Employee wellbeing

From the April 2020 print edition

What will our future work environment look like? Going forward, our professional landscape will demand continuous learning within tight timeframes, the removal of barriers to that learning and empowering employees to take charge of their own professional education. Challenges in this landscape will include developing digital dexterity, as well as employing advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.

Effective supply chain mana­gers deliver results. They are tech­nically competent, have built their credibility, can understand and execute strategies, work to develop future supply chain leaders, try new things, are eager learners, share others’ accomplish­ments, strive for better visibility, engage stakeholders and gain buy in and support from senior leadership in a safe and respectful environment.

In the future, the supply chain manager and their teams will face additional challenges in a virtual environment to capitalize on opportunities.

Our employees’ overall health and wellbeing is impacted by their duties, expectations, stress levels, environment and sense of purpose. Our purpose equals years of experience and investment towards goals and a healthy work-life balance. Supply chain managers and their teams work in such fast paced, dynamic and changing environments that it requires a strong focus to achieve all of their initiatives. If we can help our employees reduce stress and improve their working relationships, it in turn facilitates their wellbeing. If employees view the initiatives as perks, their job satisfaction will increase.

The power of strategies
Having strategies and tools that help you handle rejection, be decisive, non-judgemental, set intentions and remain aware will be the key to you and your team’s success. How are you going to stay focused without getting stressed out and overwhelmed? Think of the three types of mindfulness that will enable you to pay attention to present your best self. Those three types are basic, body sensations and sensory. Knowing this will give you perspective, creativity and gratitude which enables you to focus less on what’s missing and more on opportunities.

What is going to help us regulate our emotions, decrease our stress, anxiety and depression? Mindfulness will increase our focus and allow us to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgement. Mindfulness steps include:

  • Practicing during routine activities by zeroing in on those activities and make them more interesting.
  • Practicing when you wake up and set the tone for the day. Let your mind wander and keep it short.
  • Practice while you wait.
  • Pick a prompt to remind you to be mindful.
    Learn to meditate.

Supporting wellness
Why is it so important for you to continue to practice mindfulness? When you do, your best self shines through since you are more efficient, better integrated into the environment, less distractible and have improved focus.

The following statistics support wellbeing initiatives and encourage us to explore and implement it within our workplaces. According to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 75 per cent of employers indicated that their companies offered some type of wellness program, resource or service to employees. For every dollar that is spent on the program, the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs.

A new survey by Virgin HealthMiles Inc. and Workforce Management Magazine, found that an overwhelming 77 per cent of employees think that employee wellness programs positively impact the company culture. Research suggests that employers save on average $5.82 in lower absenteeism costs for every dollar spent on employee wellness programs. The Virgin HealthMiles workforce survey found that about 87 per cent of employees said they consider health and wellness when choosing an employer.

Why do so many companies support mindfulness training? Benefits include the fact that it facilitates emotional intelligence, enhances understanding of colleagues’ motivations, boosts resilience, improves focus and makes one more balanced and well rounded. Ideas and activities to support wellness and mindfulness include:

  • Provide guided meditation sessions to help employees sleep better, improve metabolism, lose weight, reduce stress and aging, increase mood and cognition, increase patience, communication and analytical thinking. Exercises could include creating a list of things they are thankful for to increase gratitude
  • Short two-minute impromptu competition such as dancing
  • Fitness challenges, either individual or shared to promote team building
  • Tools for employees to discover their purpose through engagement, ownership and coaching
  • Opportunities to develop friendships through social events.

These and other activities help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression while releasing oxytocin, which helps to calm the centre of the brain.

Our future work environment will compel us to anticipate trends, pivot quickly to take advantage of opportunities, provide appealing workplaces and challenge our ability to attract and retain employees. The vision will always include dynamic changes and challenges in an employee-centric landscape.

Lisa Fenton is supply chain manager at Rapala VMC Corporation.