Self-Care Techniques

15 Self-Care Techniques Every Manager Should Know

Self-care? Many would ask, with brows furrowed, “Isn’t that for weekends?” But what if I told you that self-care isn’t just a Sunday afternoon luxury? Instead, it’s a daily commitment, a lifestyle that should follow us from our morning coffee to our workplace and back home.

Understanding self-care goes beyond merely booking a spa appointment or taking a beach vacation. It’s about nurturing our body, mind, and soul even during office hours. 

And why does this matter? Because a nurtured individual is not only happier but also more productive, innovative, and resilient. Investing in self-care yields dividends not just for ourselves but also for our organizations.

Self-Care at Work

Self-care is the deliberate act of tending to one’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. At work, it plays a pivotal role in ensuring that employees remain productive, motivated, and engaged. 

By prioritizing self-care, individuals can prevent burnout, reduce stress, and enhance their overall job satisfaction, leading to a healthier work environment, improved team dynamics, and increased organizational efficiency. I

In essence, self-care is not just beneficial for the individual but is also a critical component for the holistic success of any workplace.

We will delve into ways to integrate self-care seamlessly into our work routines. 

Whether you’re an employee looking for balance or a manager aiming to foster a thriving work environment, let’s embark on this journey together. 

Let’s reclaim self-care, not as an afterthought, but as a core tenet of our daily lives.

1. Flexible Work Hours

Giving employees the freedom to choose their start and end times, within certain limits, while ensuring that they complete their required number of work hours.

Studies have shown that allowing employees flexibility in their schedules can lead to increased job satisfaction, reduced stress, and better overall well-being.

A notable example is the tech giant, Google, known for its flexible working hours, which has consistently ranked high in employee satisfaction and productivity.

Mara, a manager at a Manila-based tech firm, noticed her team often arriving at work looking exhausted due to Manila’s infamous traffic. Instead of rigidly sticking to the 9-5 routine, she proposed a system where employees could choose their timings between 7 AM and 10 AM starts.

One day, as she was getting her morning coffee, one of her team members, Jomar, approached her, “Ma’am Mara, ever since you introduced the flexible hours, I’ve been able to avoid the rush-hour traffic. I’ve been coming in earlier, feeling more refreshed, and I’ve actually been more productive.”

Mara smiled, “That was the goal, Jomar. I’m glad it’s helping.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Survey your team to identify the preferred work hours. Ensure that there’s a system in place to monitor and ensure that tasks are being completed on time. It’s about trust and efficiency, not micromanagement.

Managers and leaders, consider integrating flexible work hours in your team’s routine. Witness not only a surge in productivity but also a happier and more fulfilled workforce.

2. Breaks

Encourage employees to take short, frequent breaks during the day to rest their eyes, stretch, or take a brief walk.

Multiple studies, including those from the Pomodoro Technique, suggest that short breaks during work can boost productivity and reduce stress.

This approach, when implemented properly, can lead to a more efficient workflow and a fresher mind throughout the workday.

Ramon, a team leader in a bustling Cebu office, realized that most of his members were sitting for prolonged periods. He introduced the idea of taking a five-minute break every hour.

“It’s not about idling around,” he emphasized, “It’s about giving our minds a short rest to be more efficient.”

A few weeks later, Leah, one of the team members, shared her experience during a team meeting, “Sir, those short breaks have been a game-changer! I use them to stretch a bit, and when I return to my desk, I feel more focused.”

Ramon nodded, “I’m glad to hear that. It’s essential for our well-being.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Introduce the concept of short breaks in team meetings. Highlight their importance and perhaps even set a reminder system to ensure everyone takes their short break.

Incorporate short breaks into the daily work routine and see the transformative effect on both work quality and team morale.

3. Healthy Snacks

Provide a selection of nutritious snacks in the break room, such as fruits, nuts, and yogurt, to promote healthy eating habits during work hours.

Research from Harvard Business Review highlights that employees who consume healthier foods are more productive and have higher job performance than those who don’t.

Many multinational companies, including Twitter and LinkedIn, offer a range of healthy snacks in their offices, acknowledging the link between nutrition and workplace efficiency.

Anna, a manager in a bustling Makati office, decided to replace the usual chips and sugary drinks in the pantry with healthier alternatives. She stocked it with fresh fruits, unsalted nuts, and yogurt.

A month later, during lunch, Paolo, a long-time employee remarked, “Ma’am Anna, those bananas and nuts in the pantry? I’ve been having them for my mid-morning snack. I feel so much more energized throughout the day.”

Anna replied, “That’s wonderful, Paolo. Good nutrition is a simple way to ensure we’re at our best every day.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Research and source local suppliers for fresh and healthy snacks. Rotate the selection periodically to keep things interesting for the team.

Elevate the pantry game. Introducing healthy snacks can be a small step towards a significant boost in team energy and productivity.

4. Quiet Spaces

Designate areas within the workplace as quiet zones or meditation rooms where employees can relax, meditate, or take a mental break from the daily hustle.

According to a study by Steelcase, having a space where employees can find solitude during work hours can lead to increased cognitive performance and better mental well-being.

Companies like Apple and Nike provide meditation and relaxation spaces for their employees, recognizing the value of mental breaks during the workday.

In a Davao-based software development company, Liza, an HR manager, observed that the open office layout sometimes caused distractions. She decided to convert a small unused room into a ‘Quiet Space’, with comfortable seating, dim lighting, and some indoor plants.

After introducing the quiet room, she overheard Mark, a software developer, talking to a colleague, “You know, that quiet room? I spent 10 minutes there after a hectic meeting, and it made all the difference. I felt so much calmer and ready to tackle my coding tasks.”

Liza, feeling pleased with the feedback, mentioned, “It’s essential for us to have a place where we can momentarily escape and find our center.”

Sidebar tip for managers: If space is a constraint, consider setting specific ‘quiet hours’ in common areas where discussions are minimized, and silence is prioritized.

Call to action: Cultivate a serene space or time within your workplace. It’s not just about physical rest but mental rejuvenation that can lead to more profound insights and focus.

5. Ergonomic Workspaces

Invest in ergonomic furniture and equipment, such as standing desks or ergonomic chairs, to reduce physical strain and potential health issues related to prolonged sitting.

A Cornell University study emphasizes that ergonomic interventions can lead to a decrease in musculoskeletal issues and an increase in productivity. Companies like Facebook and Microsoft prioritize ergonomics in their office setups, understanding the long-term benefits for their employees’ health and well-being.

At a Quezon City-based design firm, Roberto, the operations manager, noticed many of his team members complaining about back pain and discomfort. He decided to bring in an expert to assess the office setup and make recommendations.

Based on the expert’s suggestions, Roberto introduced adjustable standing desks, ergonomic chairs, and keyboard/mouse setups tailored for extended use.

A few weeks after the changes, Grace, a senior designer, approached Roberto during a coffee break. “Sir Roberto, ever since we switched to these new desks and chairs, I’ve noticed a significant difference. No more back pain at the end of the day!”

Roberto smiled, “I’m delighted to hear that, Grace. Our health and comfort are paramount. We can’t produce our best work if we’re in pain or uncomfortable.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Before making large ergonomic purchases, consider having an expert assess the specific needs of your workspace and team to ensure the most effective improvements.

Prioritize ergonomics in the workplace. It’s an investment that not only promotes health but can also lead to improved work quality and employee satisfaction.

6. Regular Check-ins

Establish consistent one-on-one meetings between managers and their teams to discuss not just work but also their well-being.

Research from Gallup shows that regular engagement between managers and their team members can lead to higher job satisfaction and a more profound sense of belonging.

Companies like Adobe have replaced traditional performance reviews with frequent check-ins, focusing on real-time feedback and employee well-being.

Carlos, a department head in an Iloilo-based company, made it a point to have bi-weekly check-ins with each of his team members.

During these sessions, he ensured he took the time to ask about their well-being, challenges, and any support they might need.

During one of these sessions, Mika, a junior analyst, expressed, “Sir Carlos, these regular chats mean a lot to me. It’s not just about the work; it feels like the company genuinely cares about how I’m doing.”

Carlos responded, “That’s exactly the point, Mika. Your well-being is as important as the projects we handle.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Ensure that check-ins are structured yet open-ended. While it’s essential to cover work topics, leave ample room for personal discussions and feedback.

Call to action: Regular check-ins can be transformative. By investing time in your team, you’re not only ensuring project success but also fostering a culture of care and understanding.

7. Wellness Programs

Introduce programs or workshops focusing on mental health, stress management, fitness, and other aspects of personal well-being.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that companies with robust wellness programs witness lower absenteeism, improved employee morale, and reduced healthcare costs.

Leading companies like Johnson & Johnson have long-established wellness programs, attributing part of their success to their investment in employee health.

At a Bacolod-based logistics company, Elena, the HR director, launched a wellness month. The initiative included free yoga sessions, stress management seminars, and a talk on nutrition.

A few days into the program, Alden, a logistics coordinator, approached Elena. “Ma’am, the stress management workshop was an eye-opener. I’ve started practicing some of the techniques, and I genuinely feel more relaxed, even on hectic days.”

Elena nodded, “I’m thrilled to hear that, Alden. We want everyone here to not only work efficiently but also to lead healthier lives.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Start small. If you can’t introduce a full-blown program, maybe organize weekly activities or talks. The key is consistency and relevance to your team’s needs.

Call to action: Wellness programs are more than just a trend; they’re a testament to a company’s commitment to its people. Consider implementing one, no matter how modest, and witness the ripple effect on team morale and efficiency.

8. Limiting Overtime

Ensure that employees aren’t consistently working beyond their designated hours, promoting a balance between work and personal time.

A study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that excessive overtime can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and health issues.

Renowned organizations like Toyota in Japan have made concerted efforts to reduce overtime, understanding its detrimental impact on employees’ well-being and overall productivity.

In a Cagayan de Oro-based manufacturing plant, Rosa, a production manager, noticed her team frequently staying late. While she appreciated their dedication, she also understood the importance of work-life balance.

Rosa decided to streamline the workflow, delegate tasks more effectively, and set clear expectations about working hours.

One evening, as most of the team was leaving on time, Rafael, a senior technician, remarked, “Ma’am Rosa, it’s been weeks since I’ve been home in daylight. My family and I appreciate it so much.”

Rosa smiled warmly, “You all deserve a balance, Rafael. Work is vital, but so is our time with family and ourselves.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Regularly evaluate your team’s workload. If consistent overtime is required, it may be time to consider additional staffing or process improvements.

Striking a balance between work and personal time is essential for a sustainable career and personal well-being. As managers, let’s champion that balance for ourselves and our teams.

9. Mental Health Support

Provide access to counseling services or Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to offer professional mental health support for those who need it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has highlighted the importance of mental well-being in the workplace, emphasizing that neglect can result in decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.

Leading companies like Starbucks and Unilever offer mental health benefits, recognizing the importance of holistic employee well-being.

At a Baguio-based telecommunications firm, Jerome, the HR head, introduced an EAP, which included access to mental health professionals. He organized sessions to sensitize the team about the importance of mental health and informed them about the available resources.

A few months later, Lianne, a project manager, confidentially shared with Jerome, “I was going through a tough personal phase, and the counseling sessions arranged through the EAP were invaluable. It helped me cope and continue performing at work.”

Jerome replied, “I’m genuinely glad to hear that, Lianne. Mental well-being is just as critical as physical health. We’re here to support in every way.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Normalize conversations about mental health. The more open the dialogue, the less stigmatized employees will feel about seeking help when needed.

Call to action: Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being. Organizations that prioritize and provide support in this area stand to benefit from a more resilient and focused workforce.

10. Physical Activity

Promote opportunities for employees to engage in physical activities like organizing walking groups, offering discounted gym memberships, or hosting in-office yoga sessions.

According to the American Heart Association, regular physical activity not only benefits physical health but also improves mental well-being, cognitive function, and workplace productivity.

Companies like Fitbit and Reebok encourage physical activity, both through their products and their workplace cultures.

At a Laguna-based marketing agency, Patricia, the CEO, decided to initiate ‘Wellness Wednesdays’, where every week, a new physical activity would be introduced to the team. One week it might be a group walk around the nearby park, and another week could be a short Zumba session in the office.

One Wednesday, after a lively dance workout, Rodel, a graphic designer, shared, “Ma’am Patricia, these sessions are such a refreshment! It not only gets me moving but also boosts my creativity. I’ve been coming up with better designs lately.”

Patricia chuckled, “That’s the spirit, Rodel! A healthy body often leads to a more vibrant mind.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Gauge the interests of your team. While some might enjoy high-energy activities, others might prefer calmer exercises like tai chi or pilates. It’s all about inclusivity and variety.

Call to action: Get moving, and inspire your team to do the same. Even small bursts of physical activity can lead to significant improvements in health, creativity, and overall morale.

11. Professional Development

Support employees in their growth by offering workshops, courses, or stipends for further education to expand their skill set and knowledge base.

A LinkedIn Learning report indicates that 94% of employees would stay longer at a company if it invested in their career development. Global giants like Deloitte and PwC have extensive learning and development programs, emphasizing continuous growth and learning.

At a Batangas-based finance firm, Arvin, the Director of Operations, introduced a monthly ‘Learn & Grow’ session. These sessions ranged from internal knowledge-sharing presentations to external experts giving talks on emerging trends in finance.

During one of these sessions, Carmela, a finance analyst, shared, “Sir Arvin, these sessions are incredibly insightful. Last month’s workshop on data analytics has already helped me streamline some of our processes.”

Arvin nodded appreciatively, “Continuous learning is the backbone of our industry, Carmela. We aim to provide every opportunity for our team to evolve and excel.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Collaborate with your team to identify areas of interest or skill gaps. Tailor your professional development initiatives to address these, ensuring they are both relevant and engaging.

Call to action: Invest in continuous learning. It not only elevates the capabilities of your team but also showcases a commitment to their professional growth and well-being.

12. Work-from-Home Options

Offer the flexibility for employees to work remotely, even if it’s just occasionally, to provide a change of environment and potentially reduce stressors related to commuting or office dynamics.

According to a study by Stanford University, work-from-home can lead to increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and reduced employee turnover. Tech behemoths like Twitter and Salesforce have incorporated remote work policies, demonstrating the benefits of such flexibility.

In a Pampanga-based customer service center, Bianca, the center head, introduced a policy where employees could opt to work from home two days a month. This move was to alleviate commuting stress and provide a balanced work environment.

After a few weeks, Joaquin, a customer service representative, mentioned to Bianca, “Ma’am, working from home occasionally has been fantastic. I save on commute time, which I then spend with my family or for some ‘me’ time. It’s rejuvenated my approach to work.”

Bianca replied, “That’s exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for, Joaquin. Balance is key in ensuring we give our best both professionally and personally.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Establish clear communication and accountability protocols for remote working days to ensure that work efficiency remains consistent.

Call to action: Embrace the future of work. By incorporating flexible work-from-home options, managers can create a more adaptable and resilient work environment, catering to the diverse needs of their teams.

13. Social Activities

Organize team-building events or social gatherings outside of work to promote relaxation, strengthen team bonds, and provide a break from the usual work routine.

Research from TINYPulse, an employee engagement firm, reveals that strong coworker relationships improve workplace satisfaction by 50%. Leading companies like Zappos and HubSpot regularly host team outings and events, emphasizing the importance of camaraderie in the workplace.

In a Tagaytay-based hospitality firm, Neil, the general manager, initiated monthly ‘Team Bonding Fridays’. These weren’t just dinners; each month had a theme – from karaoke nights to outdoor picnics.

After one such event, a cooking challenge, Trina, a front desk associate, excitedly shared with Neil, “Sir, these events are such a breath of fresh air! Today, I collaborated with members I barely spoke to at work, and now I feel we’re more of a family than just colleagues.”

Neil grinned, “That’s the spirit, Trina. Bonding beyond the confines of our roles helps us understand and support each other better.”

Sidebar tip for managers: When planning social activities, consider the diverse interests within your team. It’s essential to ensure that everyone feels included and engaged.

Call to action: Foster camaraderie outside the office walls. By investing in social activities, managers pave the way for stronger.

14. Clear Communication

Promote an environment of open dialogue where employees feel comfortable discussing their needs, sharing feedback, or expressing concerns related to their well-being and work.

A survey by Interact Studio found that 69% of managers often feel uncomfortable communicating with their employees, but transparency and regular feedback are crucial for a healthy workplace culture.

Global leaders like Netflix and Spotify champion transparent communication, citing its importance in building trust and boosting morale.

In a Cavite-based e-commerce startup, Rhys, the team lead, began hosting bi-monthly ‘Open Floor’ sessions. These were spaces where team members could voice out concerns, provide feedback, or simply discuss new ideas without any judgment.

After one session, Danica, a content creator, approached Rhys, “Sir Rhys, the Open Floor today made me realize the value of our voices. Knowing that our feedback matters makes me feel truly valued here.”

Rhys responded, “Thank you, Danica. I believe that for us to thrive, we need to understand and value each other’s perspectives.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Ensure that open communication channels aren’t just about hearing but also about responding and acting. Acknowledgment and follow-through are vital.

Call to action: Encourage transparency and open dialogue within your teams. When employees feel heard and valued, it fosters a positive and productive environment.

15. Recognize and Reward

Regularly acknowledge and celebrate the hard work and achievements of employees, whether through verbal praise, awards, or other incentives.

A Gallup study indicates that consistent recognition boosts employee engagement, reduces turnover, and encourages higher performance.

Companies like Salesforce and Cisco have built cultures of appreciation, regularly recognizing and celebrating employee milestones and successes.

At a Cebu-based digital marketing agency, Miguel, the creative director, implemented a ‘Star of the Month’ program. Each month, one standout employee was recognized for their exceptional work and dedication, receiving not just a certificate but also a day off or a small bonus.

After being recognized as the Star of the Month, Leah, a graphic designer, expressed her gratitude to Miguel, “Sir, this recognition means so much to me.

It’s not just about the reward, but knowing that my efforts are seen and appreciated gives me a motivation boost.”

Miguel nodded, “Every member’s contribution drives our success, Leah. It’s essential for us to celebrate that.”

Sidebar tip for managers: Recognitions don’t always have to be grand gestures. Sometimes, a simple thank-you note or a shoutout in a team meeting can make all the difference.

Call to action: Make appreciation a regular ritual. Recognizing and rewarding the efforts of employees not only uplifts them individually but also elevates the entire team spirit.

Prioritizing Self-Care in the Workplace

One thing remains crystal clear: self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Our professional lives aren’t siloed from our personal well-being. They are intertwined, each influencing the other.

Every workplace professional, whether you’re a seasoned leader or just embarking on your career journey, needs to be mindful of self-care.

The ripple effects of this mindfulness are far-reaching, creating not just a more fulfilling professional experience but also a life imbued with balance and purpose.

As we close this guide, here are three final tips to be ever-mindful of self-care:

Dedicate a few minutes at the start or end of your day to self-reflect. Understand what worked for you, what drained you, and what uplifted you. This introspection will guide your self-care strategies.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or facing challenges, voice it out. Whether it’s to a colleague, a manager, or through feedback channels, open communication can pave the way for support and understanding.

Every moment of self-care, every small step towards well-being, is a victory. Celebrate these moments, whether it’s a day without overtime, a task accomplished, or simply recognizing when you need a break.

With these tools in your arsenal, you’re equipped to champion self-care, both for yourself and for those around you. Here’s to a workplace that thrives on well-being and productivity in equal measure.

Share Your Self-Care Techniques

Every individual’s journey with self-care is unique. The techniques that work wonders for one may not necessarily resonate with another.

This diversity of experiences is what makes the conversation around workplace self-care so rich and invaluable.

We invite you, our readers, to be active contributors to this narrative.

Share Your Techniques: Have a self-care strategy that’s been your beacon during stressful workdays? Share it with us. Your method could be the solution someone else has been searching for.

Engage Your Superiors: Discuss these ideas with your managers or HR teams. Advocating for self-care can spark positive change, not just for you but for your entire organization.

Who knows? Your suggestion might become the next big wellness initiative at your workplace.

Amplify on Social Media: Take this discussion to platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Use the hashtag #WorkplaceSelfCare and join a larger community discussing and sharing self-care methods. Your share could inspire organizations worldwide.

Apply, Study, and Iterate: If an idea resonates with you, apply it. Monitor its impact on your well-being and work performance. Not every technique will be a perfect fit right off the bat.

Tweak as needed, iterate, and find what aligns best with your needs.

In prioritizing and promoting self-care, you’re not just enhancing your own work experience but setting the stage for healthier, happier workplaces everywhere. Let’s make self-care the norm, not the exception. Join the movement, and let’s transform the world of work together.