable and scalable. Your vision needs to be set up so your tribe is empowered with the opportunity to also implement the vision forever. Whether it’s within an organization, a government, a family.

How do you know your vision can outlive you? Ask yourself, “Does my product, service or organization stand for something that makes a difference in people’s lives long term?”

This is what leaders need to ask themselves, if their vision incorporates others and makes a difference -not just in their own family or their organization, but the world? Establishing a vision allows people to stand for something and not just fall for anything – especially in tough times.

  1. Communication

The number one skill of all leaders is their ability to influence and persuade. Your ability to communicate is in direct proportion with you turning your vision into a reality. Without the ability to communicate, your vision will never be realized or accomplished. Are you communicating your vision in a way, so your tribe practically buys into it? Or are you dictating — forcing your vision upon your tribe? The second type is the fastest way to stop your vision from ever being realized.

There are two styles of leadership and communicating. There’s a Socratic way and there’s an Autocratic way. Socratic leadership is actually asking questions and enrolling and getting buy in for your vision from your tribe. It’s long term and sustainable. The second style is Autocratic, and it also works. However, it’s basically dictating and telling people what to do, which is not sustainable for the long term if you want to develop other leaders and empower them to maintain your vision.

  1. Demonstration

In order for any vision or leader to stay on top to continue leading a tribe or an organization, the most important thing is the ability to demonstrate the core values of an organization that represent achieving the vision. Does the leader demonstrate the example of what needs to be done to empower people from the bottom to the top and the top to the bottom of the organization? This is what allows people to step up and become an example and a leader themselves.

  1. Meaningful Education

The number one thing that empowers us to change the world is education. It’s no wonder the word education was derived from the latin word “Educere” which means “to bring forth” the best in others. Are you bringing out the best in others? Do you teach them how to think, and not just what to do? Ultimately, what changes our world more than anything, is our ability to educate and empower our people and teams to learn to think for themselves. This is how you future proof your business or organisation by creating future leaders who will carry on your vision forever.

  1. Implementation

In times of crisis, There are two kinds of companies. The Quick and the Dead. Which one are you? Your ability to implement your vision and be nimble on your feet as a leader, as an organization — will determine how fast that you can pivot and adjust to the marketplace. The crisis or the opportunity tests your organization to sustain growth in good times and in bad. There will always be a winter, spring summer or fall in life and business. Can you weather the storm of the winter? So that in the spring, you can grow again, and in summer, you can reap the benefits and prepare in the good times as well as the bad? Your business needs to be battle tested. The only way to do that is to weather all the seasons.

Finally, the third key for leadership is Flexibility

This is the ability to adapt to the situation to be flexible and continue making a difference by altering strategies to achieve the vision. The law of the universe is “You Either Grow or Die”. and if you are not adapting to the situation, your company is going to suffer. Depending on how big of a business you have, most businesses if not all, are being forced to work on a skeletal workforce right now, during these times of crisis. Your ability to be flexible can be determined by you implementing what I call the Three W’s and the Three S’s so that you can evaluate your business every week.

Ask yourself these three questions, “What’s working, What’s not working, and What can I do differently”? Finally, once you answer those questions, you ask yourself “What should I STOP doing? What should I START doing? and what should I STREAMLINE?”

This is what I call the ultimate leadership system. At the end of the day, the only thing that changes the world is leadership, individuals putting others and the greater good before themselves. With the right psychology, methodology and flexibility. We can all change the world. Help me change the world.

John-Rankins

John Rankins

Business Growth Expert

This article was first published on WorkLife CoronaVirus Edition

Has CoronaVirus Attacked Your Career

Has CoronaVirus attacked your career harder than your immune system?

The majority of the world’s workforce is currently going through a challenging, unpredicted situation, so if you’ve lost your job or are facing job loss and feeling overwhelmed or under-prepared, don’t panic- you’re not alone!

First and foremost, recognize and remind yourself as often as necessary that this is not your fault. You’re not in your current situation because you made bad decisions, didn’t work hard enough or didn’t plan properly. There are things in life within our control and things in life outside our control, and this is one that’s out of our control. We can’t control the circumstances, but we can control how we react to them.

Being thrust into isolation further complicates the situation for many of us that aren’t used to working from home, aren’t able to work from home, or have children in the household to look after. Some of us are going to have to accept immediately available work, even if it’s not what we want in the long-term, and others are going to become freelancers or entrepreneurs launching the business idea we’ve had for years!

Whatever your situation, a good place to start is by defining or reevaluating your “why”. Your “Why” is your vision, your purpose and your bigger picture reason for why you do the work you do each day. Before all this virus chaos started, how aligned was the life you were living with the life you want to be living? Having worked in recruitment for the past 15 years, I can confidently say that before the virus struck, there were hundreds of thousands of people unsatisfied with their jobs/careers/incomes. If you are one of them, there’s no better time than now to make a change. As many of us are being hurdled into forced change, let’s remember that it can be a very good thing!

Has CoronaVirus Attacked Your Career
Has CoronaVirus attacked your career harder than your immune system?

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Here are some questions that might help you discover or rediscover your “Why”:

  • What do/did you like about your current/most recent work?
  • What don’t/ didn’t you like about your current/most recent work?
  • What are some of your top skills and best characteristics?
  • How or where could you utilize them? What industries require similar skills?
  • What makes you stand out from others with a similar education/work experience?
  • What would you be doing for work if anything/everything was an option?

Now that we’ve established a strong mental foundation, it’s going to be important that those of us looking for work or anticipating the need to look for work in the near future are productive and taking action now so we can come out the other side of this on top!

Here are five productive actions you can take, while in isolation or lockdown to set yourself up for success!

  1. Update your CV/ Resume/ LinkedIn Profile. When listing employment, education, and responsibilities, start with the most relevant/impressive ones and leave the less relevant/ impressive ones for the bottom of the list. Highlight your transferable skills, characteristics and qualities, and emphasize what makes you stand out from others with a similar background. Lastly, be more memorable by including volunteer work, awards and recognition, a famous quote, a photo or something unique that would catch a hiring manager’s attention.
  2. Apply for local jobs or remote work that’s being advertised online. A lot of companies are also going through transition periods and many employers will still be engaging with candidates, conducting video interviews, and even beginning digital training for new starts.
  3. Prepare a few interview outfits including shoes and accessories, then take a photo of them so you don’t waste time the day of an interview worrying about what to wear!
  4. Practice roleplaying common interview questions with a friend, relative, flatmate, etc. You don’t have to live together- practice over the phone or video call. If you’re both looking for work, alternate interviewer and interviewee!
  5. For those of you looking to start your own business, check out the book I published last year called From Freelance to Freedom where you can learn more about my business journey and receive practical advice for launching and scaling your business. (Available on Amazon as a kindle download or paperback for a heavily reduced price due to the pandemic)

Be sure to follow up and follow through! If an employer is debating between two equally qualified candidates, and one of them phones in to follow up, they might decide to go with that applicant because of their pro-active nature.

Remember, your self-talk and mentality are a massive factor in your ability to thrive and achieve career success. Hiring Managers are humans which means they have a limited attention span and can forget things. Taking action now, being memorable, and following up can make a difference.

Kristen O'Connell

Kristen O’Connell

Founder and Director of Superlative Recruitment, Ltd

This article was first published on WorkLife CoronaVirus Edition

Amazon-and-Jeff-Bezos

COVID 19–What is Jeff Bezos doing?

In times of crisis and uncertainty, we all know that leaders must communicate – and communicate well. Amazon has over 700,000 employees all over the world. On March 21, 2020, Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, sent a letter to all their employees.

So, what did Jeff Bezos say to them and is there a “template” we can follow to communicate with our teams, employees, and followers? (Go here to read the full text of his letter)

I believe there are seven (7) main ideas we can replicate for those who are looking to us for leadership. And while directed to employees, Bezos’ letter also communicates the way ahead for Amazon customers, suppliers, and third-party sellers.

1. Acknowledge Reality

Bezos opens his letter with, “This isn’t business as usual, and it’s a time of great stress and uncertainty.” Your employees know we are in uncharted waters. Platitudes won’t work. All of us are under great stress. Bezos says, “Across the world, people are feeling the economic effects of this crisis, and I’m sad to tell you I predict things are going to get worse before they get better.”

Amazon-and-Jeff-Bezos

2. Reinforce the mission

When Bezos founded Amazon, he knew its core purpose and message. In his original 1997 Letter to Shareholders, Bezos said, “we are working to build something important, something that matters to our customers, something that we can all tell our grandchildren about.” Bezos reinforces that original vision by saying, “It’s also a moment in time when the work we’re doing is its most critical. We’re providing a vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable.”

3. What we are doing now?

Bezos explains the steps Amazon is taking (and already has taken) to adapt to the dramatic increase in orders. He says exactly what Amazon is doing, “We’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering essential items like household staples, sanitizers, baby formula, and medical supplies.

They have prioritized delivering essential items to customers most in need.
In a time when many are fearing for their jobs, Amazon is hiring 100,000 new temporary workers to get orders out. “We hope people who’ve been laid off will come work with us until they’re able to go back to the jobs they had.”

4. Gratitude

Bezos says thank you. “I’m not alone in being grateful for the work you are doing.” Let your employees know you appreciate their effort in continuing to help your clients or customers. And let them know when customers are saying thank you by passing along notes of thanks and encouragement. Employees need to feel valued, especially now. “Your efforts are being noticed…” Everyone is at risk these days, and being noticed and valued is especially important when people are working and feeling scared and unsettled.

5.Protection

Bezos explains the steps they are taking to protect workers who are not able to work from home, especially those vital workers in their fulfilment centers. Again, Bezos acknowledges reality, “When our turn for masks comes, our first priority will be getting them in the hands of our employees and partners working to get essential products to people.” And he makes a commitment that it’s not a “once and done.” “We are meeting every day, working to identify additional ways to improve on these measures.” Employees need to know this is a process that will have attention daily in this volatile time.

6. Reassurance

Let your employees know there is always a future. And leadership involves letting those who work for you, and with you, know that you are still looking toward the future and there is hope.

Bezos says, “My own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role. I want you to know Amazon will continue to do its part, and we won’t stop looking for new opportunities to help.”

And, Bezos is personal. This isn’t just theory or rhetoric. He rightly says, “There is no instruction manual for how to feel at a time like this, and I know this causes stress for everyone. My list of worries right now — like yours I’m sure — is long…”

7. Mindset — Believe It’s Always Day 1

How has Amazon been able to react to this crisis so quickly? It all comes down to mindset.
Day 1 is not simply a list of steps or strategies. It is the mentality through which all decisions are made. It is the anchor for acknowledging and remembering their beginning values and their dogged focus on serving the needs of customers and in “delighting” customers—even in turbulent times.

It is designed to keep everyone in the company focused on doing what is right in each situation, just like the first day you were open for business. Because, like a child’s tower of building blocks, if the foundation isn’t stable, the tower will come tumbling down. And then it’s Day 2, which is “Stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

So, can we use Bezos’ letter as a template for us to communicate well? I think Bezos’ closing words are actually the most important and essential for all of us to remember.

“Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. I know that we’re going to get through this, together.”

Steve-and-Karen-Anderson

Steve & Karen Anderson

Steve is a Trusted Authority on Risk, Technology, Productivity, and Innovation.

Steve and his wife, Karen, are the authors of the The Bezos Letters: 14 Principles to Grow Your Business Like Amazon (Morgan James) a Wall Street Journal, USA Today bestseller, and Forbes Top Pick for 2020.

This article was first published on WorkLife CoronaVirus Edition

Impact-of-Coronavirus-in-the-Workplace

What to do if your employees are anxious about coronavirus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is also impacting on employees mental health. But there are things you can do to protect your staff.

There has been an escalation in coronavirus cases globally in the last 48 hours. In response, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s is enacting the pandemic emergency response. We know that there will be a lot of employees experiencing a higher than usual level of stress right now.

From a workplace mental health perspective, during this time of fear and uncertainty, employees may be experiencing:

  • Concern for their health and that of their friends, families and co-workers.
  • Uncertainty about the economic impact on their organisation, and therefore their future employment
  • Difficulty managing changes in the way they conduct their regular job tasks
  • Frustration with the uncertainty as to how long this situation will last and how severe it will become

Learn more about Workplace Mental Health Strategies…


And when people are stressed and fearful, people respond in a variety of ways. And when people are stressed, it is common for people to:

  •  become anxious or irritable
  • experience conflict with co-worker’s
  • feel demotivated or disengaged
  • lower their productivity
  • and a whole host of other responses.

Our hearts go out to the many of the workplaces we support that have staff and clients in affected areas, with some either previously or currently in quarantine. Many others are concerned about how the virus might impact their employees and their business in the coming weeks and or months.

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For these reasons, we felt it timely to reach out and let you know about some of the ways in which we are ready to assist you in supporting your teams during this difficult time:

  1.  Online training programs – on mental health and wellbeing, resilience and mindfulness specifically but also the opportunity to upskill and keep staff engaged while regular duties might not be possible.
  2. Interactive webinar sessions on how to manage stress and change. Specifically, in the context of the Coronavirus.
  3. Online individual counselling and coaching
  4. Consulting with leadership teams on workforce wellbeing strategy.

Our qualified, expert mental health professionals in Australia, the UK, and the USA, are ready to deliver support or training in Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and English.

We know that workplaces can be a great source of support to staff, and we’d like to see workplaces come together to look after each other during this time.

Please check the World Health Organization’s (WHO) resources on the Coronavirus (COVID 19)

If there is anything we can do to assist with that, please get in touch. We are here to help.

Bad-Boss-in-workplaces

Mental Health Expert Warns: 8 types of manager you could avoid for a mentally healthy workplace

Bad bosses are to blame for rise in workplace mental health issues

A recent study commissioned by global staffing business, Robert Half, showed that half of workers surveyed quit due to a bad boss. The survey results seem to support the theory that people leave managers, not companies.

Mental Health Expert and the CEO of the Workplace Mental Health Institute, Peter Diaz has warned that bad bosses are contributing to a rise in mental health issues in the workplace. We already know that workplaces are increasingly under more pressure due to the state of the global economy and the level of digital disruption happening across all industries. These pressures are being felt by many people as employees are being asked to do more with less time. At a time when employees need to be further supported given the challenging economic environment, it seems many businesses and managers haven’t got the memo.

Peter Diaz says there are eight types of bad managers you could avoid for a mentally healthy workplace.

1. Rude and Insulting Managers
This type of manager seems to find joy in making others feel less powerful or special. They openly criticise you in front of others and even raise their voice from time to time. Whether they do it on purpose or do it without even realising, this type of behaviour is incredibly destructive. You can let them know how their actions affect you however often this behaviour is attached to narcissistic personalities and those who feel threatened by others. Giving them feedback is unlikely to change their behaviour.

3. Disorganised and Last Minute Managers
This type of manager typically makes their inaction your emergency. I think we have all worked with someone like this and can vouch from personal experience that this type of manager is dangerous and soul destroying. Helping them to better manage themselves and their responsibilities is not your job.

4. Unapproachable and Arrogant Managers
This type of manager is difficult to work with. Often staff will avoid dealing directly with this type of manager because they find them so intimidating. Often when these managers do engage, they are always right and tend to gloat about it. This is a personality and style issue. You can can do your research and work out how to crack their ‘self-loved’ veneer – but it can be a challenging task.

5. Managers Pick and Play with Favourites
Unfortunately, these types of managers are everywhere. They overtly pick favourites and these people seem to get away with blue murder including not doing their job. They also tend to be the ones put up for promotion and other opportunities. Other staff often end up carrying the load which burns people out and leaves them feeling undervalued, underpaid and exploited. You can try to pamper the boss with praise and sell your soul to get into their good books – but if you are a person with a moral compass this usually isn’t the best option.

6. Micromanager
This type of manager will give you things to do and then tell you how to do it and check every aspect of your progress. Most capable staff will only put up with this behaviour for a short period of time before leaving or exploding. The key is to build confidence and trust fast while establishing mechanisms to keep your manager constantly updated. This tends to add so much work to an already busy load that most people move on to other roles to get away from the micromanagement.

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7. Too Busy and Unavailable Managers
We are all busy in the year 2019 – but the people we should be most available for, are our staff. If it means that managers have to get to work earlier, or lock in staff time that can not be double booked, then this is what must happen. Managers who find themselves too busy for their staff are not managers, they are simply absent colleagues. Staff need engagement with their manager, they need to be able to access their manager to discuss and resolve issues and seek guidance on work related matters.

8. Distressed and Overwhelmed Managers
Bosses are human too. When they are distressed and overwhelmed, they can become a risk to the mental health of their team. Self care is very important for bosses too. Here you can encourage your boss to care for themselves. Do things they enjoy and have regular small breaks throughout the day to improve productivity.

Bad managers can cause mental health issues in their workplace, and through bad management they can also worsen issues staff may be experiencing. If we can better equip businesses and managers to understand and deal with mental health issues in the workplace, we can save lives – many lives. Importantly we can also help managers to be better managers.

Peter Diaz and Emi Golding have written and released a book to provide organisations and managers with practical assistance on dealing with mental health in the workplace. Their much anticipated book is called: Mental Wealth: An Essential Guide to Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing. This latest workplace mental health book provides important guidance for all organisations, leaders and managers on mental health in the workplace and how to build resilient and meaningful cultures and processes that enable organisations to support and appropriately manage those with mental health issues.

It is more important than ever that every business, organisation and manager across the country is positioned to deal with mental health issues and understand the warning signs. We all need to step up and ensure we are taking care of people. The only thing that gets us through hard times is people. We need to help people and support them to cope and to be resilient.

The Workplace Mental Health Institute is the leading peak body for research, advice and training relating to workplace mental health.

The book is available for purchase from a number of different outlets like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Powell’s, Indigo, IndieBound and many other bookstores worldwide and online.

Please visit https://thementalwealthguide.com for more info on this book.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
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How to support mental health in the workplace

How to Support Mental Health in the Workplace

What you can now copy from the TOP companies like PWC and AMP on how they boost their employees’ Mental Health while improving Corporate Culture, Engagement and Profitability

Most management teams these days don’t need to be convinced that taking care of their team’s mental health is a good idea. But many managers don’t know where to start to support their employees. Here we show you what some top companies are doing in this important space, so you can copy and use what you need.

  1. These companies recognise the importance of investing in their employees’ mental health.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health disorders affect nearly one in four people each year. Depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders are among the top causes of disability worldwide.1

Since people tend to spend most of their working life at work, it follows that mental health issues affect all areas of a person’s life, including work.

How to support mental health in the workplace

WHO estimates the global cost of depression and anxiety at more than $1.2 trillion per year in lost productivity.2 Left untreated, depression and other issues can affect absenteeism, productivity, and put workers at an increased risk of suicide. In short, having a reactive (or non-existent) approach to supporting mental health at work is eating up massive amounts of profits in businesses everywhere.

Unfortunately, many people don’t get help for mental health problems. Most people won’t even tell their immediate boss that there’s a problem. Up to fifty percent of people will not disclose at work. And, even more concerning, two-thirds of people who have a mental disorder won’t seek any professional treatment. Some say that the very real fear of discrimination and stigma are two gigantic obstacles that prevent people from getting help.

Mental health has long been considered an off-limits topic in the workplace. Thankfully, smart business leaders are beginning to recognise the importance of helping their employees’ stay emotionally fit. Here are three ways that top companies put mental health and well-being first.

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  1. They Teach Employees’ How To Help Struggling Co-Workers

Most people are not trained to comfortably or effectively talk to someone about their mental health, especially in the workplace. If you don’t know what you are doing, you could make matters worse. AMP, which is a global company and also one of Australia’s largest companies, helps their employees learn how to help co-workers struggling with mental health issues. The financial giant has implemented a training program, called Mental Health Essentials, that equips team members with the skills to recognise when a co-worker is struggling and to get that person appropriate help.3 To upskill their managers and executives they’ve also run the Workplace Mental Health Masterclass for Leaders. AMP has had this Masterclass training delivered all over Australia, the UK and the USA, with great results.

  1. They Partner With Leading Mental Health Organisations And Don’t Try To Do It All Themselves

Another way that top companies help their employees is by collaborating with trusted mental health organisation’s. PWC, AMP and The Star Group partner with several well-known mental health groups, but in particular the Workplace Mental Health Institute. By working with leaders in mental health advocacy, support, and recovery, you too can learn how to proactively support your employees’ mental health, be better prepared organisationally to manage risk and safety, and be better equipped to help colleagues.3

  1. They Promote A Culture Of Openness And Trust

A high level of stigma exists surrounding mental health issues. This is an ongoing problem. More than 40 percent of U.K employers believe that hiring a person with mental illness represents a significant risk to the company, according to a 2010 survey among employers.4 Workers with mental illness are seen as unreliable and hard to get along with.

These types of beliefs in the workplace can cause employees to be reluctant to get help. Workers who call in sick because of depression or anxiety may make up other reasons for their absence. They may believe that being honest will cause their employers to pass them over for job promotions.

This culture needs to change if employers want healthier, more productive employees. One Australian company that understands the importance of fostering an open culture when it comes to mental illness is EY. Ernst & Young has collated information of other companies that are doing well in this space and they report it’s important for companies to share knowledge and information with its managers, supervisors, and employees about mental illness. The company that does well promotes an open dialogue when it comes to talking about mental illness. According to EY, openness and proactive early intervention result in decreased mental-health related claims.5

As an employer, there’s a lot that you can do to support your employees’ mental health. Try some of the things that the world’s top companies are doing to support workers’ mental health. You’ll see what a difference these changes can make to your organisation and your employees’ well-being.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on Twitter Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

Social-Media-Strategies-in-workplaces

Social Media and Mental Health: Solutions For Workplaces

Social Media and Mental Health

Although most workplaces have strict rules about access to social media sites during working hours, there are tools like VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) that the avid worker can use to bypass such restrictions. Furthermore, employees still have a life after work, and a significant amount of that time is spent on social media.

The latest statistics show that the world’s 3.4 billion social media users spend an average of 136 minutes or 2.2 hours daily on social media today compared to 90 minutes in 2012. Many would agree that 2.2 hours is a conservative estimate in an era where you are more likely to be looking at your phone than talking to the person sited next to you.

When did social media become bad?

After more than a decade of social media use, people have started seeing the negative effects of social media use on mental health among other areas like productivity. The cons of social media are dependent mainly on the amount of time spent. Many studies have established a correlation between high social media use and mental health problems like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, feelings of isolation, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts.

Facebook executives have even been on record stating that the platform poses risks to the emotional well-being of users. In 2017, the social network announced plans to make the platform less about spending time and more about meaningful social interactions. Facebook now has social scientists, psychologists, and sociologists collaborating with developers to make the platform have a more positive influence. Time will tell how successful they will be at the task and whether it will make a difference to the mental health of their users.

Social media anxiety

If you feel anxious at work when you haven’t checked your social media accounts, you could be suffering from a mental health disorder known as social media anxiety disorder. But don’t rush out to get a diagnosis for this social media triggered disorder. After all, this relatively new disorder is the same as social anxiety disorder affecting 20% of social media users who can’t go for more than 3 hours without checking their social media accounts. Given anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorders, the importance of regulating social media use can’t be overlooked.

Individuals with social media anxiety suffer from severe anxiety when they aren’t able to check social media notifications after a few minutes. Common symptoms of the mental disorder include;

  • Losing interest in everything else apart from social media.
  • Interrupting conversations to check social media updates.
  • Lying/being defensive about the time spent on social media.
  • Spending more than 6 hours daily on social media sites.
  • Trying to reduce or stop excessive social media use in vain.
  • Neglecting important commitments like work to engage in social media activities like commenting.
  • Having an overwhelming need to share social media posts with others.
  • Suffering from severe nervousness when you can’t check your social media notifications.
  • Poor professional and personal life because of excessive social media usage.

Spending several hours daily on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, among other social media sites, can hinder your ability to do truly meaningful things in life. It can cost you a job, relationships, among other things like advancements in education. Here’s an in-depth discussion on the specific ways social media affects your mental health.

Low self-esteem

Comparing yourself to others on Instagram and Facebook with near-perfect photos and videos can bring a fair share of unwarranted insecurities, including feelings of self-doubt, even when you know the pictures have been photoshopped. The problem is that, when your sense of worth is dependent on how others are doing, you place your happiness beyond your control. There are studies showing that many social media users suffer from more envy compared with their counterparts who are rarely on social media.[1] To avoid developing low self-esteem, become more conscious of the time you waste on other people’s social media profiles, and focus on yourself instead.

Poor human connections

Human beings are heavily dependent on personal connections with each other. Social media makes this impossible. Instead of developing real connections, we are more acquainted with digital facades. Many published studies are linking regular use of social media sites like Facebook with poor human connections.[2]

Distorted memory

Social media could also be distorting the way you remember certain aspects of your life. Although you can look back at past memories and recount how they happened, the process of perfecting social media posts distorts certain aspects of the real-time experience being captured.[3] Perfecting social media visuals like photos and videos, overshadows the importance of witnessing the experience in person.

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Sleep problems

The importance of sleep can’t be overlooked. You need enough hours of uninterrupted sleep to avoid mental health problems like stress. However, many of us are on our Smartphones before going to bed, making it harder to fall asleep. The blue light emitted by Smartphones is misinterpreted by the brain as daylight. This light suppresses melatonin, the hormone responsible for preparing you for bedtime by altering the circadian rhythm.[4] In a nutshell, social media makes it harder for you to fall asleep, which can, in turn, affect your work when you don’t get enough sleep. It’s advisable to avoid social media 40 to 60 minutes before bedtime.

Poor attention span

The mental health effects of social media go past the subconscious brain. You also need to worry about your ability to concentrate when you are working. Social media makes it extremely easy to distract people. Although social media places a lot of information on our fingertips, it’s harder to pay attention to serious tasks. The easy access to never-ending entertainment offers constant temptation to access new social media content instantly and repeatedly. Very few people today have the willpower to resist checking their phones even during serious engagements thanks to social media.

Serious mental health problems

If you overuse social media and the internet by extension, you could become depressed. You can also suffer from impulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, paranoia, and mental functioning problems.[5]

It goes beyond peer pressure to comment and share things. Social media has introduced unique problems i.e., the subconscious need to compare your life with that of others on Instagram or Facebook. This has been linked to feelings of depression, jealousy, and suicidal thoughts in extreme cases if your own life isn’t as “perfect” as what is depicted on social media.

If you are always working but keep being bombarded by pictures and videos of individuals who always seem to be on vacation, such exposure is bound to cause feelings of depression or jealousy. You may also feel suicidal about your own life.

Strategies for workplace mental health

Given social media is a leading cause of depression and anxiety today, problems which cost the global economy approximately $ 1 trillion yearly in lost productivity (according to the WHO), the importance of developing strategies for workplace mental health can’t be overlooked.[6]

One of the best approaches is through peak performance research and programs offered by organizations such as the Workplace Mental Health Institute (WMHI). Organizations are now legally obligated to care for the overall well being of their employees. The WMHI has programs which meet such legal obligations. Since managers are the primary influencers in workplaces today, programs that educate them on how to respond to mental health related issues at work benefit everyone (including employees and the bottom-line).

Effective workplace mental health programs tend to start with a company assessment meant to establish the precise state of mental health in an organization. Given 25% of the global population suffers from a mental disorder, every workplace, even those with the best recruitment practices, have employees with mental health problems that need to be addressed.

Mental health assessments should be followed by strategizing and designing the ideal, mentally healthy environment for high performance. Managers should then undergo training to be able to spot or preempt mental health issues as well as contain, solve, or reduce them. For organizations to deal with mental health issues effectively, managers must practice savvy leadership.

Employees must also be equipped to deal with mental health issues. Mentally healthy employees have better job involvement, satisfaction, commitment, performance, and turnover. The best programs provide employees with mental health essentials such as personal resilience strategies that help employees cope with ever-increasing work-life challenges. Employees who are mentally tough have the willpower to resist distractions like social media and focus on productive workplace practices.

Employees who are depressed or suicidal because of social media can get the help they need through suicide prevention skills training meant to equip employees in spotting warning signs among colleagues and how they should respond. Suicide is more prevalent than we think. In Australia, for instance, eight people commit suicide daily. Six of those are men. The prevalence of death by suicide is higher than that of death by car accidents. Workplace mental health programs can help employees identify and respond to warning signs exhibited by colleagues.

These programs are not only a great return on investment, with an average of two hundred and thirty percent return according to PWC, but also offer a platform for introducing mental health conversations in the workplace to reduce stigma and eliminate myths and misconceptions associated with such issues.

Workplace Mental Health Institute peak performance programs are tailored to promote good workplace mental health, which is crucial for achieving business wealth. WMHI programs are endorsed by CEOs and trusted by globally renowned organizations such as PWC, Glencore, American Express, and Tradies.

References:

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/facebook-social-media-make-unhappy-jealous-people-particularly-sad-copenhagen-university-study-a7490816.html
[2] https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/185/3/203/2915143
[3] https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-effects-of-media-on-memory/
[4] https://www.sleep.org/articles/is-your-smartphone-ruining-your-sleep/
[5] http://www.medicaldaily.com/internet-addiction-internet-usage-mental-health-depression-and-anxiety-398216
[6] https://www.who.int/mental_health/in_the_workplace/en/

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
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Group-with-White-Board

Products or People? Systems or Staff?

If your budget would only allow you to invest in one area of your business this quarter, would you invest in developing your products or your people? Would you enhance your systems or your staff?

Providing coaching to personnel from their direct manager could be an investment that continues to pay returns. The Sales Executive Council conducted research into the impact of coaching effectiveness within organisations1. The global study, including more than 3000 participants identified findings which include:


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  • Developing the coaching abilities of sales team managers is an effective way of boosting sales performance of mid-range achievers by up to 19%.
  • Retention of high performing sales people is increased when they consider their manager to be an effective coach. Below average ‘intention to stay’ was recorded for sales people whose managers were rated in the bottom third in terms of coaching effectiveness.
  • Neither ‘Experience as a Manager’ nor ‘Experience in Sales’ had an impact on ratings of managers’ coaching effectiveness.
  • Sales teams receiving less than 2 hours of coaching per month achieved 90% of their sales goals, compared to teams receiving 3 or more hours of coaching per month and achieving 107% of their sales targets2.
  • Research into the retention of training information showed that training alone resulted in a 13% retention of training information at a 30-day reassessment of knowledge, whilst those who had ongoing coaching were able to retain 88% of the information2.

Unfortunately, despite considerable benefit to the sales team when managers provide effective coaching to team members, this is the area that consistently scored lowest on a Manager Skill Index examining 10 manager abilities3.

Which begs the question: will you invest in your product or your people?  Still not sure?  OK, one final statistic: Research has shown that organisations achieve a 1700% ROI when investing in training their managers to be internal coaches4.

  1. October 2005, Teleconference Series, Building a World Class Coaching Program: Upgrading Rep Ability to Engage Customers with Solutions Hypotheses.
  2. “Executive Coaching as a Transfer of Training Tool”, Public Personnel Management, Winter 1997
  3. “Why Do Salespeople Fail?”  Industrial Distribution, 1 March 1996; Sales Executive Council Research Solutions
  4. Rock, D & Donde, R. (2008) “Driving organizational change with internal coaching programs: Part One.” Industrial and Commercial Training, 40, pp 10-18.

 

Author: Alison Skate
Alison Skate author

Alison Skate is a Workplace Mental Health Specialist for Workplace Mental Health Institute. She began her career as a psychologist in the Australian Army more than twenty years ago. Alison is a leadership coach and workshop facilitator.

Peter-Diaz-with-Steve-Wozniak

My Main Peeve About Workplace Mental Health and what Steve Wozniak (co founder of Apple) told me about it

I’m a pretty positive guy. I actively practice positivity and this builds resilience. But today, just today, I have to share one of my peeves, if that’s ok. Most people I meet intellectually know and agree that mental health at work is important and vital to get good results. But the thing that frustrates me and annoys me the most, my main peeve about workplace mental health, is that I have to ‘convince’ people to actually take action and do something about it. REALLY? Can you believe it? If people truly understood and believed that taking care of your employees is important, and will give you better business results, then why don’t they do anything about it? Even the research clearly shows that every dollar spent in mental health and wellbeing has an average of 230% return on investment! (and we get a much higher ROI than that!)


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Yet people are slow to act, while their profits are silently drained out of the businesses, and employees are quietly (or not so quietly) burning out. I recently interviewed STEVE WOZNIAK, Apple co-founder with Steve Jobs, and asked him what he thought about this. He confirms it – investing in wellbeing and mental health of your employees is a no-brainer. In the interview, he shares a little about his experience with and thoughts on mental health and psychology, both at Apple, and when he returned to Uni later on (under a false name)! What I love about Steve Wozniak is that he is such a great, down-to-Earth guy. He has family here in Australia, so hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up again on his next visit! This interview is interesting both from a mental health angle and also a human angle. Have a look.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on Twitter Peter Diaz on LinkedIn