Looking after yourself: 3 ways HR and payroll set a strong wellbeing example

HR professional sitting at desk in office with eyes closed meditating for mental wellbeing

We've talked a lot about what the different parts of wellbeing look like, how you keep track of those, and how you try and build workplaces that promote them. But where do you factor into all of this? It's easy for HR and payroll professionals to get so absorbed in ensuring wellbeing for their people that they don't take the time to engage in healthy practices themselves.

Here's the thing, though — the best way you can help employees reach physical, mental, and financial wellness goals is by being a good example of what that looks like. Here are a few areas you can focus on to prioritize safety and wellbeing in your own day to day:


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1. Remember, you're the only you there is

Even if you're the only person in charge of HR and payroll at your organization, you shouldn't neglect your own needs in favor of the business's. This can lead to burnout, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed — all of which will negatively affect your ability to prioritize the needs of your people.

If you're not at your best, you can't bring your best self to work. Make sure you're checking in on these four key areas regularly as you move through your regular activities:

  • Personal: Are you making time for things you enjoy, like hobbies or spending time with your partner or kids? Do you share your feelings and dreams regularly with people you trust? Do you know when to ask those you trust for help?
  • Psychological/Emotional: Are you shutting off the digital world from time to time? Do you know what situations trigger anxiety or discomfort for you? Are you giving yourself moments to breathe, relax, and process your emotions?
  • Physical: Are you taking breaks to move? Are you eating well and getting enough sleep? Are you being proactive with your healthcare needs?
  • Workplace: What boundaries do you have in place at work to protect your time and wellbeing? What daily and weekly goals are you setting for yourself? Are you communicating your needs clearly to others and forming support groups among your peers?

These questions are just a few ideas to spark regular check-ins for yourself. You can fit how you check in with yourself to your specific situation — the important part is making the time to check in at all.

2. Embrace self-care

Checking in with yourself and recognizing where you need to focus is only the first step. Especially with a busy schedule of HR and payroll tasks weighing on you, it's important to have strategies you can apply to get to the mental, physical, and even financial results you're hoping to achieve. The impacts from little adjustments can make a big difference. Here are some quick practical examples:

  • To focus on your mind, try spending five minutes on a break doing a short body scan meditation where you close your eyes, focus on breathing, and focus on how each part of you is feeling while imagining any tension in each area releasing.
  • To focus on your physical health, try moving beyond working out to think about reasonable small movement breaks you can take daily and if you can take those breaks outside to reset and connect to nature.
  • To focus on financial wellness, try creating a financial calendar and a budget that goes alongside it so you can remove the stress that comes with unexpected bills.

The systems you put in place to ensure your own wellbeing are even more important than recognizing you need to focus on it. Small steps like these will ease the burden of stress over time and help you help others.

3. Rebuild a better workday

There's a lot that's changed about many of our workspaces and workdays over the past couple years. Even if things don't look the way they used to in terms of where or how you manage HR and payroll responsibilities, you can take those changes as an opportunity to build new routines, environments, and norms for yourself and your people. Beyond the steps I've already mentioned, focusing on how your environment impacts your wellbeing is another key piece of the puzzle.

This is especially critical if you've recently returned to the offic, so let's look at some quick items to consider as you arrange your space there:

  • Ergonomics: How is your desk positioned? Do you feel comfortable? Can you find any inviting spaces to take a break during the day?
  • Cleanliness: Do you have cleaning products and hand sanitizer to minimize your risk in the office? Do those kinds of resources make you feel safer in an in-person setting?
  • Healthy Behaviors: Does your space encourage you to make healthy choices? Do you have nutritious snacks available? Are there any walking areas or paths where you could go to get some air?
  • Mood: Are you getting enough natural light in your space? Are there plants or flowers?

If you set up your own office space in a way that's optimized for your wellbeing, chances are you'll have a great template to put in practice for your people as we all continue to do more in-person. This is probably one of the areas where the choices you make will serve as the most direct example for others and set a healthy standard.

Conclusion: Prioritize safety and wellbeing to ensure individual and group success

What I've highlighted here is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your wellbeing journey, and that's okay. For HR and payroll, even the smallest steps will make a big difference. Make those minor adjustments consistently, and you'll start seeing powerful results that will help you be even more present for your people.

If you'd like to learn more about any of the topics discussed here, you're in luck. We've got an entire track of sessions at our next HR & Payroll eSymposium dedicated to safety and wellbeing so you can focus on you to rise to any challenge at work. We'd love to see you there.