My work is all about engaging people in their own wellbeing. Here’s some of the things we are doing at New Leaf Workplace Well-being, hopefully they will inspire you in your own projects.
When thinking about how you can improve the wellbeing of your team it’s important to think about the issues that are particular to your industry and directly affect the mental health of those employed in it. As New Leaf is based in a rural area I am very concerned about the mental health of our agricultural workers. In 2019 I brought together a group of people interested in Mental Health in Agriculture. This group is now called the Somerset Mental Health in Agriculture Group.
I’ve also helped to create a project called Farmerados. They are a group of volunteers – based on the principles of the Camerados global movement, who believe that the best way through tough times is to look out for each other. Having recently completed Mental Health First Aid training with New Leaf, 15 Somerset Young Farmers became Mental Health First Aiders, and decided they wanted to show support and do some good within their farming community.” You can read more about it here.
We have also set up a CIC to develop our community work Love Community CIC.
Could your employees offer a listening ear to others in your industry?
How about your leadership style? Do you focus on the “we” rather than the “me”? Do you see it as your role to create a culture of trust, care and expansive influence? Take a look at my post Liminal Leadership and the Bluebell Wood
New Leaf are a next stage organisation We have achieved a self-managing structure so we don’t have a hierarchy in the conventional sense, but a far more fluid system. There is still a sense of leadership but the process of emergence has changed the way that is needed now.
This allows the people, who make up the heart of the company, to be themselves and work towards a shared purpose beyond that of competition. Once you begin to think about how you can do things differently, your perception changes. Yes, there is still ambition but it is not the destructive driver it can be, instead it is replaced by cared for and shared challenges
The Climate Change of Well-being
Could improving workplace mental health and addressing climate change really be two sides of the same coin? My article on The Climate Change of Well-being addresses this idea.
Easy Eco Engagement
Supporting your employees to make Greener choices isn’t just good for the environment, but is supportive of their physical and mental health too, which in turn can make them happier and more productive at work. Increasingly people are attracted to working for companies that have a commitment to sustainability at their core, so it could help you attract more engaged employees from the outset.
You can encourage your team to make individual pledges and work together as a community on improving home and workplace sustainability, here are some ideas:
- Eat less meat
- Cycle to work
- Cut down on single use plastics
- Buy local
- Start a garden for bees or butterflies
- Reduce, reuse and recycle
Perks and Gifts for your Employees
Traditionally companies have rewarded employees with perks and gifts, but they generally haven’t put a lot of thought into how these are sourced.
I was looking to buy flowers for a colleague and learnt that most of the cut flowers on sale in the UK are grown in countries where labour is cheap, then shipped and flown here in refrigerated containers. I was shocked at how unsustainable the flower trade is and so I was delighted to find a website where you can find out where flowers are grown locally and buy from them.
When buying perks and gifts for you employees buy local and ethical, rather than a ‘perk box’
Large companies are spending a lot of money on EAPs – buying online counselling for their employees, gym memberships or workplace team building events. Often this corporate approach completely misses the point or can be underused. A friend told me about an event which was highly organised and intended to give employees of large companies a taste of “festival spirit”. Two tents were sent up with activities in each, the attendees were divided up into two groups and given a strict timetable for moving between the tents, Walking from one to the other they were entertained by ‘spontaneous’ performances. The event had none of the spontaneity, joy or random fun that people go to real festivals for. It’s the random stuff that makes life interesting!
We need to ask how we can instead connect the needs of the environment with the needs of people in recovering their wellness? What can we do to connect them with their environment, get them out in nature and spend time outdoors with others? We say, try and hold one meeting a week either in nature, by nature or with nature.
I’ve produced a series of podcasts that are free to listen to and use analogies from the natural world to help everyone overcome blocks and become more creative.
I hope you have found these ideas and pointers helpful in engaging your employees in their own wellbeing. Above all, spending time in nature is good for your business, your staff and the Planet.