Employee wellbeing is an issue that many companies strive to succeed in. The new wave of millennials entering the industry are more demanding about the environment they deem fit to spend their career at. Employees are looking for a positive company culture that involves career development, flexible working and benefits.
Company culture is a big concern in particular. Employees want to work in an environment they feel safe and happy in – and there are a few ways that this can be achieved. So whether you’re a dealership manager considering options on how to better retain your sales staff, a parts manager looking to improve team cohesion, or a mechanic who wants to give your team a positive boost, the below information will be of great interest to you.
What is the definition for wellbeing?
Wellbeing is defined as the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy. Taking care of your wellbeing means tackling a number of aspects in your life, like being social, staying active, and looking after your mental health.
Being more sociable at work
Our world is riddled with technology, which can actually reduce the amount of human contact we have each day (excluding socialising via text messaging, social media or messaging apps). Though in human form, we may not all be a social butterfly, you could be hindering your career rather than helping it if you’re choosing not to socialise with co-workers on a daily basis.
Why? Being more sociable at work has a number of benefits to your career:
- You have the ability to communicate efficiently
- You are approachable to other co-workers
- Having oral communication skills benefits other skills like listening, decision-making and problem-solving
Research in the past has shown that when relationships between people at work are above and beyond, you gain a physiologically higher sense of empowerment and personal achievement from your day. In addition to this, you will thrive in your team due to the fact that you feel you are in unison with co-workers. This is a very important factor if you’re looking to reduce overall stress and emotional burn out.
So just how sociable are we at work? We ran a quick survey on our website with job seekers, to ask them about their history of socialising at or with other members at work.
Overall we asked 138 automotive professionals about their social life at work:
The first question we asked was “How often do you socialise with your work colleagues?”
38% said ‘Weekly’.
19% said ‘Only at work functions’.
15% said ‘Other’.
15% also said ‘Less than once a month’.
And 14% said ‘Monthly’.
The next question we asked was “Are you encouraged to socialise as a team by your manager or employers?”
We found that there was an even split in these results. 50% said Yes, and 50% said No.
We also asked “Which ways would you prefer to socialise with your work colleagues?”
25% said ‘A meal out’, while 20% said ‘casual drinks’.
15% said ‘Watching a live sport’ was preferable, but 13% said ‘Bowling’ was ideal for socialising with co-workers.
Other suggestions included a ‘Bike ride’ (7%), ‘Other’ (6%), a ‘Countryside walk’ (6%), ‘Watching live music’ (5%) and a ‘Games night in’ (4%).
The final question we asked automotive professionals to answer was: “Would you prefer to socialise more work colleagues?”. The results here were particularly interesting:
61% of automotive professionals said Yes.
The results from this survey suggest that pushing for more socialisation in the workplace and between co-workers would be beneficial, encouraging a more cohesive team.
One of the key considerations for office wellbeing is that everyone is different. One colleague’s motivations/views etc. are different to another. But by finding ways to combat these differences and bring your team together through combined, positive approaches, you could end up with the most productive, successful team you’ve ever had.
But exactly how do you bring together a team of people from diverse backgrounds? Here are a few tips to consider…
You saw it earlier in this blog – 61% of professionals would like to socialise more at work. So make an aim to do this at least one a month – whether it’s a team building day, or visiting an event to further your team’s knowledge on a particular subject. It might even be heading out for a bite to eat together. Whatever you choose to do, aim for 100% participation, and plan a day that everyone will enjoy.
You can even encourage this in a work setting, through group projects. Asking your team to work collaboratively encourages more conversations, more time spent together, and ultimately, stronger working relationships built in the workplace.
Provide healthy snacks
Employees respond well to freebies (don’t we all!) and if you can introduce a health aspect in to it, all the better! Many workplaces (including our InAutomotive office) have started introducing free fruit for the company. 91% of people snack multiple times a day, according to Forbes, so what better way to impact your team’s overall nutrition, than by giving them easy access to healthier snack choices during the workday?
Get active with friendly team competitions
If you’re sitting down at your desk all day, rather than being on your feet at a dealership or in a garage, you run the risk of a very sedentary lifestyle. This is a very serious risk to your wellbeing – we all need a bit of activity in our day to keep our brains and body stimulated. A lack of activity affects both mental and physical, and should therefore be encouraged at all times.
So how about a bit of friendly competition to get the ball rolling at work? It could be exactly what your team needs to get the appropriate exercise for a healthy mind and body, therefore making them much more productive at work.
Easy ways to get started might include a steps competition – most people have apps to track their steps on their smartphones now – put your team to the test and set a prize for the first person to reach 500,000 steps, for example, and as a team get to X amount in one month. This is an easy one if you have team members of all ages. The key is to create both individual and team goals to keep everyone motivated. Rewards for winning might be a month’s free gym pass, or vouchers to a yoga class, for example.
Encourage the need for fresh air
Do you have members of your team who struggle to pull themselves away from their desk/workplace? We all need a bit of oxygen in our lungs, and the added Vitamin D is beneficial too – so suggest you have your weekly meeting outdoors. It’s a great change of scenery, and more proximity to green space can have a positive impact too.
Host a workshop that flags mental health
We can never be fully aware of the lives our co-workers lead outside of work, but one thing we can hold ourselves responsible for is the atmosphere and environment created at work. Encourage healthy conversations or workshops about mental health, to alleviate the stigma surrounding these issues. Offer helpful tips to your co-workers about how to deal with mental health issues that could impact their productivity at work, and most important of all, if you are a manager, reinforce to your team that they can talk to you about any issues they may be having that could be affecting their mental health.
Encourage guided meditation
Harvard and Stanford university researchers analysed decades of survey data, and found that stressful jobs might lower one’s life expectancy. There are meditation and other mindfulness techniques which have been shown to help reduce stress – one useful app, Headspace also has enterprise pricing, so the whole office can get involved.
Squash workaholic tendencies
Create a company culture that puts your employees’ wellbeing first. Employee burnout is a company problem, and workers shouldn’t feel guilted into putting in late hours or overtime, just for the sake of it. Encourage an environment where you work hard during the time that you are actually at work – but once it hits 6:00pm, for example, it’s time to hang up the spanners and head home to your family.
The same goes for annual leave – encourage your team to take regular annual leave – particularly if you think they’re at the stage of burnout.
Axe the dress code
If you have the option to ditch your dress code for something slightly less restricting, consider it for a boost in morale – if you have a “suit and tie” kind of profession, opt for dress down Fridays.
Create a community wall
Use a space on your office/workplace wall to pop messages of success, general announcements, employee recognition etc. up for the whole company to see – these are a great way to bring a company together.
End any interaction at work on a positive note
Small bouts of praise and recognition go a long way with co-workers. Positive comments make them feel valued at work – in particular, ending all meetings on a positive note is a much-needed morale booster after what may have been an intense half hour or hour, for example. Make a conscious effort to end all interactions on a positive note, in an effort to empower your employees, rather than making them feel like they’ve been knocked down.
Oh, and while you’re busy trying to lift up everyone else…don’t forget about you!
Want more career advice? Visit InAutomotive’s blog for more tips.