By Kelley Reynard
The way we’re working isn’t working. Long hours at work, rapid changes in technology, economic uncertainty, and globalisation; they all wreak havoc on our mind and body. As a result, many of us are experiencing burnout, stress, fatigue, and lack of engagement with work, all at the expense of our family life, exercise routine, diet, and sanity. People continue to push on, working crazy and ridiculous hours; for financial security, and to be seen as a passionate and productive team player by colleagues and management. The impact of this is profound, and is not only detrimental to our health and wellbeing, but to the productivity and success of the organisation.
A Medibank Report in 2008 revealed that stress-related absenteeism and presenteesim is costing the Australian economy $14.81 billion per year, and is directly costing employers $10.11 billion a year, and has an extreme negative impact on the individual and the organisation. However, when workplaces support health and well being, and employees regularly engage in good health and lifestyle habits, they are nearly three times more productive than their unhealthy employees, and have two fold better work performance compared to the least healthy employees. Many programs and initiatives are now being introduced into workplaces to help curb the negative effects of stress and enhance employee well being. Through successful implementation of effective actions to create mentally healthy workplaces, organisations will, on average, receive a positive return on investment (ROI) of $2.30 for every $1 spent.
In particular, workplace Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation is topping the list of interventions as a powerful way to reduce workplace stress, increase energy, address health and weight issues, and improve the immune system. With its strong focus on the stress hormones, the ligaments, muscles, and nerves, coupled with deep breathing exercises, Yoga can help to alleviate stress and increase wellbeing to stimulate people’s drive, motivation, willpower, and determination to succeed. In addition, mindfulness and meditation, especially when practiced over a long period of time, can actually change the structure of our brains for the better, and there is now research to show that significant changes can occur in the structure and mass within certain brain regions. In particular, the part of the brain responsible for memory, attention, awareness, thought, and language, is known to be enhanced through meditation. The practice has also revealed to increase activity of the left part of the brain associated with positive mood states, and as a result, correlates with greater levels of happiness and emotional resiliency.
Isn’t this what all employers yearn for? A workplace where their employees are happy and positive? Where people are engaged with their work and bounce out of bed every day to get to the office? Radek Sali, CEO at Swisse Wellness thinks so, and offers his employees daily 20 minute meditation classes to nurture and help their minds. Sali has created a culture where People, Principles, and Passion come before Profit, and mistakes are valued as a learning opportunity to improve and get better. He encourages employees to look after their physical health, offering yoga classes and what is called a H&H day, so Health & Happiness day (a day for employees who are performing to have one day off in a month where there isn’t a public holiday). Sali sees the practice of meditation as a way to exercise the mind and keep people on their game. He sees the benefits as being present and engaging in the conversation you’re in now, rather than thinking about what you’re going to cook for dinner that night. He believes meditation keeps you in touch with what is the most important thing going on – the conversation right now. Sali says it’s made him a more balanced leader, calmer, and more aware of his feelings and he now notices when he may not be in the best space to deal with certain things. It has connected him back to the longer-term vision of Swisse Wellness, and has helped clarify where the company wants to go. Signing off an email everyday with CLED down at the bottom: “Celebrate Life Every Day”; ensuring employees keep sound of mind and manage stress as much as possible, Sali sure knows how to ensure his employee’s health and happiness is the number one priority.
To continue reading the article by Steve Pell, and the great insights CEO Radek Sali has about the company culture, and achieving global growth and success at Swisse Wellness, please click the following link: http://managementdisrupted.com/radek-sali/