Please don’t call me a life coach

No one should be coached on how to live their life

No one should be coached on how to live their life
I am not a life coach. I don’t want to be one, and I cannot be called one.
Why? Because no one needs a life coach. No one should be coached on how to live their life.
What do I do then? I am a mental trainer and coach. I give the world the right tools to live healthily and increase resiliency.
I help people find their values and their goals. I help them boost their self-esteem and let them understand why they should and how they should love themselves.
What does it take to live in balance?
This is what the world exactly needs now.
I believe that psychologists and psychiatrists are an essential part of life. When we need help while facing a psychological challenge or when we feel that we are going into a deep hole, we should consider meeting with a professional right away.
We need to be guided with the right tools to find our way and build resilience. Having the right tools prevent us from sinking into mental health diseases. This is how we could protect ourselves in the future.
By having the right tools, we are guided on what kind of food helps us live in a balance – not to be bloated, lose excess weight, and prevent any long-term diseases.
The right tools will also guide what movements keep the heart healthy and tone the muscles, such as: how to sit at your desk, how to destress, how to relax when you are in a meeting, how to manage your time, how to love yourself, how to have a new you, how to speak clearly and say your opinion, how to communicate, and how to be in a relationship again or how to keep it.

Your mind doesn’t register the word “not.” You will do the exact opposite when you say you do not want to.
Everything happens in your brain. You can control your whole life mentally. Mohamed Salah is the best football player worldwide now. In my opinion, he was raised in a poor society and didn’t have an open-minded culture around him. He didn’t have the best education, but he was talented and determined by himself in football and as a great professional. He is getting trained in football and mentally. Look at where he is now with a great level of charisma and stability. He is very grounded. If people want to succeed in life, they should look for life balance and that can only be achieved holistically with the right mindset first and then work on your nutrition and movement. The role of a mental coach is to help you achieve life balance. Mental training is exactly like sports. Your brain is like your muscles which could be trained and coached. When you train your mind well, you can coach it independently. You will know how to put your mindset should problems arise.
An example of mental training is using positive language to program your mind.
Positive language is fundamental. I train my clients not to say, “I don’t want to be xxx, but to say I would like to be yyy.” Or don’t say, “I want to lose weight.” Say, “I am planning to look amazing and good and feel comfortable with my body.” Don’t say, “I don’t want to be late,” Say “I will always come on time.” Your mind doesn’t register the word “not.” You will do the exact opposite when you say you do not want to.
 
For example, when you say you want to quit smoking, your brain will be thinking about smoking. If you say you do not want to get angry, your mind will become irate.
We need to be mindful of the words we use and say. Words are powerful, and they can make or break you. Challenges are usually a symptom to the real problem. By overcoming each challenge, you are closer to overcoming the real problem itself.
Talking with mental coaches and trainers allow you to use the right tools to overcome these challenges you are facing.
 

Are Companies Responsible For Their Employees’ Life-Balance?

Are Companies Responsible For Their Employees’ Life-Balance?

In a 2020 survey by Eurofound, 29% of women and 11% of men stated that it is hard for them to concentrate on their jobs because of family while 35% of women and 33% of men said that jobs prevent them from giving time to family. 

The survey also revealed that 36% of women and 28% of men are too tired after work to do household chores.

Probably the most surprising finding is that 38% of women and 29% of men still worry about work even when they’re not working. Overall, the survey revealed that a significant percentage of men and women with young children are experiencing work-life conflicts.

If these problems that concern stress management, time management and resilience building are not addressed, these could happen:

  1. Employees will experience burnout.
  2. Employees will be prone to chronic diseases.
  3. Employees will feel demotivated.

And these will lead to increase in absenteeism and presenteeism rates in organizations.

The Cost of Presenteeism

Presenteeism refers to situations when employees come to work but are unproductive due to many reasons, such as burnout, mental illness, demotivation, no chemistry with the team, conflicts, time management and stress.

Remember that the cost of presenteeism to businesses is almost 10 times higher than that of absenteeism.

Absent workers cost employers around US$150 billion per year, but those who came to work and were not fully productive cost US$1,500 billion per year in the US, based on the BLS data.

In the Middle East, based on the new GCC Insights, the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) found out that employees were unproductive for 57.5 days each year, and that’s equivalent to almost three working months.

This has led me to thinking: Are companies responsible for their employees’ life-balance?

We have reached out to experts across different sectors worldwide and asked them two questions:

1)  Do companies have a role in developing the life-balance of their employees?; and

2)  What can companies do to help their employees achieve life-balance?

Flexible working hours, remote work, understanding employees’ individual needs, and allowing time for family and recreational activities are the common recommendations mentioned by our respondents in support of life-balance.

Do companies have a role in developing the life-balance of their employees?

All of the HR experts that we reached out to believe that companies have a role in developing their employees’ life-balance.

Here are some of the highlights in the points and recommendations shared by the HR Experts when asked how companies could help their employees achieve life-balance:

  1. Providing flexible work options.
  2. Supporting the wellbeing of employees.
  3. Having guidelines and principles on how a healthy life-balance should look like.
  4. Nominating life-balance partners to promote life-balance within the company.
  5. Creating flexible policies that help achieve life balance, such as flexible working hours, remote working, self sick leave, advanced salary, and entertainment discount extended to friends and family.
  6. Facilitating awareness sessions on how employees could be productive at work while maintaining their personal lives.
  7. Enforcing the culture that helps segregate work time from off-work time.
  8. Encouraging efficient work, not more work. Offering flexible and remote working, giving time to volunteer, and giving access to exercise.
  9. Not asking employees to sacrifice their personal lives for the sake of their job security or prioritize their livelihood over their family.
  10. Finding a good way to address the individual needs of employees by taking into account the different life phases of employees. For example, young parents have different challenges than employees without children.
  11. Ensuring that employees are given the right tools to perform their roles to the best of their ability. This may be in the form of flexible hours, flexibility for working parents, remote work options and setting realistic expectations with clients.
  12. Building a workplace culture that is motivating and energizing and purpose driven to instill a sense of self-confidence and self-esteem among employees.
  13. Providing life insurance, along with health insurance. Promoting team-building activities and awareness campaigns; holding team meetings outside the office without discussing work.
  14. Setting a course of action to change the organization from within. It should be approached holistically and incorporated at every level of the organization. Train employees, provide them with the right tools and initiatives; and empower them to encourage change in behaviour and attitude.
  15. Making mental, emotional, and physical wellness a priority and not an add-on. Making vacations mandatory on an annual basis to make sure everyone gets their switch-off time.

Here’s our interview with 15 HR experts:

What can companies do to help their employees achieve life-balance?​

Focus on productivity and not hours; flexible working, Working remotely; lead by example. — Alexandra Richardt, Global Head of Human Resources, United Initiators GmbH

Education, flexible working, well being support, active promotion of work-life balance — Rachid ‘Ben’ Bengougam, Senior VP HR EMEA, Hilton

Be role models and have guidelines and principles on how a healthy life-balance should look like and most important of all walk the talk. — Tim Shahriar Tabrizi, Serial Entrepreneur, Supply Chain Expert, Former CPO of WSA

First of all, companies should have a willingness for WLB or LB as a LB partner of each employee and should not act like Police State. Exactly like Business Partnering, each company must nominate staff as Life Balance Partners who will propagate LB. — Uday Dongare, Head HR Administration, L&T

Being an expatriate and managing over 50 nationalities in one property is not easy to ensure the Talent is welcome and feeling home.

One thing always stands up to is how to let the talent balance their life. Having fun in the workplace, building relationships among the talent, and create flexible policies are also helping to achieve life balance. For instance, flexible working hours, remote working, self sick leave, advanced salary, and entertainment discount extended to friends and family. — Kheder Osman, Assistant Director of Human Resources at W Abu Dhabi Yas Island

Encourage the flexible working hours, compress working days and long weekends, telework invite family members to workplace, awareness sessions on how to be productive at work while maintaining your personal life. I used to say: prior 2020, we take the pending work from the office to home; after 2020, we take pending work from home to office. — Mahmoud Alabdali, Head of Human Resources, MyClinic

Mainly two things, first, create a company of experience that aims to enjoying life beside work, as in employee welfare programs, second & most importantly is to enforce the culture segregating work time from off work time, i.e. weekend is for rest, week days for work, annual leave is for rest, work days for work, etc. — Hussein El Ashmawi, Group HR Director, Alameda Healthcare Group

Offer flexible and remote working, give time to volunteer, give access to exercise.

Don’t push seniors to retire in order to finally pursue their dreams. By letting seniors work remotely, they can move to their ideal location, travel, and spend more time with their families – while still contributing to your organization’s success.

Encourage Efficient Work – Not More Work, In addition to performance concerns, working long hours has proven to be damaging to employee morale – The Mental Health Foundation reports that when working long hours, 27% of employees feel depressed, 34% feel anxious and 58% feel irritable. — Kamesh Chaganti, Vice President – Human Resources, Zee Entertainment Middle East

In a world where someone’s time is almost equally divided between home and workplace, companies can and must play a vital role in helping their employees achieve a life-balance.

This can be done by first and foremost creating a workplace atmosphere that reflects real life. A place where employees are people who have an actual life happening outside the walls of the office in which emergencies might come up or situations may arise which the employee needs not to apologize or feel bad for.

 

Staff shouldn’t be made to feel guilty because they had a personal issue which needed them to be away from their working desks for a certain amount of time.

Maral Baboyan

Second, being in a working environment which doesn’t abuse the employee mentally and emotionally is vital in helping employees lead a balanced life; one in which the person doesn’t go home drained to the point where they are unable to live out their personal lives.

In a nutshell, companies should learn not to ask a person to sacrifice their personal lives for the sake of their job security or prioritize their livelihood over their family. Always keep in mind that when a person is given the flexibility and freedom to comfortably balance out their professional and personal lives is one that will achieve more on all fronts. — Maral Baboyan, Head of HR, Key of Education International School – Qatar

In my point of view, the main task for companies to ensure the life-balance of their employees is to find a good way to address the individual needs of employees.

Taken into account the different life phases of employees, it quickly becomes clear that young parents, for example, have different challenges than employees without children.

The generation models also show that companies must respond flexibly to the different demands and expectations of employees in order to be and remain attractive.

Whereas work typically comes first for baby boomers, the situation is very different for the following generations X and Y. Here, self-fulfillment, purpose and independence are high on the list of priorities regarding working life. Of course, exceptions confirm the rule here as elsewhere.

These different expectations are increasingly coming into conflict as Gen Y is widely entering the labour market. This often leads to conflicts between employees and managers, but also within teams. Not everyone involved always has the necessary understanding for the other´s needs.

 

Here, as a company, it is important to create appropriate framework conditions so that all employees can relate and conflicts can be avoided.

Christine Fink

 

Especially in the more conservative industries, I believe this will be a major challenge for companies in terms of leadership, teamwork and flexibility. Working time regulations, shift models and infrastructures need to be re-thought in order to respond more agilely and flexibly to the needs of employees and at the same time ensure the effectiveness and profitability of the company. — Christine Fink, Head of Human Resources Europe & South America, GF Machining Solutions

With work schedules getting busier than ever before and clients becoming more demanding, the pressure on employees to perform above and beyond expectations is huge.

There is an immense responsibility on forward thinking organisations to ensure a healthy life-balance for all of their employees. Studies have shown that balanced employees are inclined to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, perform better, which inevitably will increase company productivity.

 

Productivity comes in different forms, and each employee performs more efficiently under different conditions. Employers have a duty to their employees to ensure they are giving them the right tools to perform their roles to the best of their ability.

Reem Osman

This may be in the form of flexible hours, flexibility for working parents, remote work options and setting realistic expectations with clients.

Understand who your employees are, what makes them tick, what gets them up in the morning (and no, it isn’t their job), use these motivators, to incorporate their priorities into their work life, and you will see happier employees who feel appreciated, included and understood. — Reem Osman, Chief People Officer, Nybl

A typical employee spends between 33% to 50% of any given day at work. It is important that workplace Culture is motivating and energizing and purpose driven. This will instill a sense of self confidence and self esteem among employees that spills over on everything else in an employee’s life.

 

Companies that invest in authentic, high performing, high bar leaders and front line managers have remarkably high performing and happier members.

Sanuj Krishnan

Happier team members are more energetic outside of work and are able to bring harmony between work and life. Companies these days go the extra-mile in offering tailor made benefits (un-limited leaves, family days, sabbaticals, flexible work arrangements) to meet employee lifestyle needs as well. — Sanuj Krishnan, Global Head of HR, Swvl

Although life balance is key, yet at times it may differ person to person. Some enjoy more professional drive while some enjoy outside work environment. Managers need to be supportive towards their employees/team members and encourage humility.

Step in with empathy to understand how focus are they. Employee/s with personal issues in their back pack reduces productivity and a proactive approach helps mitigate.

Managers with regular team meetings help ease to open translucent doors between the manager and the employee which will help in assessing the efficiency as well.

 

Managers need to set a good example by focussing on the assigning per priority instead of quantity and deadlines over weekends. In addition, employee wellbeing, health and safety plays a vital role.

Sthabirjit Chaliha,

Along with health insurance, if companies can also promote life insurance for their employees, adds a value that stays with a positive vibe and spreads outside the work. Another example is paternity leave for fathers that helps spending quality time with their families.

In addition, team building activities, regular awareness campaigns like breast cancer awareness, etc. works wonders. Holding team meeting outside office, without discussing work for a day helps reducing the gap and an opportunity for managers to earn respect and trust from team members.

With the COVID 19 pandemic, companies have adopted technologies that help employees to work from home and have proved that productivity has in fact increased. Companies should start thinking about flexible working hours with set of deliverables so that companies can keep up with their set goals without compromising on productivity. — Sthabirjit Chaliha, Head- Human Resources, Al Najah

A straightforward Google search will tell you that employees spend an average of 90,000 hours over a lifetime, equating to one-third of their life at work. On the flip side, Payscale.com says that people spend an average of 328 days with their friends throughout a lifetime.

By virtue of these statistics, it is safe to say that companies can play a significant role in an employee achieving a life equilibrium. From a bottom-line perspective, there are numerous advantages from adopting this philosophy, such as increased productivity, reduced sickness and absenteeism, and greater talent retention. So the business justification is sorted.

Elrona DSouza

Companies can set a course of action to change their organisation from within. It should be approached holistically and incorporated at every level of the organisation. For starters it is important to listen to their employees, understand their needs, and incorporate them into the plan for starters.

Such initiatives should also be substantiated with data collected through exit interviews, engagement surveys, productivity reports etc. A great way to launch this change is to start from the top i.e. C-suite as role models. It can be strengthened by the line managers who advocate these principles as they are front line people managers who will bring out the best results.

They need to be trained, provided the right tools and initiatives and empowered to encourage change in behaviour and attitude. The training should focus on change in attitude and behaviour from penalising their teams for prioritising life balance to normalizing it.

The change may be gradual and needs to be monitored with the right measure of behaviour changes, perhaps through employee questionnaires and life balance surveys. The support and change in how an organisation values employees and their contribution can only be achieved if they make it mainstream and all pervasive in their decisions, policies, systems and work processes. A few events and generous leave policies will do little to change the current life imbalances. Employees should be encouraged to take them and not have to worry about the consequences. — Elrona DSouza, Managing Partner at S&K Consulting

“You can’t do a good job, if your job is all you do!” Ali Khursheed Ahmad
In my opinion, the responsibility for ensuring a healthy work-life balance for people in the organization is shared equally between the employer and the employee. The employees have to take responsibility to change their attitudes to work and home life and at the same time, companies can help their staff to find and maintain a work balance that works. My mother used to say, there’s a place and time for everything. Now when I think of it, it’s so very applicable to the world of work. We all will readily agree that boundaries are good in our personal lives. There’s no reason why we can’t and shouldn’t have boundaries in our professional lives too. A world where we work when we work. And we can have our 100% self in our personal lives when we’re not working. There shouldn’t be any guilt about an employee who wants to give due priority to his family or personal commitments too. The best kind of companies actually encourage and even force employees to have a healthy work-life balance. All progressive organizations must start by fostering high-trust work environments and setting boundaries around work. Starting with the leadership teams, work-life balance must be practiced from the top and all the way below. Everyone deserves to be their 100% at work and when not at work they deserve to be their 100% in their personal lives too. Flexibility around duty timings, week offs, and place of work should be the next area of focus. Getting the work done is important, but there can mostly be a lot of pivoting space as to where, what exact hours or days should that work happen. It is also very much acceptable to experiment with customized ideas for each unique work environment to try out what works and what doesn’t. People who still feel compelled to stay late for work everyday must be restricted to work beyond an acceptable hour. Vacations must be made mandatory on an annual basis to make sure everyone gets their switch-off time. A healthy common-zone where personal meets professional is another good practice where employees feel comfortable sharing their work updates with family and the office is welcoming in specially curated family days at the office. Mental, emotional, and physical wellness is a priority and not an add-on. The sooner companies start realizing that, a lot more work would be delivered while keeping both productivity and personal satisfaction at their respective peaks. Once we have figured out whether we live to work or work to live, we would all be a lot closer to achieving the kind of work-life balance that we all deserve! — Ali Khursheed Ahmad, Group Head – Performance, Training & Talent at FHG Middle East

Achieving Life-Balance for Your Organization

By having a better understanding of your organization’s current situation as well as the struggles your employees face during this time of crisis, you’ll be able to come up with better ways to address their concerns and help them achieve a life-balance. Step up and enforce a culture that encourages listening and supporting employees especially during such a difficult and challenging time.

I advise each organization to work as of today – and not tomorrow- on a wellbeing plan for their employees.

It should be a long-term plan with quick short-term measures. It’s not about one course or webinar, it’s about strategy and milestones, which could be measured to see also the huge ROI on the money you are putting into this.

There are so many organizations which will help you not only to apply this and not only to calculate your ROI, but also help you with calculating your absenteeism and presenteeism rate and have a complete strategy and plan for your employees. Learn more about how U-Grow can help.

Why Resilience, Not Positive Thinking, Is The Key To Your Success

Why Resilience, Not Positive Thinking, Is The Key To Your Success

Resilience is the ability to recover from tough situations and difficulties. The strength that allows you to cope with hardship in a healthy way. The capability to spring back into action mode once faced with disparity.

Positive thinking can harm you, too. When I started my career, I was convinced that positive thinking was the key to success.

I used to travel 90% of the time, and I used to tell myself: Yes I can do it. I used to say yes to all tasks given to me, and I used to tell myself: Yes I can do them all. I used to accept 10 meetings a day, and I used to tell myself: Yes, why not? I am as tough as stone. Quite the multitasker oh yes, I used to be that man.

Being a positive thinker has allowed me to reach far and it has gotten me to where I am now. However, I found out that it could also bring me harm in the long run. I realized that there is such a thing as too much positivity – we also need realism.

 

Too much positivity can become toxic; it can create unrealistic expectations and take a toll on your health.

KORAYEM RAZIK

How did I come to this conclusion?

After a while I saw myself getting stressed easily, panicked, not sleeping well at night and I started to feel tired. I went over my limits. I let my body & soul do things which my heart, feelings and energy didn’t agree with.

As I started to understand and learn more about leadership and mental training, I learnt a word that changed my life: Resilience.

Resilience is the ability to recover from tough situations and difficulties. The strength that allows you to cope with hardship in a healthy way. The capability to spring back into action mode once faced with disparity.

The ability to say ‘no’ to 10 meetings and do it in three days instead of one.

The ability to make you travel less and save your energy for a longer career and happier work-life balance.

The ability to know what you can and what you can’t do.

The ability to understand that multitasking isn’t always productive and it can harm your long term career.

The ability to have self-confidence, being able to believe in yourself, not always feel pressure and that you don’t need to say yes all the time.

Possessing resilience does not remove stress or the difficulties of life

This year has been filled with illness, financial difficulties, anxiety and grief. How does one cope with such difficulties?

It is very easy to become overwhelmed and dwell in our problems creating unhealthy coping mechanisms. Are you thinking how great and easy would it be if only I was resilient?

 

Resilience is more than just coping. It’s about learning from experience, being optimistic and learning that it is okay to ask for help when needed.

KORAYEM RAZIK

Possessing resilience does not erase stress or the difficulties of life. People who have this quality simply have a very different outlook in life. They understand that life is not perfect and that it is filled with hurdles that must be overcome. These hurdles can be lessons and make them stronger if they wish.

Resilient people are able to look at negative situations realistically but in a way that they don’t brood over such situations.

Fortunately, resilience is something that you can build in yourself

I strongly believe that with the right guidance and support, resilience can bloom within people facing adversities and employees going through stress.

Resilience can take some time to build so don’t feel discouraged if you struggle with difficult situations. In each of us there is strength and courage we did not know we had.

What are your thoughts about resilience and positive thinking?

Presenteeism Costs 10x More Than Absenteeism

Presenteeism Costs 10x More Than Absenteeism. How Can Leaders Tackle This?

Absent workers cost employers around US$150 billion per year, but those who came to work and were not fully productive cost US$1,500 billion per year in the US, based on the BLS data. Why is this so? And how can leaders address this?

We all had tough times in 2020 here in Europe. 

We’ve had challenges at work, in our relationships, in our businesses — name it, we’ve been through all of these. And the challenges continue as the world and the circumstances have changed since the global pandemic started last year.

Here in Europe, even just surviving this dark, cold weather, grey skies, no sun — with three lockdowns at home — has been challenging for some. Imagine not having the usual Christmas markets, no gyms, no indoor pools. All of these “disruptions” to the lifestyles we have been used to for years have led to increased depression.

Personally, my mental coaching bookings in the last six months, within three lockdowns, increased by 150%.

During my coaching sessions, I talked to many employees facing problems with resilience; some were depressed and anxious. And their issues vary:
  • Some experience fears of losing their jobs.
  • Some already lost their jobs.
  • Others had problems dealing with stress. 
  • A few had sleep problems.

Because of my exposure to various mental, emotional and psychological issues that people are facing due to the global pandemic, I can’t help but ask myself every night: Who is actually responsible for this? 

Research studies support the observations I had: 

  •  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 50% of people in Europe have a risk of getting into a depression. 
  • The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions or Eurofound has found out in their study that nearly 25% of employees are not resilient enoughto weather the challenges they face

So, again, the question is, who is actually responsible for these alarming stats?

Is it the employee’s history or resilience? 

Is it the employer?  

Is it the direct manager and the circumstances in the workplace?  

Who should support the people to have a healthy and a resilient life knowing that this actually has an impact on their work performance, and hence to the success of the business? 

While thinking about it, I remembered my talks and experiences in the last 20 years and it looks like that:

  1. Managers always look at the costs that are caused by absent employees.
  2. Leaders focus on what is called ‘absenteeism’ and ‘presenteeism’.

Absent Employees vs Absenteeism: What’s the Difference?

Let me clarify first the difference between ‘absent’ and ‘absenteeism’

Absent: When an employee doesn’t come to work — usually because of sickness or family concerns — due to an important reason.

The reasonable causes for short absences include vacation or occasional illness, as well as obligatory responsibilities like jury duty.

Absenteeism: Absence from work for a period of time beyond the acceptable limit.

Frequent causes of absenteeism include burnout, harassment, mental illness, and the need to take care of sick parents and children.

Back when I was a manager, I wasn’t fully concerned about the difference between being absent and absenteeism. Because the cost of being absent is very easy to know, which is: it’s the cost of: Number of Days Absent / Number of Available Days

But when I read more about leadership and studied mental coaching and resilience to better understand the needs of people, I started to become more aware of the impact of presenteeism and absenteeism rates. 

I also began to dig deeper and deeper, and at the same time I started to get closer to my team and understand them more and more.  

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2018 US annual average absence rate was 2.9%. For the private sector, the rate was 2.8%, while for the public sector the rate is 3.3%. The last number which was measured from the Eurofound In Europe, the average rates are between 3% and 6%.  

But what is the acceptable rate for absenteeism?

Usually, 1.5% is a very good rate for absenteeism. A higher rate can indicate an issue. The important part here is that employers should always have a look at the rate and think about what to do and in which areas employees have absenteeism rates of above 1.5%.

Presenteeism Is Nearly 10x More Expensive Than Absenteeism

From my point of view, absenteeism is not the best indicator of whether or not companies are on the right track. 

For instance, in the Middle East, as per the new GCC Insights, the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) found out that on average, an employee doesn’t go to work only four days per year  — this is somehow a good percentage.

But as per the same report, presenteeism was 57.5 days each – almost three working months!

Unlike absenteeism, presenteeism refers to situations when employees come to work but are unproductive on the job due to many reasons, including burnout, harassment, mental illness, demotivation, no chemistry with the team, conflicts, time management and stress. It could also be because of chronic diseases, which are caused by stress. 

The High Cost of Presenteeism

 

The cost of presenteeism to businesses is almost 10 times higher than that of absenteeism.

Absent workers cost employers around US$150 billion per year, but those who came to work and were not fully productive cost US$1,500 billion per year in the US, based on the BLS data.

Why is this so?

The reason is simple: Employees who are unproductive, demotivated, burned out, not resilient, feeling harassed or mobbed or not being treated fairly at work, could make a lot of big mistakes that are much worse than not being there.

Presenteeism causes companies to lose deals or clients, or have team conflicts and negative vibes in the whole department and across teams. I saw many of these instances during my 20 years of corporate work.

What Can We Do About Presenteeism?

There are few proven ways to measure presenteeism. But one surefire way to decrease presenteeism rates is having in place the right leadership.

If there is real leadership in a company…
  • They will dig in and find the reasons for absenteeism and presenteeism through a voluntary, anonymous survey among employees — which is actually the best and the only way to analyse presenteeism.
  • They will understand how presenteeism affects the company, the employee, the costs and the turnover.
  • They will know that life-balance is the key to a perfect result at the end of the year.
  • They will know how to put the right employee life-balancing program that empowers their employees, as well as teaches them to be resilient, eat healthy, take care of their health and body and family — in order for employees to be grounded enough and be able to give all they need to perform well at work.
  • They will understand that a life-balance concept starts from the management board.
  • They will understand that their balance at the end of the year could be highly affected by presenteeism and a lot of actions should be applied every year with a great monitoring system to control this issue.

A real leader will explore flexible schedules and remote work. The return-to-work interview routine is also the role of the leader. Improving the employee and workplace well-being and providing balance and rewards and recognition are essential.

How U-livewell Can Help

A study showed that some brands that were considered the best in the market had gone totally out of the market in a few days due to a very high presenteeism rate among employees.

The main reason behind this high presenteeism rate was the demotivation of the employees — seeing how the competition had much better and more modern technologies than their own; and seeing the gap get bigger between the company and the competition and at the same time between the management board and the employees.

It didn’t happen in one year but in a period of around 4-5 years wherein the management board ignored digging in to understand the reason for presenteeism. If they did, they could have saved the company. 

If they have engaged the employees more and shown them the love as well as how they should talk freely about their feelings and motivations with people, then they could have gone out of that deep hole they went into.

Leaders Must Help Their Employees Become Healthier and More Resilient

Employers need to understand that helping employees establish a life-balance is a process that requires a long-term plan supported by company policies. Employees need their leaders’ support in taking more deliberate acts toward maintaining their health and building resilience. 

We are very happy that in recent weeks, a lot of companies have discussed with us our holistic Life-Balancing live online program — U-livewell — as well as other programs in the market.

This means that companies have started to become more aware of the huge cost of not taking care of their employees and the huge positive impact of helping employees become more resilient through life-balancing programs.

Learn more about how our life-balancing program, U-livewell, can help you empower your employees to become healthy and resilient. 

CONTACT US: Support-Hotline: +43 664 2636997

Goodbye, Work-Life Balance

Goodbye, Work-Life Balance

The world has changed. Our lives have changed, our lifestyle has changed, our friends changed, and the way we look at things has changed. Do you still see work-life balance as a right expression? Do you still see work on one side and life on the other side? Do you see work integrated in your life or do you see it separately?
Q: Work-life balance or life-balance? And what do you think is the connection between life-balance and resilience?

We have had many talks about work-life balance with many HR experts, authors and experts in recent weeks. And based on our conversations, the answer was, yes — now people see it differently.

Here are their insights:

#1: Walter Zinggl

Walter Zinggl: I’m a big fan of life-balance because, basically, I started my professional living in an advertising agency and I always was convinced, and to some extent, I’m still convinced, when you work in a service business, you need to have a certain attitude for that. And that attitude best can be described that working 9-5 may work in a factory, but not in a service-oriented business or in a service business and definitely not in an advertising agency business.

 

I was convinced that I had to make my professional life part of my total life because there was no clear border. Walter Zinggl

What I always was convinced of, I was convinced that I had to make my professional life part of my total life. Because there was no clear border. If you have a client calling you at 7:30 in the morning, you can’t deny the call and tell him to call again at 9.

From my point of view, when you like the profession or when you have chosen that profession because it triggers something within your own personality, then that is nothing where you can say 9-5 and then stop it and then I’m a different person. 

#2: Dirk Stoltenberg

Dirk Stoltenberg: Definitely not work-life balance. You know that sounds as if there would be one thing against the other. So that’s not a competition. Life-balance comes closer to what I think, I mean, I like to talk about personal living style. I like to talk about personal fit.

 

Whatever you do should be in balance. Too much sport is as bad as too much work. Dirk Stoltenberg

This is what talks about you as a human being and whatever you do should be in balance. Too much sport is as bad as too much work. The only thing that I never heard you do too much of is love. Other than that, everything should be balanced.

#3: Vera Märk

Vera Märk: Life balance. Because for me if I look at balance, normally balance, right and wrong, good and bad but if you say work-life balance it sounds like you’re balancing something bad like work or something good life. Which is not how it should be. Both should be good. Both should be fulfilling.

#4: Bettina Sander

Bettina Sander: Definitely life-balance. Work is an important part of our life so it’s a life-balance. We spend so many time at work, it’s part of our life. I believe that work is an important part of our life and our work should help us in looking out for potential and should even define who we are as a person in the work environment.

 

Our highest resilience comes from understanding our own personal mission in life and finding meaning when we align our personal mission with the work we do. – BETTINA SANDER

Our highest resilience comes from understanding our own personal mission in life and finding meaning when we align our personal mission with the work we do. I think this is a combination. So if we have a balance in life, it will also influence our resilience in the workplace, this is my strong belief.

#5: Michael Bub

Michael Bub: I don’t like work-life balance because what work-life balance means is that you do not live when you work. And this is, from my perspective, a great mistake because you have to enjoy your work and then it’s part of your life and not to say, okay, I only live after work or before. 

 

I don’t like work-life balance because what work-life balance means is that you do not live when you work. And this is, from my perspective, a great mistake. Michael Bub

Life balance starts with where do you take your energy? So that means, do you take your energy from work or from your private life in terms of is it your family that you take your energy for at work? Or is it your sport, your hobby that you take your energy for at work? Right? 

Or is it — some people are taking their energy for life from work. So therefore, yes, there is a connection between life-balance and work. 

#6: Liliane Kuert

Liliane Kuert: Resilience is a very important, crucial part of a human’s life in order to have a good life balance. So, life balance in my point of view, is a very good blend of work, private life and family, leisure time. Whatever you want to do. If you get drained at work by a lack of resources then your entire life balance is, you know, overall, in a certain period of time, it’s going to be off.

Work is usually a very big part of our life, so I would actually suggest that employees take some time to think about what they need when it comes to work environment to make them strong, to gain energy apart from the usual work tasks.

 

If the leadership is not comfortable with the concept of life-balance integration in the company, it will never happen because it should come from up to down.

LILIANE KUERT

I see that if the leadership is not comfortable with the concept of life balance integration in the company, it will never happen because it should come from up to down. If the employee felt that it’s not the company strategy and value, and there isn’t an internal marketing to it, it will not happen. We would still be the same.

#7: Nils Sigwarth

Nils Sigwarth: I would call it life-balance, especially when I said in one of my earlier statements that it becomes much more fluid for the next generations. 

Absolutely,  yes, there is a strong link. Both of them I would say are very interdependent. I think resilience at the workplace has something that we need to do. It’s also how you manage your life balance individually. 

In the earlier days you know, there was a much bigger separation between work and life because you went to work 8-5 then you would return home and your life was happening and at least in the last years and in the next generation coming now it’s getting much more fluid. 

So certainly there are different requirements, there are different expectations and I think right now in kind of the older generation having that kind of more old-fashioned or kind of traditional thinking of work and life. 

And now the next generation coming in that has a completely different understanding of what work life means for them. They want to play tennis on Thursdays from 2-4 because they want to do their kind of work afterwards. They are happy to do something on Saturdays and Sundays which was a no go for at least the generation of my parents. 

#8: Ralf Althoff

Ralf Althoff: I think the term work-life balance comes from the time when Taylorism was very strong or after it has just recently subsided. There are a lot of new terms like “new work.” So from my perception, it can only be a life-balance – being in balance with my life.

 

It can only be a life-balance – being in balance with my life.Ralf Althoff

To ask oneself, “Why do we work?” “What is the value of work?” It is absolutely clear to me that it has to fit as a whole package.

It is all about life-balance

Most of us work now where we live, where we eat. Our children are around us, we have our break with our family. We can determine when we could start work or take a break or even go shopping or jogging in the middle of our working day. With all of these changes that have happened to us, I’d say:

It’s time for us to say goodbye to work-life balance.

KORAYEM RAZIK

The right expression NOW is Life Balance – we have to balance our lives, in general, to be resilient and to happily achieve our goals. And if we have life-balance, work will be running great because it is integrated in our lives now.

Three important aspects play a big role in balancing your life: the mental, nutritional, and the physical aspect.

Resilience: The Key to Life Balance

The mental aspect is built on resilience. Resilience is the key to life balance – a very important aspect of resilience is self-love because if you love yourself, you will have self-confidence that will help you clearly master your conflicts, stress and time. It will make you say no easily when you want to.

Life-balance is not only about some courses which you should do like before, it’s about a long-term transformation – its about holistic integration of a healthy lifestyle mentally and physically in your life.

Your nutrition and which vitamins you take in your day is important even if you don’t have time to cook.

It’s about the quick training which you could do for a few minutes to make your heart, back and body fit and ready for the daily challenges. Ten minutes of exercise a day could be more than enough — did you know that?

On the couch, the body slows down, breathing slows down, blood pressure and heartbeat, but the muscles are still under tension and the previously released stress hormones continue to circulate in the body. Only through exercise are more hormones produced (endorphins and serotonin) that neutralize stress hormones.

If the body continuously produces stress hormones and cannot relieve the internal tension that has built up through movement, the body goes into a permanent state of alarm.

Not only this but when you do sports and start moving, your body will produce endocannabinoide which has a great effect on your happiness and satisfaction in life. Studies showed that you will be more resistant to fear or anxiety. This is the same substance that is actually included in cannabis.

I invite you to start digging into the life-balance concept, because this is exactly what we will need in the coming period to master the challenges which we would be facing.