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Companies have financial and non-financial goals to achieve so they need their employees to perform well. They need to be set up for success. If we want employees to do their best, we need to resupply the physical, mental, and so on energy they’re expending in the process. Therefore, I think we need to shift our thinking from employee wellness to employee wellbeing. To me, wellbeing is more than wellness and wellness centers. It includes the environment in which work is performed and goes beyond physical wellness. We need to create a work environment that considers wellbeing outside the traditional wellness programs or centers. This culture shift needs to be supported by management. People at the top need to encourage environments that fuel employees to do their best and help replenish their energy. And first-line employees need to be able to draw boundaries. A simple example is not scheduling meetings over lunch so employees can choose to take a break to recharge for the afternoon. Of course, we want management to do the same for themselves but if they don’t, they should still respect the employees’ decisions to do so.
Additionally, employers need to realize that one size does not fit all. Different people have different needs—what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it is important to understand your employees’ needs.
Employees can start a “grassroots” program if their companies are not yet ready or don’t yet offer the type of support they need. Forming a group with your peers and doing short, informal sessions is a good start. This can be as simple as going for walks, reminding each other to eat or creating quiet zones to limit interruptions. The goal is to remind each other to take breaks, respect each other’s time when someone is trying to get something done to meet a deadline, and help each other stay accountable for following through on the changes they have committed to.
Petra Neiger grew up in the business world working for companies of different sizes, ranging from Cisco, Seagate and Siemens to Polycom and startups. She built and led teams, designed organizations and processes, dreamed up initiatives, then created business cases to get funding and resources. She started many things from scratch on shoestring budgets, orchestrated high-profile programs and navigated through large, complex organizations. She’s been there, lived it and walked in those shoes, most recently as Senior Director of Integrated Marketing.
But most importantly, Petra has nurtured team members and challenged them to grow in every way humans can grow. And she has done the same for herself. That’s how she found herself behind a school desk again one day studying alternative medicine. “There must be other ways to thrive in our demanding society without going crazy or sacrificing our well-being!”, she thought after a close encounter with the “crash and burn” phenomenon. Petra spent the past several years learning about self care, physical, mental and emotional health and other equally fascinating topics so she could mold these ideas into what Red Pantz is today: the marriage between leadership and health.
Petra continues to advise brands on their marketing strategy and is a contributor to Social Media Today, FierceCMO and Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling on health and leadership topics.