Independent North Devon-based business magazine covering news about business and enterprise in Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton, Chulmleigh, Combe Martin, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe, Lynmouth, Lynton, South Molton, Torrington, Woolacombe and more.
WELLBEING HEADER Workplace stress: Prevention is better than cure Statistics show that between December 2017 and 2018 15.4 million days at work were lost due to ill health, and that the vast majority of this was linked to stress, depression and / or anxiety, with an average of 25.8 days per person over 18 years old. Mental health is now talked and written about more than ever before. We have an increased awareness and empathy towards it, so how can it be that so many people are still unable to maintain their working lives healthily? And what can we do about it? As a professional counsellor, I have to attend regular clinical supervision sessions, where I off-load to another professional counsellor / supervisor. This happens once a month and is a completely confidential space where I can explore any blocks I may feel I have within my work, but also to talk about how I am, how I am managing my workload, my work / life balance and my own health – essentially it is ‘counselling for counsellors’ and, most importantly, it is an absolutely, non-negotiable aspect of the Ethical Framework for counsellors: I cannot practise without it. So, what’s stopping supervision being on offer to everyone within the workplace? I am not suggesting everyone would want it, but what about having it on offer for those who do? Now, I know many employers include supervision within line-management roles, but this just isn’t the same. An employee is not going to admit to their linemanager, or possibly anyone within their place of work, that they are struggling. I am talking here about external, completely confidential Professional counsellor and supervisor Kelly Smith suggests that confidential discussion with an external supervisor is an effective approach to reducing stress at work supervision, provided by a professional supervisor who can listen, with empathy and without judgement, offer support and understanding, and help to explore strategies to reduce stress, while still managing to continue working. The hormone, cortisol, is released during stressful situations to provide the body with increased glucose in order to produce more energy to fight or flee a stressor. This reaction happens within the reptilian part of our brain, the amygdala, and is a life-saver if we actually need it. The problem here is that we rarely actually need it for what it was originally intended, therefore the Practical tips on managing stress ➤➤Track your stressors – keep a diary for a week or two to identify which situations cause most stress and how you respond to them ➤➤Develop healthy responses ➤➤Establish boundaries ➤➤Take time to recharge ➤➤Take breaks within the working day ➤➤Eat well ➤➤Keep hydrated ➤➤Practice mindfulness ➤➤Get some support ➤➤Talk – to a family member or friend, or access professional support excess energy now presents as stress and anxiety, and never increases productivity. In the short term, it slows our sensory processing and functional skills, such as memory, while in the long term increased cortisol levels lead to raised blood-sugar levels and potentially a whole range of physical and mental ill-health issues. Studies show that stress is a factor in an ever-increasing number of health problems and whatever we can do to reduce this must be regarded with a sense of priority. A significant, beneficial factor in attending supervision for me is merely taking the time for myself – time to reflect and, sometimes, just to breathe. We all lead busy lives and it can be very easy to get on a treadmill that we feel we have no control over and no idea how to slow down or get off. The faster we run, the more cortisol we produce and the more stressed we feel. Having someone reflect this back to us can help us to really see this and to possibly recognise that we are running at a pace that isn’t sustainable. Sometimes we need permission to slow down before we fall down. It is my goal that talking therapies, in any form, be it supervision for work or counselling for our personal lives, become as commonplace as going to the gym, eating well or having a massage – just a very ‘normal’ aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and employers could have a huge impact by offering this, and, of course, by accessing this themselves. I am talking about getting everyone talking, before stress takes hold. ■■Details 07872 501606 or facebook.com/ KellysmithMBACP 8 business action | February / March2019 | business-action.co.uk
WELLBEING HIGH PERFORMANCE IN THE WORKPLACE The missing connection Mental health and diagnosable issues feature a lot in the media at the moment. There is considerable evidence that mental ill-health has huge impacts on the economy due to absenteeism of employees, lack of motivation, poor timekeeping and low productivity. Understanding where our mental health comes from has immeasurable impacts. According to Dare2BU, a team of four North Devon women who aim to make the area the most mentally healthy place in which to live and work, a state of wellbeing offers limitless potential, effective and efficient work, and clearer decision making. They add that even those who run a small business, whether it’s a ‘one-man band’ or just one or two employees, would be remiss to overlook the greatest untapped resource available – the innate mental health, wisdom and capacity for insight within all human beings. How many people suffer? It is estimated that one in four people suffer with a mental health problem, every year. Do you see people around you who appear to be OK? Successful, happy and getting on with things? A larger portion of people who appear to be OK on the surface are carrying on despite their inner turmoil. Many may not be diagnosed with issues; however, their state of mind isn’t clear and as a result their personal lives and work performance suffer. Reaping rewards Dare2BU says we cannot determine who will struggle with their mental health, but we can understand where A two-day conference at Caddsdown, Bideford on 14 & 15 March focuses on the missing connection between high performance in the workplace and understanding mental health. Hosted by Dare2BU, it aims to make North Devon the most mentally healthy place in which to live and work The Dare2BU team: (from left) Lucy, Julie, Bec and Debra clarity and wellbeing come from. A clear mind will have us feeling happier, healthier and less stressed. But how do we clear our minds? Understanding how our minds work and where our experience comes from starts to clear our minds. Life becomes easier and lighter. Common sense tells us that this state of mind supports problem solving and stronger team working and helps produce better results. Two-day conference All this will be covered during Dare2BU’s two-day ‘High Performance in the Workplace’ conference at Caddsdown Business Centre, Bideford on 14 & 15 March2019. Over the two days, Dare2BU will share a simple but profound understanding that points people to a healthier state of mind. Creating a space for all employees to see their own wellbeing brings limitless potential to the workforce. They will discuss how this understanding is the solution to all business problems: staff engagement, conflict resolution, making money and much more. The impact of looking after staff wellbeing is phenomenal. Is the mental health and wellbeing of you and your employees on your To-Do list? Perhaps it’s time that it is. Target audience This event is aimed at every business and organisation, large or small, looking to increase income, reduce stress and / or resolve employee issues. HR managers, directors, small business owners, managers, leaders and employees can benefit from this event, both in and out of the workplace. Dare2BU team and aims The Dare2BU team all live and work in North Devon. Each member – Debra, Lucy, Bec and Julie – has seen incredible changes in their own life and is passionate about sharing this understanding across North Devon. What they will be sharing during the conference has been shared with many top companies around the globe in America, China and Canada. This has enabled them to achieve previously unimaginable results, doubling business earnings, solving long-standing and seemingly unsolvable problems, and uncovering and avoiding fatal business flaws. Dare2BU wants North Devon businesses to tap into the understanding of the mind that they will be sharing to see for themselves how they can be more successful and find the insights needed to sustain success in a world that is changing at an everaccelerating rate. The event Throughout the two days there will seminar-style talks, question and answer sessions, networking over coffee breaks and an opportunity to win a Dare2BU ‘Workplace’ package worth £2,000+. All of this will be underpinned by lots of fun too, because we have all seen the benefit of having a lot of fun and a relaxing time. ■■For more details and to reserve places at the Dare2BU High Performance in the Workplace conference, visit dare2bu.co.uk @businessactionm | February / March2019 | business action 9