Self care is all the rage nowadays, and while I'm still not very good at it, it has me thinking about our corporate brand experiences and what a little "self" care might be able to do in that arena.
Of course, I'm being loose in my interpretation of "self care" so let's create some joint understanding on what that is first. I enjoy the Oxford Language definition of self care as, "the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress."
As such, let's create a definition of "company self care" for the purpose of this article:
Because if the past 2 and a bit years of COVID-19 restrictions and pivots don't count as business stress, then I don't know what does ????
Ok, so now we can break down that definition into how your company can start caring for itself on a proactive basis...let's go!
Let's be honest, most employees are NOT taking an active role in protecting the company's well-being on a day-to-day basis. Even when I was in senior leadership, most of my days were filled with doing tasks (i.e. writing content, reviewing collateral, managing people, collecting KPI data, attending meetings).
Now, of course, some of these things directly influence the company's well-being, but none of those tasks were done with the INTENTION of creating well-being for anyone ????
If you've read any of my other articles, you'll know that I talk about intention A LOT. Like, a lot, a lot. And it's because we are still lacking it in so many areas. I feel a tangent coming on here, so I'll just leave it at that for now ????
Let's get back to the point. If we don't ALLOW our teams to take an active role in the well-being of the company, and we leave it for a small few, then what are we missing out on?
Every single person has insights on how to contribute to the well-being of the company, so what if we invited it in? What if we could find a way, within all our processes and procedures, to invite, encourage and reward our team members for being proactive in this arena? Interesting question...
All companies have values. You might even know yours off by heart.
What most companies don't do - intentionally anyways - is take aligned action.
As mentioned above, we are all good at taking action.
But if we don't know what the values mean to US and what they mean to the company as a whole, taking aligned action becomes impossible.
When it comes to personal self care, it's generally pretty clear when we're doing things that makes us feel "good", and this is where the conversation for aligned action needs to begin.
What actions are people taking that move the company forward towards it's goals?
What actions are people taking that move the company AWAY from it's goals?
Do you even know?
It starts with collecting the knowledge. And it ends with Boundaries and Measurement (both of which I will discuss later in the article).
My friend Lindsay Harle-Kadatz had a podcast called this, and when we're talking about well-being and happiness, it's important to look at your business this way. There are things that happen that make the business "happy" (and it's not JUST making money). There are things that happen that support the business operating "well".
When we approach the health of our business from a lens of well-being and happiness, it opens new doors to how we can CREATE that.
And I'm not just talking about putting apples in the lunch room.
And I'm definitely not talking about Beer Fridays.
I'm talking about Whole-Human Wellness, which has physical, emotional, and social components.
So keeping up this imagery as your business as a person...what are some things that come to mind around physical wellness?
For me, physical wellness can be broken into two categories: Space and Movement.
Space is all about how people feel within the confines of the business, and it's important to include both the physical spaces (like an office or home office), as well as the digital space (how people are interacting with digital tools) and any required access to "untouchable" space (like family dinner times, that are specific by person). All of these experiences connect to the space, and if we aren't considering them, we definitely can't create wellness within them.
Movement is an interesting one as well, because I think most people only think about HUMAN movement, like taking walking meetings, or standing at a desk or sitting on a balance ball. Or even doing exercise programs at lunch, or promoting a gym membership. But movement is also about PROGRESS. It's about moving towards things and away from other things. About moving towards the things the company values and away from the things they don't. Too often, we get stuck in status quo in this arena, and that isn't good for the overall wellness of the company.
When it comes to emotional wellness, the biggest contributors are Stress Management and Emotional Intelligence.
Companies are almost always under stress, and each company defaults to finding a way to manage that stress. In some industries, like Law, the stress gets moved onto employees (the lower the level the more the stress) and it becomes part of the culture. Some businesses incorporate a Blame Culture, which looks to pass of responsibility for mistakes to other people to prevent stress on oneself. Again, in most scenarios, these actions are NOT intentional, but are the path of least resistance. It's important to take a look at your businesses stress management tendencies and structures to break down how it might be done in a more positive light.
Emotional Intelligence is another one that is always interesting to me...because we say we want our people to have it, but we also expect them to leave their emotions at the door and just "get to work". Of course, that's not a thing humans can do, so it's not a thing businesses can do either ????
Social wellness, prior to COVID-19, was all about team events, cool work spaces and food. But now, in the post-pandemic world, we're realizing that perhaps that didn't create as much social connection as we thought. We need to re-think what dictates social wellness, and one of the previously ignored contributors is Boundaries.
What are your corporate boundaries? What projects would you say no to? Who wouldn't you work with? What type of people won't you hire?
This may sound exclusive instead of inclusive, but in order to be inclusive, we have to by nature exclude the people who don't fit. If you want to be an anti-racist organization, you can't hire a racist (knowingly) just because they have a good sales record. If you want your company to be sustainable, you can't approve unlimited gas consumption for commuting.
Knowing what you WON'T accept is key to streamlining the path to what you WANT to accept. The things you value most as an organization.
With all this said, what are some of the things your business can do to maintain it's self care? Check out some of the ideas below, and feel free to add your own! After all, each brand is unique ????
If your teams are participating, in any capacity, in the digital space, then all of these things are happening digitally as well. So don't forget to include the DIGITAL practices that contribute (or don't contribute) to your company's well-being and happiness ????
Digital influence is happening all the time...is your company doing it from a space of well-being and happiness? If not, is it creating the influence you'd like?
If you want to chat more about THAT????, hit me up for a chat!