From Pledges to Progress: Addressing Burnout and Stress in Modern Workplaces
Despite many workplaces vowing to prioritize wellness, recent studies reveal that burnout and stress continue to persist at alarming levels. This concerning situation not only impacts economic performance but also poses a significant threat to our collective well-being. To find out what can be done we sat down with Tawn Williams, a seasoned Corporate Wellness Consultant and the visionary Founder of House of Anaya, an organization dedicated to revolutionizing the future of wellness.
Tell us a little about your latest project House of Anaya and the issue it’s tackling?
Despite many workplaces vowing to prioritize wellness, burnout, and stress continue to be at an all-time high. Why? Because while many employers offer wellness programs, employees are left to take care of their own well-being after work hours. The issue with this is that if teams are already overworked, they may not have the capacity or desire to prioritize self-care. As a result, employers may find that their offerings are not being utilized as much as they had hoped, leading to a lack of return on investment. At House of Anaya, we work with our clients to create solutions that seamlessly blend into their workplace culture. Our tools for emotional balance are accessible and easy to use, positively impacting the day-to-day experience of employees. This has been linked to higher employee retention, increased productivity, stronger peer-to-peer trust, and an overall greater sense of well-being.
With your extensive experience working with leadership teams, what are some common obstacles you’ve observed in creating a more inclusive and wellness-oriented culture at work?
One of the main obstacles we often come across is delayed integration or lack of consistency. Changing a company’s culture takes time and deliberate effort, but some organizations may feel pressure to act quickly. Unfortunately, this approach often leads to results that don’t feel genuine. When efforts lack authenticity, employees notice and lose trust, causing programs to lose momentum. And what happens when programs lose momentum? Employers end up scaling back or discontinuing them, essentially starting from scratch. Because of the time and attention required, our biggest challenge is often getting a commitment to make wellness a core value rather than just an initiative.
How do you work with teams to create a more empowering workplace culture? Are there any simple strategies you suggest managers start with?
We start by collaborating with our partners to uncover the unspoken communication within their organization, including conversations among colleagues, leaders, and the overall employee experience. These subtle energy cues, like a brief pause in a sentence when asking employees how they feel, can reveal important insights. By being attuned to these cues, we can identify the small but significant gaps in what teams want and align them with a realistic and achievable timeline. This is why we take a customized approach to each partnership, understanding their specific goals and requirements.
One way for managers to initiate a cultural shift is by being transparent. This means sharing personal thoughts and feelings, whether it’s about stress from a project or excitement for an upcoming vacation. The goal is to create a more humanized work environment, where imperfections are acknowledged. This leads to an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable expressing their emotions and working collaboratively to find solutions that benefit both themselves and the team.
How do you believe personal and professional growth are interconnected within a corporate wellness framework?
Discovering and embracing our inner talents leads to personal and professional growth. As we develop these skills, we can contribute to our team in unique ways, bridging any gaps in team dynamics. Job titles don’t define us – it’s the continuous development of our abilities that truly matters.
For example, imagine someone in an accounting role who is also a talented artist. As their passion for art grows, they may feel conflicted about their accounting position. However, they may not realize that the company has a need for a graphic artist in the marketing department. By stepping out of their comfort zone, these employees can contribute in a more fulfilling and valuable way, benefiting both themselves and the company.
As a woman of color, what unique insights or perspectives do you bring to the table in the corporate wellness space? How do you leverage your background to drive meaningful change and promote diversity in the workplace?
Having a diverse background allows me to bring a fresh perspective to the corporate wellness space. I fully understand that different communities have different needs, and it’s important to address these variations. Sometimes, even well-intentioned companies may lack a diverse workforce, which can lead to a lack of understanding in terms of soulful wellness. By leveraging this understanding, we can serve as role models and create an environment where every individual feels seen, heard, and deserving of the opportunity to find inner balance and understanding in their own unique way.
Offsites have become really popular over the last couple of years. Why are retreats so impactful?
By stepping away from your usual surroundings, retreats create an inviting environment for mindfulness and heightened awareness. Free from distractions, participants can fully immerse themselves in the present moment. This allows them to easily take advantage of the dedicated time and space for reflection and connection, enabling faster integration of valuable insights and personal growth, making it a great way to fast-track the journey to inner alignment.
What’s Your Personal Mantra?
“Your heart is the gateway to deep wisdom”
What do you want to achieve next?
I would love to establish a benchmark for workplace wellness and develop a system that recognizes employers with exceptional wellness programs. This would aim to assist job seekers in finding companies that prioritize their employees’ well-being while enabling organizations to showcase their outstanding benefits.
Any last thoughts?
Take charge of your own journey towards inner alignment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, as we each have unique purposes to fulfill. Discover your personal power and unearth hidden talents that will benefit the greater good. Yes, it will require time, energy, and dedication. You may encounter mental obstacles along the way, but overcome them and you will achieve great victories and inner tranquility. Remember, above all else, never stop striving.
Want more inspiring interviews? Read about Angela Gargano’s Guide to Meaningful Entrepreneurship, Dr. Sonia Chopra’s Toothaches to Triumph Story of Struggles and Success, and Sara Sutton Fell Founder and CEO of FlexJobs Who’s Making Meaningful Work From Home Happen, part of our interview series spotlighting successful women in business.
Melissa Stewart is the founder of SheOwnsIt.com. She is a Purveyor of Possibility, Entrepreneur Advocate and Coffee Addict. She believes that behind every successful woman is her story. What’s your story?