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  • Workplace Wellbeing Series: Identifying and Managing Burnout

    Burnout has become a growing concern in today's work environment. This month's session of the Workplace Wellbeing Series had Dr. Sridevi Kalidindi, a Consultant Psychiatrist and National Clinical Lead from NHS and founder of Kilp Global shed light on what burnout is, most importantly, offering profound insights into its identification and management– both on individual and organisational levels. Here's a detailed breakdown of the key learnings from our discussions: Understanding Burnout: The conversation began by distinguishing the difference between wellbeing and mental illness. "Wellbeing is not on the same axis as mental illness’, you can have a mental illness (depression) but actually your wellbeing can be high and equally you can have no mental health issues whatsoever but have really low wellbeing". According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), burnout is classified as an occupational phenomenon, distinct from mental health disorders. It manifests in three core dimensions: Chronic Exhaustion: Feeling drained and unable to engage in activities you normally enjoy. Cynicism: Increased detachment from your work, often accompanied by cynicism or negativity. Reduced Professional Efficacy: A decline in your sense of accomplishment and ability to perform your job effectively. Signs of Burnout: Identifying burnout involves recognising subtle yet persistent indicators. Individuals experiencing burnout often exhibit signs of exhaustion that transcend normal fatigue, hindering their ability to engage in activities they once enjoyed. Moreover, they may develop an emotional disconnect from their work, characterised by cynicism or apathy. This detachment can be particularly striking in professions where empathy and compassion are integral, such as healthcare and HR roles. Additionally, burnout can manifest as a decline in functional efficiency, leading to decreased productivity and prolonged task completion times. Causes of Burnout: Understanding the root causes of burnout unveils a multifaceted interplay of factors. Dr Kalidindi covered a number of organisational factors that can contribute including: High perceived workload, irrespective of its objective reality, can induce stress and contribute to burnout. Workplace dynamics characterised by bullying, harassment, or inadequate supervision can erode employee morale and well-being. Lack of appreciation for employees' contributions and meaninglessness in work tasks can fuel burnout. Organisational changes, such as constant restructuring or reorganisation, can further exacerbate feelings of alienation and helplessness, amplifying burnout risk. Individual factors: Beyond external stressors, individual characteristics can predispose individuals to burnout. Certain personality traits, such as neuroticism or excessive conscientiousness, may increase vulnerability to burnout. For example, individuals prone to self-criticism or those who excessively strive for perfection are at heightened risk. Similarly, traits like workaholism, while initially associated with job satisfaction, can ultimately impede recovery and escalate burnout risk. Identifying Burnout: Recognising the early signs of burnout is crucial for timely intervention. Individuals experiencing burnout may exhibit heightened sensitivity to stimuli or drastic mood swings. They may also withdraw from social activities and experience a sense of disconnection from themselves and their surroundings. By being attuned to these subtle cues, organisations can intervene proactively and provide the necessary support to prevent burnout from escalating. Preventing Burnout: Dr. Sridevi Kalidindi is dedicated not only to helping people survive but is passionate about helping individuals and organisations to thrive. She offered valuable insights into practical steps that can be taken to prevent burnout. With her knowledge and experience, we could have easily spent a day on this topic. Proactively preventing burnout entails fostering an environment conducive to employee wellbeing. Central to this is the promotion of autonomy in the workplace, where employees are empowered to make decisions and manage their workload independently. Conversely, micromanagement and a lack of trust can breed discontent and exacerbate burnout risk. Moreover, the attitude and support provided by line managers play a pivotal role in mitigating burnout. When managers prioritise employee welfare and offer adequate support, it fosters a sense of belonging and reduces the likelihood of burnout. Individual Strategies: Practice self-care through healthy habits like sleep, exercise, and relaxation techniques. Set boundaries between work and personal life. Seek support from colleagues, friends, or mental health professionals when needed. The Future of Workplace Wellbeing: What Organisations Should Do? Dr. Sridevi highlighted primary, secondary and tertiary actions to support employees. Primary includes things like psychological safety, leadership support and policies, secondary encompasses well-being activities building skills like resilience. With tertiary actions focusing on what you need in place you know once something like burnout already occurred. “We focus on the secondary and that's good and needed but the primary stuff can be harder to implement. It takes strategy and time, a longer time. It needs to be tailored to understand what's needed in our organisation.“ Here are just some of the suggestions covered to address burnout in organisations. Adopting a multifaceted approach based on your context is key. Implement Supportive Policies: This includes implementing clear and accessible policies for example flexible working, holiday policies, as well as ones that support employees through difficult life events like pregnancy, loss, adoption, moving/relocating, and menopause. They need to ensure that policies are not merely symbolic but are deeply ingrained in the organisational culture, aligning with its core values and actively supported at all levels. Develop a Burnout Strategy: Looking ahead, organisations must adopt forward-thinking strategies to tackle burnout comprehensively. This involves developing tailored plans to address the unique stressors within their organisational context. Offer Support Programs: Coaching, therapy, and programs promoting self-compassion and stress management can be helpful for employees (e.g., programs like those offered by Kilp Global). Fostering a culture of self-acceptance and self-compassion can empower employees to navigate stressors more resiliently. Dr. Kalidindi has seen the coaching and therapy or a blend of both working particularly well in organisations. Psychoeducation for Employees: By fostering a culture of psychoeducation and open communication, organisations can enhance employees' awareness of burnout risk factors, help them recognise the signs and take preventative measures. This education gives employees and managers the language and understanding that enables more powerful conversations. Often promotion comes with managing other staff which requires new skills that the individual has not had an opportunity to develop and they don't get the support they need, leading them not to manage people particularly well. Line manager, attitude and support are one of the main factors that lead to burnout, and psychological safety and it is an opportunity for all organisations to focus on improving their line manager capabilities. Benchmarking and Learning: Benchmarking against industry best practices and continuously iterating on interventions ensures ongoing improvement in managing burnout effectively. As the saying goes - what gets measured gets done. It also provides important data points to find opportunities for improvement and sense what is working. In essence, by prioritising employee wellbeing, fostering a supportive work environment, and implementing proactive measures, organisations can cultivate resilience and mitigate the detrimental effects of burnout, thereby fostering a healthier and more sustainable workplace culture. To learn more from Dr. Sridevi and how Kilp Global can help feel free to reach, join the Kilp WhatsApp community and check out the attachment with more information on how they can support you. As part of Kilp Global’s commitment to your wellbeing, they have offered us access to a complimentary mindfulness session, register for it here Once again, thank you for participating. We look forward to your feedback and hope to continue supporting you on your professional journey. All best wishes, The Rest Space team, Sri and the Klip team.

  • Why Rest Isn't Weakness in the Workplace: A Workplace Wellbeing Series

    At our recently concluded monthly workplace wellbeing series this April, we discussed why rest isn't weakness in the workplace", why prioritising rest at work is important and how to create a work culture that prioritises rest. Here are some key takeaways from the discussion. Understanding the Biology of Rest Did you know that our bodies are biologically wired for rest? Renowned sleep scientist Matthew Walker sheds light on this after studying the brainwave patterns of people during the day. They found that around 3 or 4 PM, our brain waves change similarly to when it's time to sleep, indicating the need for rest. From circadian rhythms to the accumulation of adenosine, our internal timing signals the need for rest, often around mid-afternoon when brain waves shift and our body temperature drops. Naps are part of our biology. Humans and Napping: Historical Perspective Throughout history, humans have embraced napping as a natural part of our working day. Just envision the image of a shepherd or farmer taking a midday nap—these are common occurrences reflecting our historical relationship with rest. The decline of the workday nap can indeed be linked to the rise of industrialization and the shift towards standardised production methods, particularly in factory settings. During the industrial revolution, productivity became synonymous with efficiency in completing repetitive tasks on assembly lines, where workers were expected to maintain a constant pace of work for long hours without breaks. In this context, activities like napping were seen as counterproductive to the goals of mass production. Management prioritised output quantity over factors like employee wellbeing, creativity, or innovation. As a result, breaks, including napping, were often discouraged or even actively penalised. Napping is Sleep Napping constitutes sleep that occurs outside of our nightly rest. Similar to full sleep cycles, naps offer benefits such as physical recovery and growth hormone release, aiding in muscle fatigue recovery, particularly beneficial during illness or periods of intense physical activity. Is Napping Beneficial? The benefits to organisations of encouraging employees to nap are numerous and impactful: Increased Productivity: Napping has been shown to improve alertness, cognitive function, and overall productivity, with NASA research indicating a 34% boost in productivity post-nap. Reduced Errors and Accidents: Fatigue is a significant contributor to workplace errors and accidents. Reduced workplace conflict: Fatigue exacerbates negative emotions such as irritability, frustration, and impatience, as our day progresses tiredness naturally builds. Naps can help regulate emotions by reducing the emotional edge off experiences. Rested employees are better equipped to handle workplace challenges with composure and resilience, leading to smoother interactions and improved relationships with colleagues. Enhanced Creativity and Problem-Solving: Napping has been linked to improved creativity and problem-solving abilities. Naps allow employees to connect concepts in ways the waking mind is unable to, this is the reason attributed to the wealth of amazing innovations that came from a nap such as the periodic table. Healthier Workforce: Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with a range of health problems, including increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and mental health issues. By promoting napping, organisations can help employees maintain better overall health, leading to reduced absenteeism and healthcare costs. Positive Organisational Culture: Napping provides an opportunity for the brain to reset and transition from a state of survival threat detection (often associated with fatigue and stress) to a mode of thriving. By allowing the mind to rest and recharge, naps can help employees approach their work with a more positive and optimistic mindset, ready to engage with tasks and interactions in a constructive manner. Competitive Advantage: Organisations that prioritise employee wellbeing and productivity gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent. Overall, encouraging employees to nap can lead to a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce, ultimately benefiting the organisation's bottom line and long-term success. The Stigma About Napping at Work We interviewed over 200 professional workers in London and found that 80% were napping at work. This is supported by more recent findings from PlushBeds, they found 80% of the 4,000 employees they spoke to in America were napping at work. Employees are napping at work but everyone is hiding it. Employees are taking naps during work hours, yet many feel compelled to conceal this practice. The significance of addressing the associated stigma is underscored by the publication in the prominent Oxford sleep journal by leading performance and sleep scientists by Sara E. Alger, Allison J. Brager, and Vincent F. Capaldi, . "Challenging the stigma of workplace napping," highlighting the impact of societal attitudes on performance and wellbeing. Common Places to Nap due to Stigma Surprisingly, many individuals are napping at work, with the top locations being the toilet, followed by conference rooms, and cars. Naps are personal and privacy needs often drive these choices, highlighting the need for dedicated rest spaces in the workplace. What can Organisations do? Organisations can play a crucial role in promoting the importance of rest and providing resources to support it. Some companies already offer nap spaces, recognising the positive impact on employee wellbeing and productivity. Educate Employees: Provide information and resources on the benefits of napping for productivity, wellbeing, and overall health. Offer workshops, seminars, or informational materials to raise awareness and dispel misconceptions about napping and provide an understanding of what healthy rest looks like. Designate Nap Spaces: Create designated nap areas within the workplace where employees can rest comfortably and privately. Establish Nap Policies: Develop clear policies and guidelines regarding napping in the workplace. Ensure that these policies align with organisational goals and promote a culture of trust and respect for employee well-being. Encourage Nap Breaks: Encourage employees to take regular breaks throughout the day, including short nap breaks if needed. Allowing flexible work arrangements that accommodate individual sleep patterns and preferences. Lead by Example: Demonstrate organisational support for napping by leading by example. Encourage managers and leaders to prioritize their own rest and model healthy work-life balance behaviors. Fostering a culture that values rest and rejuvenation, organisations can create a more positive and productive work environment for all employees. Embracing rest as a vital component of productivity and well-being is not a sign of weakness but rather a strategic investment in personal and organisational success. Let's continue to challenge outdated notions and promote a culture that values rest and rejuvenation. Get in touch if you would like Kate to repeat this session in your organisation or cover a related topic on sleep, rest and work culture. Join us on May 1st as we discuss extensively on Identifying and Managing Burnout, offering support strategies and actionable tips for organisations to prevent burnout. Reserve your space here. We look forward to seeing you!

  • The Happiness Habit: Embracing Sleep & Prioritising Rest Like the Finns and Swedes

    The World Happiness Report 2024 has Finland reigning supreme as the happiest country in the world, with Sweden following closely at number four. What's their secret? It seems embracing rest and prioritising sleep might be a big part of the equation. In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it's easy to overlook the importance of rest and quality sleep. Yet, these two Nordic countries stand out as shining examples of how prioritising rest can lead to happier, healthier lives. The Finnish Connection with Nature and Sleep In Finland, there's a profound appreciation for the power of nature and its impact on wellbeing. They foster a deep love for the outdoors. People make a point of spending time in nature every day, even in the winter. This exposure to sunlight and fresh air is believed to contribute to better sleep quality and overall health. Additionally, the Finnish lifestyle is known for its relaxed pace, further contributing to better sleep. It's no surprise then that according to the World Sleep Survey, Finland ranks among the top countries for sleep quality, with a whopping 84% reporting good sleep! Moreover, the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare found that Finns sleep an average of 7 hours per night, which is higher than the global average. Sweden: Work-Life Balance for Optimal Recharge Meanwhile, in Sweden, there's a strong emphasis on work-life balance. Swedes recognise the importance of unwinding and recharging, prioritising both physical and mental health. This is reflected in the high quality of sleep enjoyed by the majority of the population. With generous amounts of paid time off, Swedes have the opportunity to rejuvenate and avoid burnout. By prioritising rest and relaxation, both Finland and Sweden demonstrate that a well-rested population is a happier one. Their examples underscore the importance of incorporating rest into our daily lives, not as an afterthought but as a fundamental aspect of overall wellbeing. The Rest Space Connection At Rest Space, we believe in the transformative power of rest. Our mission is to inspire individuals and organisations to prioritise rest, fostering happier, healthier communities. By following the lead of countries like Finland and Sweden, we can create a world where rest is valued as essential for success and happiness. The message is clear: rest isn't a luxury, it's a necessity for happiness and success. Let's embrace the lessons from these Nordic nations and make rest a priority in our lives. Together, we can cultivate a culture that celebrates the rejuvenating effects of downtime and ensures a brighter, more fulfilling future for all. Visit our website to explore our resources on creating a building a rest culture for your workplace and prioritising sleep for a happier, healthier you!

  • Communicating Your Workplace Wellbeing Messages Effectively and Achieving Engagement

    In our recently concluded virtual workplace wellbeing session this March, on "Improving Wellbeing Uptakes Through Communication" we shared some valuable insights on how to effectively communicate your workplace wellbeing messages, and achieve engagement which we have put down here. Our speaker, Shala is a communications expert and forward-thinking storyteller with over 20 years' experience developing international communications and content strategies for well-known multinationals across various industries including Publishing, Media, Banking, and Energy. If you missed it, no worries. We've put together some key takeaways that we'll be sharing with you. How can you effectively communicate your workplace wellbeing messages, and how do you achieve engagement? First, understand your audience. Identifying who you want to engage and segmenting your audience are crucial steps in tailoring wellbeing messages effectively. Remember, every individual's journey towards wellbeing is unique. A message you're all used to hearing and it's worth reinforcing, maintain consistency. Consistency is important to sustaining engagement and increasing your chances of your messages reaching people when they need it. It is important to note that authenticity in communication is key. When sharing messages and stories, do it in a style that suits the storyteller best. For example, if a leader is sharing their story use channels and communication methods that play to their strengths. We often don't have the capacity or are not reaching a large enough audience, so collaborate with other departments on contents to amplify your message. For example, as a wellbeing lead, you might collaborate with a diversity and inclusion network. To avoid common pitfalls like making assumptions about how people want to be reached, asking them first is important. Some say emails are the best way of reaching out, but are they opening the emails? Are they engaging? One way is to set up a chat and connect network to be based with the department or teams you are working with and have them give feedback to you. Continuously measure and evaluate your channels of communication. Additionally, if you lead a team in a distributed network, you must tailor communication to accommodate language and cultural differences. By being mindful of these nuances, we can better connect with our geographically diverse teams. Like Shala said, "Wellbeing is a fun space to be in, you can be creative, have fun, and still make an impact and be a huge influence in people’s lives." Remember, effective communication is the cornerstone of a thriving workplace culture. This was just a small snippet of the topics we covered. It was such a valuable topic which we might rerun in future. Visit our wellbeing community here and sign up for more updates.

  • How can leaders create a workplace that works for women?

    I won't present another business case on why workplaces should be made more inclusive for women. If you have made it this far I believe you are already on board with this. The challenge many of us face is we don’t know exactly how they can be more inclusive, or for the glaringly obvious areas - where to start. Let's first look at why it doesn't work for women. Why is the current workplace not working for women? Workplaces are not always inclusive for women for a variety of factors, including implicit bias, discrimination, lack of sponsorship, and inflexible working arrangements. Additionally, the lack of representation of women in leadership roles can create a culture that is not welcoming to women in these roles as the organisation is melded through perspectives that don't include the female lens. It reinforces stereotypes and societal expectations that play a role in creating these environments. Some studies found that women are often seen as less competent, less committed, or less suitable for promotions, and even if they do get promotions they face more negative stereotypes. The gender pay gap exists in most workplaces highlighting the difficulty for women to progress in their careers. "Don't think about making women fit the world — think about making the world fit women” Gloria Steinem A common narrative is women are held back because they prioritise family, however, the Careers after Babies report highlights rather that organisations are not supporting women. Similar findings around menopause highlight how unequipped workplace environments and cultures are in creating a space for women to thrive. At both these junctures we see women who would otherwise be heading for senior positions drop out of the workforce in droves. A paper explaining the Persistence of Gender Inequality details that "Women weren’t held back because of trouble balancing the competing demands of work and family—men, too, suffered from the balance problem and nevertheless advanced. Women were held back because, unlike men, they were encouraged to make accommodations, such as going part-time and shifting to internally facing roles, which derailed their careers. The real culprit was a general culture of overwork that hurt both men and women and locked gender inequality in place." Actions you take to improve your workplace are not just for the benefit of women, but also for the overall success and productivity of your organisation. Providing a supportive and inclusive environment for women can attract and retain talented employees, as well as promote creativity and diversity of ideas. Here are 3 tips for creating more inclusive work environments: Offering Flexible Working Hours Flexible working hours are a highly praised perk that everyone enjoys. It is especially impactful for women who are pregnant or have young children. This can include options such as flexible hours, remote working, and job-sharing. Flexible working hours can increase productivity and job satisfaction while also decreasing the likelihood that women will have to leave the workforce. It is important to ensure this is for everyone in the organization and does not impact career progression. If you offer flexible hours maybe reflect on who in your organisation is using it the most. If it is less prevalent in senior positions maybe you have internal biases to work through that are preventing highly capable employees advance because their working patterns differ from the perception of being in a senior position in your organisation. Focus on the physical work environment Often not enough thought goes into the physical space we occupy at work, yet this has a big impact on how we work. Having spaces to rest at work benefits all staff and your overall productivity, but it is especially beneficial for women going through maternity, menopause or period pain. This can make a huge difference in their work experience. Feeling like working from home is the only way to manage menopause, maternity, or period pain symptoms when you want to be in the office is frustrating. Having rest spaces allows your employees to take the time they need to rest and manage their symptoms without having to sacrifice their career or their health. According to the National Women's Law Center, approximately 18% of women in the workforce are pregnant at any given time, and many more are experiencing menopause or period pain. Menopause research is finding exclusive work environments are making it hard for women to manage their symptoms, resulting in a large number of talented women leaving the workforce, which can negatively impact the economy and society as a whole. As women reach menopause, many aim for boardroom positions, however many leave instead as they cannot see themselves in that position when work environment does not provide what they need. Design your working practices and policies to be inclusive Setting the standard and expectation that you are a workplace that promotes an inclusive culture is important. There are several ways you can do this. To start with review your compensation policies and ensure they are fair and based on qualifications, performance, and experience. Reflect on where people are being held back from promotions due to working part-time, or not fitting into the mold. Another way is encouraging and supporting employee-led groups to promote diversity and inclusion. They can often uncover the challenges employees are facing day to day. You can also try actively increasing the representation of women in leadership, this can bring in the perspectives needed to create more inclusive environments. Often our hiring practices and job descriptions get the same results because we keep doing the same thing. There isn’t a lack of capable women to lead. Organisations should look at what they can do to attract them. A good starting place is to question your job descriptions with scrutiny. Are you unknowingly excluding amazing candidates? Do you really need 10 years of experience in a particular domain for that leadership role, or is someone with experience leading people more valuable? Does the role really need to be full-time? What can they bring to the organisation if they come from a completely different industry? This list is not exhaustive, but it can serve as a starting point for making your workplace more inclusive. Keep in mind that inclusion is an ongoing process, and it's important to continuously assess and improve the policies and practices you have.

  • The Future of Work includes Inclusive Workplaces: 5 Steps to Support Women's Health Needs

    Supporting women in the workforce is not just a matter of equality; it's a necessity for building inclusive and thriving organisations. Women face unique challenges throughout their careers, from navigating pregnancy and motherhood to managing the physical and emotional impacts of menstrual cycles and menopause. In this article, we'll explore five crucial actions organisations can take to provide meaningful support to women at work. Before we dive into actions in creating more inclusive workplaces lets understand the experiences unique to women that shape how they engage differently in the workplace. It is worth noting these experiences described focus on women with ovaries which make up the vast majority. However, not all women may be experiencing these, and in some circumstances people who do not present as women may share these experiences. Menstrual Cycles: Nearly half of the global population experiences menstrual cycles, with estimates suggesting that around 25% of women of reproductive age worldwide are menstruating at any given time. Period Pain and Discomfort: Women may experience physical discomfort and pain during menstruation, which can impact their concentration, productivity, and overall well-being at work. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormones during the menstrual cycle can affect mood, energy levels, and cognitive function, leading to variability in work performance and engagement. Stigma: Societal stigma surrounding menstruation can create a culture of silence and discomfort in the workplace, making it difficult for women to discuss their needs or seek support during menstruation. There has been great progress in understanding how we can improve the way we work based on these experiences. I have noticed a rise in menstruation coaches that can help people understand the hormonal impact and shape the type of work they are doing to play to their strengths at any given time. I recently came across an interview by Steven Bartlett on Diary of a CEO with Mindy Pelz a functional health expert who talks about how women can view their energy levels over the month rather than the week. “If we can teach women to live a life that works with oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, then we can see symptoms and conditions change”. Mindy Pelz Motherhood Around 25% to 30% of the UK population are mothers. An amazing report from Jessica Heagren founder of Careers after Babies highlights the world of work simply isn’t cut out to cater to working mothers. Check out the report to get a much better view of the points below. “The UK workforce is full of skilled women working their way up organisations. Then they have children and they are forced out. There is a 32% drop off at managerial level.” Careers after babies report Balancing Work and Family Responsibilities: Many working mothers face the challenge of balancing their professional commitments with their responsibilities at home, including childcare and household duties. Career Progression: Women often encounter obstacles in career advancement after becoming mothers due to factors such as perceived lack of commitment or availability for work-related responsibilities. Maternity Leave and Return to Work: Transitioning back to work after maternity leave can be challenging due to lack of support, childcare arrangements, and feelings of guilt or pressure to prove competence upon return. We are seeing positive changes in the workplace start to emerge such as shared parental leave and flexible working, however much more is still to be done. Through Jessica's work she has been helping organisations directly with tangible actions to create workspaces that grow in a family friendly way. Menopause: In the United Kingdom, it's estimated that approximately 13 million women are currently experiencing menopause. On average, around 1,000 women in the UK reach menopause every day. A 2019 survey conducted by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that three in five menopausal women—usually aged between 45 and 55—were negatively affected at work. BUPA found that almost 900,000 women in the UK had left their jobs because of menopausal symptoms. Physical Symptoms: Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and cognitive changes can significantly impact women's comfort and performance in the workplace. Mental Health: Menopause may also coincide with symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, and depression, which can affect women's confidence, motivation, and interpersonal relationships at work. Lack of Awareness and Support: Many workplaces lack adequate policies, resources, and support systems to address the needs of women going through menopause, leading to feelings of isolation and frustration among affected employees. "Menopause is just hot flashes. Far from it! Menopause can involve a wide range of symptoms, affecting both physical and mental health."  Lauren Chiren On catching up with Lauren Chiren founder of Women of a Certain Stage she shared the challenges many women experience in the working environment. A staggering 78% of individuals report that their employers haven't provided adequate information, training, or support for menstruation and menopause. 5 actions that can help create more inclusive workplaces for women to thrive: Establish Supportive Policies: Organisations should implement supportive policies that address the needs of women during various life stages. This includes offering flexible scheduling options, extended and shared parental leave, and accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. By formalising these policies, organisations can create a culture that prioritises work-life balance and acknowledges the diverse experiences of their employees. Check out Careers after Babies for more on supporting women through motherhood and Women of a Certain Stage for more information around menopause. Promote Flexible Working Arrangements: Recognizing that productivity and energy levels may fluctuate during these experiences, organisations should embrace flexible working arrangements that accommodate these natural variations. Studies have shown that hormonal changes can impact cognitive function, mood, and energy levels, making it essential for women to have the flexibility to adjust their work schedules accordingly. By allowing for remote work, flexible hours, and compressed workweeks, organisations can empower women to work more effectively and maintain their well-being. Offer Ongoing Education and Support: Education is key to fostering a supportive workplace culture. Organisations should provide training programs and resources that raise awareness about women's health issues, including menstrual health, prenatal care, and menopause. By promoting open dialogue and providing access to reliable information, organisations can empower women to advocate for their health and well-being in the workplace. Prioritise Inclusive Leadership: Organisations must prioritise inclusive leadership that values and amplifies the voices of women at all levels of the organisation. This includes actively seeking input from women in decision-making processes, addressing unconscious bias in hiring and promotion practices, and creating opportunities for mentorship and career development. By fostering an inclusive environment where women feel empowered to contribute and lead, organisations can harness the full potential of their workforce and drive innovation and growth. Provide spaces to rest in the working environment: One of the most impactful steps organisations can take is to provide dedicated rest spaces for women to address the needs related to pregnancy, menopause, and menstrual pain when in the office. In all of these experiences sleep is impacted significantly and sleep helps significantly. Without proper support, women may find themselves forced to choose between their health and their career. Although period days off are great many have expressed they want the option to be in the office and a rest space can help. By offering rest spaces providing a place of privacy in the working environment, organisations can demonstrate their commitment to women's well-being and ensure that all employees feel valued and supported. ‘In my first trimester I didn’t have to choose between the health of my baby and my work - we had been trying for 8 years’ Feedback from a rest space user. Supporting women at work requires a holistic approach that addresses the unique challenges and experiences they face throughout their careers. By implementing rest spaces, supportive policies, flexible working arrangements, ongoing education, and inclusive leadership practices, organisations can create environments where women feel valued, respected, and empowered to thrive. Together, we can build workplaces that champion diversity, equity, and inclusion, benefiting individuals, organisations, and society as a whole.

  • A Balancing Act - How AI is Shaping the Future of Work and Rest

    As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to transform the workplace, our roles are evolving, taking away repetitive work and pushing us to rely more on higher cognitive functions like decision-making and creativity. But amidst this shift, one critical element is often overlooked: the importance of rest. With the rise of artificial intelligence, we're facing an onslaught of information like never before. AI is crunching numbers, analysing data, and making decisions at lightning speed. And while that's great for productivity, it's also putting immense pressure on us to keep up. We're expected to process more information, make faster decisions, and work at a relentless pace pushing us to our limits – leading to overwork, overload, and burnout. In April 2023, Christopher Pissarides a Nobel Prize winning economist, made headlines when he stated that AI could enable people to devote less time to work and more time to leisure activities. Although many are not convinced this is possible, we should take it upon our selfs to learn from the last revolution - the digital revolution. This gives us an indication of the level of change we are to see in the way we work with the fourth industrial revolution. Before the digital revolution you'd sit down with pen and paper, carefully composing your thoughts before sealing the envelope and sending it off into the world. Post would come once a day and responses days later. Then came email – the instant messenger of the digital age. Suddenly, we were bombarded with messages 24/7, with no escape from the constant ping of notifications. And just like that, our work-life balance went out the window. In this digital age we have seen burnout, stress and the amount of work to do skyrocket. The pace for many became unsustainable. “The easier our labour becomes, the more of it we can do, and the more of it we’ll be expected to do,” writes Charlie Warzel in his Atlantic piece about AI’s impact on workers. As Yehuda Baruch, professor of Management at University of Southampton Business School stated in an interview with the BBC, AI “is an accelerator button that we can push, and companies can just keep pushing it.” Indeed, new technology often leads to new norms and heightened expectations. But there are also countervailing pressures to consider. Expectations to do more with less. How do we counteract this and shape the future? Creating the Future of Work Sustainable working practices will be key to a thriving workplace. We need employees who are creative, engaged, and motivated. Employees that can tap into their higher cognitive functions and creativity– not burnt out and ready to jump ship. And that's where we need to focus our efforts. So, what can we do to combat the relentless pace of the AI revolution? Embracing rest and downtime will be key to keeping up with the workplace changes that are evolving. Work cultures that value rest Workplace culture plays a pivotal role in influencing the impact of technology in the future of the workplace. The way employees, leaders, and the overall environment interact with and adapt can significantly shape its effects. Crafting cultures that understand and value the importance of rest will be key. We will begin to see this backed up with strong data as wareables become more accurate and focus in on rest, sleep and stress in relation to performance. Prioritising activities that embedd rest valuing cutlures into the workplace will set organisations up on a path to success. With the right approach to incorporating generative AI into work, employers can ensure people are set up to experience AI as an advantage —and not a plague waiting to happen. Rest at work With the increased information overload naps help us process and make sense of all the information we have been exposed to. When we sleep our brains process information and connect dots in ways we are not able to when awake. A rest during the working day can allow you to recover from the strain you have put on your brain so far that day and get your brain ready for the rest of the day. It's not just about taking a break – it's about recharging our batteries and coming back refreshed and ready to tackle whatever the day throws at us. Naps are one of the best performance enhancers we have. 4-day work weeks and flexible working Imagine having an extra day off to spend with family, pursue hobbies, or just relax and recharge. It's not just a pipe dream – it's a practical solution to the relentless pace of modern work life. 4 day work week trials are finding employees experienced less stress, the number of sick days fell by a third and attrition dropped by 57 percent. Flexible working arrangements will allow employees to manage the rest the need when they need it. As AI reshapes the future of work, the need for rest becomes more urgent than ever. By recognising the importance of downtime and implementing strategies to promote employee well-being, businesses can navigate the complexities of the next revolution and ensure a more balanced and fulfilling work experience for all and better business outcomes.

  • From Burnout to Balance: Is Improving The Workplace Culture Through Nap Pods Worth It?

    In a world that often glorifies burnout and the constant pursuit of productivity and rest is viewed as a weakness, a culture where the mere mention of a workplace nap can raise eyebrows. We have said this often: overworking isn’t a badge of honour, and while employees have admitted to taking naps at work, there remains a significant portion of people who buy into the negative stigma associated with napping at work. But here's the question most people ask - Can improving workplace culture by including nap pods truly lead us from burnout to balance? Breaking the Stigma: Embracing Workplace Naps In many workplaces, taking a nap during working hours is often met with scepticism and negative perceptions. This stigma is deeply rooted in societal narratives that link productivity to constant activity and perceive rest as a sign of idleness. 80% of workers say they’ve taken a nap on the job! Do you know where the top spot to nap is? The toilets! Did you know that in a recent survey, Kitt Managed Office provider, found nearly half of UK workers express a desire for regular naps during their office day, with rest spaces as one of the top desired workplace amenities? A Cosmopolitan Future of Work survey found out that millennials would even trade a higher salary for access to nap pods! According to a study done by Atomik Research, 21% of employees choose not to talk about their sleep-related problems due to fears that it would hold back their careers. Napping should be promoted in the workplace to better support these employees and their wellbeing. The Misconceptions and Cultural Norms About Workplace Napping One common misconception is the belief that constant activity equates to higher productivity. This fallacy assumes that consistently busy employees are more dedicated and valuable to the organisation. Napping, unfortunately, is often viewed through this narrow lens as a deviation from the expected norm, with implications of laziness attached. Another is that cultural norms around work ethic contribute significantly to the stigma surrounding workplace napping. In societies that emphasise long working hours and limited breaks, taking time for rest during the workday can be misunderstood and viewed as a violation of cultural expectations. Employees often fear judgment from colleagues or superiors if they choose to take a nap. This fear can lead to heightened stress levels, creating a counterproductive environment where employees may sacrifice their wellbeing to avoid the potential stigma associated with napping. Workplace napping is sometimes misinterpreted as a lack of work ethic. The belief that hard work requires constant effort without breaks perpetuates the idea that those who choose to nap are not putting in the necessary effort. Shifting Paradigms: The Rise of Nap-Friendly Workplaces Things are changing - with companies all over the world making napping part of their DNA. This goes past the Googles and Amazons - we are seeing many more traditional industries evolving. For example, a lot of the Magic Circle law firms have brought in nap pods, as well as the largest financial firms. Sleep webinars are commonplace in most organisations, and the value of rest is much more evident. This shift doesn’t need to be hard. Here are some ways you can improve your workplace rest culture: Cultivating a Nap-Friendly Culture Creating a workplace culture that embraces napping represents a paradigm shift, challenging traditional notions of constant work and recognising the significance of rest in achieving optimal performance. Designated Nap Spaces A critical component of fostering a nap-friendly culture is the creation of designated nap spaces. These Rest Spaces  should be carefully designed to provide a comfortable, quiet, and private environment for employees to rest. Investing in nap pods like the Rest Space, comfortable seating, and dim lighting contributes to the physical infrastructure necessary for employees to take effective and rejuvenating naps. Leading By Example Leaders play a pivotal role in shaping organisational culture. To establish a nap-friendly environment, leadership support is crucial. Executives and managers should endorse and actively advocate for the benefits of workplace napping. By openly acknowledging the importance of rest, leaders set a precedent that prioritises employee wellbeing over outdated notions of perpetual busyness. Education and Dispelling Myths Dispelling myths about napping requires a comprehensive educational approach. Conduct workshops or seminars to educate employees on the science behind napping, its impact on cognitive function, and its potential benefits for mental health. Providing factual information can empower employees to make informed decisions about incorporating naps into their routine. Promoting Breaks and Flexibility Promoting a nap-friendly culture involves recognising the importance of breaks and flexibility in the workday. Encourage employees to take short breaks, including naps, to recharge and enhance their focus. Emphasise the quality of work produced over the number of hours spent at the desk. Impact on Mental Health and Productivity: Understanding the roots of these stigmas is crucial, as they can contribute to a toxic work environment. The fear of being judged or labelled as lazy can adversely affect employee mental health, leading to increased stress and anxiety. Furthermore, the reluctance to take breaks for rejuvenation can hinder overall productivity, as employees may struggle to maintain focus and energy throughout the day. Get in touch with us for more information on improving your workplace culture through napping.

  • Celebrate 25 Years of National Nap Day by Embracing the Power of Rest

    In a world where percieved 'productivity' often takes precedence over rest, it's essential to pause and acknowledge the significance of National Nap Day. Celebrating National Nap Day in 'The Era of the Brain' National napping day was established 25 years ago in 1999 by Camille Anthony, a revered community leader, and William Anthony, a pioneer in the field of psychosocial/psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery. They were on a mission to shed light on the health and performance benefits of napping. It is often said we are in the “The Era of the Brain” .This era marks a pivotal moment in scientific advancement, where our understanding of the brain and its complexities is rapidly expanding. Thanks to significant strides in technology and increased funding for neuroscience research, we're witnessing a convergence of disciplines aimed at unraveling the mysteries of the mind. “This is such a cool time to be a neuroscientist because the tools available now make this a golden era to study the brain.” - MITs Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences PHD Mitch Murdock As result our understanding of sleep has evolved significantly, including discoveries such as the glymphatic nervous system, unveiled just 11 years ago!! These advancements underscore the visionary foresight of Camille and Bill, who dared to challenge the stigma surrounding napping and championed its integration into the workplace. Camille ad Bill released an indepth book 'The Art of Napping at Work' one of my go tos on the challenges and approaches many can take in the workplace to build cultures that value rest. Offering practical insights, it tackles the stigma around napping and advocates for its integration into organizational culture. From creating rest spaces to flexible schedules, the book provides actionable strategies to prioritize rest for enhanced productivity and well-being. With compelling anecdotes and scientific evidence, Camille and Bill empower readers to reimagine productivity and embrace a healthier approach to work. Take a Nap at Work this National Nap Day As we celebrate National Nap Day, let's honor the legacy of these two pioneers by having a nap. Here are some tips to make the most of your nap and reap its benefits: Find a Quiet Space: Create a peaceful environment conducive to relaxation, free from distractions and noise. Set a Timer: It's not about risky napping where you wake up not knowing if 10minutes or 3 hours have passed. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Incorporate deep breathing exercises or meditation to help calm the mind and body before drifting off to sleep. Encourage your team and collegues to do the same: Ask them how their naps were and encorage open support of napping in the work day. By incorporating regular naps into our routine, we can enhance our well-being, boost productivity, and honor the legacy of Camille and Bill's groundbreaking advocacy. So, let's celebrate National Nap Day by embracing the power of rest and prioritizing our health and happiness.

  • Inspire Inclusion: Prioritising Wellbeing For All

    March 8th marks International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the incredible achievements of women and to advocate for continued progress towards equality. This year's theme, "Inspire Inclusion," is a powerful reminder of the importance of creating work environments where everyone feels valued, supported, and included, and we believe that inspiring inclusion begins with prioritising the wellbeing of all individuals, especially women. Supporting Women Through Life's Challenges We know that life can throw some curveballs, especially for our female team members. The reality is that women often face unique challenges in prioritising their wellbeing at work. A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that women are more likely than men to experience daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Whether it's navigating the demands of pregnancy, returning to work after maternity leave, or experiencing the physical and emotional changes of menstruation and menopause, women can find themselves feeling exhausted. This research has shown the importance of providing support and resources to help them manage these challenges. An Empowering Story From A Woman “Having access to a Rest Space was an absolute Godsend! In my first trimester, I was naturally exhausted. Traveling and working long office hours was tough, and I wasn’t ready to share my pregnancy; we had waited 6 years! On long days, I could comfortably book a nap or two, and no one noticed as it was part of our office culture. The relief was immeasurable, both physically and psychologically. I wasn’t forced to explain myself and could easily recharge my batteries to maintain work productivity; but more importantly, keep me and my baby well. I had never been a ‘napper’ before or since my first trimester but my heart went out to all the other pregnant mums who didn’t have this opportunity. How on earth did they survive? Did they have to compromise their privacy or, worse, their or their baby’s health? Thankfully, I didn’t have to choose. - Sam Sam used our rest spaces to get through the first trimester of her maternity. We don’t talk enough about the impact of pregnancy and menopause on fatigue. Many of the women I have spoken to have highlighted points in their careers where they just needed a quiet space to lie down or have a moment to themselves but ultimately resorted to sitting in a toilet cubicle, getting some resemblance of rest. That's why we must create a workplace culture that supports rest and wellbeing for everyone. Why Investing in Women's Well-Being Matters Let's talk about why it's so important to invest in the wellbeing of women. When we prioritise the health and happiness of our female colleagues, we're not just being kind—we're also making smart business decisions. Studies show that when women feel supported and valued at work, they're more engaged, productive, and likely to stick around for the long haul. That means a happier, more motivated team, and better results for our company. Here's where creating a supportive work environment comes in. We can do better by: Promoting open communication: Let's normalise conversations about the impact of fatigue and encourage employees to prioritise their well-being without fear of judgement. Building a culture of support: Offer flexible work arrangements, comfortable rest spaces, and access to resources that can help women manage sleep issues and navigate specific life stages. Recognising the power of rest: Encourage breaks, naps, and respect for personal time. A well-rested employee is a more productive employee, after all! Prioritising Rest: A Vital Component of Wellbeing Investing in women's wellbeing is not just about doing the right thing; it's about investing in the success of your company and the personal wellbeing of your employees. Think about it: A well-rested woman is a more focused, productive, and creative employee. By fostering a culture that prioritises rest and wellbeing, we unlock the full potential of our female workforce and inspire a more inclusive future for all. Get in touch with us today as we celebrate women's achievements, and together we can work towards creating workplaces that support and empower women to thrive.

  • Are Nap Pods the missing piece in Workplace Wellbeing Design?

    In today's bustling work world, where every moment counts, the quest for employee happiness and health is at an all-time high. Enter rest spaces – the superhero solution transforming workplace wellbeing design! Rest spaces, sometimes known as nap pods, are cosy nooks designed to whisk employees away from the daily grind. With features like full privacy, customisable lighting, and soundproofing magic, these pods create a serene escape where stress melts away and energy levels soar. With 4 workplace surveys showing that rest spaces are at the top of the wish list for improving workplaces. Facilities Management Journal research put rest spaces as the second most popular office space benefits after garden spaces followed by games rooms, gym space and coffee bars Kitt Managed Office provider found nearly half of UK workers express a desire for regular naps during their office day, with rest spaces as one of the top desired workplace amenities. Workthere flexible office specialist, surveyed UK office workers to find out what makes them happy and productive in the workplace. Those aged 18-25 named napping pods (23%) as one of their top amenities, followed by the gym and office pets. Cosmopolitan's Future of Work survey: Millennials, who are more likely to swap a hefty paycheck for nap room Why are nap pods such a big deal for better workplace wellbeing design? Studies reveal that naps during the day lead to sharper focus, brighter moods, and turbocharged brainpower. By offering employees a mini sanctuary, companies can support the challenges faced day to day and spark a productivity revolution. Not only do rest spaces make for happier and healthier employees, but they also champion inclusivity. Whether it's parents seeking a breather, travellers battling jet lag, carers who spent the night awake, , neurodiverse colleagues seeking some solitude or anyone craving a quiet timeout, these wellbeing spaces are a haven for all. And here's the kicker – well-rested employees are the secret sauce for business success! Research shows they're more engaged, creative, and resilient, leading to a happier workforce and better bottom-line results. By weaving these cosy cocoons into the workplace, businesses showcase their dedication to fostering a culture of care and support. Rest spaces are the MVPs of workplace wellness design, so it's no surprise that employees are clamouring for them. By giving employees a dedicated space to recharge and rejuvenate, businesses can unlock a happier, more energised, and downright unstoppable workforce. As the importance of wellbeing takes centre stage, nap pods are leading the charge towards a brighter, healthier future in the modern workplace! Get in touch if you want to find out more.

  • The Rise of Rest Spaces: Redefining Office Design for Wellbeing

    Employee wellbeing has become a top priority for businesses worldwide, but how is this reflected in the future of office design? Recent trends and data indicate a growing demand for office amenities that prioritise relaxation and mental health. According to a survey by Future of Work Survey JLL 43% of organisations will accelerate their investment in new or enhanced health & wellbeing amenities for employees. One trend is clear when designing office spaces for wellbeing: the demand for rest spaces (nap pods), is on the rise. Numerous future of work reports are coming up with the same conclusion - the office needs rest spaces. Nearly half of UK workers express a desire for regular naps during their office day, highlighting the growing importance of relaxation and rejuvenation in the workplace. From managed office platform Kitt workplace survey. The most popular office space benefits put rest spaces at number two after garden spaces, followed by games rooms at number 3, gym space and then coffee bars according to Facilities Management Journal Those aged 18-25 named napping pods (23%) as one of their top amenities to make them happy and productive in the workplace, followed by the gym and office pets. This underscores the increasing recognition of the value of rest in the workplace. Research by Workthere Cosmopolitan's Magazines Future of Work Survey summerises that millenials are 'likely to swap a hefty paycheck for nap rooms' How do rest spaces fit into modern offices? An environment tailored for rest With features such as full privacy, darkness, and soundproofing, alongside the option to lie down in a comfortable position, these innovative spaces offer a sanctuary for employees seeking respite from the bustling office environment. Privacy is essential for fostering relaxation and rejuvenation, yet existing beanbag and wellbeing spaces often overlook this critical requirement, leading individuals to resort to using toilet cubicles for rest. Our research indicates that 80% of professional services employees have napped at work within the past year, with toilet cubicles being the number one location. Modular Office Design These rest spaces complement modern office design, particularly in open-plan environments. Similar to office phone booths, these compact spaces can be seamlessly integrated into existing office layouts, providing employees with a dedicated area for relaxation without the need for extensive renovations or dedicated rooms. Inclusive wellbeing centred office design But rest spaces go beyond mere functionality – they embody a wellbeing-centric approach to office design that is increasingly shaping the future of the workplace. These spaces cater to the diverse needs of employees, including new parents, individuals experiencing menopause, neurodiverse colleagues, and those coping with stress, anxiety, jet lag and much more. By offering a workspace to manage stress, anxiety, and overstimulation, nap pods contribute to a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture. Sustainability in office design A fundamental aspect in the future of workspace design is sustainability. Built with sustainability in mind, Rest Spaces are built locally prioritising sustainably sourced materials and designed to be easy to repair with replaceable parts, reducing their environmental footprint and promoting a circular economy. Businesses increasingly prioritising sustainability in their office design, integrating rest spaces into office design aligns with the broader goal of creating environmentally conscious workplaces, and encoraging sustainable working habits, As workplaces strive to create healthier and more productive work environments, nap pods emerge as a valuable asset. By embracing these innovative spaces, companies can foster a culture of wellbeing and productivity, ultimately leading to happier and more engaged employees. Rest spaces represent a paradigm shift in office design, prioritising employee wellbeing, inclusivity, and sustainability. By embracing these innovative spaces, businesses can create healthier, more productive work environments that support the holistic needs of their workforce. As the workplace continues to evolve, rest spaces will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future of office design. References: Facilities Management Journal. (n.d.). Workplace Trends Survey JLL Future of work survey Knight Frank (Y)OUR SPACE. Workplace Trends Workthere office survey Kitt Workplace Survey

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