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Big organizations have recognized that workplace wellness initiatives have had a significant improvement to business metrics, enhancing personal wellbeing enhances team performance. How does that relate to SMEs and startups? Without sophisticated systems. branding and structures of multinationals, aren’t the people more integral to driving business growth? With greater emphasis on team members to determine the success of the company, can business today afford the risk of burnout, high attrition rates, chronic stress levels? It’s time this responsibility is taken by leaders and managers to help individuals collectively, happy and healthy people make more effective teams.

Given the current climate of unprecedented uncertainty and change since Covid-19, there has been global increase in burnout since Covid-19 according to a recent global survey by Ogilvy with 7000 consumers in 14 countries. 80% of respondents are looking for wellness solutions and 77% recognizing that wellness is extremely important for them personally.

Management consultants proport that the surest way to keep your customers happy is by having a team that is happy to work and serve to the business objectives. Burnout, stress and anxiety leads to problems including decrease in productivity in the long run, poor communication, disengaged employees, low energy and team morale, depression, increased medical leave, inability to have the mental clarity required for good decision making, and ultimately this results in team performance, client satisfaction and business results.

Startups entrepreneurs and employees are more prone and end up absorbing more pressure as the survival of their business vision is in their hands despite the small teams and limited resources they have to work with. Stress hormones are experienced when we see circumstances as a threat to our survival, doesn’t that ring true when navigating the changing landscape of the world with Coronavirus? The more sustained stress levels become the more the workplace engenders that ‘flight or flight’ mechanism hindering communication, cooperation and problem solving, wellbeing and team development becomes a critical component to increase the resilience of the team and protect the continuity of business operations.

Rather than waiting until it turns into a mental health issue, what if we consider the ideal outcome for your team and business and work towards that instead by prioritising wellbeing, personal/professional growth and purpose?

What you can expect to gain from wellness programs clearly impact the bottom line, what would the ROI of such initiatives be for your firm? Thriving as a team means better business results, happy clients, joyful and productive working environment, your team constantly growing into the best version of themselves with incredible synergy, reducing the need for taking sick leave (absenteeism), increased employee engagement & retention and attracting high quality employees who wants to work for your company because of the strong team culture and a sense of purpose. According to a Cigna survey in 2018 92% of workforce suffer from daily stress and 87% receive inadequate support from their company, it’s time to change the what it means to provide as an employer, there is a clear need to contribute to employee health; financial, physical, emotional and mental.

How can you support the health of your business?

* Startups need simple yet transformational interventions that have a massive impact but does not require a massive budget. Make positive social impact, increased engagement in these programs show that the team cares about each other which is the building blocks for strong teams and brands. We’re creating a new category centred around thriving with purpose by improving team wellbeing, happiness, culture and performance for startup and SME teams

* Regular and proper self care practice for individuals lead to better mood, increase in energy level and performance

* Teams that are purpose driven are bonded by values beyond maximising profit, lead to higher level of emotional fulfilment at work and create authentically purposeful brands. Consumers care more about what brands stand for especially post Covid-19.

* With over 70% of our lives spent at work, it should be something to look forward to and help you grow into the best version of yourself by creating the lens of change as an opportunity to grow rather than a threat on survival

Startups and SMEs need to support and encourage their employees to prioritise wellbeing best practices as a team on a day to day basis, the compounding power of habit creation ensures there is awareness around the holistic wellness of the team instead of introducing interventions when it’s too late and engagement is low. The goal of this approach is to take preventative measure rather than trying to use health plans and support groups to deal with underlying issues, when awareness is invested early it saves a lot of resource trying to correct a problem that has been long undetected and systemically supressed in the workplace.

When there is a community build at the workplace motivation becomes intrinsic from a shared value system, this is the importance of purpose. Startups have seen major success by bringing social causes to combine with business success, the case study of Tom’s shoes and how the ‘one for one’ motto catapulted the brand value of the company when they pledged every pair of shoes sold they donate a pair of shoes to the underprivileged.  Contributing a percentage of profits to causes the teams collectively believe in means they galvanize with a larger vision and on an emotional level, propelled by “doing good for the world each day they come to work” as they see their actions being an agent of change to global issues such as poverty and pollution. Meaningful teambuilding -> purposeful teams

The cost of unwellness materially reduces profitability, it is estimated by up to 20%, this includes staff turnover and re-training costs (6.3%), absenteeism and medical costs (1.7%), productivity costs (12.6%), these numbers are rising with the global pandemic, now more than ever people are remain in constant fear of their health, finances, future, families. This is an opportunity for you to create an office culture that inspires creativity, openness, enthusiasm to innovate courageously without being paralyzed by the fear of failure. The of today leaders can distinguish their companies by integrating human values again, where there is joy and fun associated to being at work and to cultivate a culture that allos sensitivity, empathy, compassion and provides a safe space for individuals to be themselves without the stigma of being marginalized or labelled as ‘weak’ in these difficult times, let’s shed the façade of bravado and redesign a much more connected team dynamic to inspire of a new economic paradigm driven by purpose, principle and profit.

Occupational wellness includes:

Setting up a workplace wellness program for your Startup/SME

Create healthy habits

Build a community

Coaching/training offer timely guidance, actionable next steps, motivation, engagement, accountability, reward , a success path towards your ideal outcome

Boost immune system - nutrition, healthy cooking, fitness, movement, emotional wellbeing, lunch and healthy snacks

Improve Sleep

Improve Productivity

Improve employee health behaviour

Stress management

Conflict management - improve communication, mindfulness, mindset, improvisation, humour, gratitude and appreciation, emotional intelligence, empathy

Providing a psychologically safe environment for honest communication and vulnerability without negative consequences

Overcome anxiety

Financial wellness

Increase mood

Improve interpersonal relationships

Building a strong, caring team culture

Aligning work with higher purpose + core values

Social consciousness - Environmental sustainability, equality, diversity & inclusion, social justice

Full Article: https://tforteams.medium.com/why-workplace-wellness-needs-to-be-a-priority-even-for-startups-1781b1db9d43

Written by Neelam Harjani, Founder of Inspire Yoga and Tracy Tsang, Founder of T for Teams
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