Down Dog, profit and positive emotions
Updated: Mar 19
Lunchtime yoga is thriving as an employee perk, but scheduling wellbeing is another indicator of toxic performance culture.
Poor mental health costs UK employers an estimated £33-42 billion a year*, which is why lunchtime meditations, walking groups, Zoom Yoga, gym subscriptions and on demand counselling have become a standard solution to increase profitability over the last decade.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the best wellbeing perks I’ve enjoyed have included lunchtime yoga and access to a gym, but even the most well-intentioned wellbeing initiatives cannot counteract the pressure to achieve goals that are detrimental to our wellbeing.
In psychological terms our wellbeing is a construct of many things. The psychologist Martin Seligman’s wellbeing model (PERMA) builds on the premise that our basic psychological needs must be satisfied through the achievement of goals, and the interaction of elements like our relationships with others and creating positive emotions.
How often are corporate goals set where the relationship between profit and positive emotions is explored?
In Leading to Wellbeing**, Anne Topakas highlights that leaders and managers are uniquely positioned to influence wellbeing in the workplace, advocating in her article an individual approach to wellbeing, and it makes sense, until we consider the way we set goals leads to pressure to perform.
Microsoft data tells us that the more 1:2:1 time an employee had with their manager at the start of the pandemic, the smaller the increase in working hours appeared to be, the data also showed an opposite effect for the managers, their actions protected the employee and led to an increased management workload. If workplace goals are productivity centric, the pressure to absorb work over health will prevail.
As Christina Clark, CEO of Workculturati points out:
“Alongside pandemic fatigue, employees are enduring how best to manage their “be-well-under-the-circumstances” fatigue, while being asked to do more than ever before. Wellbeing is subjective. Employers are being challenged to rethink a one-size-fits-all wellbeing approach, offering people time and space, rather than a free yoga class. Balancing blended home-work culture and productivity isn’t as simple as reducing or increasing workloads - both can lead to insecurity, anxiety, and burnout. It’s not just toxic for people and culture, but for the bottom line too.”
The relationship between striving for productivity and thriving as an individual is key to post pandemic goal setting. Well-being initiatives should not be a management response to increase productivity in exhausted and overwhelmed employees, goals need to be implemented with a person-centred approach that is both empathic and curious.
This is why I encourage my clients to take a more holistic approach to goal setting. If you’re self employed, or managing a team, getting curious about the areas that makeup workplace wellbeing will revolutionise the way you set goals.
We should be asking, ‘how does this goal help our people to thrive?’
Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how my goal review service can help your people to thrive.
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