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Introducing a better way to start your work week: #LivingLife

How do you start your work week?

Do you know that feeling? Monday morning looms, the to-do list is endless, and a nagging personal concern weighs heavy on your mind. You sit down to work, but your focus just isn't there! You know that you need to get that report ready before the next meeting, but that thing is just bothering you so much ...

  • quarrel with your partner

  • that weird pain that you have been feeling for the last couple of days

  • again another bill to pay

  • the situation your child is in at school

  • the f*** up you made last week

  • no one is listening to your ideas / warnings

  • ...

You try to look and behave normal, but your frustration is simmering just below the surface. This, unfortunately, is a common scenario. We have to get the week started, but we're blocked by all kinds of things in life.

#LivingLife a better routine to start the week at work

Enter the #LivingLife meeting, a simple yet powerful concept that prioritizes human connection and well-being before diving into the workweek's demands. It's a concept that we started at the beginning of 2024 to give more dedicated time for our team members to prioritize human connection and well-being, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and productive work experience for everyone. You can find our edits of the #LivingLife meetings as podcasts on the Optima Forma YouTube channel.

Beyond the Superficial "How Are You?":

In many workplace cultures, the plain "how are you?" is as deep as conversations go. But that's just a waste of words isn't it? Why would it actually be meaningful to start with a false promise? To let someone else think that you care, but you actually don't even have time to listen? I came up with the #LivingLife meeting as a response to the meaningless "how are you" sentence. In my dealings with team members, I have long understood that making time to help team members calm their thoughts / resolve their personal issues has great benefits for work productivity. Also in how I am perceived as a manager 😉. The #LivingLife 1 hour meetings are there for us a team to delve deeper, connect better, creating a safe space for team members to share personal challenges, aspirations, and even frustrations. This isn't about oversharing; it's about acknowledging that our personal lives are important and that issues therein inevitably impact our work, and vice versa.

The Science of being heard and feeling connected:

Many researches show a clear link between employee well-being and job performance. When individuals feel heard, supported, and connected to their colleagues, they experience:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety: Sharing concerns allows for emotional release and problem-solving, leading to a clearer mind and better focus at work.

  • Increased engagement and motivation: Feeling valued as a whole person, not just a cog in the machine, fosters a sense of ownership and commitment to the team's success.

  • Enhanced empathy and collaboration: Open communication breaks down silos and builds trust, leading to better collaboration and problem-solving within the team.

From Frustration to Flow:

Imagine a team member struggling with a personal issue, impacting their work performance. In a traditional setup, this might manifest as absent behaviour, reduced communication, or even outbursts of frustration that can eventually lead to missed deadlines. With a #LivingLife meeting, they can voice their concerns, receive support, and potentially find solutions. This not only prevents workplace disruptions but also allows them to approach their work with renewed focus and energy. That's why it's good to have it at the beginning of the week.

What we are observing:

After the having 5 #LivingLife meetings these are the positive takeaways that we can share:

  • It's great to share, be heard, and to get off your chest

  • It's meaningful to be able to discuss various topics about life

  • It's good to learn and understand more about other perspectives

  • It's a reality that we all have our issues to deal with

  • It's calming to hear about similar experiences and how things can be resolved

The Ripple Effect:

The benefits of #LivingLife meetings extend beyond individual well-being. Leaders who prioritize their team's personal lives foster a culture of trust, respect, and psychological safety. That's how to actively contribute to the happiness of your team. This, in turn, attracts and retains talent, boosts morale, and ultimately leads to higher productivity and engagement.

Taking the First Step:

Introducing a better way to start your work week: #LivingLife is simple. 

Your team's well being is priority!

You have to understand acknowledge this, if not you will probably not be prepared to take the next step. If you don't understand this, then I guess you're

Schedule a weekly meeting

Start by dedicating a meeting with your team of 45-60 minutes of a weekly team meeting to personal discussions. 

  • encourage sharing, 

  • active listening, 

  • sharing perspectives,

  • and mutual support. 

Remember, this is not a therapy session, but rather a space for authentic connection and emotional release.

Register LivingLife Topics:

Living Life mindmap topics

Topics be captured a mindmap and shared, divided in categories like:

  • Values in Life

  • Lessons Learned

  • Inspirations in Life

  • Great Experiences in life

  • Doubts / Troubles

  • Blockers in Life

Topics about work

Of course work is part of life, so they can be part of the talk. However such topics might find a better place at other meetings, like weekly progress meetings or retrospectives. If the topics like "No one is listening to my ideas" or "There is just too much work", try to find ways to generalise it and discuss the behavioural reasons behind it rather delving too deep into work specific contexts.

No orchestration of actions

No real actions need to be recorded or orchestrated, team members can decide on this themselves. The importance is that team members know that they're being heard and that their thoughts and issues are receiving attention. If that's done genuinely, then support and action logically will find their way afterwards without any registration.

Prioritizing Life means a better workplace!

By prioritizing #LivingLife, you're not just creating a happier and healthier work environment; you're investing in the well-being, bond, productivity, and success of your entire team. It's a win-win for everyone involved. I hope that you are inspired by this and will promote it within your workplace to make it a better place to work.


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