Wellbeing: A Workplace Life Raft

Wellbeing: A Workplace Life Raft
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In this joint opinion piece, Atomic 212° media executives Jake Bull (left in picture) and Voy Chen (right in picture) explore workplace productivity, suggesting that a social workplace and positive culture generates creativity and collaboration from a grassroots level upwards.

I smile as he powers down the hall, phone in one hand and laptop in the other. I recognise that look…an expression of nervous energy and sheer determination. It’s pitch day and agency activity is high.

I politely ask: “Not long now, how do you feel?”

I am greeted with a courageous smile and fast-moving-response … “Hi mate, very busy…I’ll catch you soon.”

It appears this seems to be a fairly common interaction between colleagues working amongst the whip-crack speed of agency land. On a daily basis, we have professional interactions with media suppliers, colleagues and press… the diverse nature of a work day is known to all. Forget 9 to 5. Constantly under the pump. Throw in a last minute client request, invoicing, creative issues, and deadlines, and that’s just a regular week in the glorious world of media.

Now our intention is to not merely harp on about the chaotic nature of the industry (we all know what we signed up for), but to instead offer a perspective into the concept of workplace well-being – a phrase that resonates with positive productivity.

With this in mind, the implementation of workplace well-being initiatives have quickly become trendy agency incentives. We all want to go where those glorious workplace perks are and if your agency offers ‘Yoga on the Wharf’, ‘Sushi Fridays’ or ‘Taco Tuesday’… that’s just an added bonus.

But in all seriousness, these examples form the backbone of a creative media business. A social workplace and positive culture generates creativity and collaboration from a grassroots level upwards.

Entry-level executives have a chance to share a beer with C-suite professionals in a relaxed environment where they feel comfortable to explore those pressing questions that filter through the mind, while simultaneously engaging in taco chit chat to take the edge off.

“So…I’ve been meaning to ask: How efficient is programmatic making the traditional TV buying cycle?… and what about this jalapeño sauce.”

This relationship with colleagues also extends to lending a hand in the chaotic office environment. Agencies are known to ring bells with new business wins, however what about ringing the bell to offer fellow colleagues support when under the pump. This simple action, promotes unity and allows agency members to be more resourceful during busy periods.

Having a great workplace environment that encourages a thriving social culture has been known to generate better solutions, innovations and creative ideas. Take Google, for example, the corporation introduced the “20 per cent time” scheme where staff were allocated eight hours a week to drive creativity.

What did this result in? Gmail, Google Earth and Google Talk. These are shining examples of creativity from the collective.

Then there’s the six hour working day which was implemented in Sweden and introduced to increase focus and productivity allowing staff to spend more time with their family and friends.

We live in a new-age world where technology and innovation have re-defined the industry and contemporary workplace.

Keeping these words of productive wisdom in mind, it is also worth exploring the role of relationships in the workplace. Emails, Emails and more emails – How many do you get every day? How many do you delete every day? How many do you respond to every day? The answer to all those question is enough. What we don’t take into consideration when emailing is the time spent to put it together, send it and then await a response back. A phone call on the other hand, builds a relationship and often gets a solution immediately.

Client call care, a fantastic initiative, was introduced to encourage employees to pick up the phone and speak to clients and media owners on a weekly basis. Building relationships is important in this industry, as is knowing and understanding your client’s business. With the ever changing industry and with work evolving so quickly, this initiative allows agency staff to keep up to speed whilst building relationships. Winner!

As our industry experience evolves, so too do our creative ways of improving well-being in the workplace. Whether this is a phone call, a spot of Yoga, or offering to help colleagues during down time, these small gestures have a positive ripple effect. It is important to remember that well-being is described as the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy. If you can build a culture nurturing this philosophy, then you are onto a winner.

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