Five Ways Young Professionals Can Promote Wellbeing In The Workplace

Five Ways Young Professionals Can Promote Wellbeing in the Workplace

By Caoimhe Kenny

The pandemic is taking a toll on people’s wellbeing and mental health. Here are several ideas for how young professionals can prioritize themselves in order to improve their work performance and happiness.

As the global pandemic rages on and workplaces shift their perspective on remote work from a short-term solution to a long-term reality, the discussion around workers’ mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever. Every demographic has its own set of unique challenges during these times, and young professionals are no exception. YPs may be more likely to live alone and away from their families, exacerbating feelings of loneliness and isolation. Some YPs may be living and working in less-than-ideal conditions—eating, sleeping, and working in a tiny studio apartment—while others may be trying to juggle working from home with caring for or schooling small children. Whatever your challenges, prioritizing your mental wellbeing in the current climate is an imperative. Here are some tips to get you started:

Declutter your workspace. One simple thing that works wonders for mental clarity and focus is to begin each day with a fresh, decluttered workspace. Every morning, channel your inner Marie Kondo and tidy away anything that doesn’t “spark joy”. File your papers, organize your pens and paperclips, and for the love of Pete, clean the cookie crumbs out of your keyboard. Even if you are working in a confined space, aim to make your desk a little oasis of calm. Think about investing in a low maintenance plant: studies have shown that plants can improve concentration and productivity by up to 15 percent, reduce stress levels, and boost your mood[SW1] .[1][2] Some people swear by light therapy boxes or sun lamps that mimic the mood-boosting effects of natural sunlight.[3] And if you want to feel extra Zen, consider lighting a small candle and setting an intention for the day ahead.

Take advantage of employee benefits. Many organizations provide access to an array of useful benefits that employees do not always take advantage of. It may be worth scheduling a chat with your HR representative to identify any potential benefits you might be missing out on. For example, some employers offer the option to enroll in a flexible spending account, which allows you to set aside a pre-tax portion of each paycheck to pay for eligible out-of-pocket medical expenses, like contact lenses or adult braces. Some employers also provide membership to an employee assistance program, which gives employees access to free professional counseling services to address issues—such as stress and anxiety and legal or financial worry—that may be affecting your work performance or overall wellbeing.

Sign up for professional development. Feeling dissatisfied with your day-to-day tasks or “stuck” in your current role can affect your sense of professional worth and wellbeing. A good way to feel excited about your job again is to seek out professional development opportunities. Maybe you have always wanted to learn how to code, or understand the basic principles of graphic design; why not go for it? Keep an eye out for one-off webinars by subject-matter experts on your topic of interest, sign up for a course through sites like Coursera or Udemy, or go a step further and look into certification programs in specific areas (e.g., project management, inbound marketing, and so forth). Before you start, think about how these news skills might complement or enhance your current role and talk to your boss about it. There may be some budget available for professional development, and it could make you a more attractive candidate for a promotion down the line.

Seek out (or become) a mentor. If you are relatively new to the world of association management, you’ll know it can be downright confusing at first. A lot of us have experienced the feeling of being overwhelmed or underprepared during the initial stages of our careers, which can have a negative impact on our workplace wellbeing. To combat this, think about seeking out a mentor in your workplace who can help you navigate your new role. A mentor can help you to identify and fill gaps in your current knowledge and skills, enabling you to achieve your goals. On the flip side, if you already have a few years of experience under your belt, you should consider taking a new coworker under your wing. It doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement—just make sure you check in with them from time to time to see how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can do to help. A little bit of encouragement and support can make a huge impact on a burgeoning career—and provide you with a sense of accomplishment to boot.

Take time off. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your mental health and wellbeing is take some time off. Although jetting off on vacation isn’t on the cards for most people right now, you don’t need to go too far afield to rack up some quality “me time”. Why not book a personal day on a random Tuesday and do something just for yourself? Go on a self-guided walking tour of your local area, tackle an ambitious cooking project, or simply spend the day binge watching an entire season of some trashy show on Netflix, guilt-free. Taking time off serves your employer better in the long run too, as employees tend to return from vacation relaxed, revitalized, and more productive.

Caoimhe Kenny is an associate at Association Management Strategies in Washington, DC. Email: [email protected]

 [SW1]Can you add links to articles or studies where you got this info from?

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