Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria


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Gratitude is an Attitude

GratitudeJournal-esollaAs many Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend, it gave me pause to reflect on how merely expressing appreciation and sharing positivity for life can have profound effects on our well being, health and relationships. People who practice gratitude consistently report a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
  • Higher levels of positive emotions;
  • More joy, optimism, and happiness;
  • Acting with more generosity and compassion;
  • Feeling less lonely and isolated

Unfortunately, in our busy and chaotic lives, it can be hard to find time to give gratitude. There are many moments when we may feel stuck and fed up, but taking time to appreciate the good things, and what we are grateful for, can be life-altering.

Life coaches remind us that “gratitude is an attitude”, and the number one predictor of success is gratitude. Research suggests that gratitude boosts morale and productivity in organizations. We spend so much of our time at work, yet people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else.

If being grateful will increase happiness by 25%, then depression, stress, and anxiety can be decreased. This makes for happier employees, but employers who remember to also thank their customers as well as their staff watch their sales increase.

If gratitude improves stress levels, relationships and overall mood, then here are some ways it can be cultivated in the workplace:

  • Organizations need to devote time at meetings or provide other opportunities to explicitly thank other members for their work
  • Managers in your organization should not wait until there is extraordinary performance from staff to say thank you, but also for doing a good job daily
  • Saying “thank you” for your work should come from peers as well as managers
  • Dish out compliments on a daily basis
  • Make a contribution or volunteer time with your company’s charity of choice, to help people less fortunate than yourself
  • Avoid complaining and criticizing – take notice of how your energy is wasted on negative thoughts and feelings and divert it to focusing on better things. You can also share your appreciation of things, such as how nice the journey to work was.

Life coaching is valuable for helping you to see the positives rather than the negatives, and to become more productive and successful in all aspects of life. Coaches can help us to realize what we have, which takes the focus off what we don’t. This can lessen our need for wanting more all the time.

Oprah once said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you focus on what you don’t have, you will never, ever, have enough”. It’s a choice, and one that could determine the quality of your life.

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” Colette, French novelist

Do you take time every day to appreciate your coworkers or boss? What do you do to show them appreciation? I look forward to reading your experiences in the comments below.

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How Can You Help Your Employees With Work-Life Balance?

work-life-balanceLast week, I addressed ways an employee can find work-life balance.

This week, I’d like to focus on the employer and how they can keep their staff motivated by providing an environment that values work-life balance. We can no longer ignore the fact that the majority of people spend more hours at work than they do with family or friends.

I’ve outlined below my top four recommendations that can help employers think outside the box and be creative in making a work/life balance for their employees:

  1. Flexibility

More and more employees are looking for flexible scheduling in their position, and this may include:

  • Changing shift schedules, e.g. work four 10-hour shifts, so staff can enjoy three days off each week instead of the typical two-day weekend
  • Offering seasonal hours
  • Trusting employees to self-monitor rather than punch a time clock. Some examples where this can be used include: when coming in late, making up the time later in the day; coming in early and leaving early; and, going to appointments on company time and making up the time.
  • Allowing employees to take a longer lunch, if they come in early or work later
  • Offering job-sharing between two part-time staff to provide flexibility while ensuring the work still gets done
  1. Telecommuting

When possible, incorporate a work-from-home policy, even if it is only a few days per year, like during major snowstorms. Virtual meetings can help employees that would find it challenging to be on site to attend.

  1. Appreciation

Appreciation does not have to be monetary. Make yearly anniversaries with the company an extra paid time off day to show staff their employer remembers and appreciates their tenure.

Present high-performing employees with family vacation packages in addition to, or in place of, yearly bonuses.

  1. Benefits Awareness

Keeping employees informed of your existing benefit programs are important, but do they understand how to use your Employee Assistance Program? Provide simplified access and ongoing communication and training to ensure employees are well-informed of the advantages and how the benefits can be used.

Every age group desires balance and flexibility while they manage their professional and personal interests and responsibilities. It’s time we start looking at the stress we can reduce for our staff, which can increase the opportunity for positive mental health to flourish.

While you may not be able to initiate all of these suggestions, even tackling a few will help employees see your organization’s concern for true work/life balance in the workplace and could keep them dedicated, productive, and emotionally healthy.

 

As an employer, what things do you feel you need to create a better work/life balance for your employers? What creative ideas have you offered your employees that have resulted in great success, and could you share any of them with our followers? I look forward to reading your feedback below.