Work is changing as technology advances, so how can we prepare our working population for the Future of Work (FOW)? The development of Artificial Intelligence and Automation Services will need to be counterbalanced with the incorporation of Emotional Intelligence at work. Large cohorts of workers will need to adapt, upskill and change the way they work. Awareness of self and others is fast becoming a key narrative at work as we communicate in our teams, manage the temporal challenges of the remote and hybrid work space and move towards becoming agile and resilient organizations.

Why Are Some of Our Workforce Managing Transitions Better Than Others?

This can be explained by an individual’s mindset. According to the work of Professor Carol Dweck of Stanford University has shown that people with a growth mindset (37% of today’s working population) believe that they can improve their talents and skills with hard work and further learning. It has been also often found that those with a growth mindset have greater self-efficacy and can manage transitions more effectively than their co-workers with a fixed mindset. Worryingly, 2/3 of today’s working population do not feel that they can upskill and be successful and therefore would categorise as having a fixed mindset. Resistance to change can often be attributed to having a fixed mindset.

What Are the 8 Fixed Mindset Triggers According to Carol Dweck?

Developing awareness of the fixed mindset triggers can be a first step to developing a growth mindset. By making our workforce aware of these mindset barriers and by giving them the tools to address them, we can continue to advance with the Future of Work by developing a growth mindset on our teams.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

Workplace Wellbeing Day should be firmly on the agenda annually and moreover this year as employee wellbeing has never been more challenged. We at Workplace Health and Wellbeing Ltd have put together some ideas that can be undertaken by your teams virtually to celebrate Workplace Wellbeing Day but also and more importantly they can be used weekly going forward as we work from home and move into the world of remote working.

Virtual Fun Lunch

Employees invited to an informal virtual lunch hour. This can be undertaken according to budgets. Employees could bring their own lunch or an organisation that has the funds could send their employees a token for many of the many food delivery companies or better still employees bring their lunch and the organisation makes a donation to a chosen charity.

Virtual DIY and a Coffee

This runs along the same principle as above but could be made a little more interesting by inviting all attendees to create something DIY eg a hat, etc with items they can readily find in their homes. A poll could be set up so all participants can choose the winning hat/item. A small prize could be given to the winner.

Lunch and Online Learn

Lunch and Learns have become very popular recently. Why not hire in a speaker on an area that you feel your employees/colleagues would benefit from for their health. Remember this type of training investment reaps its return for the workplace.

Random Message of Kindness

One nominated member sets this up. Each team member sends a positive message about another member to the nominated organiser. This could be collated anonymously and posted on a communications board your team/organisation are using.  This is based on the Random Act of Kindness principle.

Virtual Yoga

Participate in one of the many complimentary virtual yoga sessions available or hire in a virtual yoga teacher just for your team/organisation.

Virtual Karaoke

Organise a virtual karaoke session during the working day and enjoy as your colleagues belt out classics like Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. You could also run this as an afterhours event.

Virtual Quiz

Put your mind to the challenge of a good table quiz where teams/ individuals could compete with each other in an organisation.

Virtual Mindfulness

This is one I have found that transitioned into the virtual world quite easily.  A workplace mindfulness expert could be brought online to facilitate and guide your session or you could decide to run a mindful meditation video that are available online.

Virtual Bingo

Nominate a bingo master and send out the bingo cards.

Virtual Book Club

Each member of the team shares a book of value/interest to them to the group. Select a book for the following month.

All the above virtual ideas could also be run as charity events.  CSR has never been more important. It’s twofold as not only do our employees need to feel part of a greater purpose but our communities have never needed investment as much from those that can. Many charities have lost out on revenue that they need for the day to day supports they offer their clients.

Please get in touch if you want a little guidance or support on any of the above ideas. We are happy to help you with our expertise on how you can best support your employees’ wellbeing and improve your organisational health.

Social isolation comes up time and time again in the webinars we deliver on how to support wellbeing while working from home. In our leadership and wellbeing workshops, our clients are always looking for ways to connect their teams while they are working from home or remotely. We have put together some fun virtual ideas in an infographic that hopefully can be used to help us get socially online outside of work meetings.

an infographic showing different ideas on how to socialise online

The pandemic of 2020-2021 has been described as the perfect storm for mental health illnesses. In 2016, it was claimed that 18.5% of the Irish population had experienced a mental health disorder. Jean Twenge of The Washington post is quoted as saying “In some ways, this is the perfect storm for mental health issues…We’re dealing with social isolation, anxiety around health and economic problems. All of these are situations linked to mental health challenges and these are hitting many of us at once.” So, in a world where there is global uncertainty and for most of us that certainty is uncontrollable, we must set about taking control of what we can by installing daily habits into our routine. We have produced the below infographic to get you started on your way forward in taking control of the controllables. They are cost-effective and evidence-based tools to manage anxiety and boost the mood.

an infographic showing 9 different steps to help relieve anxiety

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have carried out numerous studies on wellbeing across sectors, demographics, and continents. They advocate for five evidence-based ways forward for wellbeing. Giving, Taking Notice, Keep Learning, Connecting and Being Active are the five ways to wellbeing. We have put together an infographic to support you on your way forward in improving your wellbeing

an infographic showing 5 steps to wellbeing

What is emotional intelligence, or EQ? Why is it an important leadership characteristic? And how can you improve your EQ to help you excel in the workplace and progress, more quickly, to leadership positions?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and in the people around you. Those with a higher EQ create more meaningful connections, are better at resolving conflicts, building trust and responding to constructive criticism.

Studies show that people with a higher emotional intelligence are not only attaining more important leadership positions, they’re also scaling the ladder to upper management positions more quickly and excelling in their roles as individuals.

4 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

It’s true that characteristics like empathy and self-awareness come more easily to some than others, but that doesn’t mean that these traits can’t be learned too. Here are four ways you can start to improve your emotional intelligence and, in doing so, get yourself lined up for that next big promotion!

  1. Improve your self-awareness: This is something that can learned through mindfulness meditation. Practising mindfulness meditation makes us more aware of how we feel and how we relate to spaces, people and events around us.
  2. Be less reactive: If you’re prone to flying off the handle, see if you can practise taking a step back, keeping your cool and then evaluating the problem from a distance. This way you’re more likely to be empathetic and to solve the problem or conflict whilst maintaining solid workplace relationships.
  3. Listen: Listening is a skill which can be practised and perfected over time. When people speak to you do your best to listen completely and not become preoccupied with trying to think of a response before they’ve finished talking or with other thoughts entirely. People who listen well naturally take up positions of seniority in social and work groups.
  4. Practise empathy: You don’t always have to agree with the people around you, but a good leader knows how to listen and empathize with others so that they can take a step toward finding a middle ground when challenges arise.

Investment in workplace health and safety was catapulted into everyday budgets and conversation through the onset of the current global pandemic. The content of our history books and movies has become our working and living reality.

As of July 2020, we have four typical working environs in our new normal- the planned remote, the unplanned for remote, the hybrid and finally at our usual workplace with Covid-19 Return to Work Safety Protocols in place. Change management has become an even greater crucial spoke in the workplace health wheel. Many organisations, one such is Grow Remote, are working hard to support leaders in this space and are bringing their expertise to the table. Although the acute remote working situation was not ideal many are now putting the scaffolding around workplaces post the move to remote rather than the desired scaffold first then build. It’s a start.

Working from home has brought many psychosocial conditions central to organisational success and productivity to the forefront. Mental Health First Aid Ireland Working from Home Survey published in July 2020 provides the latest evidence-based data on working from home through the current pandemic. Data was collected from respondents to the questionnaire in May and June 2020 and used globally recognised instruments of measurement including the WHO -5 Wellbeing Index. The report found that of those working from home:

Clearly from the data above we need to invest in wellbeing programmes and training for our employees. Investment in communication tools for employees and continuing to nurture colleague and managerial relationships at work will support the social connection work traditionally provided that is now challenging for workers in the new normal.

I recall a webinar I hosted in collaboration with Galway Chamber in April 2020 where in a zoom poll for the 22 participants, none had worked in a remote capacity prior to March 2020. In a further question, all were asked could they carry out their job role while working remotely with a 100 % Yes response rate from participants. A further and final question asked was could they see themselves working remotely post Covid and this got a 80 % Yes response and a 20% No. The No responders citing the social connection of work as the primary reason for needing to get back to the office. It is the social connection that we must focus on for thriving workforces transitioning to remote and hybrid workspaces. We must get creative to retain the social support and connection through relationships that workplaces previously provided for us. Here is a link to some virtual team building ideas that could be carried out to build morale on teams.

Author Dorothy Scarry is owner of Workplace Health and Wellbeing Ltd, the leading organisation to support evidence-based training in workplace health and resilience across sectors. Dorothy holds a MSc in Workplace Health and Wellbeing from Nottingham University.

Managing teams can be a challenging part for many in leadership roles. Then along comes a global pandemic, an acute remote working situation, and a whole wave of uncertainty in many workplace sectors. Below are some simple tips that can support you and your teams during this time.

Author Dorothy Scarry is owner of Workplace Health and Wellbeing Ltd, the leading organisation to support evidence-based training in workplace health and resilience across sectors. Dorothy holds a MSc in Workplace Health and Wellbeing from Nottingham University.

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Did You Know Workload Overload Is The Number 1 Reason for Stress-Related Absences in the Workplace in 2019

Here are the top 3 causes of work-related stress:

1 Workload
2 Management Style
3 Relationships at Work
(Source CIPD 2019)

Workload is also known as work intensification in the world of occupational psychology. Work intensification was listed as the number one reason for stress-related absence from work at 62% in 2019, followed by management style at 43% and relationships at work at 30% in the Simply Health Report last year.

Work intensification can occur in the workplace when redundancies take place. The remaining workforce may increase their output or further diverse from their original job descriptions and or take on new roles to compensate for the workplace redundancy shortfalls.

Digital technology has also led to work intensification in the workplace through an unmatchable competition for work which brings with it less time for human down time. Machinery and technology do not tire and do not need time for rest or leisure to thrive.

Globalisation is also an aspect of work intensification. International travel, international time zones, increasing and constant deadlines also could cause difficulties for the workforce.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators are now commonplace in today’s workplace. These increase pressure on the worker to deliver the results as needed by the employer- some for a monetary bonus and others its security of an extension of a contract for another six months in addition to the desired improved bottom line. Workload can begin to be addressed by employees through improved time management and by people managers through improving workplace management standards.

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The Workplace as a Facilitor

Move on over Generation Y there are a whole new cohort entering our workplaces. Generation Z are here. Born post 1995 and also known as the Snowflake generation they are masters on social media and need 24 hour online access. They are digital natives as it has been their only known world.

Generation Z desires independent work spaces but also like to interact with people. They are eager learners but need constant updates and stimulation. It is also important to the Generation Z that social interaction makes up a large part of their day. More than 90% will choose to work for an organisation that practises CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)

Generation Z are the Future of Work. They are diverse, inclusive, entrepreneurial, social and they care. A workplace that facilitates the onboarding of these needs will have an engaged and thriving workforce roaring through the early twenties.

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