Liz Lean PR are adopting some wellness activities which aim to relieve stress in the workplace, and develop creativity and innovation.
I’ve always liked trying new things within the business and staying slightly ahead of the curve. It only feels like yesterday that we were criticised by some for our enthusiasm for social media, even in the early days, assuming we were distracted by fads that had no longevity or substance. I am grateful for every minute of that indulgence and the resulting criticism.
The evolution of our world, changes in the media landscape, the growth of our communication channels, the challenges of a 24/7 society which is constantly shouting and the technology which has enabled us to achieve this, is now demanding us to be experimental in a different way.
The recession – and the hangover from it that is still being suffered by many – along with our new found high maintenance tech lifestyles is opening our eyes to self awareness. The extended nature of the recent recession has encouraged all of us to think that doing the job of at least three people is the norm, all whilst looking over our shoulders and being one step ahead at the same time! The pressure was, and still is heavy. I am starting to see the fallout of those punishing few years; highly focused and capable individuals are burnt out and broken. Ultimately, we need to remember we’re all just human and we need to look at maintaining our wellbeing.
I am excited about taking the culture of our business one step further and directly addressing the need to nurture my team, my valued ‘business family’, physically and mentally more than we have ever done before. It is a fast paced and highly charged environment. We won’t get it right all the time, but we’re on a journey and following my own internal ‘risk assessment’ I have worked hard to assess my diet, fitness, and most importantly for me, my mental approach to workload. I hope I can lead by example and encourage my team to look at their own mental and physical ‘maintenance’ too.
We at LLPR are adopting some wellness activities which aim to relieve stress in the workplace, and develop creativity and innovation. If we approach this properly but sensibly everyone wins, including the business. It is no accident that some of the world’s greatest business innovators, including Steve Jobs, applied meditation and other tools to try and calm busy minds and boost creative juices. Silicon Valley is full of examples where meditation has been embraced in the workplace, from Google to Facebook. Other major organisations such as Proctor & Gamble, Deutsche Bank and Astra Zeneca have all implemented mindfulness activities for their employees.
I was a little nervous raising the whole subject at our recent team meeting; I thought they would fear I’d finally lost it! However, I was enthused to receive a warm welcome to experimenting with the concept of weekly led meditation sessions that the team can dip in and out of. And we are currently planning how we introduce this into our office environment by the end of the month.
We are so privileged to be working in wonderful Dorset and it lends itself to implementing some practices to bring out the best in our people. Our location next to the beach and Poole Harbour should be utilised for what it naturally does best…inducing a sense of calm. Therefore, encouraging more internal and client meetings outdoors is a number one priority. Bryher, the office dog, already offers many of the team an opportunity for a revitalising walk along the Harbour wall at lunchtime, a social catch up along the beach, or a reassuring cuddle break with her next to our desks. And, in summer the beach offers a quick dose of vitamin D by basking in the dunes. Earlier this year, we invited media, clients, family and friends to celebrate the first solar eclipse of the century on Sandbanks. Armed with mugs of Dorset Tea™, we huddled together in the fresh air to catch a glimpse.
Last year’s long summer encouraged us all to get out on the water with our Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP’s) that are so easy for anyone to play with. While some will naturally be more adventurous than others, the opportunity to even just sit on a board in the middle of the Harbour and digest the natural environment can be as rejuvenating as three hours sleep!
Internally within the office itself we have introduced blackboard paint to the walls of our bathrooms. An idea from one of our account managers, I am now seeing motivational quotes added each week and individuals expressing themselves in whatever fashion feels appropriate to them. All within the boundaries of ultimate professionalism of course! And clients often contribute too.
I’m sure, like the initial response to our Facebook passion; some will look at this and consider it all a faddy, unsustainable distraction from the focus of running a successful and commercially savvy business. I see it differently; if my amazing team can better handle their own stress and the inevitable knock on effect it has on others, become more efficient and creative by taming their ‘monkey brains’, increase their stamina and physical health to reduce the risk of absence, and become more innovative in the workplace then to quote Daniel Golman: “Well, any effort to maximize your potential and ability is a good thing.”
By Liz Willingham