Jeffery Archer, owner of The Tonic, joined us for a Twitter question and answer session to talk about wellbeing at work and why it’s important to keep in good health, both mentally and physically, when working in a busy job role
ILM: Hi would you like to start by telling us a bit about yourself and your company The Tonic?
JA: Yes, I'm Jeff Archer, managing director of the Tonic Corporate Wellness team of Lifestyle Trainers.
ILM: How important is it for busy managers to maintain a good work/life balance?
JA: Very. Lack of balance in life can leave people feeling like they underperform in every area of life. This can be distracting.
ILM: So how should busy people be prioritising their time? How can they stop their work from encroaching on their free time?
JA: Protect time for planning. Set clear boundaries and work creatively within them. Review your approach regularly. Delegate well.
ILM: How important is it to keep in good health when you work in a busy job – can being healthy protect you from getting stressed?
JA: Definitely. Good health makes you more resilient. Exercise is a great way to deal with stress, eating well keeps you calm.
ILM: Often busy people find it difficult to eat well and exercise, what tips could you offer them which will fit into their busy schedule.
JA: Plan meals and snacks to save time, eat regularly for energy, stay hydrated, focus on short bursts of higher intensity activity.
ILM: As we approach winter do you find that staff morale changes depending on the time of year?
JA: Certainly people are less focused on wellbeing in winter and so mood and morale can drop as healthy habits become less of a priority
ILM: What do you find is the main reason behind staff absenteeism?
JA: Often people feel their professional role conflicts with who they really are. Sometimes they need a moment to recharge and refocus.
ILM: Do you think financial bonuses enhance staff morale more than them having a healthy regime?
JA: In the long-term people are more concerned with balance, feeling good and having quality time for themselves and their family.
ILM: Just time for one more, we're hearing more about the benefits of meditation & mindfulness - are these useful practices?
JA: Absolutely. We're seeing some great results with this as it helps staff re-engage with what they do & why they do it, work and life.
Jeffery's top tips on staying a healthy boss
1. Move more, stress less
Movement helps rid the body of stress hormones quickly so, even during your busiest periods, make sure you move regularly. Don't view moving away from the desk as lost working time but instead associate it with an opportunity to stay calm, change your perspective, think creatively, and come up with some solutions that might be hard to access while sitting in front of your computer.
2. Stress is not the enemy
Managing stress does not necessarily mean eliminating stress from your life. The key to successful stress management is to know how far you are able to move out of your comfort zone, and how often you are willing to do this. Provided you anticipate and manage periods of high demand, and balance these with appropriate periods of review and recovery, you'll be in control of your commitments and your attitude, and well positioned to communicate any concerns you may have if you feel you're moving away from your zone of best performance.
3. Drink water, stay calm
Dehydration makes us irritable which leads to stress all round. Drink your two litres every day without fail.
4. Manage energy levels with healthy eating
Each day, aim to consume more foods that provide lasting energy than those which lead to a quick burst energy followed by a crash in resources. Oily fish, chicken, turkey, whole-grains, berries and nuts, will all help you perform consistently and feel good. Caffeine, sugar, chocolate, pastries, refined carbohydrates, high fat foods and alcohol can all contribute to increased stress levels and lack of concentration.
5. How to get a great night of rest and recovery
To be at your most resourceful, you need to rest and recover well at night, but in very busy periods people can find it difficult to relax unwind and sleep well. Spend a little time researching your guaranteed pre-sleep routine for the period leading up to bedtime to ensure that you are able to fall asleep promptly when you’d like to, and achieve optimum quality and quantity of sleep. A warm drink and a few pages of a novel may be all you need to ensure good sleep. Don’t be tempted to work right up to the moment when you drop off.
6. Balance your life and set some boundaries
Stress can be caused by too much work (or too much of anything in life) leaving you feeling that the balance isn't where you'd like it to be. You'll find it harder to maintain balance in your routine if you're not clear what good balance looks like so be diligent in planning and making time for the things you enjoy and that nourish your overall success or there are plenty of other less enjoyable jobs waiting to steal that time.
7. Give yourself a break – regularly
Your mind and body need regular moments of distraction. Compile a list of small actions that you can do every day that you enjoy, that help you feel totally in the moment and that make you happy. Then find an effective way to remember to put these actions into place. A few moments of reflection/distraction every 90 minutes can boost motivation and focus, and lead to your entire day being more productive.
8. Breath, relax, refocus
It sounds obvious but we think better and feel calmer when there's plenty of oxygen flowing to our brain. Regular breaks to breath deeply and reassess your priorities for the day will help you minimise stress from morning to night.
9. Be a stress-reducing role model
Where you can, aim to reduce stress for others. Simple actions can make a huge difference so look to see where you can support your colleagues and they will look out for opportunities to return the favour. Consider how you might avoid adding any stress to colleagues today – this is easily achieved by thinking about how you communicate. Aim to be focused with your emails, conversations and meetings so that you always help others to move projects steadily forward. Communicate messages that save colleagues time, rather than costing them time.
For more information to help you stay healthy, resilient and energetic every day, visit www.the-tonic.blogspot.co.uk