The Importance Of Team Wellness
When a group excels in a concert or sports game, there is an undeniable sense of something extraordinary happening. The players communicate with each other in a way beyond words, creating unity and harmony. This state, often called “in the zone,” is a mental state where individuals fully engage in the task and feel energized and focused. Achieving this level of performance is closely tied to team wellness.
In the corporate world, you may have experienced being “in the zone” while working with your team, where you collaborate towards a common goal. These magical moments of achievement and celebration create lasting memories. However, maintaining such high performance requires constant hard work, perseverance, and focus.
If even one team member falls behind or becomes out-of-sync, the rest also feels the impact and risk falling behind. The ability to perform at peak levels individually and collectively relies on the balance of our mental, physical, and emotional well-being, known as coherence. Recognizing the importance of team wellness, whether on an individual, team, or organizational level, is crucial for achieving success and should be considered a business strategy.
Studies have shown that teams with high employee engagement demonstrate 21 percent higher profitability. Employee wellness and engagement are closely linked and can directly impact the return on investment (ROI), including reductions in turnover, recruitment, training, and sick day costs. Therefore, prioritizing team wellness is essential.
In this article, we will explore the impact of team wellness on performance, the benefits of team coherence, and the bottom-line advantages of investing in team wellness. We will provide practical tips and strategies for implementing team wellness programs and address common obstacles companies face.
What is Team Wellness?
Team wellness refers to the holistic well-being of individuals within a team, encompassing their physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as their happiness and engagement levels, while working collectively towards a common goal. It is a crucial factor influencing teamwork, communication, productivity, creativity, problem-solving, and innovation within the team.
The significance of team wellness lies in its direct impact on team performance and productivity. When team members feel stressed, burned out, or disengaged, their ability to perform at their best is compromised. Conversely, when team members feel happy, healthy, engaged, and supported, they are more likely to be productive and perform at a higher level for extended periods.
Studies, such as detailed analysis by Gallup, have revealed a decline in team engagement following the pandemic. Several factors contribute to this lack of engagement, including teams taking on excessive workloads, transitioning to remote work, and inadequate access to communication and support channels for professional development.
To address these challenges, companies and leaders must reimagine their approach to team wellness and implement meaningful strategies to enhance employee engagement. Simple solutions like annual wellness perks, free lunches, or occasional yoga classes may provide short-term relief but have a limited impact on managing stress and improving performance.
A holistic approach to team wellness is necessary, considering various factors that contribute to the well-being of each team member. Physical health initiatives include encouraging regular exercise, providing breaks, offering healthy snacks, and creating ergonomic workstations. However, the invisible epidemic of chronic stress, anxiety, and burnout in the workplace poses a more significant challenge to employee well-being.
Recognized as an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organization in 2019, workplace stress-induced burnout was responsible for millions of deaths annually, even before the pandemic. The global health crisis has further highlighted the importance of well-being and mental health, prompting companies to take steps to address these issues. Many employers now engage in discussions about mental health and offer digital wellness resources, employee wellness perks, paid time off, and fitness challenges.
While these efforts are promising, it is essential to determine whether companies are genuinely tackling the root causes of workplace stress and mental health issues to prevent burnout proactively. Team leaders should be equipped with knowledge of early signs of burnout and practical strategies to reverse its effects as part of comprehensive team wellness initiatives.
Investing in training and education for leaders on team wellness may initially seem daunting, but considering its bottom-line impact is imperative. Actionable steps, education, awareness, and daily practices, are necessary to address these issues effectively, individually and collectively.
Team wellness must be integrated into leadership approaches and team structures to prevent stress and burnout effectively. Organizations should view team wellness as integral to the company culture and ecosystem. Instead of treating mental health as an individual responsibility solely related to self-care activities like yoga classes or wellness apps, companies can prioritize team wellness by providing education and training on preventing burnout at its root.
Merely offering wellness perks cannot address the decline in well-being experienced by over 80% of the global workforce following the pandemic. By prioritizing team wellness, organizations can harness the bottom-line benefits of a coherent and thriving organizational culture, leading to increased productivity, higher engagement, reduced sick leave, and improved employee retention.
In conclusion, team wellness is vital for creating a healthy and productive work environment. By prioritizing the well-being of team members and implementing comprehensive strategies to support their physical, mental, and emotional health, organizations can foster a culture of engagement, resilience, and success.
The Impact of Team Wellness on Performance
The impact of team wellness on performance must be considered. Their productivity and performance soar when teams are engaged, happy, and healthy. It goes beyond addressing operational issues or assigning blame to individuals. Instead, it focuses on creating a positive work environment that supports the well-being of every team member.
Numerous studies highlight the detrimental effects of workplace stress and anxiety on employee performance. A survey by Deloitte revealed that 91% of employees experience unmanageable stress, leading to a decline in the quality of their work. The American Institute of Stress reported that stress costs companies up to $300 billion annually, with $60 billion attributed to absenteeism caused by stress, depression, and burnout.
On the flip side, investing in team wellness yields significant benefits. Research from The Heart Math Institute showed a substantial decrease in depression (56%) and anxiety (46%) when individuals practiced self-regulation techniques like heart coherence breathing. Furthermore, individuals experienced increased focus (24%) and a sense of calm (38%), contributing to overall mental and emotional well-being.
Recognizing the importance of mental and emotional health, organizations are starting to shift their mindset and strategies. Companies can unlock unlimited employee potential by integrating mental and emotional wellness into their overall success strategy. The impact of team wellness on performance becomes twofold.
Firstly, when individuals can access solutions and strategies to manage their well-being, they perform at higher levels. They become more capable of taking on tasks, achieving goals, and maintaining sustained productivity. By prioritizing team wellness, companies create a culture that thrives under pressure, reducing sick day costs associated with mental health issues. This leads to improved performance and sustainable growth.
Organizations can implement science-backed education and training programs to facilitate team wellness integration. At Higher Energy, we offer three distinct programs tailored to individual and team needs:
- Higher Teams: Designed for high-performance teams, this program helps manage stress effectively, improve focus, and maximize productivity over the long term. Through six live training modules, team members learn proven mental and emotional resilience techniques supported by wearable technology and scientific insights.
- Higher Breath: This introductory workshop unites entire organizations around the power of breath. Participants learn about the science behind breathing in just sixty minutes and experience immediate stress relief. Breath training optimizes mental health and well-being in the workplace, benefiting individuals and teams.
- Higher Healing: This comprehensive program utilizes somatic education and practical techniques to facilitate natural self-healing from stress and past trauma. By reconnecting with the body’s innate intelligence and releasing old belief patterns and stuck emotions, individuals can create space for new ideas, skillsets, and objectives.
These science-based workshops and programs empower leaders and individuals to effectively manage stress, reduce anxiety, and prevent burnout at its root. By working through stress rather than against it, teams can alleviate anxiety and worry, ultimately improving performance and well-being.
Investing in team wellness as part of the long-term success strategy enhances productivity, performance, and employee happiness. Employees who are happy and connected to their work generate more energy, leading to their best possible performance. Embracing team wellness is a win-win for individuals and organizations alike.
The Benefits of Team Coherence
Team coherence is crucial for effective collaboration and harmonious relationships within a team. It refers to the degree to which team members can work together in a coordinated and collaborative manner, aligning their efforts toward shared goals. A coherent team can communicate effectively, resolve conflicts efficiently, and make decisions that lead to individual and collective success.
Research from The Heart Math Institute highlights several benefits of team coherence. Coherent teams build trust and draw from broader skills, perspectives, and experiences, promoting interdependence. They foster positive energy, motivation, and momentum as team members work towards a common purpose beyond individual gain. Coherent teams tend to have healthier social networks and a better work-life balance, contributing to the overall well-being of team members. Additionally, they are more efficient, saving time and energy by streamlining tasks and processes. Coherence leads to improved communication, enhanced relationship dynamics, and heightened creativity, resulting in shorter meeting times and increased productivity.
Prioritizing team wellness and implementing wellness programs can significantly improve team coherence. These programs encourage team members to embody coherent attributes such as trust, respect, vulnerability, and open communication.
The Higher Teams program, for example, focuses on developing coherent communication skills, harnessing coherence for performance, and creating a safe space for team members to address their mental and emotional health challenges. Practical strategies, including breathing exercises, are provided to help individuals regulate their emotions and enhance coherence. Monitoring coherence levels through tools like the Inner Balance Sensor & App can serve as a success metric and guide teams in managing stress effectively.
Organizations can foster a culture of coherence and collaboration by prioritizing team wellness. This extends to the workplace and team members’ personal lives, as the quality of relationships impacts overall team performance. Cultivating healthy habits and behaviours and promoting open communication and mutual support contribute to a cohesive and thriving team environment.
The Bottom-Line Benefits of Team Wellness
Investing in team wellness can have substantial bottom-line benefits for organizations. However, it is crucial to emphasize that the success of team wellness programs in terms of changed behaviours, increased productivity, and higher engagement relies on the support and involvement of company leadership.
This point is critical when assessing the effectiveness of your long-term wellness strategy. The executive team championed and exemplified the most successful team wellness programs. As leaders, we must be willing to lead by example and embody the behaviours we want our teams to emulate.
Here are a few examples:
Leaders should actively demonstrate these qualities in their team interactions if the goal is to enhance engagement, which requires presence and focus. Listening, seeking feedback, and conducting quarterly surveys can help teams feel engaged and part of the overall strategy for success.
Similarly, if the objective is to boost performance and productivity, leaders must effectively manage stress and exhibit coherence in challenging situations. If middle management or C-level executives are not proactively managing stress, expecting their teams to do the same is unrealistic.
We often encounter the outdated mindset of “do what I say, not as I do” in the corporate setting. However, this approach aligns differently with the emerging paradigm of leadership. The new energy of leadership is about creating a culture where leaders set an example of how they want their teams to perform, particularly regarding mental and emotional health.
It is widely known that healthier employees result in reduced healthcare costs, lower absenteeism, and increased productivity. An insightful Harvard Business Review article highlights the tangible returns of employee wellness programs. Companies that adopt comprehensive, strategic, and tailored wellness programs focusing on mental, emotional, and social well-being have saved over $250 million in healthcare costs over a decade, with a return of $2.71 for every dollar invested.
Furthermore, the article states that companies prioritizing team wellness experience lower absenteeism and higher presenteeism, directly impacting productivity. A study by Dr. Ronald Loeppke and his team 2009 involving 50,000 workers at ten employers revealed that lost productivity costs are 2.3 times higher than the cost of health/medical benefits.
While financial benefits are often the primary focus of team wellness, it is essential to recognize that investing in team wellness can also improve organizational culture and employee morale. The ability of team wellness programs to enhance employees’ connection to the company’s mission and values should be noticed. By prioritizing the health and well-being of employees, organizations can attract and retain top talent, establishing themselves as desirable workplaces for all.
How to Implement Team Wellness Programs
Implementing team wellness programs may initially seem overwhelming, but with consistency and intention, it can become the foundation for a successful team. Here are a five practical tips and strategies to make the process easier and more effective.
- Firstly, getting leadership buy-in for your team’s wellness initiatives is crucial. When leaders are committed to improving team wellness, it sets the tone for the rest of the organization and increases the likelihood of employee participation. Leaders should communicate the importance of team wellness and its positive impact on productivity, engagement, and overall well-being.
- Aligning the company’s budget and willingness to invest in team wellness is another crucial step. Understand the financial processes and clarify the approval matrix, procurement processes, and overall requirements. This knowledge will help you navigate the budgeting and decision-making processes more effectively.
- Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential. Determine what outcomes you want to achieve through the team wellness program, such as reducing employee sick days, increasing engagement, or improving overall productivity. Having specific KPIs in mind will help you measure the success and impact of the program.
- Consider how to support both hybrid and in-person teams. With the shift to hybrid work environments, assessing how to keep remote and in-person employees is essential. Partnering with a team wellness program that offers flexible options, such as virtual or in-person training, can ensure that all team members can participate and benefit from the program.
- Ensure the team wellness program is simple, effective, and easily accessible. Team members should be able to relate to the information and practices taught in the program. Look for programs that offer engaging training sessions led by trained facilitators with real-work experience and a science-based approach.
Communication is vital throughout the implementation process. Involve your team in the decision-making process, gather their feedback, and address any concerns or questions they may have. Start slow and build momentum over time, allowing team members to adjust to the new practices and gradually incorporate them into their daily routines.
If you’re not ready to invest in a team wellness program, that’s okay. Honouring your process and pace is essential. Consider starting small by normalizing mental and emotional health in the workplace through open conversations.
At Higher Energy, we offer a walk-before-run approach, which allows companies and leaders to get to know our team by having a trained Higher Energy coach offer lunch seminars or mini-workshops. This low-cost investment lets you and your team learn more about our energy and mission.
In addition, we offer leaders the opportunity to consult with one of our coaches for a complementary breath training session. You can book here now.
Remember, implementing a team wellness initiative requires ongoing commitment and support. Stay engaged with your team, monitor progress, and celebrate successes. With time and dedication, team wellness can become integral to your organization’s culture, improving well-being, productivity, and overall success.
Common Obstacles and Solutions
Implementing team wellness programs can come with challenges and barriers that must be addressed to ensure success. Leaders must recognize and overcome these obstacles to create a supportive and thriving team environment. Let’s explore five common obstacles and their solutions:
Breaking the Silence:
Historically, Mental health has been taboo in many corporate cultures. Overcoming this obstacle requires demystifying the conversation around mental health and emotions. Leaders should proactively initiate discussions, normalize the topic, and encourage open dialogue. By creating a safe space for these conversations, teams can feel more comfortable addressing mental and emotional well-being.
Sensitivity and Trauma-Informed Approach:
Each team member may have different experiences and sensitivities related to mental and emotional health. Leaders must be informed about individual and collective trauma and its potential impact on team well-being. A solution is to partner with a trauma-informed team wellness provider who can address diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. Trauma-informed facilitators can ensure inclusivity and create an environment that acknowledges and supports the unique needs of each team member.
Team Engagement and Buy-In:
Getting all departments and team members on board with team wellness initiatives can be challenging, particularly in larger organizations. Engagement levels may vary depending on work relationships, comfort, and tenure. To overcome this obstacle, involving the team from the early stages and seeking their input is essential. Creating a team wellness committee with representatives from different departments can help ensure that activities and programs meet the specific needs of each team. By involving team members in the decision-making process, their buy-in and engagement are more likely to increase.
Resource Allocation and Support:
Another obstacle is allocating resources and support for team wellness initiatives. Leaders should prioritize team wellness in budgeting and resource planning. By dedicating resources, whether time, budget, or personnel, leaders can demonstrate their commitment to team wellness and create a supportive infrastructure for its implementation. Providing ongoing support and encouraging participation in team wellness programs are also vital for their success.
Overcoming Resistance and Comfort Zones:
Resistance to change and stepping out of comfort zones can hinder the adoption of team wellness practices. Leaders can address this obstacle by fostering a culture that embraces growth and continuous improvement. Training, education, and resources that help team members understand the benefits of team wellness and how it contributes to their personal and professional growth can encourage them to embrace change and step out of their comfort zones.
By addressing these common obstacles, leaders can create a supportive and inclusive team wellness program that promotes their teams’ mental, emotional, and overall well-being. Open communication, sensitivity, engagement, resource allocation, and a growth-oriented culture are critical factors in overcoming these obstacles and fostering a healthy team environment.
In summary, implementing team wellness programs requires commitment, understanding, and a proactive approach from leadership. Overcoming obstacles such as the stigma around mental health, addressing sensitivity and trauma, fostering team engagement, allocating resources, and encouraging growth can pave the way for a successful team wellness initiative.
By prioritizing team wellness, organizations can create a culture that supports and values the well-being of its employees. This, in turn, leads to improved productivity, reduced healthcare costs, lower absenteeism, and higher employee satisfaction and retention rates.
- At Higher Energy, team wellness embodies physical health and mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. By embracing the concept of universal health and providing inclusive and trauma-informed programs, we can create an environment where team members feel safe, supported, and empowered to prioritize their well-being.
Remember, investing in team wellness is an investment in the future success of your organization. By taking the necessary steps to overcome obstacles, communicate openly, and foster a culture of growth and well-being, leaders can unlock the unlimited potential within their teams and create a winning culture.
So, let us embark on this journey together, recognizing that team wellness is a strategy and a way of life. By embracing it, we can shape a future where organizations thrive, employees flourish, and everyone can achieve their fullest potential.