Self-Care in the Workplace. What Does That Mean to You?
On the latest episode of the Fundraising HayDay podcast (Season 3, Episode 11), my cohost Kimberly and I spoke to Tara Davis, head guru of workplace self-care for the American Psychological Association. She shared an awful lot of data and resources related to the importance of self-care in the workplace, but the one statement that stuck out to me was this, “The average person spends 90,000 hours of their life in the workplace. We need to ensure that time is helping our well-being, not destroying it. Also, the concept of work-life balance is a lie.”
I don’t know about you, but that seems like a lot of hours to me. And if I’m going to spend a significant portion of my life at work, I want to enjoy what I am doing. That means not only working for an organization with a mission I support, but also feeling as if I’m respected, cared for, and appreciated. So what does that look like?
My guess is the answer may differ from individual to individual. That is why Tara suggested employers ask their workers what will help them stay healthy at work. For some, it may include time in the day to squeeze in a workout. For others, it may include flexible hours or the ability to telecommute. Others may want a standing desk to avoid sitting for 8 hours a day. Putting your employee’s physical and mental well-being at the forefront will go a long way towards creating an environment of self-care.
Relationships in the workplace also play a huge role in an employee’s happiness. A few years ago I presented a conference workshop on the role of relationships and how they lead to success in the grant profession. While conducting research for the presentation I found an article with results of a study from the Gallup Organization. They found that people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. (SEVEN TIMES!) And it doesn’t have to be a best friend. Gallup found that people who simply had a good friend in the workplace are more likely to be satisfied.
For an extrovert like me, this was confirmation of what I already knew. If asked why I stayed with the City of Alpharetta for 12 years in the same position (grants administrator), my answer was simple: I loved my coworkers. For me, self-care in the workplace looks like having friends I can vent to, enjoy lunch breaks with, and have a quick 10-minute chat ‘round the water cooler on Tuesday morning about the previous night’s episode of The Bachelor. If I’ve got that, I’m a happy girl and more than willing to work my tail off on many an impending grant deadline. Plus, when you like your coworkers it makes it easier to work on said deadlines with them. As Helen Keller brilliantly put it, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
If you are basically living at your office, doesn’t it make sense for it to be a healthy environment? Consider talking to your supervisor, sharing resources with your organization’s Human Resources staff, or dropping an idea in the office suggestion box. And if you want to bring in an expert, like Tara from APA, share a link to our podcast with the powers that be in your office. What have you got to lose?
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