The Importance of PACE in the Workplace
There is a growing sense of hope that over the coming months there will be easing of restrictions and a gradual return to a somewhat normal life. Although the majority of us are frustrated and exhausted at the restrictions in our lives, most of us accept that what we are doing is necessary for the greater good.
However what we have experienced over the past year has cost us a great deal both economically and mentally. Our personal wellbeing has been affected by the loss of connection with family and friends, the loss of freedom to do the things we enjoy the most and the never ending negative news cycle.
It can be very difficult for organisations to gauge the wellbeing of their employees from behind a mask or through an online meeting, however it is vital that employers engage with and support their employees in this important aspect of their lives. That is why it’s important to help the people working in an organisation to PACE themselves.
PACE is a way for us all to reflect and develop strategies to look after our own wellbeing as well as that of others. PACE stands for Perseverance, Action, Compassion and Empathy and is a great way to help others as well as ourselves during challenging times.
Overcoming challenges helps us to build resilience and core to our resilience is our perseverance through difficult situations. We are born with a natural persistence that we tend to lose a little as we grow up and learn that we need to be mannerly and polite in order to get along with others. However our innate ability to persevere through the most difficult of situations can be accessed whenever we need it.
Many of us have learned this fact over the past year, however what we often fail to do is acknowledge just how resilient we have been and what we have managed to cope with. Often we belittle our resilience as we feel others have it worse than us. Although that might be true in many cases, we can only deal with the situations we find ourselves in at any given time. Instead of downplaying what we have managed to do, it’s important to practice some self-compassion. This means taking the time to reflect and allow ourselves some credit.
This concept also applies to workplaces, many of which have overcome massive challenges over the past year. Taking the time to reflect on what has been achieved and how adaptable and persistent leaders and employees have been will instil a sense of pride and boost the wellbeing of everyone in the organisation.
Inertia is the enemy of wellbeing. When our mental wellbeing is low, it can be easy to procrastinate and hope that it will just pass and we will begin to feel better. However it is in the actions we take that our wellbeing improves. In fact the act of taking action in itself can give us a feeling of accomplishment and boost our wellbeing.
There are many interventions that organisations can put in place to support their employee’s wellbeing such as, encouraging social connection, offering access to advice and support as well as destigmatising the topic by opening up an open dialogue around mental health and wellbeing. The smallest things can make a huge difference to those struggling.
Compassion for both the self and others has never been more important. Compassion literally means “to suffer together”. Although we have all had different experiences over the past year all of us have suffered in some way. Within organisations, engaging compassionately with people will allow the important space for them to realise that they are valued and appreciated.
Compassion also allows us to understand the suffering of others. When we are experiencing a difficult time we tend to believe that we are the only ones who feel this way. Understanding compassion brings our awareness to the fact that others are also experiencing difficult thoughts and emotions, which can strengthen our resolve and motivate us to help others.
Empathy and compassion are often used interchangeably but there is an important difference between the two. Compassion opens our minds to the challenges faced by many people. Empathy however focuses our attention on one person. It allows us to feel what they are feeling and motivates us to support that person.
This subtle difference is why encouraging employees to stay connected socially in the workplace is an important factor for employee wellbeing.
With hope on the horizon we still face some challenging times ahead. Whether we are in times of crises or when we return to normality, remembering PACE will remind everyone of the simple strategies they can use to take care of their wellbeing.
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