Wellness at work doesn’t always have to look like yoga at lunch and people coming out of a board room smiling. Sometimes its taking the time to let people feel the normal human feelings that we all feel.
When I was working at one organization where there was some restructuring going on, unfortunately, several employees ended up being let go. And not all at once, but over a week or two. This left a feeling of uncertainty and to some degree, fear, around the office. Who was next? How long was this going to go on?
Working in that kind of environment can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. And loss of productivity. Disengagement. No one is really able to get work done when they are trying to find out the latest information that has been leaked down the ranks, or when they are afraid that every time management requests a meeting or walks by their office door they are the next to go.
But one manager handled it all extremely well. She assured us when she could, she was as transparent as she could be without breaking confidentiality, and she didn't tell us to not think about it and get back to work. Yep, you read that right. She didn't ask us to pretend like nothing was happening. She actually encouraged us all to come together for a day to hang out in the meeting room, to play board games, doodle, or work on some of our own personal items. But together. And we were encouraged to talk and ask questions.
So when someone had a question we could all hear the answer without information being twisted or misunderstood, we knew we were all feeling the same sort of emotions. During that day we ate lunch together, we laughed together and we felt sad together.
And no, not all the rumours were quieted. And not all uncertainty was squashed. But I knew after that day that if I had a concern I could go to my manager. I felt connected to my co-workers knowing they were having the same feelings that I was. A time of great difficulty and stress brought us together, all because of how my manager handled the situation. To me, that is a great example of wellness when things aren’t so great.