Two strategies to foster well-being at work

Identifying what people need to flourish can begin to improve how your company attracts and retains a strong workforce. The next step is implementing strategies that boost well-being at work to build a culture that promotes flourishing—even through times of disruptive change.

Here are two strategies we encourage leaders to practice themselves, and then encourage within their teams. While these practices might seem overly simple and easy to dismiss, research shows that they have a significant impact on well-being. Operationalizing these strategies can lead to employees who are more creative, productive, and engaged in their work.

Strategy 1: Simple Acts of Kindness

Scientists have found that doing acts of kindness each day and being aware of those acts can produce the greatest momentary increase in well-being. Leaders can start by intentionally demonstrating kindness during each workday, such as complimenting an employee on their work or bringing someone a cup of coffee.

Modeling kindness can further inspire others to act with kindness, fostering a healthier workplace culture. An organization could even implement a program that encourages and values acts of kindness among employees, operationalizing the practice.

Strategy 2: 3 Blessing Each Day

In his book Flourish, Martin Seligman notes that we spend more time on negative thinking:

“We think too much about what goes wrong and not enough about what goes right in our lives. Of course, sometimes it makes sense to analyze bad events so that we can learn from them and avoid them in the future. However, people tend to spend more time thinking about what is bad in life than is helpful. Worse, this focus on negative events sets us up for anxiety and depression. One way to keep this from happening is to get better at thinking about and savoring what went well.”

Intentionally focusing on what went well has been found to sustain increased levels of well-being for up to six months after being performed. Here is a simple strategy to begin to build this into a daily habit:

Each day for at least one week, write down three things that went well for you that day, and provide an explanation for why they went well.

To work effectively, you must actually write down your three good things. The items can be relatively small (e.g. “the bus was on time”) or relatively large (e.g. “I gained a new client today”). It also helps to make it part of your daily routine, like just before bed.

Building this habit can take some practice. Seligman also recommends these tips:

  • Give the event a title.
  • Write down what happened in detail.
  • Include how the event made you feel at the time and then later as you write.
  • Explain what you think caused the event.
  • Write in your preferred style without focusing on grammar or spelling.
  • If you stray toward negative feelings, try refocusing your mind on the good and the positive feelings that came with it.

Create Space can help

We formed Create Space to provide opportunities for leaders to recharge and build resilience in the face of burnout at work. The retreat teaches practices like these ones that can promote daily habits for well-being. Sign up to receive updates on upcoming workshops.

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Join the conversation to learn and explore how we flourish in change. You’ll receive an occasional email offering ideas and tools you can apply.

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