A quick head's up - April is stress awareness month - be prepared for a tsunami of tips and tricks to manage stress, de-stress, and much much more. Don't get me wrong, much of it will be useful and the idea that we take a month each year to focus on the epidemic of stress we are experiencing is undoubtedly a good thing. Just be careful that the myriad insights and advices, and a sense that one has to follow them all to the letter, do not have the ironic effect of increasing your stress.
Some of the stress we experience comes from inside our own heads - and this is where much of the advice over the next months is likely to focus. Some of it comes from the ways in which we work and interact with each other, within our own businesses and between our respective businesses. And this isn't good, because when we are stressed our brains don't work so well - it isn't good for our own individual health but also it isn't good for the quality or effectiveness of our work.
And here's the thing - most of us are well intentioned. We do not mean to cause each other stress, but we do, and then we don't talk about it. What if we were all a little bit more thoughtful, a little bit more aware, of the impact we are having on each other, and then gave each other the permission, indeed the encouragement, to talk about it? We might then be able to identify and reduce some of the unnecessary stress in the ways in which we work with each other, and so create healthier, and at the same time more effective, ways of working.
This simple idea is what the Mindful Business Charter is based upon. So it is a wonderful happenchance of timing (I do really wish that we had planned it this way) that on the eve of a month of focus on stress, we can announce a couple of milestones.
First up the Charter movement has become a registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation - we have have matured from a movement of like minded organisations into a sustainable entity with trustees, funding and a renewed determination and ambition to make a difference.
Second we have launched a new website - mindfulbusinesscharter.com - of which we are very proud and which, we hope, will inspire many more organisations to get involved and work together to reduce the stress we experience. As well as the public call to action, there is also a new members area which will enable greater collaboration and sharing among signatory members.
The Charter currently has 65 signatories - you can see the list on the site. In May we will be welcoming another cohort with some big name companies making their commitment. If you are interested in finding out more and maybe joining that list, please take a look at the website and get in touch. If April is about raising awareness of stress, maybe May can be about doing something about it?
At byrne·dean we spend a lot of time talking about mental health in the workplace, and more broadly about kinder, fairer, more productive workplaces. One of the things we are most proud of is being asked to help promote and develop MBC.