All around us, an invisible workplace revolution is taking place. From stay-at-home parents and caregivers to students and entrepreneurs, many are choosing to work from home or places other than their main office. Remote working has become so popular that some estimate it to be the new U.S. workforce majority.
While flexibility is commonly cited as a positive of remote working, there are some challenges too, like the sense of isolation. In Buffer’s State of Work 2018 report, loneliness was cited as the biggest struggle in remote work.
Here’s how you can avoid feeling down and alone even when you’re not at the office.
Remember that you are not alone
First and foremost, it’s vital to remember that you’re never alone in your struggles. Other remote workers have been through similar situations as you. Don’t be afraid to join Slack groups for remote workers or similar communities for guidance. Lean on your friends and family for strength and inspiration too.
If you are in need of immediate help services or emotional support, please consider calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). This is a toll-free hotline available 24/7 in the United States. They also have an online chat that allows you to message a responder confidentially.
Identifying your personality needs
You’ve likely taken a personality test before. Perhaps it was through Facebook or while you were in school. But as a remote worker, these personality tests take on a different meaning. Not only can they describe your strengths and weaknesses. They can also reveal common workplace habits and career paths.
To determine whether you are more of an introvert or extrovert, consider using the 16Personalities test, which is based on the Myers-Briggs personality theory. As well, you’ll learn other important assessments of your character.
Of course, these tests must be taken with a grain of salt — they are not always developed with validity or reliability in mind. For example, the results you receive one day may not be the same as the results given on another, depending on your response. Despite some flaws, these tests can help steer you towards a better understanding of yourself.
How to beat remote work isolation
Perhaps the most difficult obstacle of a remote worker is the sense of isolation at home. Without any coworkers or peers to talk to, your work experience may feel extremely lonely.
Fortunately, you can combat that feeling. Here are a few suggestions:
Use effective communication technology
Chances are you’ve already used instant messaging or video conferencing. Make it a habit to use these tools to communicate with your team regularly. Hold meetings via Zoom or a similar conference software. Phone calls may suffice. But video can bring people closer, revealing nuances like facial expressions and body language. Similarly, an instant message can convey a greater sense of presence and availability than email.
Hold daily check-in calls
Every morning, have a quick five-minute check-in. This will serve to update the team on what you’re working on and help you learn about what the rest of the team is doing. These quick calls can highlight opportunities for collaboration or let others know that you need support. Check-ins only last a few minutes but can have a significant impact on your connection with the team.
Send end-of-week updates
On a similar note, weekly updates help your team gauge your overall progress and offer help when necessary. As a remote worker, you can feel increasingly isolated when you do not communicate the work you do to the rest of the team. By scheduling time each week to reflect on the previous week, you can feel closer to the overall mission and operations of the company.
How coworking can help with loneliness
Just as remote working has caught on, so too has coworking, which is a popular option for remote workers across the country. Coworking offers entrepreneurs, small businesses, and enterprises an affordable workspace, various amenities, and a friendly community to take part in. It can also be an effective way to deal with the loneliness of remote work.
A boost in productivity
From loud family members to comfy beds, the work-from-home experience can feel like a minefield of distractions. Coworking spaces, however, are designed for work collaborations in mind. A quick walk through a coworking space will highlight many of the productivity-enhancing features, such as dedicated desks, conference rooms, phone booths, printing and fax machines, and much more.
A sense of community
Coworking is centered around the philosophy that people work better together. Throughout many coworking spaces, you’ll notice people collaborating on projects, chatting over coffee, or socializing more freely than in a corporate environment. Novel Coworking spaces frequently host networking events, lunch and learns, game nights, and other community events, drawing attendees from the building and around the neighborhood.
An opportunity to network
Innovative products and ideas can quickly arise when two entrepreneurial minds meet. Coworking spaces tear down the walls that divide people from different businesses or departments. This results in some truly unique collaborations. We’ve seen career coaches, lawyers, agencies, and other businesses find clients right from the coworking floor.
How to beat loneliness at home
Working from home may be your only option. While some of the tips below overlap with general advice for beating remote work isolation, use them to optimize your home office work experience.
Develop an unconventional schedule
The highlight of any remote worker is the ability to set hours, within reason, of course. While we don’t recommend working late into the night, you also don’t have set 9-5 hours. So take advantage of the flexible schedule afforded to you by your work. Work on the weekends, evenings, or early mornings. Then rest, eat, go outside, or do something else in-between hours.
Explore the outdoors
Get out of the house whenever you can! Staying indoors is a guaranteed path to feeling trapped, stuck, and isolated. Between major work hours, find the time to step outside or walk your dog. Further split up the day with some grocery shopping or anything else that will get you up and moving. Studies have also shown that sunlight can be a major factor in one’s happiness. So push yourself to go out during the day when you can.
Make some calls
Staying in touch with people via Slack or text message isn’t as personal or immediate as a phone call. Just hearing someone’s voice or laughter can give us a sense of connection that can’t be conveyed with an emoji or in 140 characters. Whenever possible, call your coworkers or schedule a meeting instead of writing it out in a message. Not only will it be clearer and more efficient, but it can also feel a lot more like being in the office.
The same applies to personal calls. With so much to do in the day, we can easily forget to make time for ourselves and our loved ones. Try to schedule time in the day to reach out and connect with a family member or friend, even for a few minutes. It will make a world of difference for your mindset.
Remote work represents a new and exciting way to work in the 21st century. But for those unaccustomed to the way of remote working, the experience can be overwhelming. Remote workers must take additional care not only to stay on top of various projects but also to take care of their mental health. And a large part of one’s mental well-being involves meaningful social interaction.
For the average employee working 40-hours per week, 30% of their life is spent at work. That means most employees spend more time with people at work than even their friends and family. It only makes sense then that the time we spend in the workplace should contribute to overall happiness.
Why it’s important to be happy at work
Spike in productivity – According to Recruiter, happy workers are 12% more productive than unhappy workers. When we’re feeling our best, we tend to want to do our best. We can take on challenges more readily.
Healthier outlook – Mental health is as important as physical health. Exercise and healthy diets can positively influence a work routine. But so too can meditation and similar mindfulness practices.
Less likely to burnout – Burnout syndrome is a serious problem plaguing almost every industry. But happy employees are less likely to experience burnout syndrome.
How to enjoy Mondays
Mondays are one of the biggest hurdles at work. A weekend of relaxation followed by the busiest day of the week can be jarring for just about anybody. Below are a few tips to overcome the Monday blues.
Go to bed early
One of the quickest and most effective ways to get ready for Monday is to prepare on Sunday. That may mean having to do your chores, grocery shopping, and meal prep for the week. It also means getting enough rest the night before. Switch off electronic devices an hour before sleep, and get to bed early. Ideally, you’ll want at least 6-8 hours of sleep.
Begin the day productively
Starting the week on the right foot can make all the difference in your productivity. On Monday morning, kick the day off by scheduling everything you need to do for the next few days. It may seem overwhelming when you begin. But as you visualize your week, you’ll feel a lot better about what you have in store at work.
Do something fun
Counter the stress of Monday by doing something that you love and enjoy. After work, meet up with friends, play your favorite sport, watch your weekly TV show. In short, treat yourself after a hard day’s work! A reward to look forward to at the end of the day may be what you need to get through a Monday.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Throughout the day, random thoughts can clutter your mind. These range from household chores to other distractions in the workplace. This mental clutter can feel overwhelming and impede your ability to work.
Engaging in some breathing exercises for just a few minutes can make you feel more rested and clear-minded. If you can’t seem to find the time, be sure to read our previous article on meditating at work. We recommend listening to guided meditation sessions via an app or meditation app, such as Headspace or Calm.
With enough practice and discipline, these sessions can simplify the act of meditation at work and help make it a daily habit.
Find purpose in your work
Viktor Frankl is a Holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning. He once said, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” The same can be said about our work. What we physically do is seldom as important as why we do it.
Find your motivation to carry out your role to the best of your ability. Is the work to benefit a noble or charitable cause? Then, think consciously about that end goal each step of the way. Or perhaps the work in itself supports or uplifts other individuals and communities. Consider how your actions ripple out and affect countless others, even if they may not notice.
One example: Consider a role that involves making a difference in another’s life through mentoring or coaching. Career coaches are experts in helping individuals make choices that contribute to happiness. Guiding someone towards their vision of career success will be rewarding and motivating.
Finally, challenge yourself. One of the most fulfilling experiences is the sense of accomplishing a project you felt was too big to handle. We are stronger than we think. We have more resources at our disposal than we care to remember. And no task is as difficult as it seems.
What you can do to be happy at work
Reward yourself for completing tasks – Celebrate the small and big wins. This might be waking up at 5 am or finishing that project you’ve been working on for weeks.
Listen to mood-boosting playlists – Services like Spotify and Apple Music curate personalized playlists to uplift and motivate you. Find your favorite tracks and have them ready when you need to hear them.
Drink plenty of water – Dehydration can lead to severe fatigue. Take a break from whatever you’re doing and drink a glass of water whenever you feel the least bit thirsty.
Help a coworker – We’re all battling at least one professional challenge, and it’s encouraging to know we’re not alone. Offer help to your peers — the gratitude they show will be enough to brighten your day.
Take breaks – It’s easy to get wrapped up in meetings or extended projects. But take ten-minute breaks whenever you can to get up, walk around, or drink water. These breaks will help you focus in the long run.
Organize your work – Much of our stress can be attributed to physical and mental clutter of work. Make sure you keep a tidy workspace, both on your desk and on your desktop.
Rest before work – No more late-night television watching or eating. Make it a habit to get quality sleep each night, and you’ll feel more alert when you walk into work.
Have fun on the weekends – Spend it with friends and family, or pursuing a hobby. Work is essential, and your outside life can significantly affect your happiness at work.
Reach out to others – If you ever need help or guidance, you need to communicate it to those close to you.
Make friends at work – A workplace without friends can be an isolating experience. Individuals you can trust and confide in can help break up the monotony of the day.
Use office perks – Water fountains, coffee, beer on tap, and cable television. These are just a few of the various perks that come with office spaces like Novel Coworking. These are included in the cost of membership, so be sure to take advantage.
Plan a vacation – At least once a year, take a few days from work to travel or spend time with family. We can be so absorbed in work, and these breaks can help refresh our mind and body.
Try to work out a flexible schedule – Request to work from home for a few days, or to alter your hours to best suit your needs. The comfort of a flexible schedule can do wonders for your work-life balance.
Ask for a raise – Hard work and loyalty deserve recognition. As daunting it may seem, requesting a raise may help you out of some financial trouble or give you more disposable income.
There is this idea that work must be a dreadful and mundane experience to get through. VaynerMedia co-founder and CEO, Gary Vaynerchuk, explains why the “living for the weekend” mentality is a sign of unhappiness:
“The truth is,” Vaynerchuk writes in his blog, “if you factor out sleep, you basically live to work. It makes up the majority of your life. If you’re unhappy at work, then it’s time to take a step back and ask yourself what you’re actually doing – not by judging yourself or beating yourself up, but by thoughtfully analyzing what you could do to change your situation.”
Learn to love Mondays and hate Fridays. The best work shouldn’t feel like work. It should make you excited to get up in the morning. Remember to place your happiness and health before a paycheck, no matter how enticing it may be.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Depersonalization: Over time, burnout can cause people to develop low self-esteem, constantly putting themselves down for their shortcomings.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
WHAT ARE SOME POPULAR WELLNESS ACTIVITIES?
EXAMINE THE FOOD AND BEVERAGES IN YOUR BREAK ROOM
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.
HOW ABOUT SOME HEALTHY COMPETITION?
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.
OFFER A FLU SHOT CLINIC IN THE FALL
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.
OFFER FREE OR SUBSIDIZED GYM MEMBERSHIPS
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.
HOW CAN CORPORATE WELLNESS PROGRAMS BE IMPROVED?
GET FEEDBACK FROM THE TEAM
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.
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:
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.
REWARD TEAM MEMBERS FOR THEIR CHOICES
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.