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How to Promote Self-Care in the Workplace: 6 Tips for Managers

Image of work table, tips for managers on how to promote self-care in the workplace, Mindletic Blog

How to set up your workplace for self-care to get the most out of your employees.

84% of millennials say they have experienced burnout at their current job, and a further 42% say they have left a job because of burnout.

And with the addition of worldwide remote teams, devices that ping and grab our attention at a moment’s notice, and not to mention non-existent work-life boundaries, the current workforce is at risk of increased stress, burnout, and a wide spectrum of mental health issues. As a manager, if you do not recognize this as an issue and take the necessary preventive steps, your staff will be less productive and more likely to become burnt out, perhaps leaving their job. It also means your employees could be less motivated, creative, communicative, and more; the list goes on.

Something needs to be done. So in this blog post, we explain how to promote self-care in the workplace—it’s something that workforces need to pay more attention to.

Key takeaways:

  • Educate employees on self-care and mental health at work

  • Prioritize self-care to reduce stress and burnout and increase productivity

  • Make small changes to encourage self-care at work

  • Start small and change what you can to begin

What is self-care?

The World Health Organization describes self-care as the ability of individuals and families to promote physical health, prevent disease, and cope with illness or disability without the support of a health worker. In-person, self-care often looks a little different—it’s less sciencey and more about the little things we do. It’s spending 15 minutes reading a book before bed, cooking a fresh meal at home after work, enjoying a glass of wine and a nice bubble bath, and spending time with loved ones.

Self-care looks different for everyone. But what’s important is that we take time for ourselves to do things we enjoy. It’s also about prioritizing things that make us feel good and avoiding habits and behaviors that make us feel not so good.

The importance of self-care in the workplace

Most people spend approximately one-third of their lives at work. Another third is spent asleep. That leaves the remaining third of your life to tackle the day-to-day. Daily tasks often look similar for most people—looking after children, exercising, cooking, cleaning, making plans with friends and family, and so on. The point is this: we have very little time for self-care—time to protect our mental and emotional health. And with burnout on the rise and more workers absent from work from stress and anxiety than physical health injuries, paying more attention to self-care at work is absolutely essential.

Why is self-care important for productivity in the workplace?

Employees often engrain the mantra, “leave your personal life at the door.” But that’s easier said than done, especially when work plays such a big role in our lives. The “personal” and “work” often get muddled up; we’re not robots. Employees have emotions and needs, and unless you can provide the right support, you risk losing them. So it likely comes as no surprise that more workforces are beginning to prioritize self-care at work. And that doesn’t have to mean fancy company retreats and spa days—it can involve small actionable steps to promote a healthier work-life balance—more on this below.

What are the benefits of self-care in the workplace?
  • Retain your best employees and reduce recruitment costs

  • Become a more productive workforce

  • Reduce staff absences

  • Become a smarter and more creative place of work

Self-care activities in the workplace

Self-care activities in the workplace do not need to be flashy. Instead, start small. Introduce small changes and habits which directly affect how your employees think, feel, and act during the work day.

We recommend the following:

  • Set healthy boundaries

  • Encourage healthy habits

  • Rethink the way you do meetings

  • Actively communicate with employees

  • Ensure regular breaks are taken

  • Encourage education around mental health & wellness

Set healthy boundaries

With more and more companies transitioning to remote work and remote teams, it’s easy to be sucked into a couple of emails here, an alteration to the calendar there, and so on… As a manager, you should encourage employees to set healthy boundaries. For example, if your staff work the hours of 9 am to 5 pm, let them know that they are not expected to work outside of those hours. And yes, that includes those “quick emails.” A great way to do this is to practice what you preach—set your own healthy boundaries, and employees will likely do the same.

Encourage healthy habits

Healthy habits make for a healthy and productive workforce. As a manager, you can encourage a mix of healthy habits with a few simple tweaks to your workplace. For example, you can:

  • Add nutritious meals to your catering package

  • Provide standing desks

  • Ensure employees take regular breaks

  • Add plants to the office

  • Provide flexible working hours


You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but setting the workplace up to be a place of self-care begins with small habits and little changes. And it will certainly prove worthwhile.

Rethink the way you do meetings

Meetings have received a bad rep in recent years. And while it’s true that most meetings could have been an email or a slack message, it’s important to realize that meetings still have their place. While having too many meetings can be detrimental to productivity, staff morale, and motivation, too few meetings could also have the same effect. For entirely remote employees, weekly meetings ensure they receive some kind of social interaction. It also helps them feel a part of the team—this is crucial. But for those in-person meetings, you might want to spend less time behind a desk and more time walking.

Steve Jobs was a huge advocate for meetings spent walking around Apple HQ and park, talking to staff, and even negotiating and working on deals with other companies. But why walk and talk? Walking increases creative thinking and may lead to more honest and productive exchanges, even once the meeting is over [1].

Actively communicate with employees

Mental health and wellness are more important than ever. In fact, one piece of research found that 53% of employees aged 25-64 agreed that their workplace is a contributing factor to their mental health and wellness, but only 26% feel that anything is being done to address this effectively. Furthermore, a study from Deloitte found the main driving factor behind burnout was a lack of support or recognition from leadership. So what can you do? It’s actually rather simple.

You need to recognize and communicate the importance of mental wellness at work. Open up a line of communication, let employees know there is help available, and provide reassurance that speaking up will not damage their career progression.

Ensure employees take regular breaks

It’s all too easy to become trapped in the endless loop of work—there’s always something to do. But for that very reason, it’s essential to ensure regular breaks are taken at work. You can start by making sure employees do not eat lunch at their desks. Encourage workers to sit in the canteen, to take a break in nature and get some fresh air, and to fully unwind from work during their lunch break. Employees who take regular breaks at work are more likely to be less stressed and more productive, leading to better work performance [3]. It’s also an easy self-care practice to implement. But a break at lunchtime is not enough. Let employees step out for a moment when needed. A short break here and there can work wonders for mental well-being, productivity, and overall health.

Encourage education about mental and physical health

One of the best ways to promote workplace self-care is to educate employees on mental health and wellness as a whole. Many employees are running on the hamster wheel of work and life balance. But by increasing awareness around stress, burnout, emotional well-being, and psychological safety, you can make self-care all the more important.

With the Mindletic app, your employees gain access to science-backed mental training. That includes mental health tools and resilience training to better deal with stress. Your employees will be better prepared to stay focused and productive in stressful situations. They’ll also have the tools and a better understanding of how to create a healthy work-life balance. But it doesn’t end there—as a manager, you need to lead by example. It’s all good to provide employees with the tools, but you need to provide them with the freedom to use these tools.Be more flexible in how your employees work, listen to their needs, and do your best to support them when they need you.


  1. Clayton, R., Thomas, C. and Smothers, J., 2015. How to do walking meetings right. Harvard business review.

  2. Finch, R.A. and Phillips, K., 2005. An employer’s guide to behavioral health services. Center for Prevention and Health Services. Washington, DC: National Business Group on Health.

  3. Meijman, T.F. and Mulder, G., 2013. Psychological aspects of workload. In A handbook of work and organizational psychology (pp. 15-44). Psychology Press.

Want to learn more about how to foster your employees’ productivity and help them overcome procrastination? Reach out to our team and get a free consultation now.