What is Burnout Syndrome?

What is Burnout Syndrome?

Do you frequently work overtime? Do you neglect to sleep or eat properly because of your schedule? Then you may be at risk of burning out.

America is among the most overworked countries in the world. Our work culture encourages rapid growth and efficiency, often at the cost of our physical and mental wellbeing.


What is burnout syndrome?

Burnout Syndrome, also known as occupational burnout, is a collection of symptoms that arises from chronic, work-related stress. The symptoms include feelings of lethargy and exhaustion, mental or emotional disconnection from work, and sentiments of negativity. Burnout does not occur immediately, but over the course of certain stages. According to Inc, there are 12 stages involved. Here are just a few:

  1. Compulsion to Prove Oneself: burnout usually begins when certain employees take on more work than they can reasonably handle. These individuals feel accomplishment and recognition in doing their work well.
  2. Neglecting Needs: At a certain point, these individuals begin to forego basic necessities: such as personal hygiene, sleep, healthy eating, or even socialization. Work begins to take over their life.
  3. Denial of Emerging Problems: Those experiencing burnout will likely deflect their problems— either by blaming their friends or family, or taking out their anger on coworkers.
  4. Depersonalization: Over time, burnout can cause people to develop low self-esteem, constantly putting themselves down for their shortcomings.
  5. Burnout syndrome: Finally, the stress will become too much for one person to handle, and can lead to a major health concern.

Everyone experiences burnout differently, but failing to spot the signs can lead to more concerning symptoms. Now, let’s explore the various symptoms of burnout.


What are the symptoms of burnout?


Physical symptoms

Tired constantly – Burnout means almost never having the energy to accomplish your tasks on time. You may try to support it with coffee, but this ends up being a temporary crutch.

Sick frequently – Burnout can lead to a weaker immune system, which in turn means your body is unable to fight common colds and diseases. A simple cold may linger for weeks, with much more severe symptoms than usual.

Lack of sleep – Sleep is important for physical and mental rest, memory retention, and quality of life. When you’re constantly working or looking at a screen, it becomes harder to get the ideal hours of sleep that you need each night.


Emotional symptoms

Detachment – Exhaustion leads to depression and detachment from your passions and hobbies. You’ll also feel less connected to your peers, and it may seem like you have no one to turn to about your problems.

Becoming impatient – Mental turmoil will hinder your patience. Simple work tasks may seem more aggravating as they approach deadlines, and you may even lose your temper more frequently with others.

Loss of motivation – Finding the meaningin your work is important to maintain peak efficiency. Without a sense of purpose, work becomes mundane and repetitive, and your time in the office will seem like a waste of your potential.

Feeling of defeat – It’s not uncommon for people to find satisfaction and fulfillment from their work. Without that feeling, work and life may not seem worth it. When people experience burnout, it may seem like everything you do ends in failure, even when you’re doing well.


Dealing with burnout syndrome


Talk to someone

Talk to your supervisor, friends or family. Talk to anybody. Bottling up your thoughts and feelings is toxic, and can only make your symptoms much worse. Help is always available as long as you ask. And don’t feel guilty or bad for asking for help either- most people want to help you however they can. If talking to your friends and family isn’t an option, try dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24/7, toll-free network available to people in severe emotional distress. Remember— there’s always someone willing to listen to what you have to say.



Without a doubt, one of the best ways to combat stress and depression is through a healthy diet and regular exercise. Staying active helps keep your mind and body healthy, which directly affect your overall mood and self-image. Set aside some time to work out each week for a few hours.



Doctors recommend an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Anything less and you could be at greater risk for burnout and more severe medical problems. Sleep helps to regulate and restore your body, even preventing heart attacks, stroke, cancer, and inflammation. Depression and stress can also be linked to people with inadequate sleep. To sleep better at night, shut off all your electronics an hour before bed. Give yourself time to recover from the day.


Take a break from work

Overworking can be an addiction like any other. There’s nothing wrong with working hard, but working without breaks can be dangerous. Remember to take frequent breaks- whether it’s a fifteen minute walk between tasks, or a week-long vacation in the summer. At times you just need to step away from work to gain a better understanding of it.


Tips for a better work-life balance


Prioritize/set manageable goals

It can be a major challenge to measure the amount of work we have to do, and how much we’ve already accomplished. Without a system in place to prioritize workloads, the list of tasks to complete can quickly pile up in front of you, seemingly with no end in sight. To prevent this, find ways to prioritize your work. Start by finishing quick and easy tasks, or assigning a value of importance to each assignment. When in doubt, develop to-dos based on the SMART system.


Request flexible work days

Depending on your employer, you may be able to change your schedule to be less taxing on your health. A study by the American Sociological Review showed that flex hours led to better sleep schedules, healthier employees, and less stress. You may think that flexible hours leads to less productivity, but the opposite is true. A study from the University of Kent suggests that those with more control over their schedule tend to work more. Even just choosing one day a week to work from home or to be able to leave early- can have a tremendous impact on one’s energy.


Unplug from phones and computers

Our phones and computers are like drugs, delivering hits of dopamine via social media feeds or instant notifications. Constant attachment to digital devices can skew our vision of reality, giving way to feelings of jealousy and the fear of missing out. Our real lives become punctuated by an always-connected, digital world. Unplugging, even for just a day, can have a major impact on one’s mental health.


Schedule personal time

You are more than the work you do. Even for people who live and breathe their professional life, you need to set aside time for hobbies, for friends, and for family. Downtime is crucial to keep any sense of sanity and perspective during work. Work-life balance isn’t just important for staying healthy, it helps you stay productive as well.


Meditation in the workplace

For those that struggle to find some outlet for their stress within the demands and confines of work, meditation is a great solution. You can practice it for a few minutes, or for a whole hour, at your desk, on the way to work, or at home. Just a few moments of intentional breathing and mindfulness can do wonders for your mind and body.

We’ve spoken highly of the importance of meditation before, make sure you read our previous blog post on how to meditate at work.


Benefits of meditation

Better focus – Our daily lives are filled with distractions and deadlines that clutter our mind. Between household chores, projects at work, and outings with friends and family, it can be overwhelming to keep track of everything you need to do. Meditation puts all your tasks in perspective. By setting the time to think of each task without being pressured to act immediately, your mind is better able to concentrate on the day ahead.

Less stress – Stress can build up in our bodies throughout the week, without us even realizing it. Meditation is about focusing on your breath and mindfulness. It’s the time we give ourselves to decompress and disconnect from the world, even for a few minutes. But those few minutes can do wonders for your mental and physical health. A short break is all you need.

Higher creativity – Meditation has shown to stimulate the neocortex, the part of your brain associated with creativity and emotional intelligence. It’s no surprise that companies like Disney and Google have even adopted meditation in the workplace, as they tend to lead to more positive business and creative outcomes.


Apps to help you meditate

As wonderful as meditation is, not everyone is familiar with how to meditate. Sometimes the mind can wander off, or it may be difficult to meditate effectively. Whatever the reason, we have a few suggestions of apps you may use to boost your meditation efforts.



Headspace isn’t just the most popular meditation app, it’s one of the most popular apps period. In a single app, you can find hundreds of different sessions around a certain theme, whether it’s trying to sleep at night, reducing anxiety, or increasing focus. They even have brief minute-long exercises and meditations for those with extremely busy schedules. Headspace is totally free, but the subscription (starting at $8 per month) adds even more themed sessions, sounds, animations, and expert guidance.



Calm is the other big meditation app, winning Apple’s App of the Year in 2017. Similar to Headspace, Calm has hundreds of guided meditations, as well as “Sleep Stories” from familiar voices such as Stephen Fry, Matthew McConaughey, and May Charters. Free for 30 days, Calm offers plans that start at $60 per year or $400 for a lifetime license.


Insight Timer

With over 250,000 five-star reviews, Insight Timer cannot be overlooked in your meditation app arsenal. Unlike Headspace or Calm, Insight Timer offers its library of over 25,000 titles completely free. But if you’re looking for more, there’s a $5 per month plan that gives you exclusive daily content, courses, offline listening, and night mode.



Don’t forget about your built-in podcast app, and the millions of podcasts on meditation and relaxation! The Daily Meditation Podcast from Mary Meckley features a new theme each week, and episodes are no longer than ten minutes. The Meditation Podcast from husband-and-wife Jesse and Jeane Stern use guided meditations, binaural beats, and 20+ years in healing arts in each episode. Finally, started just last month, Meditative Story from WaitWhat + Thrive Global explores a new narrative each week from a leading expert or industry figure, coupled with helpful meditation exercises.


Burnout syndrome may not seem like a problem, until work begins to creep up on you and completely take over your life. Whether you’re preventing an eventual burnout, or finding ways to avoid burning out again, take the necessary precautions and seek help to avoid a mental and physical shutdown. This goes beyond your work- this affects your very livelihood. Find a work life balance that suits you, so you can continue to perform at your best without compromising who you are.

To learn more about improving work life balance among your team, check out our previous blog here.

Greening Offices: Tips for an Environmentally Friendly Workspace

Greening Offices: Tips for an Environmentally Friendly Workspace

Why should your office go green?

Companies are proud to advertise their environmental efforts, but being eco-friendly is not merely a marketing campaign or checklist to be completed. When office spaces “go green”, everyone benefits. Cleaner air and waste disposal results in a healthier work environment. More efficient lighting and energy can help save thousands in business expenses. Greener initiatives will also attract more progressive employees and partners.

Above all, the company can take pride in being part of the solution towards a more sustainable world for everyone to live in.

If you want to fulfill your environmental ambitions, then you need to fully embrace the concept. This means doing your part in being environmentally friendly, and it should start at the very top of the company by using Eco-friendly office materials.



Eco-friendly Office Ideas


1. Cut down on paper waste
The number of paper offices waste around the world is just staggering. People print unnecessary copies or only use a single side of the page. Nearly every modern printer will print on both sides which instantly reduces paper waste by fifty percent. Not only is this advantageous in terms of the environment, but it will also drastically cut your expenditure on paper.

If you are using only one side of the page, cut it into squares, and use the blank side as scrap paper for taking telephone messages or as recycled post-it notes. The important thing here is to ensure that no more paper is wasted.


2. Use eco-friendly office materials and supplies
Every day millions of paper cups are used once for water, tea or coffee and then thrown away. This is costing your company and the environment dearly over the course of a year.

By giving each employee their own reusable drinks bottle for the water dispenser, you can quickly slash the number of paper cups that are wasted. Furthermore, many hot drink cups are actually very difficult to recycle. By providing people with an environmentally friendly option, you remove thousands of cups from the equation, regardless of the size of your company, and at very little expense. Novel Coworking offers glassware at every location and is washed daily.

Consider using other eco-friendly materials: recycled paper or card stock, energy-efficient light bulbs, and automated thermostats. These substitutions will achieve the same results with a significantly lower carbon footprint.


3. Avoid single-brew coffee makers
Most often found near the Coworking space is a beautiful, eco-friendly coffee machine. These differ from the current trending office coffee machine (single use/pod-style) which produce plastic waste with every cup. By altering your coffee habits, you will drastically cut the amount of wasted packaging.

By following these simple suggestions, you can make a huge difference to the environment, and it doesn’t need to be expensive, the majority of the options suggested above will not only help the planet but save your company on office expenses.


4. Go digital where possible
In many scenarios, we can now use digital alternatives to analog practices. For example, note taking apps can be downloaded instead of writing on paper. PDFs of presentations can be shared over printed handouts.

We can even conduct the majority of our business online these days, saving us gasoline used in driving to work. It may not apply to every business, but evaluate whether your team members can work from home. This will eventually save time and money in the long run.


5. Power down when not in use
Lights, computers, printers, televisions, and other electronic equipment can consume a lot of energy. Don’t leave them on after work- automate their power cycles or simply turn them off before closing up for the day. It may seem like a minor inconvenience, but this simple practice can result in hundreds of dollars of savings.


How to Create a Green Office Program


Brainstorm with your team

You can’t have a company-wide green policy if you don’t first get team involvement. Grab the top leaders of the company in a room and have a long discussion about how the company can strive towards greener practices. Be sure to write down every suggestion- don’t pick and choose the easiest ones.

Eventually, you should have a list of different ideas. Some will be as simple as using CFL bulbs, others will be more complicated, like partnering with eco-friendly brands.


Pick two or three initiatives for the year

With all these ideas, the company may feel overwhelmed and confused as to how to proceed. Start with just two or three initiatives. These are greater projects or missions for the company during the year. For example, a company may choose to have an energy efficiency initiative, choosing to cut down their energy use by 30% for the next year.

By limiting the company’s initiatives to two or three, the entire team can focus and track their efforts more accurately.


Encourage green ideas within the office

Going green isn’t just a bunch of ideas on a board, it’s a mindset even during working hours. Be sure to remind your team of the company’s green goals, whether it’s through a poster on the wall or a weekly email. Best of all, reward individuals who take environmental friendliness seriously- with time off or even an excursion to a local restaurant.


Measure your program’s success

Green initiatives mean nothing without some system of tracking and accountability. For every green initiative, the company agrees to, make sure there is a manager or team leader assigned to hold his team accountable. Create sheets and timelines to accurately measure your team’s progress towards the company’s green goals.


Green Office Certifications

For businesses that manage to go above and beyond, transforming their business to be eco-friendly, certain certificates can be attained. LEED certifications are handed out to buildings that have “substantial impact on the health and wellbeing of people and the planet”. ENERGY STAR certifies products as well as buildings for meeting certain energy efficiency standards. Fair Trade, while not centered around energy, ensures that every person in the supply chain receives fair and humane treatment, and has become popular for food products.


To learn about other certifications available online, visit Small Business Trends’ page.

The environment is essential for our future generations, which is why we have to look after it today. Don’t just talk about being an environmentally friendly company, walk the walk and set a good example, today!

Hero Syndrome in the Workplace

Hero Syndrome in the Workplace

Even ordinary workplaces have heroes. They may not wear capes or fight crime, but they help people all the same. Whether it’s the accountant making sure everyone is paid or the electrician keeping the lights on, everyone at work benefits from each other in an invisible but harmonious way.

But then again, some heroes may perceive themselves to be more heroic than they really are. They take credit for the work of others or fail to accept any of their own flaws.

We’ll explain the hero complex and how it can poison a work environment. You’ll learn whether the Hero Complex is a disorder, how it manifests in a workplace, and what to do when you see it in your team.


What is the Hero Complex?

The Hero Complex, sometimes called the Hero Syndrome or Savior Complex, is when someone strives to be the hero of the situation. No matter the situation or the odds, they want to be the ones that save the day. In some definitions, a person with a hero complex will even create situations that inconvenience or harm others, just so they can take credit for fixing it later.


Is the Hero Complex a mental disorder?

No. While the Hero Complex is mainly a psychological phenomenon, it is not a diagnosable disorder or a clinical term. However, the reported symptoms of the Hero Complex (such as an exaggerated sense of self-worth), is similar to a grandiose delusion, also known as delusions of grandeur. Patients of GD consider themselves famous, wealthy, and powerful, sometimes even referring to themselves in divine terms.


The Hero Syndrome in the Workplace

Many believe that Hero Syndrome is commonly found in people with civil service jobs: police, firemen, and doctors. But the truth is that Hero Syndrome will be found just about anywhere with an office. You may work for them, or they may work for you. In fact, you may even have a Hero Complex!

Although it may seem negative, the Hero Complex is not necessarily a cause for concern. Some people simply want more recognition than others, which is common in an individualistic and capitalist culture. However, there are cases when Hero Complex could result in some dangerous situations.


The Dangers of the Hero Complex

Bitter and hostile environments – As you can imagine, having one person consistently boast about their achievements and abilities can grow old pretty quickly. In teams that require communication and teamwork, the one with Hero Complex may annoy and alienate his teammates.

An illusion of productivity – People with hero complexes may have an inflated sense of their heroism. Although they may remember saving the project before a deadline, other team members may remember them as the source for the delays in the first place.

Arrogance clouding judgment – Those concerned about their self-worth may prioritize their ego over their peers. The result- a focus on vanity metrics and titles over actual work. For example, a doctor may be so focused on getting a promotion that they may neglect their managerial duties in the hospital.


How to Identify the Hero Complex

Remember, the Hero Complex is not a diagnosable condition, so there’s no surefire way of knowing whether someone “has” the complex. But there are signs that may suggest a person is more likely to have the Hero Complex.

Showboating. People with Hero Complex like recognition- for their work, their clothes, their lifestyle.
Preaching or saving. Some people call it the Savior Complex because of their need to rescue those in need. They may be too quick to give advice or care more about the photo op at a charity event.

Narcissism. While showing off and helping others isn’t exactly a crime, it becomes questionable when the person is vain or self-centered. Narcissism is one of the telltale signs for a Hero Complex.


How to deal with the hero complex

Once again, not everyone with a hero complex will stir trouble. It’s perfectly acceptable if anybody is self-centered or boastful. Only when it begins to affect the work of the business do you need to consider your options.

If you suspect someone of having a disruptive hero complex, first assess why you came to that conclusion- is their behavior affecting the rest of the team’s mood? Does it result in less than acceptable work?

Talk to the person, or if you have an HR department, have someone mediate the conversation first. Let them know that while strong personalities are welcome, it should never make others feel miserable or less productive.


Learning to assess the skills and personalities of your team members is just one part of leadership. Find out the other skills you need to develop.

Company culture is vital in cultivating an environment of collaboration and teamwork. Learn more about the importance of company culture in our previous post.

5 Simple Corporate Wellness Program Ideas

5 Simple Corporate Wellness Program Ideas


Imagine the reaction from your CEO if you told them that you had found a way for the business to save $1685 per employee. According to the Center For Disease Control, $1685 is the average amount of money per employee that businesses lose every year due to sickness. By finding a way to reduce sickness and increase employee attendance drastically, the potential savings available to any company are staggering. The question is, how can you solve the problem and improve your employee’s health?

There are lots of great ways that you can encourage your staff to improve their health. Here are some ideas that are easy to implement within the workplace, are not exorbitantly expensive, and should encourage participation amongst a large portion of your team.





Take a walk around your break room and assess what refreshments you currently offer your staff. If an employee wants to eat and drink healthily, is it possible in your establishment, or have you inadvertently placed barriers in the way? One of the most staggering health statistics published by the Harvard School of Public Health was that whenever someone consumes one can of soda a day, their chances of contracting Type 2 Diabetes increases by 26%. If that wasn’t enough to discourage you, that same can of soda per day also increases your chances of a heart attack by 20% compared with people who consume a lesser quantity of sugary drinks.

Explore healthier alternatives to soda and energy drinks. It’s hard to cut out soda altogether, but you also don’t need it every day. At Novel Coworking, our kitchens are stocked with water bottles, fruit drinks, and naturally flavored beverages. We also have a water fountain with a built-in filter. You can still find chips and cookies, but there are healthy snack options such as pistachio nuts, granola, and fruits. These incremental changes in the workplace kitchen can make a huge difference to everybody’s health.



Fitbit is a small, relatively inexpensive pedometer, that counts the number of steps an individual takes per day. Fitbit’s software enables competition between individuals or even teams. Imagine a challenge between the accounting department and the design department for instance, with the winning team earning an incentive. Not only will this encourage a bit of competition, but hopefully it will also encourage people to be more active, to walk rather than drive, or even to take the stairs rather than the elevator. Companies can even set up walking clubs early in the morning before work. It also encourages people to think about their lifestyle, and helps to motivate them to change their eating habits and increase their daily exercise.



Perhaps the busiest time of the year for the vast majority of businesses is in the run-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unfortunately, that also tends to be flu season, and consequently the time of year when sickness levels peak. One of the ways to tackle this is by offering a flu shot clinic at your workplace. This is a simple and effective method for tackling the issue and provides 4 main benefits:

  • It demonstrates that you are concerned about your employee’s health, which in turn encourages and develops employee loyalty.
  • Staff won’t have to miss work to visit their regular physician.
  • Fewer days are taken off due to the vaccination process.
  • Because a significant proportion of the employees are likely to take advantage of the flu shot, the likelihood of a large proportion of the staff being ill is drastically reduced.

Organizing a flu shot clinic is a simple process because medical organizations will come in and set everything up for your company, leaving you with an easy day and chance for your employees to get vaccinated.



Another excellent idea to encourage and promote health and wellness programs in your company is to offer a subsidy or even a free membership to a local gym for your employees. This need not be as expensive as it might sound and for many employees, it may provide the motivation they require to change their lifestyle. Speak to the local gyms and enquire about the various promotions of deals they may be willing to offer. This could easily be a win-win for both businesses, and it has the added advantage of demonstrating the caring side of your company to the employees.





Wellness programs are only as effective as the team members they serve. It’s important to continually request feedback to better gauge how successful each wellness initiative actually is. Choose an interval of time, whether it’s quarterly or monthly, and issue an anonymous survey or feedback form. Provide a 1-10 scale for rating efficacy and an open-ended answer box.

Feedback is crucial in managing your talent. For more strategies, read our post on developing strategies to manage your talent.


Surveys measure just one dimension of wellness program success: satisfaction. In actuality, there are many more categories and metrics that determine success. The Society for Human Resource Management lists the following:

  • Financial outcomes
  • Health impact
  • Participation
  • Satisfaction
  • Organizational support
  • Productivity and performance
  • Value on investment (VOI)

Be sure to include these metrics in your reviews to more accurately determine program success and employee engagement. To learn more about how to measure each one, visit SHRM’s article for more information.



Living healthily should be a reward on its own, but it never hurts to add extra incentive for making the right choices. Consider offering rewards for healthy living, such as a branded water bottle or a Fitbit. For higher tier rewards, offer discounts to the gym, or gift cards for Whole Foods or similar healthy supermarket.

One common concern among non-smokers is the amount of break time that smokers are able to take. To even things out, reward additional time for non-smokers and create smoking cessation rewards, such as extra downtime, or a charitable donation to a foundation of their choice. Whenever possible, recognize the efforts made by a hardworking employee to set an example for the rest of the team.


At Novel Coworking, we are continually striving to find ways to assist and encourage business owners in their journey to success. One way to keep your employees mentally healthy is to find a relaxing and open office environment. Consider looking into coworking spaces that your team can use and collaborate in.


We are always coming up with new and exciting ways to increase sales or improve the morale of your staff, through tips on our blog.

What to Do About Gossip in the Workplace

What to Do About Gossip in the Workplace

Overworking and mismanagement aside, there’s another force that can rip your team apart from the inside: gossip. With just a few words, feelings are hurt, reputations tarnished, and the team divided. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a newly hired member of the team, it’s important to call out gossip when it starts, and develop practices to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.


Defining gossip

Gossip can have varying definitions. Some believe gossip must be false, others say gossip must be defamatory. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word as, “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true.”

So whether it’s malicious or harmless is beside the point, as long as the conversation involves someone else and is not yet verified, it can be considered gossip.


Distinguishing gossip from casual conversation

So what separates gossip from ordinary conversation?

For one, gossip has to be about someone else. So employees talking about their own problems do not count as gossip. Nor does it count when one talks about somebody present during the conversation. Typically, gossip has to be about someone who is unaware of the conversation.

Second, gossip is generally untrue, or at the very least, based on unconfirmed rumor. Discussing an employee’s promotion or severance without the chance to speak directly to that person or the manager falls under gossip.

As we mentioned, gossip isn’t always malicious. Sometimes what starts off as an innocent remark can quickly turn into a scathing critique or early judgment. For example, congratulating Jane on her pregnancy may seem like a kind act, until you find out it was only gossip, and you’re left in complete embarrassment.

The effects and consequences of gossip

  1. Gradual disintegration of trust and respect. This is by far the most damaging effect of gossip. Any team that hopes to work effectively together must be founded on mutual trust and respect for one another. The moment gossip begins to circulate, it can be difficult to know who to rely on.
  2. Loss of reputation. Building a reputation can take a lifetime, and reducing it to nothing can take only a few minutes. And it’s not just the reputation of the subject of the gossip, or the person gossiping, but the reputation of the entire team.
  3. Decreased productivity. When teammates are gossiping instead of working, productivity is greatly reduced. When morale suffers from especially damaging gossip, productivity reduction is even worse.
  4. Team division. Instead of moving as a single unit, team members begin to take sides on a matter and becoming increasingly hostile to one another. This can make it difficult to accomplish what used to be simple tasks.
  5. Unintended consequences. Discussing Will and Sarah’s engagement before it’s announced may seem innocuous, but it could also lead down a dangerous path, resulting in needless discussions with HR, strange looks from other team members, and so on.


How to manage gossip in the workplace


Zero-tolerance policies

State clearly in the employee handbook and in person that gossip and spreading rumors is strictly prohibited. Better to take preventative measures than punitive action. Don’t just settle for including it in company literature, it should be an actively repeated concept in the company culture.


Set training guidelines and examples

Many people are still unaware of what counts as gossip and what counts as a harmless conversation. Educate the team by providing examples and clear definitions. Bring in an HR representative to discuss gossip and related matters to the whole team.


Create opportunities for healthy discussion

The zero-tolerance policy shouldn’t prevent the team from having constructive conversations about superiors. Make sure there are opportunities for team and manager feedback when possible. Doing so may even reduce the need for gossip.


Keep work and personal life separate

Set an example for others. Whenever gossip comes up, make an excuse to get back to work, or call it out when you hear it. Prevent yourself from sharing sensitive information and others will learn to do the same.


Focus on improving employee health

Gossip tends to be the byproduct of a larger issue- whether it’s boredom at work, issues with a coworker, or personal problems deflected onto others. One of the best things a manager can do is to ensure their team is both physically and mentally healthy, with enough breaks between tasks, and a balance between work and home life. Read our previous blog post, Low-Cost Ways To Encourage Better Employee Health for more ideas.


The impact of gossip in the workplace

For all the steps you will take to prevent gossip, it will inevitably happen. A small amount may be normal, even healthy for the team to create a sense of camaraderie. But the moment someone is hurt or tension flares up, actions need to be taken to address those involved, educate the team, and prevent it from happening in the future.

If you’re ever in doubt about whether something is gossip or not, just leave it out of the conversation. You have more to lose and little to gain from gossiping about your team.


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What is Digital Wellness, and Why Is It Important?

What is Digital Wellness, and Why Is It Important?

Struggling to spend time with your family while receiving constant push notifications? Overwhelmed by the deluge of hourly news? Or perhaps even anxious about the appearance of your social media profiles?

Those living in the Digital Age face a unique dilemma. Unlike previous generations, people today are inundated with information from multiple devices, through dozens of services, streamed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be a lot for anybody.

But just what exactly is digital wellness, and why should it be incentivized by businesses?


What is digital wellness?

Digital wellness refers to the state of one’s physical and mental health in the Digital Age. More specifically, digital wellness refers to preventative measures aimed at regulating and improving the healthy use of technology.

Reducing one’s activity on Facebook or monitoring time spent on a smartphone are just two examples of improving one’s digital wellness.


Why is digital wellness important?

As technology evolves and our time is increasingly spent online, society must learn to adapt and overcome the dangers of digital dependence. Many tech companies stake their business on attracting and engaging users. That means designing irresistible experiences online, from addictive video games to endless social media feeds.

And it’s no surprise that these new lifestyles are leading to anxiety, addiction, and depression.

Most recently, major tech firms are under pressure to include new “digital wellness” features in their services. iOS 12 now has features to help users manage their phone use. Android P now has app timers to cut off use past a certain time limit. The digital wellness revolution has begun, and users must stay cognizant of their prolonged computer or phone use. Fortunately, there are a few tools that can help you get started.


Digital wellness apps


Screen Time (iOS) and App Dashboard (Android)

While not technically downloadable apps, both Screen Time and App Dashboard are features in iOS devices and Android devices respectively that allow you to see how you spend your time on your phone. You can also set limits and restrictions on which apps you use and schedule time away from your device. Although it is tucked away in the settings, you don’t need to download or pay anything, and it monitors you as you use your phone.


Moment (iOS and Android)

For a more extensive and user-friendly version of Screen Time or App Dashboard, check out Moment, available for both iOS and Android. It offers the same app/screen monitoring analysis but goes further with a “Phone Bootcamp” that coaches you into limiting your phone use. With a cleaner and more colorful interface, this app also excels at presenting the information in an understandable format.

OurPact (iOS and Android)

For parents and caretakers, OurPact offers a comprehensive activity dashboard for your whole family. This app lets you track how your family members or other users spend their phone time, restrict access to unauthorized content, and even locate their position on a map. Best of all, it has cross-platform support, meaning iOS users can continue to track Android users and vice versa.


Why your company should promote digital wellness

Businesses have increasingly relied on technology in the past few decades, from email communication to storing large files on the cloud. There’s no denying the increased efficiency generated by harnessing the power of the Internet. But at the same time, that means employees are more likely to spend their time on computers and phones for a majority of the workday.

One survey found that the average screen time of an office worker is 6.5 hours per day. Only about half the respondents admitted to taking breaks, and the other half claimed to experience eye soreness regularly. Combined with the statistics of mental health issues developed from prolonged use, you have a recipe for a constantly tired and stressed workforce.

Companies play an important role in combating the phone and computer addiction trends. By updating the brand’s wellness program to reduce extended use, the business may just notice a drastic change in the overall workforce performance and mood.

From everyone at Novel Coworking, we hope you get to take a break away from social media and digital devices and spend time with your family and loved ones. See you next year!

Here are some ideas to an effective corporate wellness program.