Counseling at Work: a Must-Have Initiative to Strengthen – and De-stress – Your Team

counseling at work

The past year was one revolving around changes. Not just that the web design and development projects have grown in number and also expanded more in the web and mobile app direction, but also the team itself have grown. And this fact has changed both the workflow and the management mindset.

From a long term perspective, we know that technology development, along with the focus on the big concepts of VR, AI and IoT, is one of the most critical event in human history. But what really matters is the core of it: the humanity changes itself. So it is only natural to invest the most in that: managing and coaching people the best someone can, giving a society that constantly challenges and takes us by surprise, most of the time.

A proactive approach to manage people and protect their work-life balance

There is anxiety, stress, improper work-life balance we’re talking about, as well as learning new and flexible skills in a fast-pace manner since even the cycle of any business is faster than ever. One of the measures that help dealing with these common aspects of most of our daily lives is therapy or counseling or coaching, whatever the term, which is now more and more taken seriously by companies worldwide for their employees’ well-being.

Of course, many people already take care of that and choose to invest their time and money in specialized services that help them cope with the above mentioned issues. But not all people, due to different reasons – some can’t afford that, some don’t trust therapy or simply don’t have enough knowledge about how to sometimes deal or discuss emotions and experiences. We’re different and so are our needs or perceptions.

Luckily, we’re a team of young people that face challenges with excitement and curiosity, but that doesn’t mean we’re totally prepared for any type of situation may arise in our lives, or that we know how to manage ourselves in the most optimal way, either it’s the personal or professional life. But we’re open to learning something new every day. So when R&B asked us about having some hours of counseling at the office, whenever we can, and also group sessions, we were intrigued and ready to try it at least.

Coaching at work for us was a bit fun, a bit uncomfortable, a bit better for our health

We started our first session with Simona Jeles, a psychologist trained in Brief Strategic Therapy – a short-term, problem-focused and active approach that helps people find the simple solutions to their complicated problems. Due to the continuous work challenges and responsibilities specific to the IT field but also those from our personal relationships, many of us found it somehow difficult to cope with the pressure at work or at home and different high expectations or to maintain a healthy work-life balance along the way. During our coaching sessions, most of us found out that the disharmony we felt can be solved in many different ways. The most important one was to learn how to address the issues we’re facing with in a constructive way, without shutting down and leave it as it is. Also, playing different games in our team has helped us overcome shyness, unrealistic fears or the smallest of doubts about ourselves or the others.

Most of the individual sessions focused on learning how to use our time wisely and give ourselves space to think without rumination thoughts, to write about ourselves and to practice daily exercises that, in time, would allow us to be more accepting and aware of what we really are: awesome people facing ups and downs like everyone else, that could be more united when communicating without fear or assumptions in our head. It’s proven that most people act based on assumptions and false stories about ourselves or the others, so one little step like giving more space and time to see the real us without good or bad labels and to identify the root of our unhealthy habits or mindset is a huge step on the long run.

Counseling at the office improves both the success of the company and the employees’ performance and well-being

Actually, some effects of these sessions reflected in our overall attitude at the office, as well as in our relationships. Thanks to some fun, weird – at first, everything was awkward to do – and “uncomfortable” exercises done at the office, we’ve actually become more attentive to our and the other colleagues’ needs and moods, and we’ve also started to communicate more between us or with the clients and to find better solutions to everything, while keeping the focus on growth and self-awareness. Nonetheless, these changes have reflected in the general vibe of the team , making room for better management, open discussions and shared knowledge, way fewer issues regarding the projects, more happy faces at the end of the schedule and, of course, overall improvement in performance and work strategy. What’s even greater is that we started to take more initiative and come up with creative ideas for both the projects we’re working on but also for spending quality time together outside the office. In the right doses, stress is healthy and even so, it is entirely inevitable in our human nature, so why not seek to find and enhance your inner trust, your motivation, your willpower, your success and your emotional happiness, in this race against anger, frustration, deadlines and high expectations to fulfill goals and achieve accomplishments?

Nobody can say that a couple of months of counseling and therapy have solved all our existential problems or beliefs that have formed in our mind for the past years. But what we can say is that this initiative has had lasting effects on the team and on each of us. Less exhaustion, more communication, less anxiety or ruminating thoughts, more acceptance and flexible mindset.

Fortunately, this will continue in 2019 as well and what we really hope is to see more and more people open to engaging in their own hero’s journey and discovery. Counseling is not taboo anymore, it’s a normal, more accessible and kind way to seek more knowledge and insights about yourself, your place in the world and the world itself, in order to be fully in the present.

Like Martin Luther King said, You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. And enjoy both your 9 to 5 and 5 to 9 🙂