Wellbeing Blog

April 3, 2017

Employee Book Clubs Make Meaningful Impact on Wellbeing

Book clubs at work are on the rise and can be the perfect way to bring together individuals from various disciplines and all levels of an organization for meaningful conversation, growth and fun! Career and personal development books are particularly useful in stimulating discussions around life and work purpose, and provide productive forums for sharing common challenges and ideas to improve wellbeing. 

If you are considering launching a book club at your office, an excellent read to start with is Tom Rath’s best seller, Are You Fully Charged, which lays out the his keys to living a fully-charged life.  

I read Rath’s book when it first hit the shelves but really examined its messages after joining my at-work book club, sponsored by CBIZ Women’s Advantage; a program committed to mentoring women and developing leaders within our company.  In the company of some amazing teammates, our conversations around Are You Fully Charged were not only thought-provoking, but inspirational. This experience helped me understand how I can take simple actions to increase my energy, and also brought to life how modest wellbeing efforts like a company-sponsored book club can boost peer relationships.   

What I learned about becoming Fully Charged
What I do impacts everyone around me. It’s not often I stop to consider how this really plays out. Living “Fully Charged” means we see value in our roles, make our interactions count and give our minds and bodies what they need in order to have adequate energy each day. 

My work is important
According to Rath, the first pillar to living Fully Charged is finding meaning in your life. Rath’s book prompted us to make the connection between our personal mission statement and our purpose within our organization. I truly believe that the work that I do at CBIZ contributes to a greater good, and this recognition of my contribution is a prerequisite for my thriving wellbeing. I find meaning in the strategic role I play to consult and support employers in developing and sustaining robust programs that improve employee wellbeing.  

Holding the door really matters
We all agreed that simple positive exchanges such as a smile, eye contact or holding the door absolutely contribute to our total wellbeing. It does not go unnoticed when fellow employees are dismissive or lack common courtesy. As the book points out, interactions are crucial components to being Fully Charged. In fact, we need five positive interactions to outweigh one negative experience. 

A little undivided attention goes a long way
Now days our phones may as well be an extension of our arms. Tom Rath’s work involved researching the social impacts of this “iPhone effect.” Letting your phone be a distraction, or merely visible, decreases the quality of your relationships and your productivity. Our group discussed the importance of neutralizing the iPhone effect by removing it as a distraction whenever possible. This is another simple task that breaks barriers and fosters trust in our relationships. 

My energy is a priority
The final pillar to living a Fully Charged lifestyle is maximizing energy. Through our conversations, it became evident that each of us need to be protective of our physical health in unique was. Nancy Huckaba, Associate Vice President of EFL Associates, knows she needs 8 hours of sleep a night to be at her best. She has to make an effort to consistently get the sleep she needs, but it’s worth it. Lori Jolly, National Tax Office Senior Solutions Administrator, loves to walk and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. She fit this into her day and feels better for it. What’s important is that we come to find what we need to thrive and actively take steps to pursue that-every single day. 

Interested in starting up a Book Club of your own? Here are a few tips:
•Invite all employees to participate and try to mix up departments to foster interaction between teams that don’t typically work together.
•Set expectations for participants so that everyone feels respected and accountable.
•Prepare facilitation questions in advance.
•Share a book club summary paragraph on the company intranet site or bulletin board. Post up photos of the group meetings and communicate the positive results to the entire employee population.
•Work together to put what you learned into practice and help hold each other accountable. Get creative by building a challenge around applying lessons learned within your organization

Here are some great reads for a book club:
•Are You Fully Charged? -Tom Rath
•Everyone Communicates, Few Connect – John Maxwell
•Thrive – Arianna Huffington
•Crucial Conversations – Kerry Patterson
•How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

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