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How to choose the right music for different tasks
The benefits of listening to music while working
How music affects productivity
Most workplace wellness programs focus on supporting self-care, such as gym memberships, meditation apps, or paid time off.
Researchers who study employee well-being applaud the genuine concern but are also increasingly concerned that the emphasis on self-care may undermine, rather than support, employee wellness.
The problem with programs supporting self-care is that it fails to take into account that we are social animals. Our psychological health is grounded in attachment to and acceptance by others. When we feel disconnected from others, it poses a significant health risk.
Human connections are critical for addressing the effects of stress, anxiety, and burnout. When organisations focus on individual solutions, it conveys a message that employees are left to manage their pain alone. A real solution requires an entirely different approach to workplace suffering.
Research shows that when teams framed setbacks as if they belonged to the whole team, even if only some members were affected, they increased their communication and acknowledged and helped one another. This improved their function as a group.
By contrast, teams who tried to cope with adversity individually became isolated, stopped communicating, and became physically and socially distanced. Team functioning declined, leading to errors and increased stress.
A relational pause is a temporary, often brief, break from ongoing task work, where people are invited to ask and answer the question, “How is our work affecting us as human beings?”
This pause aims to foster sincere and genuine connections between employees that enable individual well-being. It does not require people to be friends but instead to actively help group members engage productively.
When adversity is framed as collective, individuals experience themselves as part of a joint struggle.
Everyone can look at each other with compassion and empathy. They come to see each other as having both strengths and weaknesses. This helps the group as a whole engage in more mature interactions.
When the team is in the grip of anxiety, it is difficult to think clearly or regain composure.
The act of describing an emotional experience, and receiving compassion, in turn, cause each team member to shoulder some of the burdens.
As teams practice relational pauses, they learn to understand their own dynamics. They start to know each other and the difficulties in more nuanced ways and recognise when emotions triggered by adversity may lead them astray.
The team learn to pause so they can reflect and make a deliberate choice about their path forward and how they will struggle together.
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