Tag Archives: Strategies

Pandemic-of-workplace-conflict

Pandemic of workplace conflict

Are toilet rolls being thrown around at work? Possible pandemic of workplace conflict and how to keep your workplace out of trouble!

Many things don’t make sense right now. Seemingly overnight, our lives have changed globally. Fights in supermarkets over toilet paper show the emotional state people are reaching and while toilet paper hoarding is confusing for most of us, it serves as a signal that during this highly uncertain times, people’s stress tolerance level has varying breaking points and can lead to behaviour that is out of character.

In our workplaces, many of us still have questions about what it all exactly means for us today, what will change tomorrow and what impact will this have for us long term. The gravity of these unanswerable questions leads to the inevitable of our tolerance breaking and people behaving in ways that are out of step with their “normal” state.

Pandemic-of-workplace-conflict

Adding to impact is the shift to isolated working. For most managers, this is completely foreign territory and creating new problems and conflicts.

Traditional change management isn’t going to fly, because we haven’t got time before a disaster could inadvertently appear in your organisation or team.

What are we seeing?

interMEDIATE Dispute Management is a business who deals with workplace issues and provides training to prevent them. I have had managers calling me seeking advice on a range of issues relating to coronavirus that could have been avoided. For example:

  • Disagreements about aspects of the coronavirus itself, one of them ending with a barrage of one yelling at their colleague, knocking everything off their desk and storming off (they are friends).
  • Numerous reports of discussions and judgement getting out of hand about the level of panic and blaming others for being too cautious or not enough.
  • Insensitive comments, jokes or social media clips and pictures being sent around via email or being shown on video link meetings. One explanation was that the employee felt more casual in their home environment and it lead to more a loose conversation.
  • People feeling bullied (perhaps unintentionally) by not being invited to meetings or having the information they need to do their job
  • Reports of managers who are micro-managing remote workers because they don’t trust that people are necessarily doing what they say they are doing.

When I asked them about what they had done, it was obvious that because they hadn’t prepared for this, their organisation had legitimately been dealing with bigger issues (like keeping the company operational) and had no specific strategy for it. Continuing without a plan will lead to big problems such as:

  • bullying and harassment claims
  • serious conflicts (violent and non violent)
  • terminations due to breaches of code of conduct
  • unexplainable resignations, which can turn into costly litigation claims down the track

I then told them the good news, that if your business got serious about this now, you can be as prepared as possible to prevent, identify and manage bullying and harassment and unhealthy conflict. Here are some practical tips on how to avoid sitting at the mediation table in 6-12 months time over something that was easily avoided.

  1. Reminder to all employees of the company’s policies against bullying and harassment

At minimum, an announcement emailed to all staff by the CEO or HR Leader with a link to the relevant company policies and code of conduct.

  1. Educate workers on Workplace Bullying and Harassment, what it is and isn’t, how to prevent and manage it.

Deliver an online course that all staff must complete. This provides assurance that everyone knows how to prevent, identify and manage bullying and harassment. (Incidentally, we have partners with Workplace Mental Health Institute to bring you a modern online course on Anti bullying, which you can access HERE).

  1. Train your Managers

If you manage managers, provide them with training on how to lead and manage remote workers. It is important that they balance keeping people accountable for their agreement frames with micro-management and possible harassing behaviours. If you can, find them a coach that helps them develop their Emotional intelligence so they become aware of behaviour they display that could come across as bullying. Kylie Mamouney, leadership facilitator says “People are feeling disconnected at a time where they need their leader to make them feel secure.” We agree.

  1. Establish new team rules

Managers to hold a special meeting and facilitate the team to establish a new set of ground rules to follow. These ground rules should be around 6-10 statements of how the team will behave and be displayed during every meeting. In the online environment, each person should have a printed copy “in-shot” on their wall/background. Do this with each group you meet with regularly.

  1. Significantly increase your 1 on 1 Coaching and adopt a NEVER cancel culture

Leaders need to noticeably increase connectedness with their people and have them feel that through more frequent effective coaching. Effectiveness comes by using a framework that connects with emotion and logic.

While there are many other things you can implement, for some of us, this can act as plan number one. I wonder what shifts are happening in your workplace and am interested to hear your stories.

Jean-Marcel-Malliate

Jean Marcel Malliate

Principal Mediator, Investigator, Founder & CEO, InterMEDIATE Dispute Management

This article was first published on WorkLife CoronaVirus Edition

Selling-in-tough-times

5 Tips on how to sell in these tough times!

Reading this you might feel, selling is not really what I do. But bear with me, because here is the most important message upfront: we are all in sales.

Selling is the art of persuading other people to act upon influence. And the better you can articulate your ideas, the more likely it is to have people support them or act in your best interest.

  1. Remove uncertainty

In order to sell you must remove uncertainty. People try to avoid any type of risk and that’s why they are usually skeptical when you approach them with any type of suggestion.

Let’s assume there is a scale from 1-10 (1 equals no certainty and 10 equals absolute certainty). Where would you expect a typical customer to be at? Well truth is, you never know. Everyone is different. That’s why it is so important to come across as a professional and focus on getting them to a 10, not on figuring out where he is at.

  1. Personality matters

Selling-in-tough-times
5 Tips on how to sell in those tough times!

The results you see in your life are the results of what you think about all day long. That requires you to make sure that your mindset stays focused on things that really matter. These days we hear a lot about Corona and its economic impact. However people buy from people and as some goods and services will still be bought, make sure you get your fair share of these deals.

Stay positive, because positive people attract other positive people. And these people make faster decisions and will seek for opportunity to spend more time with you and tell others about you.

  1. Change the story

People like winners. And winners that ask for help are even more appreciated. Throughout the crisis and especially after a few weeks when people got used to it, those who play the victim card, will loose. Change the story.

This crisis impacts all of us in the same way, does not prioritize or discriminate against anyone. Therefore, connect to your friends, customers and random people you meet. Strengthen and build relationships. Help when help is needed. You are all on the same team. That will pay off big time.

  1. Use your free time wisely

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Therefore use the time you have to prepare for the changes to come. But don’t wait for them, as you can actively create them. This crisis is going to radically change the way we work, socialize, travel, shop… Think about ways to add value to people and existing businesses. What problems could have been avoided? How could this crisis be handled better. Write down all your findings and turn those ideas into money.

  1. Have video calls every day!

The most important piece of advice is keep in touch with people you know, don’t really know and those you would like to get to know. Zoom and other free video tools allow you to have video-calls with people all around the globe. Build your network, keep in touch, make sure people keep you on their mental map. Every crisis has winners and losers. It’s up to you to pick your side.

Philip-Semmelroth

Philip Semmelroth

Sales & Profit Specialist, Germany

Philip Semmelroth is Germany´s leading Sales Strategy Expert, helping organisations to boost their business.

This article was first published on WorkLife CoronaVirus Edition

Remain-Mindstrong-during-COVID-19

How small business owners can remain Mindstrong during this crisis

Remember before the current Global Trauma known as the “Corona Virus”, when business was about nailing your message, growing your team, getting your digital message on point. Well, these not so distant business stresses seem like a dream compared to the psychological pressure business owners are facing right now.

In the business world, there has been a strong push for personal development that focuses on high performance, on habits that lead to success and wealth, on positive mindset and resilience. But what do we do right now, when the collateral damage from this pandemic sees us facing not just uncertainty in finances, but a level of stress, fear and anxiety unlike anything a business accelerator or mastermind could have prepared you for.

The uncertainty of this time, means that the epidemics of stress, burnout and mental illness will increase. When we become highly stressed the quality of our decision making drops dramatically. When processing stress the part of our brain that makes decisions goes off line. This is because our brain and body is flooded with chemicals to deal with the stress in an automatic reactionary way, rather than being able to think through things.

Remain-Mindstrong-during-COVID-19
How small business owners can remain Mindstrong during this crisis

True mental strength does not come from your thinking, but rather your ability to pause and regulate your emotions. The ability to do this keeps us from making reactive and regrettable decisions. And this is a really important time, not to make reactive decisions.

In order to remain Mindstrong, get help, and not only with your business strategy. Whilst it can be reassuring to speak to a business mentor, prioritising your psychological wellness (and I mean above just exercise and meditation) is absolutely necessary in the climate we are all facing at this time.

People think they should prioritise business goals ahead of their ability to process stress. Right now, knowing how to have difficult conversations in a highly volatile environment, is a much needed skill, along with processing the stress that comes with it.

Replace “stay positive” or “we’ll be fine” with empathy, that is to acknowledge that it’s okay to feel. Everyone will be impacted differently and will process this differently. Say, “It’s okay for you to feel (angry, scared), what can I do to help?”

We are not talking business metrics, we are talking about individuals who are afraid and this fear needs to be met with not only compassion for others, but self-compassion. It is hard to truly have compassion when we are in a state of dis-stress. A way to calm ourselves internally is to set good boundaries around the information/news we listen to. Take the time throughout the day to breathe and calm your nervous system.

Being able to regulate yourself is key to getting through these stressful times. Emotional self-regulation refers to the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses. Your power comes from your ability to pause. Learn to prioritise internal calm and ease before taking action.

Evonne-Englezos

Evonne Englezos

CEO of Mindstrong Global

Helping you cultivate the mental strength and resilience you need to lead – against all odds.

This article was first published on WorkLife CoronaVirus Edition

7-Financial-Tips

7 Financial tips for surviving the COVID-19 pandemic

During these turbulent times that the world is facing due to the global pandemic, caused by the Coronavirus aka COVID-19, millions of people are experiencing physical, mental, emotional, and financial uncertainties throughout their personal and business lives.

We are no longer afforded the luxuries of going on with our lives, doing business as usual. As the world faces uncharted territories under COVID 19, we must immediately change how we think about things, change how we look at things, change how we feel about things, and change how we live our lives.

From Main Street to Wall Street our global citizens are feeling the financial stress and strain of losing their business and household income. As this pandemic claims more lives, and renders others in need of specialized medical care, companies are laying off workers or going out of business. It doesn’t matter what country you live in or what currency you use, the pain is same.

We understand the future for many may seem bleak, even with the help of government and corporate assistance.

7-Financial-Tips

However, we strongly believe that Financially Speaking, the best improvement starts with self improvement. It is the responsibility of everyone to financially empower ourselves through professional (coaching) and self-education. And there are changes we can make during these times that will put us in a better financial position once our lives get back to normal. However, we can also strive to return to something better.

To get started, we want to share with you our seventips/strategies we use with our clients that had a tremendous impact on improving their lives financially. We believe they can help reduce the mounting financial stress caused by COVID 19.

  1. Change Your Spending Habits

    – we no longer have the freedom to spend our precious cash on items that have no value. We often hear “I don’t have money to save.” Well, during these times, spend only on your needs (housing, food, medicine, etc.) and practice savingas much as you can.

  2. Calculate Your Current Financial Position

    – if you don’t know where you are standing right now, how can you determine the best direction to move forward? There are 2 calculations that can help determine the strength of your financial position. Their results can be positive or negative, but you will know where you stand and can make adjustments as needed to increase/strengthen your financial position:

    • Net Worth=total value of all your assets (e.g. home, car)minus the total value of all your liabilities (e.g. mortgage, car payment, loans).
    • Track Monthly Cashflow = total monthly income minus total monthly expenses. It is critical to know where your money comes from and where it is going.
  3. Protect Your Credit

    – there is a great deal of fear and uncertainty regarding losing your home to foreclosure, auto repossessions,and destroying your credit, etc. The good news is that some governments and creditors are making an effort to help during this crisis. But it is your responsibility to contact all your creditors to find out what programs they are offering(e.g. forbearance, rate reductions) and what are the rules.

  4. Make New Money-Start A Business

    – there are numerous businesses you can start from home. Business that can help others while providing you with additional revenue. During this crisis, delivery companies are still operating, you can still ship and receive items. We have several home-based businesses and can share ways you can increase your income.

  5. Review Your Insurance Policies

    – many people don’t like to talk about life insurance, but how will your family survive if you die? How many Go-Fund Me have you received to help pay medical bills or bury a friend or loved one? Now is the time (while you are healthy) to take insurance seriously and put policies in place that not only help your family if you die but can also help you all while you are living. Insurance has changed from just providing a “death” benefit to providing “living” benefits. Educate yourself on the options available.

  6. Investments – Don’t Panic

    – many people have experienced and recovered from market crashes in the past. We can’t tell you what to do with your investment accounts (e.g. IRA, 401K, etc.) because each person’s situation is different. We recommend contacting your investment provider to understand what options you have available to utilize and/or protect your investments. Some questions to consider asking:

    • Can I withdraw funds without penalty?
    • Can I get a loan or defer my payments?
    • Should I buy, hold, or sell out?
  7. Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Home

    – not only does it save on fuel expenses that you can add toward your savings, it keeps you, your family and community safer from COVID-19.Use this time to create new/additional family financial habits that can be continued after your lives resume. And most importantly, follow the directives of the authorities.

Michael-and-Robbie-Mathews

Michael and Robbie Mathews

Financial Education and Empowerment Coachesat The Mathews Entrepreneur Group

This article was first published on WorkLife CoronaVirus Edition

3-Lessons-from-Athletes

Three lessons from elite athletes

How to stay productive and high performing during Covid-19

The world today is a scary place right now! Many of you are worried about your health, your business, and how the world is going to unfold. The truth is most of us hate uncertainty and this creates fear. However, if there is one thing I want to share with you, it is my ´WHY´, and that is, to really want to help in this current situation. As a former elite athlete that used to study and train with Olympic winning athletes (Sir Mo Farah, the current World and Olympic champion in 5 and 10,000m was my training partner), I want to share some of the lessons I learned that can help you get through this time of crisis.

1. Build mental toughness:

This is one of the skills I learned very early on in my athletic days. I got into long distance running because I was low in confidence, I lost my hair to alopecia, and I was bullied many times when I was a kid. When I first started running I was also an asthma sufferer, I could barely run fifty meters without having an asthma attack. I wasn’t bad, I was terrible! I felt extremely intimidated when I turned up to training every Tuesday and Thursday seeing all these top athletes. I started by comparing myself to these other top athletes and using excuses about how bad I really was.

3-Lessons-from-Athletes

On many occasions I just wanted to throw the towel in, but over time I noticed I started to make small improvements in my performance. I started to get quicker, stronger and mentally charged. As my performances improved so did my attitude and my confidence. Through repetitive training my asthma improved and disappeared in less than a year.

I’ve been an entrepreneur since the age of eleven and like my athletic career, I’ve gone through more highs and lows than most entrepreneurs have gone through in their entire lifetime. Every time I go through a cycle,it’s the mental toughness that I have developed that keeps me going.

2. Get focused and build self-discipline:

In one-way or another the world will never be the same again. This virus is going to kill more businesses than people. Most of us have to adapt to new working conditions and if you’re like me, trying to juggle kids and serve my clients is a whole new way of working, and its tough. There are so many distractions including the media, which can lead us to become unfocused and unproductive. However this is also a great time to reflect on what is important to you right now and why you do what you do.

In my early athletic years when all the other kids were playing video games, I was prepared to do what others were not, which was to be out training hard in minus temperatures and to do whatever it takes. This iswhere I met my training partner Sir Mo Farah, and we used each other as ginea pigs to test each other’s discipline and become laser focused on our training and competition.

3. Create a strategic plan:

To formulate a plan you have to build a foundation and that requires time and creativity. Last year, I helped an Intellectual property lawyer formulate a plan for his business. When he first came to me he was unclear, was confused on the direction of where he was taking his business and was using a scattergun approach to growing his business. We worked together to create his vision, mission, his why, the problems he wanted to solve and the clients he really enjoyed working with. With this foundation in place we then created a strategic game plan to help him grow his company.

One of reasons why I became a successful athlete is because my coach helped me develop a strategic plan. I was introduced to my first coach Alex Magee who had a track record of turning normal people into superstars. Alex was a very successful athlete in the earlydays; he knew the success formula and the traits that I needed to develop to become a champion. It’s these same success principals that I teach today in the business world. To me, coaching is just as important as oxygen!

In the midst of what is going on right now and how you may be feeling I want to know that you have a great opportunity to reset and reinvent yourself because you cannot control what’s going on right now, you can only do your best with what you have which is blood, sweat and tears. I want to offer my hand to you and say I’m there for you.

Over the coming weeks we are launching the ‘Strategic Game Plan’ summit for business owners that are looking to empower your mind, create a strategic plan and get focused for results. There will be 30+ industry leaders sharing stories and content to help you with formulating a plan. Feel free to drop me a message or connect with me on social media if I can be of assistance.

Adam-Strong

Adam Strong

Ultra-High Energy Personal Productivity Authority

Adam Strong is a former elite athlete who trained with Olympic gold-medalist Mo Farah. He has taken the principles of discipline, focus and productivity and applied them to business.

This article was first published on WorkLife CoronaVirus Edition

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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WMHI-Lessons-Learned

Focus on the Learning, Not the Lesson

A friend from my days as a psychologist in the Army once told me about her role as a counsellor for Army recruits. Twenty-five years ago recruit training methods were, well, different to what they are today. Many recruits found the style of their instructors to be intimidating and scary, leading some of them to have second thoughts about their worthiness to be a soldier. Upon seeking some guidance, recruits would reflect that they weren’t cut out for the role.

Imagine the recruit’s instructor has said to the recruits, “Right you lazy lot, get your useless behinds to the mess hall, make sure you eat ‘cos you’re going to need something to puke up this morning in training, then be back here in 15 minutes, or you’ll be scrubbing the showers with your toothbrushes!”. The recruit, understandably, explains to my friend that they don’t feel their instructor has much faith in them.  (This ineffective training style has thankfully disappeared from recruit training establishments!)


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My friend would ask them to tell her what it was that the instructor had actually asked them to do.

  • “Go eat breakfast, then be back in 15 minutes”, would come the reply.
  • “And what happens if you focus on the other stuff they’ve said?”
  • “I feel horrible, can hardly eat, and just want to go home”.
  • “Does that help you to achieve your training goals?”
  • “No.”
  • “What difference would it make if you were only to focus on the message, but not the delivery?”

The recruit’s face would visibly shift with the new thought, “I’d know what they wanted me to do, but I wouldn’t take all the other stuff to heart”.

Thankfully the majority of us do not experience this degree of ferociousness in the feedback we get at work. Regardless, the principle is the same – focus on the message, not the delivery. The delivery does not change the message, only the impact of the message, so if that impact is not helpful try to focus just on the message. Reframe the message in a way that is positive rather than negative. Instead of “My boss hates it when I ramble in my emails”, think, “My boss prefers brief emails”.

Those of us who are managers can focus on identifying what an individual needs to learn in order to avoid repeating a mistake. In providing performance management, the error will be a part of the discussion, but not the focus of the discussion – effective work behaviour is the focus. Some workplaces do not see mistakes as the learning opportunities they present, but in an environment where the employee’s manager is able to coach them through the lessons learned, the result is an employee who is better prepared to apply the new knowledge to their advantage.

When the culture is that of blame the focus is on the mistake, or the lesson – when the organisation has a coaching culture the focus is on the next step, or the learning.

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.