24 Sep Being Real, The Power of Introspection, & Why a “Well Workplace” Matters
Ruchika leads Google’s programs focusing on mindfulness, self introspection and reflection that helps employees build Emotional Intelligence and manage their well-being effectively. Through these programs, she enables Googlers to step out of the auto-pilot mode and regain control of their attention and lives. These introspective practices help employees get back in touch with their inner selves that lead them to prioritize living a meaningful and purposeful life. Her goal is to bring people together to increase their emotional awareness, improve their lifestyle choices from picking nutritional foods, incorporating more movement in their lives, using technology wisely and intentionally, learning ways to stay calm and grounded, understanding and regulating triggers and impulses to respond rather than react to situations in life.
The programs she’s leading involve many meditation daily practices (Google offers 8-10 meditations daily for their Googlers through their gPause, impressive!) focusing on the whole person’s development. She works across many groups who care for employee well-being. She has spent the last 7 years of her 14 years with the company dedicated to development and scaling of these programs. She shares her take of what life looks like these days in and outside of leading while living life under our current complex environment.
Q: Your advice on how you’ve been able to find balance personally and professionally while leading such a large team at Google?
A: Pace ourselves and be real about our fears, anxiety, stresses. We are living under complex circumstances so learning new skills, developing new habits and gaining additional support to help us get through these times is the first step. Equally important is to know that you are not alone. Leaning on others and getting help as needed is the next and very important milestone. You don’t have to do this alone. Connect with friends, family, experts to get help as needed. Loneliness has become a hidden epidemic that no one talks about. Mental health is becoming an increasing challenge. Take a day off if you need to, go for a walk and be in nature. Of course practice measures for your own and others safety when you are outside. Make spaces in your dwelling that can lend for well-being and mental peace. I just purchased a new home and we are in the process of creating a sanctuary and wellness spaces indoors and outdoors. I am looking forward to collaborating with B\YND WELL on these ideas shortly.
Q: Your take on the future of wellness within organizations today?
A: Employee wellness should always be a top priority for all organizations. Remember that organizations don’t become successful without their people. Employees should be treated as humans first and resources second. That’s the formula for successful and thriving organizations. Wellness in organizations will take a hybrid approach in the future. We need to enable policies and practices in organizations where wellness can be practiced daily in every moment and also employees are given additional resources and options when life demands for them— such as in times of major life transitions.
We will be entering a hybrid workplace model post pandemic. Flexibility will be key, workspaces at office and at home will matter a ton. Access to good food and nature will become equally important. I am excited about what the future of work and wellness has in store. We definitely need to start exploring some novel ways to keep employees strong and resilient as we find a new normal in our personal and work lives.
Q: Wellness trends you feel will carry through to the new normal ahead?
A: Self-awareness, building intentional relationships with technology, developing harmonious connections and relationships, creating spaces for wellbeing are some key things that are top of mind. I believe practices that allow us to simply stop, observe, introspect and choose are here to stay. For me meditation, yoga, visualizations, writing, practicing compassion and kindness in real life has enabled all of the above.