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Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

Last month, we wrote about the seven types of rest you need to feel your best.

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, an internal medicine physician, author and creator of the seven types of rest framework, says companies should play a role in educating and supporting their employees when it comes to rest.

Why companies need to pay attention to rest

Dr. Dalton-Smith says there are practical reasons why companies, and the leaders who run them, should learn about the different types of rest people need.

“It’s important for companies to understand that for many of us, when we go into a job, we can only give out of what we have ourselves,” she says. “We are putting a demand on people to produce more, to be more innovative, to be more creative, to be more kind and to have excellent customer service.”

However, many of the people who are facing those demands are facing things like compassion fatigue, social rest deficits, sensory overload and mental exhaustion, Dr. Dalton-Smith says.

She says that learning to rest, and about the different kinds of rest, is not taught in schools. On top of this, some professionals, such as physicians or psychiatrists, may not always have awareness either, leading to people feeling burnout with no answers.

“Companies have to realize that in order to get the most out of their human resources, they have to equip them with the training that they have not received elsewhere,” Dr. Dalton-Smith says.

Evaluating wellness at work

Dr. Dalton-Smith says she spends a lot of time working with companies to bring a higher level of well-being and wellness into their culture, with the goal being to help people overcome burnout and retain employees for longer.

She says most of the companies she works with right now are forward thinking when it comes to employee wellness. They realize that even though initiatives like ‘wellness weeks’ or different health challenges are positives, the issue with rest runs much deeper.

“I find that the most pro-active companies are actually sitting with us and allowing us to look at their entire employee journey from the moment they come through the door, to their initial orientation, to when they are getting feedback,” she says.

She advises companies to look at all the professional changes and stress points an employee may face, such as starting a new position, getting promoted, working during a busy season or managing people for the first time.

Then, if companies can provide employees with the restorative practices and resilience tools needed to make these changes or periods of time easier, they can help decrease burnout.

How companies can help increase wellness at work

Dr. Dalton-Smith says that how each company approaches wellness “boils down to the personality of the company.”

She says she has seen companies find success by hosting short training sessions that help their employees understand the relationship between stress, rest, restorative practices and resilience.

She says leaders can also set the tone and lead by example when it comes to rest.

For example, you can create space for people to share how they’re feeling (emotional rest), end meetings a few minutes early for meditation breaks (social and mental rest) or even just normalize and give the time for people to engage in the restorative practices that work for them.

Dr. Dalton-Smith advises companies that want to learn more about their culture, and how their people are really feeling, to turn to people across all levels of the business, especially those in junior positions who often have less control over their jobs.

“That’s where the stress points hit the hardest,” she says. To ensure companies are getting truthful answers, she suggests utilizing anonymous polling.

What I’m reading around the web

  • If you’re still thinking about rest, check out this Toronto Star article that looks to help you answer the question, ‘am I exhausted or am I truly burnt out’? Find out how you can tell the difference between the two and then address the issue.
  • Janice Bryant Howroyd, founder of ActOne, spoke at the 2023 Inc. 5000 Conference explaining the difference between marketing and advertising, and how your employees can actually be your best brand advocates. Here’s the video.
  • If you needed one more reason to believe that remote work is a good idea, Boston Consulting Group just shared the results of a three-year analysis that shows companies that allow remote work have seen revenue grow four times faster than those who make employees come into the office.
  • New data from LinkedIn shows that more people are going back to former employers. Here’s why the taboo is fading and how it’s benefiting companies.

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