A recent survey reported that 54% of workers experience high levels of stress in the workplace. That number has been steadily increasing in the past few years. These high levels of stress are impacting employees’ physical and mental well-being, while decreasing job satisfaction and quality of life. These findings are not surprising to the leaders of Corporate America who can see the negative effects of employee stress on organizations’ culture and profits.
A simple and innovative solution can help employees find work-life balance. Work-life balance helps employees remain engaged and productive, while increasing their professional and personal fulfillment. In turn, those employees contribute more to the success of their companies.
The process is known as the 7F’s. Each F represents one of the 7 key areas we all struggle to balance each day: Fitness, Finance, Family, Field, Faith, Friends and Fun. By understanding the 7F’s and training organizations, the process can help each employee identify the imbalances in their lives that increase workplace stress.
Encourage employees to write down goals that align with their vision of their best life. Help them identify action steps to achieve those goals. Research has found when people are actively engaged in this activity, they become more productive. This exercise results in a purpose driven life and a purpose driven workplace.
Imagine how employees will feel when they have a specific plan in each of the 7F’s:
Most of us want to experience better fitness, but may lack the knowledge or motivation to make it happen. More companies are recognizing that fitness programs can be an impactful component of the workplace. Helping employees write simple and attainable fitness goals that lead to small wins can build momentum toward achieving more energy and better overall health.
How training can help: Hold walking meetings to encourage activity. Host group fitness classes and encourage employees to teach or attend as students. During training sessions, include activities that require movement to support fitness and engage kinesthetic learners.
One of the greatest stressors workers face is finance. Most people lack a financial plan to manage expenses, eliminate debt and save for a secure retirement. Without a plan, financial freedom remains elusive. Companies need a sound financial plan to secure their futures and so do their employees.
How training can help: Offer online or in-person courses on personal finance or retirement planning. Work with human resources during onboarding to ensure effective instruction on finance and benefits packages.
Our families are the most important relationships we will ever have. With the third F, the focus is on building and developing deep and satisfying relationships with spouses, significant others, children and parents. A stable home life leads to a more stable and satisfying work life.
How training can help: Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to learn on the go. Provide mobile training options so that employees can train from home when necessary.
Our field is our professional endeavor. When employees feel that their work has a purpose, their motivation increases. Help employees find purpose in their jobs by challenging them to grow and acknowledging them for a job well done.
How training can help: Employees feel more connected to their jobs when they are given opportunities to develop their professional skills. Help employees build professional development plans, and match training opportunities to individual goals. Train managers in coaching skills so they can help their employees identify their contributions to their teams and their organization.
When they think of faith, most people think of religion. For some of us, that may be so. However, faith is also about finding a purpose in our life’s work or in something else that is bigger than ourselves. This important step grounds us when we face life’s inevitable challenges.
How training can help: Develop diversity training so that employees understand each other’s unique perspectives and encourage them to learn from one another. Offering meditation classes is a great way to help employees develop mindfulness, which also has a positive impact on their work.
In a world that is dominated by social media, we can find ourselves with many connections, but few friends. When we apply this F, the goal-setting process helps us identify the relationships that we need to nurture and the connections that we need to delete. Very few people take inventory of their relationships, but eliminating toxic relationships is important for success.
How training can help: Coaching, mentoring and peer-to-peer learning are effective ways to help employees develop relationships along with professional skills. Provide training for coaches and mentors so they understand their roles and perform them effectively.
For some, fun comes easy. For others, it needs to be planned. Neglecting to take time to relax and do things that bring us joy creates tremendous stress. To have a healthy and balanced life, fun is an essential ingredient.
How training can help: Use engaging training modalities like gamification to make learning fun. Encourage interaction and humor when appropriate.
Achieving our best life is truly a balancing act. Like a circus performer who spins plates, if we ignore any of the 7F’s, eventually they will all come crashing down. The 7F process allows employees to identify what plate is wobbling out of control and provides them with insight to help identify their dreams. Once those dreams are revealed, they can begin to map out a detailed plan that provides action steps based on a timeline to achieve their best life.
Implementing the 7F process improves employee well-being and personal joy, providing a boost to corporate culture and business results.