Before the age of 65, you can expect to notch up an average of 90,000 hours at work. How we spend our days is pretty much how we spend our lives. Which is why you’d better be sure that you’re good with what you do, and the people that you work alongside. We all want to believe that our contribution is valued. Notions of job security have changed, and there’s a need to feel that ‘my role and skill-set’ remain relevant to the organization’s purpose amid a constantly changing workplace.
What’s good for the individual is also good for business, and a holistic and integrated well being programme can help attract and retain the best people. Self-management can often be the missing piece, and at Aurora, there’s a growing acceptance that we all have a part to play. Each of us has a significant amount of personal control over our sense of well being. Can we make ourselves happier at work? Our personalities are set in early childhood, but we can still foster attitudes to help our people succeed: to find the self-discipline to motivate and organise ourselves in the face of pressure. To focus on the positive aspects of the things we encounter in life.
That said, wellness is deeply personal and difficult to measure, even for an agency fixated on quantifying outcomes. It’s tempting to bunch people together and to assume that they share expectations of what a ‘good day at work’ looks like. Take two millennials at the same point in their career. One may be attracted by flexible work hours that allow for early gym sessions or limitless holidays (which has been a disaster for one agency I know); the other may be looking critically at a shared parental leave policy with a new baby on the way.
Clearly, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model to guarantee a good day at work. There are however some common expectations. An event focused on wellness in the workplace that I attended recently had this to say: we all want to be treated with dignity and to be given autonomy. We want to assume a zero tolerance of ‘crap work’ and have a sense of ‘being in it together’ – a social connection that reflects a supportive environment. We don’t want to feel overloaded. There’s a need for a sense of control over the influence and capacity we have to manage our time, and the extent to which we can impact our wider quality of life.
From this, we can design a mental health well-being programme – a covenant that sets out what we will do as an agency, and the commitment we expect from employees in return for their own mental health. The notion of mental well being is in the Aurora blood stream. We have three wellness ambassadors (I’m one), and in the coming months, we plan to formalise and expand our vision of what that means for our people. Each and everyone of them.
Get in touch with me if you want to talk about your team’s wellness and how building resilience can help them deliver your business goals, no matter the challenges.