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Employee Wellness

No Health Without Mental Health: 5 Key Takeaways the IBPAP CEO Forum

Every month, members of the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) take turns hosting a CEO Forum to tackle issues relevant to the sector.

For this October — which also happens to be World Mental Health Month — Transcom Worldwide Philippines took centerstage and invited their mental health and well-being partner MindNation to join them in a discussion about “Brains and Body: Mental Health and Overall Wellness in Challenging Times.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that companies need to accelerate the conversation about mental health in the workplace,” says Mark Lyndsell, Transcom CEO for the Global English Region, in his opening remarks. “Many employees are struggling with feelings of isolation, despair, loneliness, and loss or lack of control.” 

MindNation co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Kana Takahashi agrees. “Mental health concerns are becoming more alarming because of the pandemic and it’s something that companies should really look into.”

Here are other key insights that were shared by Mark and Kana at the CEO Forum: 

  1. Mental health concerns in the workplace have financial repercussions. “Research by the World Health Organization and MindNation showed that 40% of employees are struggling with mental health issues during the pandemic,” reports Kana. “These mental health struggles have led to an increase in absenteeism, presenteeism, and staff turnover. All these productivity losses can cost companies as much as USD 400 billion dollars a year in revenue.”
  1. For change to happen, well-being needs to be holistically addressed. While some companies or mental health support groups offer teletherapy sessions or virtual training as a form of mental health support, Kana says that just relying on these will not yield meaningful results for the organization. “If you want the best for your company and employees, you need to offer more,” she points out. “Focus on your employees’ journey, on the company’s culture, and on the person’s overall well-being.”

This can be achieved by going back to the basics. “Create a mental health policy in the workplace that provides mental health leaves, flexible working hours, clauses for diverse groups, benefits, and other important protocols,” Kana enumerates. “Next is to make sure that basic support is there, such as virtual learning sessions and sessions with mental health professionals. Provide Critical Incident Support for emergencies. And finally, create a program for team members that encompasses the intersectionality of a person’s well-being — which means covering their physical, emotional, social, and cultural wellness, as well as financial well-being.”

  1. Change also needs to come from the top. “As leaders, we set the tone for the culture of the organization,” Mark explains. “In 2017, I embarked on a transformation within my organization to openly promote and hire folks from outside who actually met a specific EQ (emotional quotient) bar. And as a result, over time,  we were able to build a far more mature and empathetic leadership group that continues to provide dividends to the bottomline.”

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“If companies want to successfully address mental health at work, they need to make sure that their managers and leaders are equipped with the proper skills and training to handle employees with mental health struggles, such as empathic listening, handling difficult conversations, and even mental health first aid,” Kana shares. “Employees need to feel that the company and the people they work with are safe spaces.” 

  1. A company that invests in its team’s wellbeing reaps benefits. “Addressing mental health in the workplace has positive business ramifications, especially when it comes to attraction and retention of talent,” Mark stresses. “Our numbers speak for themselves; our Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) has continued to progress consistently through  the pandemic.”

The eNPS is a company’s way of measuring how employees are likely to promote the company to other people because of their positive experience. “An eNPS of 20 to 50 is considered healthy. Anything above 50 is very good to outstanding,” explains Transcom Asia Director of Employee Engagement And Communication Aldrin Carlos. “Transcom Philippines’ average eNPS in 2021 is 57.9; our score this third quarter was 62.1 versus the global score of 54.”

“As leaders we are wired to get results and to always look at the numbers, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Kana says. “But our people are the ones driving those results and numbers; if they are stressed and unhappy, it will take a toll on our business. When you invest in your employees, you also invest in the future of your company.”

  1. There is no health without mental health. “When I first came to the Philippines 14 years ago, the conversation at work was all about physical health — how do we make sure our  people have a healthy diet, how can we get them to stop smoking, etc?” Mark relates. “But given what we are facing now, I believe that mental health is just as important, if not more important, than physical health. In the same way that many of us exercise our physical self three to four times a week to avoid serious illness, exercise or support for our mental self also needs to become the norm.” 

“As employers, we need to transcend the traditional approach of treating mental health concerns to something more innovative and proactive,” Kana says. “The more you understand your people through empathetic leadership and policies, the more you will be able to provide the right kind of support.”

MindNation uses a data-based approach to create proactive, customized, holistic health programs for your employees. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit http://www.themindnation.com now!

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Employee Wellness

Managing A Multigenerational Workforce: Tips To Keep Gen X, Millennial, And Gen Z Employees Thriving And Engaged

In a previous post, we wrote about the different myths and stereotypes that each generation has about the other, and which contributes to employee disengagement and unhappiness. Once empathy and understanding are established among team members, focus must now shift to how senior leaders can address each generation’s well-being needs so that everyone becomes happier, healthier, and more productive.

According to a report by management consulting company McKinsey, companies that mix the different strengths and perspectives of younger and older workers benefit from better decision making, problem solving, and innovation. The report made special mention of the importance of age diversity and inclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic, stating specifically that “companies whose leaders welcome diverse talents and include multiple perspectives are likely to emerge from the crisis stronger.”

So what does each generation want from their leaders? Grace De Castro, founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of V+A Consulting, a boutique consulting firm with expertise in customized people programs and creative business solutions, shares her thoughts:

What Gen Xers want

  1. Minimal supervision from leaders. “Gen Xers prefer to work independently because it was also how they grew up,” Grace explains. “This is because they were raised with both parents working, they became accustomed to fending for themselves.”
  2. Peer-oriented collaboration. Precisely because their parents were busy and there were no Internet or smartphones to occupy their time, Gen Xers spent a lot of time interacting face-to-face with friends, so they grew up learning how to make genuine connections.
  3. Very clear opportunities to shine — “Because this is the generation that lacked attention from their parents, they are always looking to prove themselves,” Grace reminds. “So if they are not yet leaders, give them tasks that will allow them to show off their leadership skills; and if they are already leaders, invest in their continuous education like subsidizing online courses or assigning them an experienced mentor.” 
  1. Benefits related to physical and mental health. “Gen Xers have poor physical health,” Grace points out. “Among the different generations, they have the highest levels of alcohol and smoking abuse, as well as high levels of depression and anxiety. But they don’t talk about it and are less inclined to speak up when asked because they come from a generation that taught them to just follow and obey.”

    Grace believes that health benefits will also be warmly received because Gen Xers are already at that age when they know they are no longer young, that they are now closer to retirement compared to their Millennial and Gen Z team members. 

If you need guidance on how to implement a holistic well-being program at work, partner with a mental health and well-being company that can offer data-based and customized solutions to address the specific needs of team members. 

  1. Work-life balance. Similarly, because Gen Xers will not complain, it must be up to the company to create an environment that allows them to not feel guilty when they take breaks. 

What Millennials and Gen Zers want

  1. Employers who prioritize their well-being. Because Millennials and Gen Zers are work martyrs, they feel guilty for taking breaks. So as a leader, constantly remind your team members to slow down or rest between tasks. In addition, avoid assigning tasks outside work hours. “Let them know it’s okay to say ‘no’ when work becomes unmanageable,” Grace says.
  2. Constant reminders to unplug. Similar to the above, encourage these tech-savvy employees to disconnect from social media once in a while. Research has shown that too much consumption of social media increases feelings of inadequacy, FOMO (fear of missing out) and isolation. “These add to a person’s stress and anxiety,” Grace explains.
  3. Giving feedback. Millennials, in particular, crave continuous feedback. They demand and expect a responsive managerial style and ongoing relationships with their supervisors. “Feedback is not shouting at them if they make a mistake,” Grace cautions. “Rather, it is taking the time to walk them through what they did well and what they could improve on.” 

Just because someone was born in a certain time does not mean everything about that generation applies

Grace de Castro

For everyone

  1. Beware dubious generalizations about others. “Just because someone was born in a certain time does not mean everything about that generation applies,” Grace says.
  2.  Spend time getting to know your team members. “Each person has their own story to tell,” she adds.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put so much pressure on workplace leaders to maintain profitability that sometimes, looking out for the welfare of employees takes a backseat. “But unless your company is  fully automated, caring for the well-being of the people who work for you is the best investment you will ever make,” Grace says. “We need to be mindful that regardless of what generation they belong to, everyone is feeling overworked, feeling guilty for taking breaks, and struggling to separate work life from home life. So as a leader, it is important to make sure that everyone enjoys the work, feels valued, and feels like part of the team.Getting to know your people is what pays dividends and will pay back a hundredfold when you do it well.”

MindNation is a mental health and well-being company that focuses on holistic well-being to create customized programs for team members. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.themindnation.com to learn more!

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Employee Wellness

Employee Mental Health: Myths and Facts Explained

Despite efforts to increase awareness and understanding about mental health,  many workplaces still consider mental health a taboo topic.  A MindNation Pulse Survey of more than 6,000 full-time employees in the Philippines revealed that only half (50%) of respondents feel comfortable talking about their mental health challenges with their managers, while 11% do not want to talk to anyone about their challenges at all. Additionally, only 12% of employees with mental health issues truthfully admitted to their managers that they are taking a sick leave for the same reason; the others stated that it was for a physical health problem, took it as part of their annual leave, or didn’t want to give a reason at all. 

Companies whose employees who do not receive support for their mental health challenges are more likely to have higher rates of absenteeism, presenteeism, and employee turnover. These productivity losses cost organizations at least PHP7 million per year for every 1,000 employees. 

One way to address mental health in the workplace is to stop the spread of misconceptions surrounding mental health challenges. Dr. Rhalf Jayson “RJ” Guanco, a licensed psychologist and psychometrician, faculty member of the Adventist University of the Philippines, and the current president of the Adventist Mental Health Association, lists down the top 5 employee mental health myths and provides the facts to debunk them:

Myth: Hard-working people do not have mental health concerns.

Fact:  No one is exempt from mental health concerns. “Mental health concerns can occur regardless of one’s personality, age, social situation, religion, or any other factor. It can also begin at any age, from childhood to later adulthood,” Dr. RJ enumerates. “Being hardworking, dedicated, or industrious does not make a person immune from mental health challenges.”

Myth: People with mental health problems are unreliable employees/team members.

Fact: Although mental illnesses may have a negative impact on an employee’s ability to function at work, it may also have no effect at all.People with mental health concerns can go on to live happy, productive lives as long as they receive proper treatment and support. “Mental health issues are in no way a reflection of a person’s ability to perform their work functions and are not a hindrance to perform job-related tasks. The fact that an employee has a mental health problem does not diminish his or her humanity. Putting them in a negative light and calling them untrustworthy should be avoided at all costs,” Dr. RJ stresses. 

Myth: Stress is really a part of work, so those with mental health concerns are just being lazy or making excuses.

Fact: “According to research, mental health disorders are caused by a variety of factors interacting with one another, including but not limited to heredity, biology, psychological trauma, poverty, adverse childhood experiences, environmental stress, etc.,” Dr. RJ enumerates. So in order to understand mental health problems properly, the person must be viewed holistically rather than singularly, i.e. work stress.

Myth: We’re in a pandemic, so it’s normal to have mental health problems and there’s nothing we can do but ride this out.

Fact: “While it is perfectly normal to feel nervous, depressed, isolated, and agitated, or to suffer from any kind of mental health problem during abnormal events like the COVID-19 pandemic, these responses must be handled well. Not everyone can just ‘snap out of it,’” Dr. RJ explains. “The more we understand ourselves and our own mental health, the more we will be able to provide useful support to individuals in our life who are dealing with mental health issues.”

MYTH: I can’t do anything for a colleague with a mental health problem because I am not a mental health professional.

FACT: “Even if you are not a mental health professional, you can still make a significant difference in the lives of those who are suffering from mental health concerns,” Dr.RJ assures. “For example, you can provide an empathetic ear to a coworker who is experiencing difficulties. Simply being the person who is willing to listen can help someone feel better. According to studies, persons who suffer from mental illnesses grow better and many recover when they have a strong support system.”

Education, guidance, and awareness training for managers can help them spot the warning signs of mental health problems among staff and offer support before they escalate.

Partner with MindNation to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.themindnation.com to know more about our services. 

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Employee Wellness

5 Ways To Help Someone Feeling Overwhelmed

If someone is feeling overwhelmed, it means that something is too much, or almost too much, for them to manage. While it’s possible to be overwhelmed by good things (i.e. love or gratitude), it is just as easily possible to be overwhelmed by tasks, chores, and problems.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people feeling overwhelmed because work-from-home has become the new norm and so the lines between work and personal lives are no longer clearly delineated,” says relationship coach Aileen Santos. “From my personal experience, people can cope with any amount of stressful work — as long as work is the only thing that is stressing them out. But when personal issues get added to the mix, that is when they buckle.”

This is why when someone says they are feeling overwhelmed, we should not ignore or minimize their pronouncement. “Don’t just look at a team member’s workload, because we don’t know what they are going through behind the scenes,” says Aileen. “We don’t see the triggered traumas, stress, or fatigue that they are experiencing; the workload could just be the last straw.”


“When a team member starts verbalizing that something is happening at home, you need to pay close attention because that could lead them to becoming overwhelmed.”

Aileen Santos, Relationship Coach

Implications of being overwhelmed

When someone is feeling overwhelmed, it can affect their physical and mental health, along with their productivity. They feel physically ill or fatigued without knowing why, start withdrawing from friends and family, have trouble focusing or completing even simple tasks, and might even start to develop mental health challenges like depression and anxiety. All these might just compel affected employees to leave the company, which will end up costing the business even more money. “Millennial and Gen Z employees are now prioritizing their well-being and work-life balance above everything else, even salary, and they are willing to quit their jobs if they feel it is bad for their health,” Aileen reminds. 

For those in personal relationships, not addressing signs of overwhelm can make the bonds even more strained and fractured. 

What to do

It’s important that team leaders and loved ones take steps to support someone who is feeling overwhelmed to avoid bigger physical and mental health problems later on. If someone you love or work with are showing signs of struggling to cope, here are some things you can do:

  1. Listen.  “All companies are struggling during the pandemic, so you might have already gotten used to hearing about work stress,” shares Aileen. “But when a team member starts verbalizing that something is happening at home, you need to pay close attention because that could lead them to becoming overwhelmed.”
  1. Take the load off. A person can only perform their best if they are not overloaded with work, so team leaders and supervisors need to constantly be aware of what each member is doing and redistribute the load when they feel it is becoming too much. 

To step in, start by bringing up observable behavior, then explain that you are redistributing work because you care for the employee’s well-being and not because you do not think they can no longer do the work well. An example would be :“I notice that you have been missing a lot of deadlines already, and there are more coming up. I am concerned that you are taking on too much and it will affect your health, so I’m going to reassign this and that to ease your load.”

For partners and spouses, make sure your relationship at home is a partnership. “Share the load at home — don’t expect your partner to be a breadwinner and at the same time manage the household, while you just focus on your work,” Aileen explains. “Both of you have to support and take care of each other.” 

  1. If the person refuses help, put your foot down. It is not uncommon for a person who is struggling to be in denial about their situation. “There are people whose sense of identity is based on helping others, so they do not recognize that they are the ones who need help,” Aileen points out. “They are more attuned to the feelings of others than to their own.” If this is the case for your loved one, it might be time for some tough love. “Encourage them to rest, even if it means resorting to tactics such as paying for a hotel staycation even before they agree to it,” Aileen suggests.
  1. Get the help of a mental health professional. Psychologists and Wellbeing Coaches can help overwhelmed people address past trauma or teach them ways to cope with stress. Or they can just offer an unbiased and listening ear to someone who needs to express struggles.

    “The companies that are doing well during the pandemic are ones who are prioritizing their employees’ well-being, such as hiring the services of a mental health care provider or even training and reassigning personable team leaders to become in-house mental health champions,” Aileen shares. 

On the other hand, if a loved one is resistant to the idea of seeking professional help, or does not have the time for a session, take it upon yourself to learn what you can do for them. ““There are so many resources available now, from hotlines to teletherapy, so take advantage of those,” Aileen instructs. “If you are seeing signs that your partner is feeling overwhelmed, take the initiative to research or call a hotline to find out what ways you can help them.”  

  1. Lastly, look after yourself. You cannot help someone who is feeling overwhelmed if you yourself are facing struggles of your own. “Self-care is self-preservation,” Aileen says.

So look after your own well-being, such as taking mental health days, eating right, sleeping well, exercising, and finding ways to destress; being calm and relaxed will make you more able to help someone else. 

The MindNation Care Now Plan is customized to support an employee’s holistic health. Services include access to 24/7 teletherapy sessions with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches, Group Support Sessions, free audio and downloadable mental health resources, and so much more. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit http://www.mindnation.com to learn more about our services. 

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Featured

Raymund Sison: Nurturing Well-being And Creativity To Make Ideas That Matter

Advertising agencies can be fun and exciting places to work for, but the industry is also known for being highly fast -paced, extremely competitive, and its staff constantly under intense pressure to come up with great ideas on a regular basis. 


But Raymund Sison wanted a different kind of work culture. The Creative Chief of independent digital agency Propel Manila, together with other members of the company’s leadership team, constantly strives to create an organization that puts their people’s well-being over profit. 

And their efforts are paying off. Today, Propel Manila is not only a highly successful creative agency — it counts as its clients fast-food giant Jollibee and luxury brand Kiehl’s — it is locally and internationally recognized for its advocacy works such as Recreate Pride 2020, Complex Emojis (this one in partnership with MindNation; more on that later), Pride @ Tech, and Love Versus Hate.

“I believe creatives and communications professionals have a duty to offer our best and brightest ideas to help solve the world’s most pressing problems,” Raymund says. “We should use our creativity to create ideas that truly matter to the community.”

Keeping creative

“Creativity is not just about doing design or writing; you can be creative in every little thing you do at your office, even if you’re an accounting firm or an engineering company,” Raymund points out. “It’s about finding more innovative ways to do your accounting in the middle of the pandemic, or using digital means to make your engineering even more robust and secure.”

When team members are creative, they solve problems faster and easier than ever before, discover new ideas that will keep clients interested and engaged, and help businesses adapt, innovate, and thrive — — all necessary during these trying times when tried-and-tested business methods are no longer working.

If your team is struggling to be creative because of the pandemic, here are five tips from Raymund on how to get their brains fired up and thriving: 

1. Prioritize the team’s well-being. “When people are well, they do well; and when  they do well, the business does well,” he points out. “At Propel, we believe that the best kind of talent development is human development, so we created programs that will help our team grow professionally, mentally, and emotionally.”

To start, Propel has a Mind Matters Program, a mental health and well-being policy that includes free mental health cards and mental check-ups for staff, weekly talks and forums on mental health, and the designation of the last Wednesday of every month as Mind Day, a no-work day. 

Raymund also encourages his team to take a rest whenever they need it. “I always encourage my people to please tell me how I can help them be better, be creative, or be a better human being,” he says. “If they are stressed, then I will give them the time to breathe.”

2. Promote inclusivity. Safe spaces boost creativity because when a person feels safe, they can be more open about their thoughts and ideas. “Openness is the foundation of creative thinking,” Raymund points out. 

Propel does this by making sure their office is inclusive and respectful of everyone’s rights. “Our bathrooms at the office are gender neutral; we also have a Pride at Propel group in the office for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer employees,” he shares. “Recently, there were talks in our industry about harassment, so right away we made sure to reifnorce our anti-harassment and anti-discrimination polcies to make sure that we have a safe environment for everyone.

 3. Support diversity. Raymund is proud to say that half of Propel’s 70-plus team is female, while 19% are members of the LGBTQ+ community. “We like to keep our talents as diverse as possible because when you put them together and make them work on one goal, that is where brilliance happens,” he says.

4. Practice servant-leadership. “To quote from Simon Sinek, ‘Leadership is not being in charge, it’s taking care of those in our charge,’” Raymond declares. “My leadership style is very much a combination of a kuya (big bother) and barkada (friend); there’s a lot of care but I’ll also be the first one to call you out if needed. I believe that calling out is a way of showing care, because you are telling your team the truth on how they can be better.”

5. Walk the talk. Propel espouses purposiveness — how can the team use their creativity to help the community? “And because mental health is one of our main advocacies, we feel it’s important that we spread the word about the importance of well-being in the workplace and the community,” Raymund says. “This is where our partnership with MindNation comes in.”

Last July 2020, the two companies worked together to create the world’s first ever Complex Emojis, free social media stickers and gifs which users can post to communicate their hard-to-understand and complicated emotions. The ad for this was named a finalist in the 2021 Ad Stars, the world’s only international advertising festival which combines creativity with cutting-edge technology, and also in the  Asia Pacific Tambuli Awards, the creative show that celebrates creativity with positive world impact. 


In August of that same year, Propel Manila Culture Head Mau Valenzuela joined MindNation CEO Kana Takahasi and Head of Communications and Content Cat Trivino for a Mental Health Matters Livestream via Facebook, where they discussed mental health in the advertising industry, and how leaders can have better mental health care practices in the workplace. 


Lastly, to mark Pride Month last June 2021, Propel partnered with MindNation for the latter’s toolkit on supporting LGBTQ well-being at work, which is a guide for business leaders on how they can make their workplaces safe and inclusive for their queer employees.

“I want my team to continue to create more ideas that matter to the world,” Raymond says. “Creativity is such a superpower and I want to use it as a force for good, to make people better, to change behaviors, and make the world a little better than it was before. Right now is a pivotal time in our society. More than ever, we need to come up with insightful, innovative, and empathetic solutions that can help address humanity’s needs. For me, the pandemic is not an excuse to not have great ideas; there’s no better time to be creative than today.”

Are you passionate about workplace well-being? Partner with us to build a world where mental health is valued, accepted, and supported. Visit www.themindnation.com or email [email protected] to know more! 

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Featured

The Power Of Keeping Quiet: 4 Situations When It’s Best To Be Silent

There are many situations where speaking up and expressing our thoughts and feelings is the best thing we can do for ourselves and for others. However, there are also situations in which it’s better that we step back and just listen. 

Learning to identify these situations is valuable because it can make or break relationships and affect how conflicts are resolved. “There are times when speaking up will only make things worse,” agrees psychologist Riyan Portguez. “So always consider the context, mood, and environment before you say something.” 

“There are times when speaking up will only make things worse. So always consider the context, mood, and environment before you say anything.”

Riyan Portuguez, Psychologist

Riyan shares some situations when it’s best to keep your peace. 

  1. When you are physically unable to think clearly.

This happens when you are tired, drunk, or even hangry. “Couples always receive the advice that ‘You should never go to bed without fixing the problem,’ but I don’t agree with that statement all the time,” Riyan says. “This is because if you are tired, you will be more irritable, impatient, and have difficulty regulating your emotions. These increase the likelihood that you will say something that you will regret later.”

So rest, sleep on it, and discuss the conflict when you are in a better physical state.

  1. When you are feeling emotional. 

While there is anger that can and should be expressed right away regardless of the circumstances  — when you are being violated, for example — you should also be mindful of the times when you know that your rage will be uncontrollable and hurtful to others. “During these situations, it’s better to take a powerful pause,” Riyan advises. “Tell the other person that ‘I don’t think I can handle this situation well right now, I need some time off, we’ll discuss this when I’m in a better state of mind.’” This at least informs the other person that you are not brushing off their concerns and are still willing to resolve the conflict. 

Now, if the other person still demands a response from you, you need to put your foot down and stand your ground. “If they are being insistent, it only means that they are also experiencing heightened emotions; you cannot expect them to think clearly either,” Riyan explains. “So tell them firmly but politely that you do not want to engage with them when they are like that, that they also need to cool off if they want to have a productive conversation.”

  1. When you don’t know the whole story

If you are asked to weigh in on an issue that you are unfamiliar with, speculations on your part can do more harm than good if the issue is about something that will likely have a big impact on another person. For example, if someone is asking your opinion about which vaccine brand works best against COVID-19 but you are not a medical doctor, admit that your knowledge is limited instead of sharing rumors or unverified information. 

  1. When you are explicitly requested not to speak.

This can happen when someone needs to have a difficult conversation with you, or when they just need a listening ear as they unburden themselves. In such cases, resist the impulse to defend yourself or offer advice; instead just practice active listening. 

Being silent is not a sign of weakness; learning to control your reactions and identifying your battles takes maturity. “Before you say something, always go back to your intentions,” Riyan suggests. “Are you responding out of fear, insecurity, or hate? Or is it because of concern or love? Your answer will help determine when you should speak up and when you should stay quiet.”

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available for teletherapy sessions 24/7 if you want to improve your communication skills, manage your emotions, or improve your relationships with loved ones or co-workers. Book a session now at https://bit.ly/themindnatiochat

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Employee Wellness Work in the New Normal

3 Strategies To Boost Trust Between Your Remote Team Members

In the book “New Insights On Trust In Business-To-Business Relationships,” authors Sandra Simas Garca and James Barry state that when buyers and suppliers enjoy high levels of cognitive trust among themselves — that is, they are confident in the other person’s ability to do the job — it leads to better communication, easier conflict resolution, and more collaboration. 

The same benefits can extend to members of your remote team so as a leader, it’s important you ensure that everyone is working hand in hand to achieve company goals. “Trust is the only way teamwork can happen because if teammates don’t trust one another, there will be conflict and resentment,” advises Darlyn Ty-Nilo, President and Managing Director of Viviamo, Inc., a custom publishing and marketing company that creates various paper products for specific target markets. “Conflict will lead to lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and, finally, inattention to results.” 

“If someone in your junior’s family got hospitalized, for example, or if a peer’s home got flooded after heavy rains — these will affect their mental health and productivity. By knowing where they are coming from, you can make the necessary adjustments and support.”

Darlyn Ty-Nilo, Viviamo Inc. President

Darlyn shares three tips for building trust and boosting teamwork among team members:

  1. Create avenues for deliberate communication and work visibility.
    These are the first two principles of the “Visible Teamwork” framework created by podcast host, author, and career coach Pilar Orti. “It means creating structures where team members are continuously talking to and aligning with each other,” says Darlyn.  “When people are constantly updating each other about their work, it’s easier to find out who needs help or how ideas can be further refined.” 

In this time of remote working, this means making attendance to virtual check-ins and alignments mandatory. At Viviamo, Inc., for example, Monday mornings are sacred because this is when they hold their town hall meeting  — all of their 17 employees gather virtually and spend up to two hours aligning on priorities of the week and other matters. On top of these, departments are expected to hold their own regular meetings every week. 

It also means utilizing dashboards, collaboration tools, and chat groups to keep track of deliverables and project status in real time. “So if you see, for example, that the target was not met today, you can act on it right away and do better tomorrow, instead of waiting to act on it at the end of the month. By then, everyone is already stressed and anxious,” she points out.


2. Know your team member’s context and mood. Part of creating deliberate communication is making an effort to get to know your team members on a personal level. This is because an employee’s mood, emotion, and overall disposition can impact their job performance, decision making, creativity, turnover, teamwork, negotiations, and leadership. “If someone in your junior’s family got hospitalized, for example, or if a peer’s home got flooded after heavy rains — these will affect their mental health and productivity. By knowing where they are coming from, you can make the necessary adjustments and support,” Darlyn explains.

To encourage team members to open up, Darlyn has instituted a buddy system among Viviamo’s employees. Each group is composed of three to four members and they must follow one rule — no shop talk allowed. “They are just supposed to check-in on each other’s mental and emotional state,” she relates. Groupings are changed every quarter so that there is enough time for members to build relationships but also have opportunities to get to know others in the organization. 

3. Make time for planned spontaneity. This is the third and final piece of the Visible Teamwork framework. “Building trust cannot be all related to work,” suggests Darlyn. Virtual coffee hangouts, drinking sessions, and other virtual teambuilding activities increase trust  in the workplace because they allow  team members to relate better to their colleagues. Encourage everyone to participate in these bonding sessions, but don’t force attendance on those who beg off; instead, explore other options for establishing interpersonal relationships such as casual one-on-ones or more frequent chats with their buddies. 

Teamwork brings numerous benefits to companies. It fosters cooperation, broadens different perspectives and ideas which might end up bringing much better results, and increases productivity. 

MindNation conducts bi-annual Pulse Surveys so that managers can understand employee struggles, how they feel about the company, and flag possible sources of stress. Those who are struggling can avail of 24/7 teletherapy session with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches or participate in Group Sessions. For more information about our services, visit www.themindnation.com or email [email protected]

Categories
How To

5 Ways To Effectively Communicate With A Loved One

Do you have difficulty telling your partner you are frustrated at them? Do a friend’s annoying habits trigger you, but you choose to stay silent to keep the peace? 

This is where knowing the difference between constructive and destructive criticism comes in. 

“It’s important to relay feedback to a loved one even when it’s negative because we want to help our loved ones to become better versions of themselves,” says MindNation psychologist Jessa Mae Rojas. “Additionally, when we are able to go through difficult communications with our partners unscathed, the relationship becomes stronger.” 

This does not mean you have to call them out about every little annoyance; some things are better left unsaid. “As long as what you are saying helps the person improve and does not make them question their self-worth or self-confidence, then that is constructive criticism,” Jessa says. “Everything else is just nitpicking.” 

Ready to have the constructively critical conversation? Here are some do’s and don’ts for relaying feedback to your loved one:

“It’s important to relay feedback to a loved one even when it’s negative because we want to help our loved ones to become better versions of themselves.”

Jessa Mae Rojas, MindNation Psychologist

DO:

  1. Time it right. Don’t do it when they are tired after a long day, or if YOU are tired after a long day. And especially do not get into the conversation when you are angry because you might end up saying something destructive instead. If tempers are high, step out of the room for awhile, take deep breaths, or do activities to distract you until you calm down. 
  2. Focus on specific behaviors, not on your partner’s whole personality. Don’t just say, “You’re just no fun.” Get specific instead by saying, “I’ve noticed that you don’t seem to enjoy online parties with my friends. Can you tell me why so I can understand better?”
  1. Give your partner a chance to explain or offer feedback. You have had your chance to speak, now it’s to sit back and listen. Remember that you are having a dialogue, not a monologue. 

DON’T

  1. Diagnose your loved one. “I think you have mental health issues,” or “Wow, your childhood really messed with your brain” will only deviate the conversation  from the main issue. 
  2. Make “You” statements. If you say, “You are impossible to talk to and you just don’t listen,” your partner will justifiably feel defensive. “I sometimes find it difficult to talk with you,” is a much more positive way to broach the subject.

If despite your best efforts your criticism is received in a negative light, don’t fan the flames by responding angrily. Instead, seek to understand why your loved one is acting this way. “Have a heart to heart talk; ask them ‘How would you want me to talk to you about this next time? Would you rather I write it down or send you a text message first, instead of talking to you about it directly?’” Jessa suggests. “These can help pave the way for more productive conversations in the future.”

If you and your partner are having difficulty communicating with each other, MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available for teletherapy sessions 24/7 to help you build a stronger and lasting relationship. Message https://bit.ly/mindnationchat to book a session now! 

Categories
Featured

10 Takeaways From #LeadershipDuringCrisis: Tackling Mental Health During COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable

During Mental Health Awareness Month 2021, MindNation held its first ever virtual roundtable for business leaders to learn and discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected mental health and well-being in the workplace. 

“Traditionally, topics like substance abuse, anxiety, and depression used to be considered personal matters and not addressed in the workplace,” explains MindNation Chief Marketing Officer Cat Triviño. “But the lines are now blurred and we can longer deny the effects of mental health concerns on an organization’s bottomline and overall success.

Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo kicked off the event by delivering the Welcoming Remarks, sharing that “Building a better normal means constantly recognizing that no single area of human health is more important than another.”

In addition, data experts and mental health advocates Ajay Bangia of global market research firm Ipsos and MindNation Chief Insights Officer Piril Yagli discussed how creating a culture that values psychological safety affects a company’s growth and success during these trying times. 

Finally, top industry leaders Merlee Jayme, Global President of advertising agency Dentsu Mcgarrybowen, Mark Lyndsell, CEO for the Global English Region of business process outsourcing company Transcom Worldwide, and Kevin Williams, Country General Head of cloud solutions provider RingCentral, offered insights and new ideas on the implementation of mental health programs. 

Here are some of the key points shared by the speakers:

“We must open more spaces to talk about mental health, create avenues where people can share their struggles comfortably without feeling ashamed, and foster an environment of love, care, and support.”

Vice President Leni Robredo
  1. Mental health and well-being issues are a growing problem in the workplace.

When Filipino employees were asked to rate their mental wellness pre- and post-pandemic on a scale of 0 to 10 (where 0 is “depressed” and 10 is “feeling my best self”), they felt an 8 before the pandemic versus a declining 6.5 after the pandemic.
 

According to Ajay Bangia, the depression, stress, and anxiety felt by people are due to job insecurity, work pressure, and difficulty handling work-life balance. 

Additionally, people are feeling a high degree of isolation. “Loneliness is one of the key sources of mental health and well-being challenges during this pandemic,” Piril Yagli of MindNation says. 

  1. No one is exempt from mental health challenges, but some are more affected than others.

In the Philippines, employees who are 18-30 years old, working the night shift, and who indicated their gender as LGBTQ (or would prefer not to say) are the ones most likely to be struggling with COVID-related fears, financial pressures, personal matters, work performance pressures, and juggling work and family life. 

  1. Women with children are also facing greater amounts of stress levels.

Because of the pandemic, working mothers have to juggle being full-time mothers as well as breadwinners. “Their whole day turns into a roller coaster of work, then kids, then house chores, then preparing meals,” Piril shares. 

“Home used to be a place for rest, now it has merged into our work life,” Merlee Jayme of Dentsu Mcgarrybowen adds. “Work has eaten into all of our personal space.”

  1. All these mental health and well-being challenges significantly impact the company– to the tune of PHP7 million per year (for every 1,000 employees). 

This amount is lost due to:

  • Absenteeism. 13% of employees said they would take a sick leave due to mental health and well-being challenges
  • Presenteeism. 35% of employees revealed they are unproductive at work for up to two hours a day — equivalent to losing one day in a week or up to two months in a year. 
  • Talent loss. 5% of employees in a company stated that they would quit their jobs due to mental health and well-being challenges. 
  1. Unfortunately, not everyone is open about their struggles.

Only 10% of employees would tell their superiors that they are taking a sick leave due to mental health challenges. This is because there is still a stigma surrounding mental health especially in the workplace. Employees fear that talking about depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns will negatively affect how managers view them and their job performance.

  1. Three things that companies can do to address the mental health crisis in the workplace:
  • Create a Mental Health company policy. While the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment requires workplaces in the formal sector to implement Mental Health Workplace Policies and Programs, many companies still have not created such.
  • Stop the stigma by talking about mental health openly. “Leverage mid-level managers to talk with their teams, understand their challenges, and make them aware what help is available,” Piril suggests.
  • Lastly, partner with a mental health and well-being provider who cares. While many corporations do have Employee Assistance Programs, research has shown that the usage rate of these support systems are lower than 10% because most of them are not accessible 24/7 all year round. “It is important to partner with a mental healthcare provider that has psychologists and WellBeing Coaches who are available all day, everyday, so that employees can get help the moment they need it, rather than waiting until it is too late,” she adds.
  1. To create a workplace culture that values and supports mental health and well-being, managers need to be more empathetic and employee-centric. 
  • “Show empathy. Let your colleagues know you feel the same way they do, that you can talk about real things, not just revenues and client budgets,” Merlee suggests. 
  • “Mental health needs to be overcommunicated,” Kevin Williams of RingCentral shares. “When people come to you, ask the easy yet hard question, ‘How are you doing?’ ‘Are you happy?’”
  • “What we need today are leaders and organizations with a high degree of Emotional Intelligence,” Mark Lyndsell of Transcom Worldwide adds. “As a leader I’m willing to sacrifice IQ provided I have leaders who are grounded, transparent, authentic, and flexible.”
  1. Listen and understand the needs of the organization. 

47% of employees think they have too much work,” Piril shares. “So please make it a priority to talk to your teams, try to understand what they’re working on, is there anything that can be simplified, automated, or outsourced?”

  • “In our office, we have Wellness Wednesdays,” Merlee says. “These are no-meeting days that employees can use to catch up on work or just zone out.”
  • “At RingCentral, we have a quarterly company CaRING Day — adding a paid holiday and an extended weekend to every quarter to encourage our teams to disconnect from work and recharge,” Kevin adds
  • Employees of Transcom are encouraged to communicate openly with their leaders. “Every single day we poll our employees on how they are feeling; and if they are feeling down, to tell us why,” says Mark.
  1. It takes action and collaboration from all sectors to create happier and healthier spaces for all. 

“We must treat mental health as an important aspect of our healthcare agenda,” says Vice President Leni Robredo. “We must open more spaces to talk about mental health, create avenues where people can share their struggles comfortably without feeling ashamed, and foster an environment of love, care, and support.”

  1. There is no health without mental health. 

“The last 15 months of the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the mental health of organizations and many have been found wanting,” Mark adds. “I believe that there is so much more we can and should be doing, and as a leader it starts with me.”

According to Piril, the top 5 things that employees want to overcome their mental health and well-being challenges are psychologist services, WellBeing Coach consultations, training on mental health and well-being, fitness coaches, and sick leaves for mental health concerns. “For a mental health and well-being program in the workplace to be effective, the provider needs to listen to the voices of the employees, understand their challenges, and provide solutions specific to their needs,” she says. 

MindNation uses a data-based approach to create proactive, customized, holistic health programs for your employees. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Email [email protected] now!

Categories
Featured

7 Important Things Every Dad Should Teach His Kids

Fathers, like mothers, are pillars in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Studies have shown that when fathers are involved, affectionate, and supportive, it positively impacts a child’s overall sense of well-being and self confidence. 

We asked Filipino journalist and father-of-three TJ Manotoc to share some things that  he wants his children — and every child — to grow up knowing so that they become healthy and happy individuals:

“My kids always ask me what my definition of success is, and I tell them it’s not how much money I earn or what kind of car I’m able to buy — it’s to raise them to become happy and healthy human beings.”

TJ Manotoc, Journalist and father of three
  1. For his sons, to always respect women. “There’s so much misogyny and disrespect for women nowadays that I want my sons to know that such behavior is not cool or funny and can really be hurtful,” he shares. “I always tell them that before they say or do anything to another girl or woman, they should first think about their own sister and mother, and how they would feel if they were the recipient of such disrespectful words or actions.”
  2. To know how to cook, clean, and do the laundry. “If you enter the adult world knowing how to do household chores, you will have a much easier time being loved,” TJ laughs. “And if you really can’t do chores or have the time — at least be neat and clean when you are living with someone else!”
  3. For his daughter, to be brave. “I believe it’s especially important to encourage girls to speak up for what they believe in, to use their platform for good and not just for aesthetics,” he says.
  4. And to learn self-defense! “The world is a scary place, and she should be able to protect herself and not wait for a man to come to her rescue,” he points out.
  5. For all his children, regardless of gender — that it’s okay to feel your emotions. “This is a bigger issue for sons because their feelings are stifled a lot. We should do away with toxic statements like ‘Be a big boy’ or ‘Be a man’ and allow our little boys to be human beings,” he opines. “If something bothers them, hurts them, or physically pains them, they should know that it’s okay to cry.
  6. Financial literacy. This includes how to take care of money, how to budget, what to buy and when to buy them, or how to invest. “I wish these were things my parents taught me back then and I hope that more parents teach it now, because finances are really something that a lot of people struggle with when they get into adulthood,” he says.
  7. To go ahead and dream. “Don’t stifle your child’s dreams by saying ‘No, you have to be a doctor,’ or ‘No, you have to do this, not that,’”
    TJ expresses. “Doing this puts a boundary on their dreams and tells them that they cannot be who they were destined to be. So allow them to spread their wings and expose them to as many things as possible so that they can discover their meaning in the universe.”

He adds: “My kids always ask me what my definition of success is, and I tell them it’s not how much money I earn or what kind of car I’m able to buy — it’s to raise them to become happy and healthy human beings.”

For TJ, the best way fathers can cultivate healthy and loving relationships with their children is to create opportunities where they can bond and spend time together in a very natural and relaxed manner. “One thing I struggle with is when I see families sitting down at the dinner table and the kids are “supposed” to bond with the parents, they are “expected” to share what went on during their way even if they are tired or in a bad mood. Instead of forcing the kids, parents need to find ways to pique their child’s interest and open them up to conversation,” he suggests. “Everyone has different moods — when they feel chatty or when they just want to be alone — so my advice to parents is to give their kids the space and time they need to be themselves. Trust and respect are essential to a positive parent-child relationship.”

Want to build a healthier relationship with your child? Our WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions to help you improve your communications skills and become a more empathetic parent. Book a session now through FB Messenger http://m.me/themindnation or email [email protected]