Be a better employee by putting yourself first

Confession – I haven’t stepped foot in a dentist’s office in two years. Crippling anxiety and thinking “I don’t want to take time away from the office for this” have kept me out from under the hygienist’s light. But, I resolved that 2018 would be the year that I ended my 24 month-long dental strike, not because I have a toothache, but because 2018 will be the year I put myself first.

If your upbringing was similar to mine, the mantra “put others first” was instilled in you at an early age. For years I’ve applied it literally, pausing my life or altering my goals to attend to the needs of others. For many of us, this principle applies directly to our work life. I worry taking a vacation day will require a colleague to pick up slack, so I end up not taking one at all. Or, I press pause on a show at 8:30 p.m. to answer a non-urgent email from a client because I feel that’s what providing excellent client service mandates. I still haven’t finished this week’s episode of The Bachelor.

But think about it – do you expect an immediate response on an email sent after hours? I rarely do. Or, do you resent coworkers when they take a vacation? I can soundly say I don’t.

This needed shift in thinking is backed by data. Numerous studies have shown that employees are happier when they plan vacations in advance, when they have employer-sponsored healthcare and feel their company prioritizes wellness, and when they utilize their benefits packages. And, happier employees are more productive, even if they’re in the office for marginally less time. So, employees who strategically take time to take care of themselves in turn take better care of their clients.

Obsidian has industry-leading benefit policies in place to support employee happiness. We’re provided ample vacation days, flexibility in the form of time, focus on wellness and stellar health benefits, all to ensure that we are healthy, productive employees. I’m asking myself in 2018 if I’m taking full advantage of these benefits.

So, as I strive to be a better employee to my firm, a better partner to my colleagues and a better account representative to my clients, I am resolving to put myself first. I’m making an appointment to see the dentist, reconnecting with my Nike Running app, planning a vacation to Disney World and I’m going to attentively watch Arie fall in love on national television.

What can you do in 2018 to improve your happiness at work? I’d love to hear your thoughts!