Workplace wellness
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Dubai: Enjoying your work and your office environment isn’t always the case for everyone. Actually most people you ask, won’t tell you that they love their jobs or their leadership. They just work to survive.

While the economies of wellbeing are important all year round, extra attention needs to be paid to facilitating wellness in the workplace.

Recently, DHL Express MENA won the Kincentric Best Employers Middle East and North Africa Award for the fifth consecutive year. So we had to find out why this workplace was so much better than others.

Gulf News spoke to Henry Fares, the VP HR of DHL Express MENA, and he shared some insights on DHL’s workplace culture and why they always keep winning.

Here are a few tips to make your workplace a great place to work.

What are the three things that make your work environment a great place?

It is important that our employees are proud to be part of something bigger and understand the purpose their roles deliver. We strive on having an excellent workplace culture, focus on development programs like Certified International Specialist and outstanding employee engagement driven by leaders who connect employees with passion and strong values. These three factors are the essence of what makes us an excellent place to work.

What is the management style you recommend?

I believe the drivers of effective leadership pivot around setting and achieving goals, managing and motivating the team, facing challenges and seizing opportunities. One has to develop their own leadership style to become a leader with focus, with passion and with courage. In my company, we believe in the respect and result culture, we lead by example, and we walk the talk.

How important is mental health for you in the work environment?

Both workers and managers need to actively contribute to the working environment by promoting and protecting the health, safety and well-being of all employees.

We introduced a Mindfulness program in 2019 to help employees better cope with stress in an ever-changing work environment. Participants are trained to build resilience, help focus, enhance personal relationships and strengthen emotional intelligence.

The more we researched on the topic, the more evidence has surfaced about the positive correlation between employee health, wellbeing, engagement and business performance.

Describe your company culture

Our workplace culture is all about putting people first. The focus is on keeping people motivated. That is always a key priority, while delivering those business results: engagement, rewards based on meritocracies, and keeping a focus on developing them for the future.

What is some advice you would give to someone looking to make their company a great place to work?

Creating a great workplace is easier than sustaining it. In today's fast-paced world and mindset, needs and wants will continue to change and the same applies to business trends at least for the foreseeable future. Therefore agility is key. That can be translated in being responsive to the changing needs; making high quality decisions at the right speed, revisiting old practices and being open to new ideas that will shape the future of the business.

Build a culture of open and transparent communication and actively support employee development. Have a purpose, set ambitious purpose goals and create a culture of credibility, respect and pride.

How do you make people feel like they are part of a team?

Inspiring leadership doesn’t just come from big decision-making and bold strategies; it comes from communicating the company’s purpose to the team and translating the purpose into meaningful work.

We believe in the philosophy - Everybody, Everyday, Everywhere… a little bit better. This means that every single employee plays a role in driving continuous change and improvement in our organization. We live by this theory and recognizing our people’s efforts, and providing them with the empowerment and encouragement to make things better for our business and customers.

How independent do you think employees should be?

We encourage a lot of cross functional work. For our big yellow machine to operate we need to work hand in hand. Independent employees are good; however, those who work interdependently and synergistically in creating a solid value chain are an asset. As leaders we invite the team to work together and build trust in one another's actions. Success in any organization can multiply exponentially if there is interdependency, synergy and shared values.

Other ways to make your office a better place to work:

Allow movement

Employees should be able to get up and move around. Sometimes if you sit for too long, you will experience higher levels of lethargy than usual, maintaining movement can help reduce pressure on the spine, send oxygen to muscles, and increase blood flow to the brain. Movement is healthy and a desk chair should support your ergonomic needs as they move.

Have some greenery in the office

Bringing nature into the workplace is not only a beautiful design element, but has been shown to reduce stress, minimize illness and enhance your wellbeing. Whether your workplace has green spaces inside or access to green spaces outside, the impact is overwhelmingly positive.

Use daylight

If possible, flood the workplace with daylight. Use glass walls or a translucent material for space dividers, amplifying all available natural light. If natural light is not an option, a well-lit general office space with artificial lighting will still help with productivity. Consider providing task lights for each individual workspace, whether traditional desk spaces or lounge areas.

Avoid uniformity

Bring variety to the workplace. Add more colours, seek variation, and incorporate naturally complex materials, shapes, forms, patterns and textures. This will help to stimulate creative thinking and frame the mind for contemplation.

Step away and enjoy some privacy

According to some research, engaged employees maintain a degree of control over where and how they work, including access to privacy when needed. They are empowered, both by organizational decisions and the spaces made available to them within their workplace, to make choices about where and how they work. This includes managing their need for privacy in order to concentrate easily and work with teams without disruptions, during Ramadan.