Growing our culture: Well-being and resilience during a pandemic

Naturally, the pandemic has left a gaping wound in our societies, but the enforced isolation will also have a unique impact on all of us. Humans are social and tactile animals, whether introverted or extroverted, and with the limitations of interactions with family, friends and colleagues our spirits are in a delicate state. Isolation can also force us to self-reflect and face long-term problems that we were able to leave simmering when there were plenty of distractions around.

As such, WBA and many other organisations notice some typical coping mechanisms, such as fleeing into work, as it’s become one of the only remaining distraction from ourselves. In a year where the borders that normally exist between the professional and the personal have been even more eroded, it has fallen entirely on the individual to make the necessary distinction. So, we ask: where does purpose driven work begin and I end?

Inclusively addressing how we are doing

Doing any kind of purpose driven work often means that we have strong ties between our professional and personal values. Because our success is important not just to our careers but to our souls, we are very driven, rejoice in the outputs and the echoes of our work in the world. From this purpose driven place, we tend to focus on the impact they want to achieve and that can potentially lead into overcommitment.

Though we had a solid virtual set up that cushioned some of the shock, 2020 saw WBA adapting its ways of working and adopting new habits. Being a global and inclusive organisation with virtual aspirations that preceded a pandemic-world, WBA has some unique challenges that will go beyond the duration of COVID restrictions, such as:

We identify with different cultures: We are learning to communicate cross-culturally and remain sensitive to cultural differences.

We are distributed across the globe: We are learning to work efficiently and effectively with each other on a permanently virtual basis.

We are always awake and online (somewhere): We are learning to work flexibly with people in far-off time zones and also learn to switch off when notifications come in during non-work hours.

These elements form an intrinsic part to how we address well-being and resilience within the organisation. At WBA, we try to foster a culture in which we see, notice and meet each other, which isn’t easy virtually. With learning and growing being integral to how we work, we seek to create the comfort levels necessary to open up to colleagues when there’s a need, as well as to actually step back and allow one another breathing room. We also realise that we share the collective responsibility to speak up and share ongoing feedback with one another. We create intentional spaces in an open setting for people to speak out about how they’re really doing, without devising self-fulfilling prophecies that create ghosts where there are none – many of us feel fine! Building our organisation wide well-being and resilience is an ongoing journey, in which self-awareness, bringing all of oneself and speaking up are essential. We look forward to sharing our insights from this journey in a blog series over the coming months and hope to in turn inspire others to share their journeys too.

Sleep: the ultimate energy booster

When talking about health and well-being one thing to always keep an eye on is sleep. Even if believe you’re already a sleep-champion! Disrupted sleep is often an indicator of something not being quite right – whether a never-ending project or something more deeply rooted. As today and tomorrow mark the World Sleep Day™ and International Day of Happiness respectively, it seems a particularly fitting moment to weave in something around the importance of good sleep. We find suggestions floating of mindfulness, yoga, essential oils and all kinds of ancient knowledge for relaxation. Though we tend to overlook the most important (and ancient) disconnector from our screens, our work and any whirlpool of thoughts: sleep. Of course, not all health problems are sleep related, but many of them can be regulated with some shut-eye.

It’s no secret that quality sleep enhances our mood, energy, focus, creativity, memory retention and thus, productivity, which often sits at the roots of over-working. The body’s ability to respond to stressors, reduce anxiety and help us with emotional and social fluidity should be major drivers for us all to seek sleep.

The World Sleep Society’s list of fundamentals may be a good place to start improving and prioritising our sleep habits, and the Action for Happiness ‘Coping Calendar’ may be another helpful tool for the uncertain journey ahead.

If you’re keen on learn more about how we build resilience and well-being in a global and TEAL organisation, keep an eye out for our next blogpost.

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