Credit to Guthrie-Jensen for this awesome infographic!
The world united this week for World Mental Health Day to recognise mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. The event takes place every year on 10 October and is supported by the United Nations.
The theme for this year was “Young people and mental health in a changing world”, so in this article we turn our attention to the rise of mental health issues in the workplace among millennials.
Millennials at Work
The way we work has changed dramatically over recent years, and, with millennials set to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 (Deloitte Millennial Survey), will evolve even further. However, with this changing landscape comes an increase in mental health issues. Millennials are experiencing higher levels of anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide than generations past.
Earlier this year, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) in the UK conducted a survey of more than 4,500 people regarding stress in the workplace. It found that millennials felt more under pressure at work than older generations, with 28% reporting stress-related illness.
Cause and Effect
There are several potential reasons why millennials seem to be particularly prone to mental health issues, including:
A recent study from the Psychological Bulletin found that millennials have “multidimensional perfectionism” meaning they feel pressure to measure up to an ever-growing number of criteria. By striving to reach impossible standards they increase the risk of mental health issues. In the workplace, this can be exemplified by a feeling that they are not being given the recognition, and promotions, that they feel they deserve.
Research suggest that millennials check their phones up to 150 times a day! This excessive use of their phones, means they allow themselves less time to “switch off”, which can be detrimental to their health. This reliance on their phones becomes a form of addiction—they feel they need to constantly check what is happening in the digital world for fear of missing out.
Millennials have lower employment rates due to increasing competition for entry-level positions. Many new graduates also carry the burden of large student loan debts. Millennials are also less likely to own a home than previous generations at the same age.
Advice to Millennials
So, without wanting to come across too preachy, here is some advice for millennials:
Be comfortable in your own skin
Social media has created an unhealthy culture of perfectionism where people can now airbrush their lives to create flawless photos. But it’s not real. By idealising other people’s lives on social media you are setting yourself unrealistic goals and inevitably setting yourself up for a fall.
The same is true in the workplace. No-one expects you to be 100% perfect, 100% of the time. Making, and admitting, mistakes is a necessary part of learning and will make you stronger.
You don’t have to compare yourself to other people–accepting who you are is a positive step towards happiness.
Learn the art of patience
It is often said that millennials live in a world of instant gratification—everything they need is “on demand”. This can have a negative impact on their professional lives as they may feel they are entitled to a promotion, pay rise or business trip, but are disappointed when it doesn’t materialise.
You don’t need to get everything you want right now. Working hard to achieve your goals will give you a greater sense of fulfilment in the long term.
Cut down on your screen time
Constantly checking your phone at work can lead to loss of productivity and work-related stress. If we take smartphone usage as a form of addiction, then, like other addictions, it can be overcome with the right approach. While a full digital detox simply isn’t practical for most people, there are several things you can do to help you be present in the moment.
- Limit yourself. Set strict boundaries on your smartphone usage at work so that you only use it on your break time.
- Turn your unimportant notifications off. Your world will not stop if you don’t check the notifications within 10 seconds of receiving it.
- Look up more. Do you really need to walk and text or can you enjoy your surroundings with your phone in your pocket?
For more ideas on cutting down your screen time, check out this article.
Have conversations with older generations
It may be a cliché , but millennials can learn a lot from older generations—everything in this article and more.
In a professional capacity, one of the best ways to learn from older generations is by finding a good mentor. Life in the digital age brings improved connectivity that’s conducive to building supportive online communities for tacit knowledge sharing and professional networking. There is a huge array of business productivity apps that can matchmake young professionals with industry mentors looking for career advice, eg apps like Woomentum, Shapr and Unibly.
These tips are not exhaustive, but hopefully will help you on the path to mental wellness in the workplace. To find out more about our mental wellness initiatives, get in touch with the WellteQ team.
Putting your heart into your work is a phrase that plenty of us are familiar with. While it may be an admirable work ethic, some people inadvertently take it too literally. As reports of job stress increases, the negative impact it has on health and wellness has become more prevalent. Short of packing things up and retiring to a private island (one can only dream!), what can we do to prevent our hearts from redlining? With World Heart Day coming up on 29 September, we have some top tips on how to look after your heart.
Stress is Subjective
One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Not all of us react to work the same way–what you find stressful might be a walk in the park for someone else. Yet the ways stress in the workplace affect our heart health are far from ambiguous:
- Panic attacks and spikes in blood pressure.
- Emotional volatility and violent outbursts.
- Poor sleep quality and low focus.
- Compromised immune system.
- Stress/binge eating as a coping mechanism.
Stress can be divided into two types: short and long-term. Looming deadlines and double shifts may sound bad in theory, but the human body is surprisingly adept at handling short-term stress—even mental ones. However, long-term stress—like a new boss who micro-manages every single thing that you do—is a different story altogether. In both cases, your body produces hormones like adrenaline and cortisol as part of a natural survival response. When these hormones fail to dissipate after long periods of time, cholesterol levels increase and so does your risk of heart disease.
Keeping the Heart Strong
Proper nutrition and active living might be instrumental to good heart health, but even the best of efforts can be compromised when they’re exposed to a constant barrage of stress factors. Here are some measures you can take at the workplace (or any similar setting) to keep your heart strong:
Limit alcohol consumption
Yes, after work drinks on a Friday can be tempting, especially when everyone else at the office is doing it. However, it is all too easy for a drinking habit to spiral out of control. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention lists excessive alcohol consumption as one of the top five lifestyle-related factors of heart disease, so this is far from an old wives’ tale. Many corporate wellness programs have ways to monitor your alcohol intake.
Even if you’re a non-smoker, second-hand smoke can still affect you. If your social circle at work comprises regular smokers, then you may want to consider distancing yourself whenever they go and light up. Inhaling the smoke from others can lead to atherosclerosis, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Organisations should ensure designated smoking areas are kept well away from non-smokers.
Regular health screenings
Some companies make regular health screenings mandatory for all employees. For those who are presented with an open option, you’d be remiss not to take advantage of it. Health screenings can help identify early signs of heart disease, allowing one to take action and receive treatment post-haste. The earlier the treatment, the higher the chance of making a complete recovery.
Most stressed employees end up feeling this way due to their perception of being alone in their struggles. In such cases, having someone to lend a listening ear can be a soothing balm for even the most troubled of souls. Talking to a more experienced colleague who’s “been there, done that” might shed some new light on a grim situation. Sometimes, a new perspective might be all that you need to get things going again. As an employer, try encouraging a culture where your employees feel comfortable opening up to each other.
You don’t have to roll out the yoga mat if you don’t want to, but basic practices like deep breathing and silent contemplation can be done in a workplace setting without creating a spectacle. Stuck at the desk for hours? Take a few minutes off for a short walk. Another key consideration of meditative practices is proper posture–something that is often lacking in the workplace. When combined with chest breathing, poor posture can affect your lungs’ ability to fully inflate and deflate. This lapse in oxygen intake and carbon dioxide expiration can raise one’s blood pressure, so don’t be a slouch (literally) at work! If you’re in charge of employee wellness, consider setting up regular meditation sessions for your workforce.
Heart disease can be mitigated through healthy behaviours. In a workplace environment, we often find ourselves forgoing common sense for the sake of productivity and “blending in”. While the thought of numerous work accolades might seem enticing, it should not have to come at the expense of your health. Your heart might be in your work, but you don’t want to reach a point where your heart NEEDS work.
To discuss how our digital wellness solution can keep your workforce “heart-healthy”, contact the WellteQ team.
In Part 2 of this episode of WellteQ Talks, Scott Montgomery talks to Natalie Dau, from the Daily Escape, about data-driven wellness including her top tips on using data to improve your health and fitness outcomes
To find out more about improving the ROI on your data-driven wellnes, get in touch with the WellteQ team.
Human technology has come a long way since the end of the 20th century. Advances in digital communication have made conversing with someone in a different continent possible with just the push of a button.
We now have unlimited access to vast amounts of information, all delivered at lightning speeds. With this much power at our disposal, is it all that surprising that we’ve become tethered to our tech?
It’s a Scary Digital World
There’s no denying the instance of online addiction: whether it’s scrolling through your social media feed, skimming through videos or trawling through internet forums. The nature of the beast means that most of the afflicted are unaware of their condition.
It might seem strange that something so ubiquitous with modern society can have such a strong hold over our lives. Yet, it’s nothing that simple human biology can’t explain.
The Science Bit
Most of these activities are conducted within our own personal leisure time. Such pleasurable pursuits trigger a release of dopamine in the brain, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for making things feel enjoyable.
The thing is, we go online so frequently that the effects of the dopamine spike becomes diminished – much like a drug addict builds up a tolerance to drugs over time.
As we become numb to the original sensations of dopamine, we often escalate matters in an attempt to recapture them. This is why it’s so common to see digital addicts descend further and further into their habits.
Taking a Few Steps Back
But it’s not as if we can all go off the grid and revert back to our pre-digital state. The fact is that technology has become a truly indispensable part of our lives.
Rather than abstain from it altogether, the key lies in striking a balance. So here are six tricks to help with your digital detox:
1. Utilise time windows
Remember intermittent fasting? The same concept can be applied to digital device usage as well. Set a time window that doesn’t have you looking at a screen the moment of waking or right before bed. Alternatively, you can allot yourself small breaks of recreational device usage with a couple of hours placed in between.
2. Practice the “reward” system
Positive reinforcement has been shown to be effective at both promoting new habits and breaking down old ones. The idea of treating yourself when you’ve been good isn’t exactly a novel concept, but many tend to go overboard when it comes to rewards. Keep it on the conservative side as opposed to spending an hour on the screen for every 15 minutes of work done.
3. (Re)discover a non-digital hobby
A healthy distraction may be all you need to tear yourself away from tapping away at a screen incessantly. Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, or a hobby you’ve long since forgotten? Strapping on your old pair of in-line skates and heading out for a spin might sound a bit scary, but it’s surely better than staying glued to your phone.
4. Take a screen-free holiday
There are some holiday packages that make it a point to have you check-in your mobile devices into a secure location at the start of your vacation. Such retreats are typically geared towards complete mental and physical rejuvenation, and would allow you to see how an absence of technology can benefit yourself. If you’re more of a DIY-er, you can always leave your phone/tablet in the hotel safe before heading out!
5. Use peer pressure to your advantage
Telling others what you have planned for yourself might seem a bit vain, but it’s actually a pretty effective tactic for keeping yourself accountable. Assuming that these people are the ones you spend most of your time with, informing them of your intentions will create within you the perception of them constantly watching you. It might not be true at all, but the possibility
of it being so will make you less likely to trip up.
6. One device at a time
Digital convenience and multi-tasking seem to go together hand in hand. Realistically speaking, it’s near impossible to do multiple things efficiently when they’re being done simultaneously. Personally, the whole notion of having your smartphone on while watching television never made sense to me – you only have one set of eyes and one brain after all. If you’re going to spend time on a device, keep it to one at a time so that you’ll be able to do what needs doing in as little time and with as little distraction as possible.
Keeping it real
Spending the bulk of your time in front a screen comes at the expense of losing your connection with the physical world.
While there are certainly enjoyable moments to be had with technology, there’s nothing wrong with taking a long overdue break. After all, there’s more to the world around you than what you get from a screen!
To discuss digital health in more detail, get in touch with the WellteQ team today.
Corporate wellness is certainly a trending buzzword in today’s health-focused landscape. Healthier employees are generally happier and more productive in their day-to-day lives. However, holistic wellness extends beyond just the pure physical.
Looking Beyond the Surface
Stress is often cited as one of the main detriments to health and happiness, and a major stressor among employees is the state of their finances. Not only does this result in low morale, it also becomes an unsettling distraction, which can lead to increased absenteeism.
As the wage gap deepens and income classes become more stratified, it’s not surprising that more and more workers are feeling the pinch. The rise in the cost of living means that low-to-middle income earners must find ways to do more with less. Combined with the demands of their day job, such financial stress can become the straw that broke the camel’s back.
What Can Employers Do?
It might be surprising to learn that the workplace is actually an ideal place to build financial wellness. A single programme has the potential to reach a large pool of individuals. Employee density also means that important messages can be communicated more efficiently and accurately. Whether it’s a simple presentation on the importance of investment, or the implementation of an employee benefit scheme, any means of improving financial outlook can pay sizeable dividends in terms of the quality of life and can significantly boost talent retention.
While providing the right tools is important, building a culture that supports financial independence is more beneficial for long-lasting change. Successful engagement means setting the stage for certain habits, such as financial awareness and budgeting, to take root. Programmes that adopt a more holistic approach to improving this aspect of employee wellbeing will not only help staff become more financially astute, but will also benefit the business on the long-term. A financially secure employee is less likely to start looking elsewhere for employment.
Promoting Financial Wellness
Here are some ways businesses can get their staff to start thinking about their financial health:
- Employee benefits. Offering benefits such as income protection, life insurance, pension and medical insurance means less things for employees to worry about and a greater sense of financial security.
- Education. Engaging financial experts as consultants, be it via a workshop or a one-on-one basis, is a great way to keep your staff informed.
- Saving schemes. Companies can collaborate with banks to offer specialised workplace saving programmes.
Additionally, the power of technology can and should be harnessed to optimise an organisation’s efforts to improve financial security in the workplace. Combining personal and employer data can help paint a more complete financial picture. Certain specialists offer programmes that utilise algorithms to analyse and compile the financial circumstances of employees and their individual needs.
Better Prospects for Everyone
Healthier employees, be it physical or financial, equates to healthier margins. Major life events like marriage, the birth of a child, or buying a house can come as a financial shock. Organisations that actively support their employees through these events give themselves a sizeable advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, and in doing so will enhance their bottom line.
To find out more about WellteQ’s financial wellness initiatives, get in touch with us today.
On the back of a recent Colliers International report that APAC countries are losing billions of dollars a year from health issues, employee wellness is now a key business component for HR teams across the region.
So, without further ado, here are WellteQ’s Top 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement in APAC.
1. Realistic Expectations
Sadly, a major problem across APAC is employees working too many hours. This has been recognised at a governmental level, eg in Singapore the Ministry of Manpower has advocated a limit of 44 working hours per week.
However, change has to happen at an organisational level – managers need to open their eyes to the signs of burnout and mental health in workplace. While working overtime might help boost productivity in the short-term, the mid and long-term consequences can be severe.
Overworked employees may lose their motivation, become less productive or even leave the company.
In extreme cases, stress-related burn out can result in severe health issues and even lead to death. Tragically, this is so commonplace in Asia that many countries have their own word for “death by overworking”: karōshi in Japanese, gwarosa in South Korean and guolaosi in Chinese.
Effective leaders should discourage working overtime where it can be avoided. In some Asian cultures it is still believed that an employee should not leave the office before their manager – by leaving on time, the manager ensures that employees are not under pressure to stay at the office.
2. It’s Good to Talk
Internal communication is crucial to improving employee engagement, but this is something that has often been criticised across APAC. Whether it’s a corporate or a start-up, it is a manager’s duty to hold periodic appraisals with their employees.
These meetings are crucial for an employee to gauge how their performance is being measured and evaluated. It also gives them the opportunity to have transparent conversations about salary career progression. A good manager will also use this opportunity to identify and solve any issues that may inhibit the employee from carrying out their work.
Managers should proactively encourage employees to have these appraisals, as opposed to employees continuously chasing for it.
However, 1-on-1 meetings may not always allow an employee to air their grievances. By conducting employee surveys regularly, a company can allow unhappy employees to open up anonymously without fear of reprisal. This type of feedback is crucial to improve the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS).
3. APAC Wellness Programs
The Colliers International report found that “wellness is becoming a key component of workplace strategy with corporates increasingly looking to design the best workplaces to enhance employee engagement and productivity”.
In this increasingly digital age, traditional wellness programs are becoming less and less effective. Instead, organisations are looking at data-driven solutions that can provide more accurate insights into their workforce than ever before, eg WellteQ integrates with main-brand wearables to focus on optimising health goals such as stress, fatigue, fitness, etc.
But a good digital wellness solution can do so much more:
- Add a dimension of gamification by rewarding employees for partaking in cross-departmental challenges.
- Leverage smartphone technology to communicate more effectively with connected employees.
- Identify a workforce’s health issues – companies can enhance risk analysis capabilies in order to reduce health insurance premiums.
- Incorporate employee surveys to measure the eNPS before and after a wellness program. At WellteQ we have seen a 40% in employee engagement after our wellness program.
4. Inclusion Policy
One quick way to ostracise an employee is by making them feel detached from the company. Creating an “us and them” gulf between management and the rest of the workforce can be extremely demoralising. This could include things like reprimanding employees for being late while at the same time being consistently late themselves.
There are a number of things managers in APAC can do to make an employee feel more included:
- Allowing them the opportunity to own share options means they are more immersed in the success and failure of the company.
- Injecting a vibrant social calendar into your organisation allows people to forge deeper connections with both their team and management.
- Incorporating CSR initiatives allow staff to bond over important causes not related to their everyday work. CSR projects can be particularly powerful if there is support from senior management.
5. Moving with the Times
The face of business has undeniably changed over the past few decades. There are now a range of digital tools that employers can get their hands on to boost productivity, eg Slack (team communications), Skype (video conferencing), Jamboard (virtual whiteboards), and many more.
However, the non-digital advancements have been just as important, eg introducing stand-up meetings as a way to cut down on unnecessary time wasting.
This attitudinal shift can largely be attributed to the rise in startup culture where bootstrapped entrepreneurs needed to streamline their businesses to make them as productive as possible. They started cutting out unnecessary rules that had dominated the corporate world for too long, so things like flexible hours, relaxed dress codes and quirky office spaces were introduced.
The startup scene is thriving in APAC and the corporate world is learning from it as a tool to improve employee engagement.
Putting it into Action
So that’s our Top 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement in APAC!
While this is all very well in theory, these type of changes are difficult to implement and will not happen overnight.
To see how WellteQ’s award-winning analytics solution can help you increase employee engagement, get in touch today.
There’s no question that smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives. In 2016, the average person checked their phone 27 times a day, rising to 80 times per day in 2017. This year, the latest studies are showing that millennials (18-34 year olds) check their smartphones over 150 times a day! So the number of connected employees has clearly risen over recent years, but what does this mean for workplace productivity?
Rules of Engagement
Well, it’s hardly surprising that connected employees are engaged employees. Engaged employees are subsequently more productive – as the old adage goes: a ‘happy workforce is a productive workforce‘.
In turn, engaged employees generate more revenue and profit for businesses than non-engaged employees.
Today’s Hierarchy of Needs
But why is connection so important? Well, social interaction is an essential human requirement, as shown by the third tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs below. What Maslow probably didn’t anticipate, back in 1943, was that in today’s society connections would largely happen online through devices.
We can now fulfil our need for love and belonging at the push of a button, without even leaving home.
In the workplace, employees are becoming increasingly connected through email, instant messaging, social media and other digital tools. While it will take some time to replace the traditional ‘water cooler gossip’ culture, employees are definitely communicating more online.
Indeed, recent research from Salesforce shows that “71% of workers want their employer to offer the same level of technology that they use in their personal lives”.
Social interaction has been proven to release dopamine – the reward chemical. Furthermore, our brains now anticipate a dopamine spike from online behaviour, eg people liking our latest picture on Instagram.
This social currency also applies to the workplace, and savvy employers are clambering to capitalise on it. WellteQ uses gamification in a variety of ways to maximise engagement, such as matching teams against each other in wellness challenges.
Embracing Connected Employees
A 2017 report by Deloitte showed that 56% of companies were redesigning their HR programs to leverage digital and mobile tools. In addition, 41% of companies revealed that they were actively building their own mobile apps to deliver HR services.
WellteQ is extending traditional HR capabilities by embracing connected employees through our digital wellness solution. WellteQ’s award-winning analytics platform allows employees to manage their own wellness more effectively, while also lowering company risk through the HR function. The result of this is proven to deliver a 40% increase in employee engagement.
To discover how leveraging connected employees can result in a healthier, happier and, more profitable workforce, Get in touch with WellteQ today.
Breaking into the Top 10
WellteQ has been recognised in the Top 10 APAC Data Analytics Solution Providers 2018 “for exhibiting excellence in delivering data analytics solutions”.
The awards, by CIO Advisor, recognise a vendor’s ability to build solutions and services that can efficiently account for advanced and effective data analytics offerings.
Rise of the Data Scientists
Data is the buzz word of 2018, with the Forrester Report predicting a huge year for data analytics. One interesting prediction was that 80% of firms will rely on insights-as-a-service providers for their analytics capabilities.
Companies are increasingly looking for innovative ways to adopt emerging analytics trends in order to enhance the web experience in day-to-day lives. Consequently, they are outsourcing their analytics needs to data-driven companies.
Furthermore, the imminent arrival of GDPR in the EU will offer new prospects for data scientists to explore.
Data Analytics at Work
In employee wellness, WellteQ leads the charge with its ability to analyse 350-500 data points per day per user. These high-fidelity data sets allow us to give organisations in-depth (but anonymised) insights on wellness, risk and business efficiencies.
We have also developed a 4-D Analytics approach using four dimensions of baseline, behavioural, environmental and body composition data. As a result, we are able to increase employee engagement by as much as 40%.
It’s great to see our efforts rewarded by breaking into the Top 10 Data Analytics Solutions Providers 2018, you can read the full story here. WellteQ will continue providing cutting-edge analytics solutions to transform employee wellness in the workplace.
“We are going through an awakening as the Human Resource (HR) department has been a guardian of its employees whereas we are empowering the HR function to be a strategic contributor of the company at Board level, with data-driven ROI as the universal language. We achieve this by understanding the risk pockets and scope for greater productivity within a business through health data analytics.” – Scott Montomery, CEO WellteQ
If you’re interested in using data analytics to optimise your business outcomes, contact WellteQ.