Engagement and productivity at work, why awareness matters.

I had the pleasure to co-host an event with Aurélie Litynski, dear fellow french entrepreneur and founder of Happitude at work. And while we shared our tips and experience on how to improve productivity, health and talent retention in today’s businesses, I was humbled to notice that once again, awareness plays a major role when it comes to bringing positive and necessary changes to corporations.

Awareness allows you to ask the right questions.

Is your team not performing well? Are your goals not being met? Start asking your team why - not to judge nor to complain - but with the curiosity to listen, to understand and to find solutions. How do they feel about their project or the atmosphere in the team? Do they feel that their opinion matters, do they sense that their needs are being met? Did they ever asked themselves the question: why do I, as a team member, feel disengaged on this project or in this meeting? What is it that I need in order for me to give my best? Why do I feel tense in my body and keep calling sick more than I ever did? Creating a safe space for your team and each individual to ask questions, to express themselves and to explore within them is the starting point to finding solutions that can be carried out with engagement and intrinsic motivation.

Where to start?

At REAL LIFE YOGA, we are convinced that awareness is the base for the well-being and productivity of your employees at work but also in their daily life. And because all you need, in order to become more aware, is to breathe and move consciously, it is accessible to everyone. Directly at your desk, while you work and without having to change clothes or to roll out a mat. You can learn to use your breath and simple movements to become aware and to improve the way you feel, be it on a physical, psychological or emotional level. 

Are you ready to start next year with better habits for your team in terms of health prevention, stress management, motivation and productivity? Then make sure you check our NEW YEAR specials! As a workshop at your company or as a shorter session to include to your team event or meeting, we will help you bring more awareness in the way you work and make 2019 a wonderful, stress-proof and healthy year.

Book before December 30th online, set up the date with us for January 2019 and benefit from an immediate discount on your order. 

Setting new habits: befriending stress and learning to leave it out.

In our previous article, we invited you to reflect on how you have been dealing with stress this year. Slowly reaching for the end of the year and aiming at staying healthy if not becoming even healthier than we have been so far, let’s bring our attention to the stress response itself. Although we give stress all the bad names, it is a helpful and necessary process which is worth understanding better. As for everything, it gets easier once we become aware of it and can adopt a more balance approach towards it. Here is how to get there.

The habit to quit: maintaining the stress levels high.

For those who were still doubting this, stress is in itself a healthy physiological response that helps us run away from danger and be ready & alert for action when we need it. And as nature always looks for balance, phases of stress are usually (or at least should) be limited in time and counter-balanced with phases or rest and relaxation. Actually, what a wonderful thing! The issue with this though, is that if we maintain this state of stress constantly turned on by getting ourselves all busy and overwhelmed, by engaging with negative and judgemental self-talk, and by forcing ourselves to achieve always higher goals even in our free time, we never give our system a chance to rest. And this is not the fault of stress itself, it is how we choose to interact with it, how we maintain it at a constant high level through our behavioural and thought patterns that ultimately depletes us from energy and prevents us from recovering.

The habit to adopt: allowing for a balanced stress response.

Our body needs moments of calm in order to be fully operational. Just as our mind needs to wind down every now and then to allow us to focus when we have to, our body too needs rest, care and stillness. And because body and mind are intimately connected, being stressed and tensed mentally ultimately impacts the way we breathe and physiologically maintain our stress response on, preventing our body from recovering in between. So let’s cut ourself some slack and aim to give our body, together with our mind, moments of true and well-deserved rest, as mindfully and as often as possible. It can be a break or a short walk through the office every hour or 30 min. A moment to breathe, a minute to stretch.

Are you ready to manage stress more consciously and effectively in the year to come? Then you are all set to get the good habits going, feeling more empowered, resilient, in control and calmer, no matter what comes your way. Make sure to check our NEW YEAR specials, as a workshop at your company or as an event session to include to your team event or meeting.

Book before December 30th online, set up the date with us for January 2019 and benefit from an immediate discount on your order. We look forward to helping you make 2019 a wonderful, stress-proof and productive year.

And for tips that you can start using straight away, check our online videos on our Youtube channel.

Picture @Unsplash Estee Janssens



Your employees HAVE resources, they ARE NOT resources to use and replace.

I attended the first Hacking HR event in Zurich last week. A wonderful initiative that gathered a panel of HR professionals and experts to question the reality and the future of human resources, sparking a lot of disruptive conversations, in relation to learning, to AI, to culture and to the “resources” themselves. If you are looking for how this relates to giving your team the tools to be at their best, no matter what challenges they face in their business life, then be my guest and read on.

One key element that caught my attention was the newly acknowledged necessity that each person within a company ought to be treated and considered as a talent. Without positively discriminating a few and enrolling them in so-called talent programs while negatively discriminating the others by leaving them figure it all out by themselves in their day-to-day job. This was the point made by Liliane Kuert and rightly so, she compared this with playing in an orchestra. Would you pay a high price ticket to come listen to an orchestra in which only the soloist is worth listening to and the rest of the orchestra, well… kind of plays and does its own thing? As a manager, is this how you want your business to look or sound like?

Well, this is exactly the point, if you want an orchestra or your company to be playing at the very best of its capacity, you need wonderful people that have an intrinsic motivation to give the best they have at work, every single day. And this won’t work because you have put a few of them in the spotlight of being a “talent” while the others are considered “valuable resources”. You need to give every one of them the room and legitimacy to take on their role seriously, with responsibility, confidence and empowerment, as if this role was the best they ever had.

When you take a moment to consider the reality of stress in the corporate world, you can come exactly to the same conclusion. There are not just those who are better at handling it and all the others who don’t and will go for back problems, sick leaves and burnouts. There should be no such thing as full-on mindfulness training for your top manager and leaders only, while the rest of your employees who work at the front shall attempt to manage stress without any help on top of their other projects. The truth is that you, as a company, have a pool of highly skilled and talented people who simply need the space and guidance to be able to tap into the resources they already have within themselves in order to be at their best.

And if you are still unsure about how to do this, then simply know that it can be done through each and every one of them becoming more aware of themselves while they work, by knowing how to breathe and move simply in any given situation to be in control of the way they handle, react and sustain challenges that come to them in their business life. This is what we do in REAL LIFE YOGA and I invite you to watch our video to open your eyes as to what your team is capable of when it is given the methods to be successful and sustainable in their day-to-day life, inside and outside their business.

 

For more tips and videos to help you be at your best in business life, check our Youtube channel and our website.

The statistics of stress at work. Why you and I are responsible for it.

Plenty of studies report the extent of stress and burnout cases in the corporate world. We can read and be appalled by such number and this is what I did while looking for facts and statistics as I prepared for an interview I was giving this week. But honestly, how useful is it to read, to hear and to know about statistics. Are they enough for us to take action and change the status quo? They should and this is exactly why we shall take action and bring a shift in the way we work and relate to stress.

More than 5 billions Swiss Francs. This is what stress costs to Swiss companies every year. Among Swiss professionals, every 4th person experiences time stress often if not constantly (and this goes up to 40% for working women with children). An employee who goes through a burnout will be missing from his desk in average 30,4 days a year.

Stress costs more than 5 billions Swiss Francs to Swiss companies every year.

Now what do these numbers tell us and what can we do about them? Are they so huge and imposing that we do not dare to question them? Or is it enough to know what the reality of stress and business life is like out there. Probably yes. It is easy for us, for our managers and for HR to read about them, maybe even to raise our eyebrows and to mention them in a meeting or in the coffee break. But is that really it? To me, there is a major question that I believe we should ask ourselves when it comes to such facts and to statistics in general. Is it my responsibility, is this in my scope of action? And if it is, what can I do to bring a change?

The answer, you might guess, is yes. No matter if you are an employee, a business owner or a big corporation. We all have what it takes to change the reality of stress at work and how we relate to it. And once again, the shift comes from within.

We all have what it takes to change the reality of stress at work and how we relate to it.

Companies have a responsibility towards their employees.

According to the SECO (State Secretary for Economic Affairs) and to the Swiss labour law, companies have the duty to provide their employees with a safe and stimulating work environment. This means an environment in which employees can remain healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. An environment in which the workload is adapted to the resources available in the team, in which the motivation stays up and the sick leaves stay low. So as a company, look inside your processes and organization, go in and ask your employees how much pressure they handle, how their health and their sleep have been lately, if they need any help which could be provided through business coaching, physical or mindfulness activities such as corporate yoga or team building events directly at work or outside the office. Once you acknowledge that it is you responsibility as an employer to care for the well being of your workforce - and ultimately of your business - you will see a whole range of improvements available to you.

Companies have the duty to provide their employees with a safe and stimulating work environment. Once you can acknowledge this as an employer, you will see a whole range of improvements available to you.

We have a responsibility towards ourselves.

Each of us has the power to change our outlook on stress and until we stay in a relation of victim to stress, we will not have the strength nor even the awareness to change this. The key here again, even though it might sound harsh at first, is to shift from blaming the outside and start looking inside instead. There is no such thing as “not having time”. “Not taking the time” is what it comes down to and this is no one’s but our own responsibility and choice. We are the ones to decide when we need a break, when our body needs a stretch. We have to be aware when our mind is not capable of functioning effectively anymore, to detach from our screens and come back a few minutes later with a refreshed outlook. We are responsible for expressing our thoughts and challenges to our colleagues and to our hierarchy, instead of doing what we are given without informing them that we have reached our limits.

There is no such thing as “not having time”. “Not taking the time” for ourselves is what it comes down to.

To create such a shift at the organizational and individual levels, yoga can help. If you still need more facts and numbers, the Yoga Journal has listed myriads of studies that have been conducted around the world and prove the positive benefits of yoga on our professional and personal life. At REAL LIFE YOGA, we bring very simple yoga methods, which you can even use directly at your desk and which help you day after day - at work and in the way you work - to become a more aware, empowered and resilient version of yourself.

  

Do you need further guidance? Then reach out to for a 30 min discovery call. Together we will take a closer look at the challenges that you or your company faces and find the rights methods to make this shift happen.

Sources: Job-Stress-Index 2016, Zeitstudie from Sotomo quoted in article from SRF.

Your employees need a shift and this will not happen in a boot-camp.

The stress and pressure we experience in the workplace are our own to deal with. It is a bold statement but this is what I experienced as former advertising manager and what I keep seeing now in companies in Switzerland as I coach employees to be more successful and sustainable in their business life. So instead of treating and even aggravating the symptoms with corporate well-being perks, let’s use another approach, acting directly on the cause by simply using resources we already have within ourselves. Let me explain what it is and how this is possible.   

Today between all the deadlines, projects and meetings, the luckiest employees can also choose from a wide array of activities to boost their well-being and performance: boot-camp to release tension, mindfulness workshops to handle pressure or corporate yoga classes to reduce stress and help them center. This is great, but – yes, there is a but! By doing so you ask them to be at their best in their job while having to find an extra hour time in their already busy enough schedule to attend this activity.

Now, for the few employees who are at the edge – in the finish line before a deadline and already thinking that they are failing at managing everything at the same time, meaning they should actually be even more efficient – you can imagine that they will not take that extra time although they need it the most. At best you give them another reason here to feel bad about themselves for being so unable to manage their time, their health, their stress, their projects and their self-worth, all at the same time. Well done, you gave them a ticket for self-inflicted burnout.

You give your employees another reason here to feel bad about themselves for being so unable to manage their time, their health, their stress, their projects and their self-worth, all at the same time.

The shift comes from within.

This is where a shift in needed. Instead of adding on perks and extra activities to help employees focus and save time on what is important, we have been creating more ways to scatter attention, more ways to feel unable to manage everything at the same, creating thereby more stress and more tension. The shift in the way we work, in the way employees relate to stress and in the way companies function can only happen once we understand that we already have all the resources we need within ourselves to be more resilient, balanced and productive, whatever challenges we are facing. We do need to stop looking out for activities when the solution is inside. This applies to executive and leadership coaching as well, work on your Self first to work with others. And this does not mean learning models or matrixes by heart. True, sustainable and impactful changes only come from within. Take the time to become aware and conscious of yourself first, of your body and your state of mind while you work. Only then can you create this major shift in the way you work which will allow you to operate at a much higher level, no matter what the circumstances.

The shift in the way employees relate to stress and in the way companies function can only happen once we understand that we already have all the resources we need within ourselves,

And here is the magic, all you need for this is to breathe and move with purpose. This is all you need in order to feel better, more aware and empowered in your job and in your daily life. Of course, we already do this all the time but we have become so unaware of our body and mind while in are in the office - and outside of the office for that matter - that we do not know nor understand how to use it to our advantage. How do I breathe to release tension? What move should I do to release pain in my back? What can I do to focus or feel energised when I need to find a solution, right here, right now? And who thought that yogis were so wise to give us the best executive, leadership, business and self-empowerment tools, simply by using our breath and body? This is why I created REAL LIFE YOGA a coaching methods based on yoga exercises that are so simple that they can be used anytime, anywhere, in normal business clothes, at your desk or in the coffee break. No need to be a yogi nor to be flexible.

All you need for this is to breathe and move with purpose.

If you are a company and want to coach your employees using these methods, either in groups or in individual sessions, get in touch and ask for a free 30 min discovery call. We will take it from there.