How organisations can develop a positive psychological environment to beat work from home stress

While Work from Home (WFH) has added on a whole new dimension to our homelife, it has not stopped employees from thinking and brooding about life and where it is going.

By Neeraj Kumar

The famous dialogue by Don Draper in Mad Men leaves a lasting impact, “What is Happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.” These days, everyone puts a lot of stress on being happy. With the pandemic making a huge impact on our working lifestyle, ‘finding happiness’ has become more imperative than anything else. ‘Happiness’ is regarded to have the connotation of positivity. Have we ever pondered on – what ‘happiness’ entails? What makes it long-lasting and achievable? One way of looking at ‘happiness’ is, as the positive emotions, we have in tune with the pleasurable activities, we take part in, through our daily lives.

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The formal definition may be termed Positive Psychology – the study of “individual experiences, positive individual traits, and positive institutions”. It promises to enhance the quality of life, focussing on the strengths, for the well-being of an individual at a personal as well as at a societal level.

While Work from Home (WFH) has added on a whole new dimension to our home life, it has not stopped employees from thinking and brooding about life and where it is going. Questions like ‘What can we do to have a life worth living and fulfilling?’ ‘Are our weaknesses limiting us from reaching our goals and feeling helpless?’ that not only continue to haunt them at work but also have got introduced in their personal space now.

This has made it critical for organisations to help employees look at the wide picture, by removing their blinkers. Working remotely adds further load to the efforts, required to build a positive psychology among employees and cultivate confidence in them.

Positive psychology accentuates an individual’s strengths and fortifies it further. It helps each one to acknowledge their strengths, and creatively use them to achieve a sense of fulfilment. This requires a considerable amount of hard work, that can lead to happiness and sustained well-being.

What is wellbeing? How can organisations build it, as part of their culture?

It is easy now, more than ever before, to overlook the most basic ingredient, that is the foundation of a thriving work culture: Employee Wellbeing. Well-being can be achieved by enabling employees to flourish in multiple facets of life. Companies can introduce sessions and onboard partners, that help employees practice wellbeing, one aspect a time every day and reap the benefits of their effort.

Also, this guides them to not only look forward and experience positive emotions, but also amplify them, by practicing gratitude for what they have experienced in the past and forgiving unpleasant things that have gone by. Such engagements additionally focus on empowering employees to make the best out of the present moment as well as being optimistic for what the future holds for them without having rigid expectations about the outcome.

Here are a few means for companies to aid a positive psychology among employees:

Encouraging Hobbies and Special Interest Areas: Hobbies are something that tempt us to engage in the activity, with intense concentration, self-awareness, feeling of being perfectly challenged. We are neither bored nor overwhelmed. Similarly, we can extend our interest and attention to learning new activities such as driving, new language, painting, new technical skills, to name a few. Organisations can introduce sessions that help employees focus and discover their hidden talents and encourage them to pursue those from time to time.

Motivating to reconnect with loved ones: With the rise of remote working culture, a lot of companies focus on building connects, not only with their employees, but also extend the connect with their families. From sessions on celebrating new personal milestones to post work connect sessions, families have become an extended part of the work family. This helps employees in finding meaning and purpose in life and helps build a happy place for the employee to be in. Positive psychology points out that the sooner we do so, the better we serve the society. Revisiting and modifying our beliefs will enhance our holistic growth.

Reflective Journaling – Since the pandemic, keeping a Gratitude Journal has received major limelight, but why do we even need to have one of those fancy and catchy journals? We can have our way out by understanding the importance of gratitude journals. Before going to bed, gratitude can be practiced by recollecting the three things, that we were grateful for during the day. It can be as simple as waking up early without the alarm, helping someone, etc. By appreciating our efforts and embracing accomplishments, we will be able to sustain our well-being on a day-to-day basis. This helps our brain to realize, that despite a long day, we did have something to be grateful for. This practice helps to a great extent in regulating our sleep and relaxing our mind from worries.

By leveraging the key attributes of wellbeing, we can track down the ingredients, that make us feel positive and balanced. Additionally, personal growth is a multi-faceted process, that may require assistance from professionals such as counsellors, therapists, and life coaches. Gone are the days, when discussing and seeking assistance for mental wellbeing was considered a taboo. Introducing a culture where employees are allowed to address their mental issues will further enable a motivated workforce and lead to better productivity.

(The author is Founder & CEO, PeakMind. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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