We’re all in a hard place right now. COVID’s still around and affecting nearly everything. Many workplaces are experiencing heightened challenges—everything from worker shortages to supply challenges to just trying to keep up with all the changes.
If there was ever a time to look out for the mental wellness of everyone in the organization, it’s now. We’ve talked about Mental Wellness in the Workplace. We need to talk about it more—and do more.
I’ve come up with a revolutionary strategy for connecting in the workplace that can help improve everyone’s mental wellbeing… lunch and coffee breaks.
Lunch and Coffee Breaks
I know, it’s not actually revolutionary. But we need to create opportunities to talk with each other (outside of all the work duties), to eat and drink, and actually get to know the other people in our workplaces.
Typically, managers and administrators don’t take breaks in the same rooms that general employees do. Why not change that? Either ask your leaders to set aside some break times and lunchtimes to eat in the common areas or choose specific days where everyone’s encouraged to eat together.
Inclusive Activities Help New Hires
There’s a good chance you’ve had significant employee turnover recently. Or, your employees have all been distanced for so long because of COVID that you might not recognize them any more—and they might not recognize each other.
Eating together and taking coffee breaks together encourages conversation and introduces people from different departments to each other. I want to see your management doing the same thing. This sends a positive message to the entire organization.
The practice will also help new hires feel more welcome in the organization, learn who they’re working with and who their team leaders (and their bosses) are, and start to create the cohesive work environment that leads to better productivity and retention.
Ditch the Desk
If you’ve gotten into the habit of grabbing a quick sandwich to eat at your desk while you work, it’s time to do something different. Eating at your desk isn’t good for your body or your mental health. And it won’t help you create meaningful connections with others.
Get away from your desk. Eat where others eat. Try making eye contact with humans instead of looking at a screen. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but I’m confident you can make it a success!
We’re All in the Same Storm
We might not all be in the same boat, but we’re definitely all in the same storm right now. Everyone’s feeling hesitation and doubt. We’re all wondering what the future holds. We’re all concerned about the safety of our loved ones.
We need to connect with each other. Connecting makes surviving the storm possible. And that connection needs to start at the top, with managers/bosses/supervisors making the effort to sit down beside other employees, enjoy that sandwich, have a cup of coffee, and be helping through the struggle together.