Culture First

Crafted by Culture Amp

Part 1

Start with today

Fig 1. One breath becomes another

Restoring health and wellbeing after disruptive events.

Many weeks ago, our world suddenly and fundamentally changed – but it’s becoming clear that it will be many, many more weeks before any sense of ‘normalcy’ is re-established. And with that, we’re all realizing that simply ‘soldiering on’ isn’t going to cut it – that ignoring bad habits, unmet needs and looming fears will end in disaster. Establishing and maintaining habits that calm our minds and restore wellbeing to our bodies will be difficult. But that’s okay. Because we don’t need to get there today. Today… we only need to start.

Podcast

Start here to calm your mind

Culture First podcast by Culture Amp

  • 01

    Episode 1: Wendy Suzuki

    What happens to our brain during a pandemic

    In this episode, we speak with Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at New York University, about how extreme stress affects our brains. We’ll explore simple techniques for calming anxiety, the difference between good and bad anxiety, and steps we can take to improve our physical and mental wellbeing.

  • 02

    Episode 2: Dr. Omar Dawood

    Navigating the unknown

    In this episode, Damon Klotz speaks with Dr. Omar Dawood, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Sales at Calm. Together they explore how to make space for vulnerability at work and tactics for navigating the unknown with resilience.

Culture First podcast by Culture Amp

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The long reads

Original content

01

Culture amp | 12 min read

A guide to holistic wellbeing during times of crisis

The impact of COVID-19 has proven to be rapid and far-reaching. Whether we’re affected directly by the virus, or indirectly by its implications, we’re all discovering that this new reality doesn’t respect the traditional boundaries of work and life.

During highly stressful times, our health and wellbeing often fall by the wayside. This has only been compounded by the intensity of this global crisis, which has kept many of us abruptly trapped at home, facing the full spectrum of solitude, distraction, and uncertainty. As a result, it’s more important now than ever to prioritize our wellbeing.

 

Research has proven the impact of wellbeing on productivity and morale at work, and in the face of a pandemic this becomes even more important. But it’s not just physical health that matters – because wellbeing goes beyond exercise and healthcare.

Companies have the power and the responsibility to support their workers with holistic wellbeing resources during these uncertain times. If you run an organization or manage a team, consider the following ways to help your team prioritize their physical, mental, caretaker, and financial health.

01Redefining Wellbeing

Wellbeing in times of crisis

During crisis, typical day-to-day stressors take on a new intensity. We’re more vulnerable than ever as we try to navigate overwhelming feelings of grief, distraction, confinement, loneliness, and sickness.

For those in our teams worrying about helping their children with online classes, delivering groceries to elderly relatives, job security, or simply adjusting to a new way of life, it can feel impossible to focus on work. Leaders who want to see their team members and their organizations come out on top will need to adjust expectations around productivity, availability, and work-life balance.

Wellbeing from home

The intensity of a worldwide pandemic is enough to hinder regular productivity, but being confined to the same space for an extended period of time has implications of its own. Quarantine disrupts the normal routine and forces us to adapt a living space into an all-purpose office, gym, and daycare.

In the confines of this limited environment, opportunities for working out, mindfulness, and social activities seem to disappear. However, it is more important than ever to prioritize health and wellbeing during crisis and organizations play an instrumental role in providing solutions to help mitigate employee grief and burnout.

02Wellbeing tips during COVID-19

From increased morale and productivity to decreased cost of turnover, absenteeism, and healthcare expenses, the benefits of wellbeing at work are proven. With budgets tighter than ever and a sudden switch to remote work, organizations need to find creative ways to listen to our team’s concerns and prioritize wellbeing initiatives. Consider the following ways to support your people:

Physical health

The stress from crisis can cause a variety of health and sleep problems, which easily compound in this time where going to the doctor means risking exposure to COVID-19. Confinement presents hurdles to regular activities, such as exercise and rest. Physical activity has a proven impact on wellbeing. Here are some options that will help encourage a less sedentary isolation lifestyle:

Highlight existing health benefits

Benefits plans are chocked full of resources that are often overlooked. From telehealth to employee assistance programs (EAP), your existing plan likely offers resources that people in your team are already looking for. Take time to revisit your plan and resurface helpful resources for employees.

Amplify individual interests

Encouraging employees to bring their passions to work is a great opportunity to both nourish these interests and support your entire workforce. Prompt your people to lead virtual group exercise classes, cooking tutorials, art sessions, or even simple knowledge sharing around unique skills.

Invest in fitness programs

If there’s a little budget to spare, it may be worth investing in fitness partnerships. Whether it’s company-sponsored digital yoga or a corporate membership with fitness providers, there are several affordable ways to provide your team with the tools to prioritize physical wellbeing.

Mental health

In times of crisis individuals are vulnerable to a range of emotional factors. Extreme situations can cause depression, anxiety, grief, and stress to bubble up until they overflow. Without the typical coping mechanisms available, it’s crucial to identify ways to deal with these intense emotions.

Train managers to support emotional wellbeing

Emotional intelligence is more important than ever during this time, and leaders who ignore the personal challenges of the individuals on their team take a significant, irresponsible risk. Provide training sessions to help managers improve their ability to support team members under stress.

Establish new work norms

This new way of work requires new norms. Facilitate new ways for peers to connect through daily check-ins or weekly lunch calls. Adjust expectations around “normal” workstyles and communication habits. Consider encouraging team members to remove work applications from their personal devices so they can better navigate work-life balance in a work-from-home environment.

Invest in mental health resources

Many mental health services offer corporate sponsorship packages. If there is budget available, this is an ideal time to offer virtual therapy or meditation application memberships. This investment demonstrates that your organization encourages your team to take time out of the day to recenter.

Dependent care

While many people are grappling with loneliness, others are tasked with full-time caretaking responsibilities. With everyone at home together, the barriers between caretaking and work have vanished. Caretakers now have to juggle responsibilities and find ways to split their time.

Encourage flexibility

Every single person is affected by this pandemic, and as a result empathy and humanity are more important than ever. The formalities of business are no longer sustainable in times of crisis. Encourage flexibility and respect the time your people need to take to support their families.

Provide information and resources

Create caretaker resource groups and share online resources for team members with dependents. Encourage them to block off times on their calendar when they need to be focused on their family and be understanding when they need to move things around.

Financial health

Every day brings news on the economic impact of the pandemic. Large companies face mass layoffs, small businesses are forced to close up shop, hourly workers are put on standby until further notice. The stress and fear of employment uncertainty can cause a ripple effect throughout all other areas of wellbeing when left unattended.

Provide financial resources

Make use of internal finance expertise, employee assistance programs, and online resources to help your people regain a sense of control and security during uncertain financial times.

Support remote work setup

With the new remote work measures, a little goes a long way. Budget permitting, consider offering a stipend for home office equipment. A new chair or second monitor could help increase productivity and reduce financial stress.

03You’re not alone

The effects of COVID-19 are industry agnostic. Regardless of company industry, size, or location, people in countless organizations are struggling to navigate these uncertain times and the emotional tsunami that comes with them.

Organizations will ultimately fail if they can’t support employee wellbeing during this crisis. But by supporting holistic health and wellbeing, we can take care of our people and see both short-term and long-term benefits to our productivity. It doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming, but everything counts as we navigate these times together.

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Resources

We’re all in this together – resources from our friends and partners

This is an unprecedented time. There are no business strategies or ‘hot tips for working from home’ that can change the fact that many of us are feeling anxious and overwhelmed. But we can – and have to – work through it together. These resources from our partners and friends will help us do just that.

Global grief: Moving through shock and overwhelm in a time of crisis

Thrive Global

We’re all going through unique experiences of overwhelm, grief, and shock. Identifying coping skills that are healthy and maintaining a growth mindset will benefit your mental health and the mental health of those around you.

“Adjustment to a major shock is never an easy process. However, knowing that we are transitioning from one stage of adjustment to the next allows us to anticipate the challenges and to prepare for what’s coming.”

Read the article →

How managers can support employee mental health remotely during Covid-19

Thrive Global

As a manager, it’s critical to maintain productivity and keep teams on track. It’s also imperative to keep mental and physical wellness top of mind. Consider these four best practices to support employee mental health during crisis.

“Even if you’re no longer sharing a physical workplace with your employees, managers are still in a good position to identify signs of distress.”

Read the article →

Seven ways to make your workplace more mentally healthy

Beyond Blue

Much of our lives are spent in the workplace – remote or otherwise. As a manager, leader, or individual you have a direct impact on the mental health and wellbeing of those around you. These seven actions can help you contribute to a more positive work environment

“Improving your understanding of mental health is always worthwhile”

Read the article →

Wellbeing activities to keep you energized throughout the day

Virgin Pulse

Your stress levels, physical activity, social life, and how much sleep you get all contribute to how you feel throughout the day. Try these simple activities to boost energy and improve your overall wellbeing.

“Increase your energy levels to improve your state of mind”

Get started →

Your 2020 daily ‘Calm’ calendar

Calm

More now than ever, it’s become important to check in with yourself and your team. Connecting on a regular basis will deepen your awareness of how everyone is feeling mentally and physically. Calm’s daily mindfulness calendar provides challenges that serve as tiny experiments to learn more about yourself and the world.

“Applying mindfulness in your everyday life can be easier than you think”

Download your calendar
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Toolkit

Working through crisis

There’s no playbook for periods of uncertainty – but we created this toolkit to help you work through it.

How we work

Maintaining wellbeing in challenging times

Introducing HOW WE WORK, a new conversation series exploring humanity and culture in the world of work. Throughout the conversation we spoke about managing dramatic changes to our environment through wellbeing. What are the best ways leaders can support their teams? How do meetings evolve and how can we be more mindful with our colleagues? The group discussed what a return to “normalcy” looks like and how we can stay calm through it all.

Dr. Emily Anhalt

CoFounder and Chief Clinical Officer, Coa

Kaleana Quibell

Wellbeing Director, Sequoia Consulting Group

Claire Clarke

Community Manager, Calm

A conversation series hosted by Culture Amp

Inside Culture Amp

How Culture Amp is #WorkingThroughIt

We chatted with Aubrey Blanche, Director of Equitable Design & Impact at Culture Amp, about how Culture First leaders can support employee wellbeing.

Aubrey Blanche photo

As we adjust to the rapidly changing world around us, a focus on wellbeing is more important than ever. As the traditional boundaries between work and personal life disappear, organizations need to create a space for their people to support each other through challenging times. Here are a few ways we’re thinking about holistic wellbeing at Culture Amp.

Create resources for navigating this new norm


Create a collection of resources for navigating this new world of work and that is easily accessible for all employees. At Culture Amp, we have one central page that includes resources for establishing a personal routine, holistic wellbeing, grief support, crisis support, and more.

Support flexible work


Often, the anxiety that comes with crisis means that people need to work at different times of day at different speeds. Managers should regularly check-in with their people to understand where they are and what capacity they have.

We’re asking people to do a lot to keep business open and running and we have to remember basic psychology – when people are stressed, they’re less capable of doing well. A little rest or asking a bit less of people will actually help them produce and perform at higher levels.

“As a leader, I have been really intentional in sharing my mental health journey over the last few months. I have a mental and physical disability, and it has been amazing to talk openly with my team. As a result, it has created a space for my peers and mentors to reach out and share their own challenges. I would encourage anyone who is struggling to be honest and vulnerable with your team to the extent you feel safe to do so.”

Aubrey Blanche

Director of Equitable Design & Impact at Culture Amp

Bring personal wellbeing practices to work


Mindfulness practices typically done outside of work can easily be adapted and integrated into your team. Whether it’s gratitude, stretching, intention setting, or check-ins, these can be a powerful way to support employee wellbeing.

As we navigate these uncertain times, we are sharing our experiences and learnings to support our community. Discover more on the Culture Amp blog.

Photo of Nicole Wolfe

Nicole Wolfe

ClassPass Head of Corporate Programs

Now more than ever, leaders can show they care by investing in tools that keep employees active, engaged and healthy. The needs of every employee will differ, so an optimal program should offer choice and flexibility, and empower employees to opt-in for benefits that cater to their goals.

ClassPass allows employees to choose from a range of activities such as high-intensity dance cardio classes, relaxing yoga sessions and free guided audio meditations. Give your employees the power to choose benefits that work with their schedules, and that they can utilize in a way they feel most comfortable.”

You’re not in this alone

Community

Increase your sense of belonging: for better wellbeing, connect with your Culture First Community

Check in to find out how other, like-minded people are taking a Culture First approach to working through it.

Find your people →

Part one

“The boundary between our work and personal lives has been removed, so it’s crucial to support holistic wellbeing.”

Wellbeing guide

Your guide to a successful employee wellbeing strategy

Culture Amp and Calm explore the importance of wellbeing at work, actionable tips, and best practices for building your employee wellbeing strategy.

Get your guide →

Working through crisis toolkit

A Culture Amp toolkit for more humanity at workThere’s no playbook for periods of uncertainty – but we created this toolkit to help you work through it.

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The journey starts here

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Next up: Part 2

The only way forward is through

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