Jen Fisher, National Managing Director of Well-being at Deloitte. Photo Courtesy of Deloitte.
In today’s working world, feeling overwhelmed may seem like the norm. It’s easy to roll out of bed to your iPhone alarm, check the bajillion emails you got last night, scroll through Instagram and feel slightly inferior, then spend your shower and commute thinking about your daily to-dos.
Giving in to your mobile office might seem like an intuitive way to temper performance anxiety and work-related stress. But studies show that this kind of behavior leads to burnout, physical and mental health problems, and a lack of creativity. Jen Fisher experienced this firsthand. She couldn’t get out of bed. She felt constantly stressed because she wasn’t taking the time to work wellness into her life.
Once Fisher realized she didn’t want to live like this anymore, she became passionate about changing her routines and sharing the importance of wellness with others. She was afraid she’d have to leave Deloitte to find a career dedicated to well-being, and she shared her concerns with her mentor.
“[My mentor] said, ‘If you need this in your life, why doesn’t everyone else need it?,’” Fisher recounted.
Fisher sat down with senior leaders and presented a business case for a new role that would create a strong well-being culture within Deloitte. She was blown away by the support she was given.
“The most unique thing about [Deloitte] is that we really do have an entrepreneurial culture,” Fisher said. “[Our culture] allows people to do their job, but also to bring their passions to work with them.”
Now the National Managing Director of Well-being at Deloitte, she’s in charge of helping employees build well-being into their everyday lives. Recently, she spoke to Fairygodboss President Romy Newman on a webinar about what well-being really means, how Deloitte has made it a touchpoint of their culture, and how we can all work well-being into our day.
One of Newman’s first questions is one we’ve all probably asked: What does well-being mean? To Fisher and Deloitte, it’s more than taking a yoga class or drinking water. It’s holistic and focuses on caring for the body, mind and purpose. It means taking care of the physical backbone of good health, such as eating well and getting exercise. But it also means taking care of emotional needs — such as the need to be creative and the need to work to your strengths — and working toward your purpose or the “why” behind your work.
Because Deloitte employees have varying lifestyles (a large amount of Deloitte’s employees are traveling or virtual, while others work at local offices), the organization has to think about the well-being needs of all of them. That keeps Fisher pretty busy. The organization’s different initiatives range from mindfulness and meditation programs to a successful program about managing your personal energy.
“People are ever evolving, and you want to be there with them throughout their life journey,” she said.
One of Deloitte’s most utilized programs is specifically heralded for its flexibility. The company offers its employees a well-being subsidy of $500 a year, which can be spent on something that matters to them and their well-being. Purchases can span the body, mind, purpose framework, so they can vary from a package of workout classes to ski passes.
While Fisher is proud of the resources she has implemented at Deloitte, she says they would be nothing without a company culture rooted in wellness and care for its employees.
In case your company hasn’t worked well-being into its culture, Fisher shared a few methods that anyone can use to be more well in their personal and professional lives:
Maximize your micro-behaviors: “When you paint a big picture of a busy day, it feels daunting and scary. It’s like you can’t overcome it, because so many things are coming at you,” Fisher said. She suggests that rather than try to change your entire daily schedule, focus in on implementing healthy micro-behaviors — things you know that you can accomplish everyday if you set some boundaries. Fisher suggests starting small, like journaling for a few minutes at the end of each day, taking a walking meeting, or sitting by your window in the morning with a cup of coffee.
Don’t wake up and check your email: “When you wake up and check your email, someone else is driving your day. You want to wake up with intention,” she said.
Manage your energy: “We all talk about time management and what’s on our calendar. You can’t change time or make more time, but you can make more energy,” Fisher said. There are four dimensions of energy: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Fisher advises paying attention to what tasks give you energy, and what tasks take it away. Then, use this knowledge to balance energy-giving and energy-taking tasks. This will create capacity for more energy, and keep you focused throughout the day.
Remain mindful: Mindfulness can decrease stress, increase focus and promote happiness. Fisher suggests boosting mindfulness through regular meditation. Phone apps provide an inexpensive and simple way to begin meditating. Fisher recommended headspace, calm and buddhify.
Prioritize sleep: Throughout the discussion, Fisher emphasized the importance of sleep to all other aspects of well-being. She’s so obsessed with sleep and its impacts on health that “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker sits by her bedside. She suggests reading it to learn why you should be sleeping more. After all, she says, Walker starts the book with something along the lines of: “If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re going to die early.”
Realize you can’t do it all: “You don’t have to be everything to everyone right now. Have the courage to do less. Self-care isn’t selfish. You need to take care of yourself to have a sustainable career and to have a sustainable life,” she said.
If you’d like to learn more about working well-being into your life (or workplace!), you can listen to the full webinar here. And for more information on Fisher’s work, listen to her podcast “Workwell,” available where you stream podcasts.
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