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4 Ways to Stop Burning Out

In the world of Project Management, it can be easy to get caught up in deliverables and tasks. Goals become all-encompassing and you forget to look after yourself.

We all do it at some point or another. A good work-life balance can seem like a pipe dream for some. Luckily, we're beginning to recognise wellness as more of a necessity than a privilege. If you're not looking after yourself, your projects will struggle.

Reports suggest workplace stress can cost up to $300 million a year. No wonder a survey by The Global Wellness Institute showed 70-80% of US companies 'believe that wellness programs reduce absenteeism and increase productivity'. Tackling work stress is not just helping individual employees, but can make a real economic difference to your business. When workers are happy, they are more creative, productive and invested. Reducing work stress reduces the turnover of employees, saving you time and money on recruitment and training. Investment in your team now will reap endless benefits in the future.

We asked Sue Hutchings, a financial and wellness specialist, for her top tips for wellness in the workplace. Read below to find out how you can enrich your team and your business.

1. Encourage a Work-Life Balance

A culture that prizes productivity can make us feel terrible for ever switching off. Whether it's working lunches, overtime in the evening or unused holiday hours, many of us aren't taking the time to recharge and reset. Of course, sometimes a deadline is approaching and you're all working your hardest to deliver. However, this excess of productivity is even becoming desirable and rewarded in some businesses. In reality, it isn't a sustainable way to work. You'll eventually burn out and both you and your projects will pay the price.

To keep yourself working at your best, prioritise your work-life balance and encourage the same from your team. As a project manager, consider an 'email switch-off' policy at evenings and weekends. Especially when working from home and with technology putting our work at our fingertips, clear encouragement to take time to rejuvenate is a great step. Also, try to actively promote taking breaks and using holiday time. There can be a culture of shame surrounding taking time off that is actually damaging your business. It might seem illogical, but a refreshed team will help your business thrive. More time taken to recharge now means far fewer breaks needed for illness and stress later.

2. Train to Manage Mental-Health

Mental health is gaining more and more recognition in recent years, but there's still a long way to go in the workplace. Particularly after the lockdown, in which more than half of adults said their mental health worsened, it's important to pay attention to how you're feeling. Know that you can ask for time if you need it. Mental health

Managers should be given appropriate training and guidance to support those struggling. Ensure your employee isn’t overloaded, has realistic deadlines and clarity about their role. When listening to an online worker, much of their non-verbal communication - facial expressions, posture, body language - can be lost, so use video calling wherever possible. As a project manager, you're in a great position to help tackle shame and guilt around struggles with mental health.

3. Get Moving!

Suffering from back pain? It's no secret we aren't designed to be sat at office chairs looking at computers all day. Unfortunately, it's a reality for many of us that isn't likely to change anytime soon. So, what can you do?

A few simple exercises and regular movement can make all the difference. A great tip is not to schedule your Zoom calls to back-to-back, but leave yourself five minutes in between. Take the time to try some stretching and rotating movements. Get up, walk around or make yourself a hot drink. Five minutes to move your body and maintain the flexibility of your spine can really make a difference. As some of us return to the office part-time, consider walking meetings. They’ll take half the time, get your step count in and you’ll benefit from absorbing some vitamin D.

4. Assess the Ergonomics

According to HSE’s 2019/20 UK annual statistics, an estimated 480,000 workers are affected by workplace musculoskeletal problems, resulting in an estimated 8.9 million work days lost.

One way project managers can help is to arrange an ergonomic assessment of their employee’s workplace. As we all know, our working from home set up often isn’t ideal. Making sure you have the right working environment and posture is likely to improve productivity and morale.

A simple tip you can do for yourself is to tuck your elbow in close to your body when using your mouse. Allowing it to flare out is the equivalent of holding your arm out for hours on end and can cause shoulder and neck strain.

At Projects that Deliver, we understand the importance of keeping your team's spirits up and working well. Without investment in your team, you'll waste time and money trying to deliver struggling projects.

Recognising if this is a challenge in your team is the first step. We can help you review your ways of working and previous projects to make sure you and your team are at your best. If you think we could be for you, give us a call for a chat. We're excited to get your projects rolling.

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