Contributed by Melissa Kraft, SHRM-CP, Associate Director, Operations
Battling Burnout: The Need for Wellness in the Workplace
Disengagement, fatigue, increased work hours, decreased productivity and quality of work, lack of motivation, isolation, increased and/or unexplained ailments – any of these sound familiar? They are just a few symptoms of workplace burnout, characterized by the Mayo Clinic as “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”
We live in a fast-paced society and many of us work in a service-oriented, deadline-driven industry. The ease and implementation of technology now means that more of our clients are global, working in various time zones.
At JB Ashtin, we strive to provide exceptional service, not simply because it’s our job, but because we consider our clients as important as family. And when family calls or sends an urgent email, we answer – both during and outside of business hours.
While our team is incredibly passionate about the work we do and the impact it has on the lives of physicians, patients, and their families, we also recognize that long hours and deadlines can take a toll on mental health. Because of this, we do our best to ensure our team has the resources they need to maintain happy, healthy personal and professional lives.
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but throughout the years we’ve collected a few tips and tricks that help keep us balanced. In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we’d like to share them in hopes they will help you, too.
Finding the Right Team
Sometimes long hours are unavoidable, and working less just isn’t an option. Ensuring the successful execution and on-time completion of every project can be draining, particularly when deadlines are tight and budget is limited. In times like these, being surrounded by the right team is the only path to survival. We pride ourselves on a culture committed to our core values – they help us identify and hire people who are dedicated and committed to excellence, but also committed to each other.
It’s important to remember that you can and should rely on the people around you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Never be afraid to ask for help, especially when you’ve got a great team that has your back.
Making Time for Fun
Seize any opportunity to have fun! Find balance in the belief that performing exceptionally and maintaining success can and should be fun! We wholehearted support this ideology, to the point that fun is actually one of our core values – and it takes on many forms at JB Ashtin.
Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, wedding, new baby (human or 4-legged and furry), or team accomplishment, we’re eager to gather the troops and whoop it up a bit (good snacks are always involved). Team building activities such as kayaking, murder mystery dinners, bowling & billiards, cookouts, volunteering, and team lunches are always a hit. And, who doesn’t love a baked potato bar? Adding a little levity in the workplace makes work, and those we work with, more enjoyable and significantly helps to minimize burnout.
Work Wellness Initiatives
Encouraging individual and team wellness initiatives is a great way to minimize stress, particularly if you enjoy a good (playful) competition. Consider using a fun challenge to promote balance and self-care; a virtual team walk to the Mackinac Bridge (570,000 steps each way!), hydration and healthy eating contests, rest and relaxation (because we all need to be torn away from our computers now and again), spirit weeks, and reduced screen time are some of our most recent challenges. They help us challenge each other, reset, take a break from our phones, screens, and emails, and even allow opportunities to get our families involved.
We cannot stress this point enough! Like most in our industry, workdays can be full and brimming with stress. While it may seem counterintuitive, studies show regular breaks are mood-boosting and improve concentration. A 15- to 20-minute break (referred to as a “zenny” at JB Ashtin) in a dedicated relaxation room can ease a headache or simply refresh the weary.
Often, stepping away from a challenging project to collaborate on a puzzle or go for a short walk is all you need to increase creativity and productivity. If it helps, try creating a soothing environment away from your desk that provides space and opportunity for a much-needed break. This has become one of our essentials for positive mental health in the workplace.
Never be afraid to take advantage of the benefits offered to you by your organization. Do you have vacation days? Use them! Does your company have an employee assistance program (EAP)? An EAP can be extremely valuable when life throws you a curveball.
We’ve found that the implementation of core hours and work-from-home-Fridays help our team better balance their professional and personal lives; whether that means taking a mental health day after an especially strenuous project, leaving at 3 for a doctor’s appointment, or clocking out early to make it to your child’s school play. Recognize that work is a large part of your life, but it isn’t everything and prioritize accordingly.
Every organization is different; but whether you work for a conglomerate or a small business, we are all alike in our need for balance and healthy work habits. It is important to identify the environment that best helps you thrive. At JB Ashtin, prioritizing mental health in the workplace is centered in our culture and being surrounded with the right people; people that encourage us to be authentic, connected, and vulnerable.
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