Many of us have experienced a personal crisis while on the job.
Broken relationships, family drama, illness, financial stress – the list goes on.
Many times, in spite of the weight of these burdens, we show up at work with a strained smile, on the edge of complete burnout, afraid to show any signs of weakness for fear of appearing weak, and in some cases, fear of losing our jobs.
The truth is, for a long time I have been a STAUNCH believer that there should be a hard, thick line that separates personal and professional:
“Nobody needs to know that I’m dying inside, let me just send out these emails.”
I’m beginning to realize that balance isn’t about keeping work in one hand and personal life in another, but about creating a holistic lifestyle where one hand isn’t completely terrified of the other.
How can we facilitate a holistic, human-first approach to dealing with personal crises? I would argue that the onus is on leadership to facilitate a workspace that facilitates healing and wellness.
Here are a few tips:
Facilitate safe, open spaces where your employees can share what’s going on.
The truth is, we all are dealing with one thing or another, so providing spaces where employees can share their burdens freely is an AMAZING way to help alleviate stress. Chances are, one or two people may have gone through similar situations and can offer helpful advice. This will allow for happier members of your team who are confident they are supported, and foster the building of meaningful relationships.
No more fear tactics – be approachable.
Your employees should not be afraid to tell you what’s going on or ask for any support if needed. In my experience I have seen many managers with a fear of employees taking advantage of empathy, or running away with freedom. The truth is you will never know someone’s full potential unless you release them. Let them show you who they are. If they are asking for help, a bit of space, or time to heal – assume that they need it.
Advocate for the health and wellbeing of your team.
Openly discuss mental health, with your team. Readily have resources available to share for overall wellbeing. Plan and execute team activities that focus on health and wellness. If your team is happy and healthy, productivity will reflect that in the best way.
To the employees who resonate deeply with the title of this blog, I am fully aware that many organizations may not provide that safe space. If that is the case, here are a few tips to make the process a little more manageable:
Talk to someone
Talk to a counsellor, a mental health advocate, a friend or family member. Talking is the first step to healing and overcoming.
Take a mental health day/self care day.
If you need a moment, take a moment. Give yourself the permission, the space, the chance to process, breathe and even heal from whatever you may be going through.
We are all beautifully and magnificently human, and we have the power in every space that we move in to help another person heal or get through a difficult circumstance. Take care of yourselves, and if you’re in that position, take care of those in your care. You will be so much better for it!
Written by Dr. Hailee Ingleton, Director of RehvUp Technologies Inc Employee Experience Program