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Blog - Didier Elzinga, author profile

Didier Elzinga

Founder & CEO, Culture Amp


There’s a historical idea that you have to present a certain face at work - you always have to be on and can't have bad days. But we spend a lot of time at work and go through ups and downs that can affect our wellbeing in a lot of ways. Our research tells us that it's a folly to think that you can just keep pushing people. We're not linear and people will break. If you want people to do great work then you have to allow them to take care of themselves. It's just good business sense.

So when Stacey Nordwall, our Senior People Operations Manager, said she wanted to put some time and energy into giving our people a resource on wellbeing, I was happy. Culture Amp is growing rapidly which takes a lot of effort and commitment from a lot of people. If we want to be a Culture First company, we need to create an environment where people can find balance.

Stacey and the People Ops team pulled material from people across the company to present a list of tools and tips that everyone can use at work. It’s not a how-to guide or a step-by-step process (though Stacey did write an excellent step-by-step guide with advice for others looking to launch a wellbeing guide). While it's important to focus on employee wellbeing, it can't be prescriptive. So the guide is a collection of ideas and tips that other people have used to improve their wellbeing.

Get started on your employee wellbeing strategy with tips from our latest guide

For me, wellbeing is a holistic concept. It’s about your total self - physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. It’s about how you’re coping and your energy reserves. So, one of the things I’m doing for my wellbeing is to take more time off. I’m bad at taking leave, but I have taken more time off this year than I have in any year of the company's history and it’s helped.

The most powerful consequence of the guide is that it’s started conversations between people in the organization. I’m seeing discussions around what wellbeing means and situations where people are more willing to be open with their troubles and concerns. For example, when Anthony Bourdain passed away many of us at Culture Amp were saddened. So somebody posted on an internal forum that for anyone suffering or feeling depressed, there are people at Culture Amp who themselves have struggled with that demon and who can provide support. To see that willingness to be open was a great reflection on one of our core company values - “have the courage to be vulnerable.”

The biggest take away for me from this process has been that wellbeing is really important, not just for work but for your life outside of work.

We borrow our time at the office from people, things, places or animals that are more important than the work is. At any point in time, you’d trade an hour in the office for an hour with those people. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be at work, it just means that when you're at work, you want to make it count. You want to make it meaningful and you don't want to waste that time. For me, that’s why wellbeing at work is so important.

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