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Why Workplace Stress is a Worldwide Epidemic That Prevents Us From Being Happy at Work

In America, we’re famous for working. Working long days with little time off and taking pride in it. So it should come as no surprise that many of our employees are overworked, stressed out, and burned out. And it’s costing us dearly in terms of lost wages, lost productivity, and lost impact. According to a study from Mental Health America, almost 70% of workers reported missing some days at work each month due to stress. But it turns out that workplace stress isn’t just an American problem: it’s a world problem.

Take this recent article from The Atlantic, which explores stress and depression in the Japanese workplace. While work has grown more global and connected us in ways we could never have imagined, it’s also caused a clash of cultures. And it has forced rapid change on both sides of the generational divide.. Which leaves a generation of workers in Asia who are being forced to assert their opinions and establish themselves as individuals without ever having gained the skills to do so. In essence, they are suffering the “consequences of a nation transitioning from a culture of collectivism, in which they have to accept their rank within a family, to a capitalistic workplace where they have to forge their own path.”

For the last year, I’ve been fortunate to travel to Singapore many times to conduct in-person training workshops for a client. I’ve met many wonderful, talented, and bright Millennials and Gen Z employees over the course of my travels in Singapore. And I’ve also experienced firsthand how the challenges facing the worker of the future don’t just exist inside the bounds of the United States.

Technology is changing absolutely everything about the way we live and work. And one of the primary ways it’s changing the workplace is that it’s putting increasing emphasis on employees as individuals. It’s not enough to follow the rules, blend into the crowd, and get the job done. Now we’re told we need to bring our best selves to work every single day, exceed expectations always, and find ways to stand out from our co-workers. That creates massive amounts of anxiety as we question if we’ll actually be able to keep up with the pace of change, if we’ll have the skills necessary to compete and succeed in the future, and if what we’re doing actually matters anyway.

After training more than 20,000 Millennial and Gen Z employees and their managers around the world, we’ve come up with a 3-hack system employers can use to combat the crushing wave of workplace anxiety:

1. Turn Your Workplace Upside Down

Start anywhere, but principally at the bottom and actually talk to your employees. Find out what they’re struggling with, what they need help with, and come up with a plan to support them as individuals. Remember that one size doesn’t fit all so take the time to talk to each employee one-on-one or at least do a survey. Demonstrate you care by listening and asking great questions.

2. Create Meaningful Work

While all work isn’t necessarily meaningful, make sure your employees understand how their assignments and role fits into the larger picture of the company. Make sure they know why something is being done and what goal is being served. Make sure they stay connected to the vision of where the company is going and the impact you’re having on the world around you. And help them grow – that is meaningful at its core to them.

3. Reskill Your Employees on the Basics/Emotional Intelligence

While we can’t control what the future world of work will look like, make sure you’re providing your employees with opportunities to grow and develop crucial, transferrable skills like emotional intelligence. As technology continues to shift the landscape of our world, we know people are going to matter more than ever. Make sure you’re supporting your employees to become better, more empathetic humans.

To learn more about our 3-hack system to guarantee workplace success, click here to read our recent blog.

As an employer, you’ve got to figure out how to help your employees relieve workplace stress. It costs you too much in terms of lost labor, employee turnover, and poor productivity to continue to allow your employees to fight it out on their own.

Need some help? Reach out to us to schedule an exploratory call with one of our experienced coaches!

7 Strategies to Create a Habit of Learning

Have you ever noticed that when you run into someone you know at Starbucks and ask them how they’ve been, most people give you one of two standard answers? “Good” or “Busy”. Or my personal favorites, “Good, but busy” or “Busy, but good.” 

Let’s face it: we don’t know how to get un-busy anymore. We have too much going on at home and in the workplace. ESPECIALLY in the workplace!

We know the future of work is changing rapidly and we MUST keep up. So how do we prioritize our own learning and development to ensure it becomes a habit?

 It starts with hacking our existing habits to make learning fit. Choose any one of the seven strategies below and you’ll be surprised about how much learning you can add to your already packed day. 

Morning Routine Hacking

Most successful people have a morning routine, whether that involves going to the gym, praying or meditating, or just enjoying the first cup of coffee. Whether you already have an existing routine or want to start one, try waking up just fifteen minutes earlier.  Use it to read an article or just a few pages from a book related to your industry. Depending on the difficulty, the average person takes between two to six minutes to read a page.

 So while you might only be reading three to twelve pages a day, keep in mind that many non-fiction books are fairly short – only around three hundred pages in length. At that pace, you’ll finish a book every thirty to a hundred days which means you’ll read three to twelve books a year! Not a bad result for devoting just fifteen minutes each morning to your learning!

Makeover Your Commute

For most of us, the morning commute is a pure and simple waste of time. But rather than spending it listening to music, catching up on the news, or having a casual conversation with a friend or co-worker, why not put on a podcast episode instead? There are thousands of hours of podcasts available on all kinds of topics and many podcasts take the form of interviews, which allow you to learn from the success and failures of others. Find a podcast related to your industry and take your education on the road! Some of my favorites podcasts are the GaryVee Audio Experience, the Tony Robbins podcast, School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, the Tim Ferris Show, and the Peter Attia Drive podcast. 

Knowledge by Subscription

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office? Make a cup of coffee and gossip with your coworkers? Browse social media before the boss comes in? What if you started each work day with a bit of education instead? While most of us don’t want to add any more email to our already overcrowded inboxes, be purposeful about subscribing to email updates from an industry leader or coach whose content you enjoy. If you don’t have a particular person in mind, there are also services like NuzzelFeedly, or Flipboard that will send you a curated list of news articles that match a certain keyword or topic. 

Lunch and Learn

Most of look forward to lunch as the time we can take a break and relax. But I’ll bet that you often spend your lunch hour scrolling through Instagram or watching funny Youtube videos. So what if you took that time and redirected it towards your learning? Read an article from an industry leader, watch a how-to video, or put your earbuds in and finish listening to the podcast you started on your morning commute! For lunchtime reading, I recommend Josh BersinAriana HuffingtonBrené BrownRay Dalio, and Adam Grant

Daily Workouts for Your Body and Mind

Whether you hit the gym before or after work, the gym presents yet another opportunity to engage your mind in learning. While you might feel that you can’t workout without a good playlist, try listening to a podcast episode from an energetic speaker instead! And if you really can’t listen to anything, but music when you work out, use that time to review what you’ve learned recently and make a plan to implement the new knowledge as soon as possible.  

Social Media With a Purpose

After a long day at work, most of us can’t wait to wind down with some mindless time spent looking at social media or watching Youtube videos. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t allow yourself a little freedom to indulge in these activities, but what would happen if you spent fifteen or twenty minutes purposefully looking at content that educates or inspires you first? Who knows – those fifteen or twenty minutes could easily become forty minutes or an hour of learning!  I personally enjoy following and consuming content from Gary VaynerchukTom BilyeuGrant CardoneTom FerryMel Robbins, and Oprah.

Self-Directed Courses and Certifications

These days there’s no end to the continuing education courses and certifications you can take. While you can attend classes through a local college, for many working people it’s a lot easier to choose a self-directed online learning program without a hard deadline. That way you can work at your own pace and make learning fit your schedule, rather than the other way around. If you don’t know where to start, try looking up courses on Udemy.

Whether you spend five minute or five hours on your learning each day, what really matters is whether you actually DO something with the knowledge. Most people go to conferences, sit on webinars, read books, watch videos, and do NOTHING with what they’ve learned. If you can devote a small amount of time each day to learning something new and then actually implement it, you will win! Learners are Earners!