Agora Wellness Series: Tools for Wellbeing in the Workplace

This month – which happens to be Stress Awareness Month – we’re focusing on health and performance in the workplace. Most Founders are well aware of the impact that stress, anxiety and burnout can have on their performance, and on the performance of their company. Figures estimate that 3,841 days are lost per year due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety. Here at AGORA, we believe that mental wellbeing is integral to a successful workforce, which is why we want to equip you with as many tools as possible. We’ve already given you some tips on how to tackle stress through personal practices (check them out here), so now we’re taking a different approach, and looking at how we can use data and digital tools to measure, and manage, stress in the workplace. The use of digital platforms looks set to be a major trend in workplace wellness: companies are starting to use data to determine specific, personalised wellness goals for their employees. According to the REBA Employee Wellbeing Survey 2017, the growth from 2016 to 2017 in the proportion of employers offering access to health and wellbeing apps/digital wellbeing products was 112%. Data can be collected by integrating fitness trackers with a wellness portal, for example, and then used to create personalised initiatives and wellness goals. Being able to measure wellbeing and track progress in this way is a real incentive for people to take their wellbeing seriously, and to take care of themselves. Here are a few companies that are offering fantastic digital tools to help lower stress and enhance wellbeing:

Thrive Global

‘If you take care of your mind, you take care of the world.’

Arianna Huffington has really put health in the workplace on the map. Following her own burnout in 2007, she has made it her mission to end the stress epidemic and shift company culture to one that prioritises wellbeing. To this end, she launched Thrive Global, a company which offers science-based strategies and tools to improve wellbeing and performance, and to create a healthier relationship with technology. The App – which allows you to set boundaries with technology – is definitely one that many of us in this smartphone generation could use.

Unmind

An online platform focusing on mental health and providing clinically-backed tools and training for a healthy workforce. It offers programmes to help employees proactively improve their mental wellbeing, evidence-based interventions (mindfulness, breathing exercises, stretching etc.) to use in times of need, and measurable insights into employees’ progress. According to their data, 92% of employees show improvement in wellbeing following their courses.

Levell

One of the companies to come out of the very exciting Zinc VC Mission 1 – a programme that is building new tech companies aimed at improving women’s and girls’ mental and emotional health. Levell is a wellbeing management system that provides practical tools for employees to help them prevent their own burnout, and offers employers the insights to build better, more caring organisations, resulting in a happier and more productive workforce.

 

Resources like these, which provide a personalised and proactive approach to mental health, can really help a business to flourish. But they work best when incorporated into an environment that promotes health and happiness overall. This means a culture where kindness, mutual support and fun!! are valued. Joyful workplaces encourage energy, productivity and enthusiasm. Moreover, the actual design of a workplace can boost productivity and reduce stress. So – since it is the time for spring cleaning – here are a couple of tips on how to create a stress-free work environment, too:

  • Add personal touches: an uninspired office design can create uninspired workers, so inject some fun and personality into your workspace – photographs, artwork, quirky accessories – anything that makes YOU feel good.
  • Integrate plants: they’ve been proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase positive feelings and lower humidity.
  • Make use of colour: according to interior designer, colour therapist and author, Sherry Burton Ways, ‘neutral tones tend to be calming’, while ‘yellows promote intellectual activity.’
  • Invest in a decent, ergonomic chair, desk and keyboard, to protect your greatest asset – you.

Combine these design tips with personal practices and digital tools like the ones above, and you’re sure to have a healthier, happier, more productive workplace!

N.B. AGORA is hosting an event featuring the Founders of Unmind and Levell, among others, on June 13th – certainly one to put in your diaries!!

 

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I am Emma Watkins, the Founder of Agora. My career began at systematic Investment Manager, Winton Capital Management, where I developed and ran the Charity, Sponsorship, Brand and Events Department. After 5 years, I moved on to become Operations Director at Fifty Media, a technology company focused on large scale analysis of social media data to redefine how brands fundamentally understand and engage their customers.