A recent study by Stephany Carolan our founder and a doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex was looking at the experience of people that use WorkGuru, our online stress management program. The study was co-authored by Dr Richard de Visser and was published in a peer review journal. Continue reading People’s Experience of Accessing WorkGuru: Our latest Research
For many of us, the Christmas festivities bring with it a range of difficult feelings. It can remind us of the people that we have lost, and it can bring into sharp relief the difference between the ideal families depicted on television and our own complex and less than ideal reality. More than at any other time of the year, Christmas can be a time of great sadness and loneliness. Feelings of loneliness can be as acute when you are in a room surrounded by people, as it is when you are in a room on your own. And it isn’t just something experienced by the few: 1 in 10 of us do not have a close friend and 1 in 5 of us feel unloved. It can affect us at any age whether we are young or old.
Digital health is becoming a booming industry. At its best it can be a time efficient, cost effective way of delivering, convenient, evidence based health treatment to people, At its worst it can be mere snake oil, promising much, and delivering nothing. A recent article for Wired on the effectiveness of mental health apps states that:
“Most apps designed for mental health sufferers, including those endorsed by the NHS, are clinically unproven and potentially ineffective.”
The article describes WorkGuru as one of only four NHS mental health apps that has been found to be clinically effective. This article was in response to a paper published in Evidence-Based Mental Health by Simon Leigh and Steve Flatt. In the process of developing their own mental health app, the authors looked at the apps currently on the market that were being promoted by the NHS, and looked at each of their websites to see if they were publishing outcome evidence for their work. The authors found that only four out of the fourteen apps were publishing any form of patient outcome measures, WorkGuru was one of those four.
We are thrilled that we are getting recognition for the work that we do; and that our emphasis on providing support that has been proven to help people manage stress more effectively is leading the way in digital mental health.
Our CEO Stephany Carolan doesn’t like the term ‘app’, she says:
“While there are things that we can all be doing every day to improve our mental health, there are no quick fixes. The term ‘app’ suggests superficiality and WorkGuru definitely isn’t superficial. It requires people to engage with our programme, and that is one of our strengths. We work hard to help people get the most out of our interactive modules.”
We here at WorkGuru love our academic research – we think it is really important that that our on-line resilience programme is not only based on years of our experience about what works to reduce individual stress and build workplace resilience but also reflects what academic research tells us works.
This is why we are hugely excited by a recently published guide on employee engagement for HR professionals. NHS Employers have launched a guide which draws on a synthesis of the academic research underpinning employee engagement and concludes that there is strong evidence linking what they call ‘positive psychological states’ and staff engagement – positive psychological states include things such as resilience and self-efficacy.
Resilient staff with high self- efficacy (the extent to which we believe in our own ability to complete tasks and reach goals) are more engaged staff, and there is of course lots of evidence for why having engaged staff is important for the success of your business.
The authors suggest that one way that HR professionals can raise engagement levels within their organisation is through offering resilience and mindfulness training. They write: “some relatively simple techniques, based on the principle of ‘positive psychology’, can help boost employees’ resilience, coping mechanisms, and awareness of self and others”.
All music to our ears. Yet more evidence that as well as the myriad of personal reasons why we should all be increasing our emotional resilience, there are also a myriad of organizational reasons why employers should be investing in resilience programmes for their staff – and of course our preference would be for investment in evidence-based, engaging programmes that are delivered on-line with individual direct messaging support from coaches, with the added bonus of on-line groups. Now where do we know an organization that offers all that? 😉
Prioritise, Prioritise, Prioritise
And when you have prioritised: delegate! The ‘trick’ to prioritising is learning to distinguish between your important and your urgent tasks. Important tasks contribute directly to your work goal, and usually have a long-term perspective. Urgent tasks usually demand urgent attention and tend to be dictated by someone else. They have a short-term perspective. Learn to delegate your urgent but not important tasks, and begin to focus on your important not urgent tasks. These are the tasks that will really help you to achieve your goals.
Learn To Say ‘No’
The bottom line is, that you can’t keep squeezing more and more into your day. Something has to give – and usually that something is you. Learn to say ‘no’, even to the things that you would really really love to do but you know that you just wouldn’t be able to do justice to. Saying ‘no’ to new stuff will help you focus and deliver on the things that you are already committed to.
Creating routines helps you to converse energy. Decision making depletes your energy, leaving you less able to focus on the things that are important. Creating routines enables you to cut back on the decisions that you make every day and provides you with the foundation from which to build your working day. Routines help you to be more consistent and effective.
Don’t Multi Task
We have said this before (and I am sure we will say it again) don’t multi task. We all have a finite capacity for paying attention. The amount of attention we have is limited, so we can not effectively focus on more than one thing at a time. Learn to focus on one thing at a time and to batch similar tasks together, saving on energy and keeping yourself focused.
Match Your Task To Your Energy
Another WorkGuru classic – learn to match your tasks to your energy levels. Our energy levels fluctuate during the day – and often during the week. Learn when you are at your most alert and use that time for complex or creative tasks. Learn when you are most depleted and use that time for routine tasks: answering emails or telephone calls. By routinising (I think we might have made that word up!) your tasks to your energy levels you can make the most out of your working day.