In this interview, we speak to Michael Ryan, Head of Operations, Cigna Global IPMI, to find out how he deals with stress in the workplace.
What kind of things do you do to deal with stress and maintain a good work-life balance?
Cigna is a fast paced environment, and we’re always reacting to deal with the needs of our customers, so it can be stressful at times.
Discussing how you feel is very important and I think it is great that this principle is now receiving a lot of support.
I make sure I talk to people about how I feel and I think that is a great way to deal with stress. I have a great network of family and friends that I can talk to, share challenges and ideas, and generally let off steam!
Exercise is also a really good way to deal with your mental wellness. I once attended a seminar with Mike Antoniades from the Movement & Running School in London. He outlined the importance that physical movement has in supporting good mental health and well-being.
In the workplace, walking and getting about the office is a great way to manage your stress levels.
How important do you think it is for people to manage their stress and have a good work-life balance?
I believe this is critical. The World Health Organisation have said that it is more difficult to have good physical health without good mental health.
That means you have to be aware of those personal triggers that allow you to constantly re-evaluate your current stress levels.
You also need to have effective coping mechanisms that work for you. For me, time with my family is my go to release.
With Cigna being a health and well-being partner, just how important do you think it is for us to be able to provide resources for our customers to deal with their stress?
Our aim at Cigna is to provide ‘Whole person Health’. At customer operations, we are now piloting additional support services, these include initiatives such as health coaching and increased pathways to relevant stress management treatments. These are really exciting new ways of delivering for our customers.
We see these as a critical development of our service proposition – it’s not just about providing traditional treatments and ways of managing those traditional conditions, but it’s also about that wider health & well-being support.
Finally, in terms of managing a team, are there any hints you can offer to create a stress-free atmosphere?
So I think first of all it’s important as a leader to realise that a team is made up of a group of individuals. What works for one person might be different for others, and it’s important to treat people as such.
It’s also important that my team feel valued and have an input into what we do, our operational strategy. So feedback from those who speak to our customers every day is critical in for delivering the right products and propositions.
In our European operations centre we have created our own innovation room, allowing our people the ability to highlight how we can improve the customer journey. This also allows people to feel engaged and involved, which really helps in a stressful workplace!
Finally – it’s important have fun in the workplace. My team all have critical roles to play in supporting our customers, but I’m always keen that we do this with a smile on our face.
See Stress Differently
At Cigna, our work is rooted in our mission to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we serve. Using cutting-edge technology and through our work partnering with doctors, technologists and artists, we have come up with a powerful new way to make the invisible visible. Introducing our stress care initiative - ‘See Stress Differently’.
Our doctors have devised a short stress test, based on an established industry standard: the Perceived Stress Scale. The test only takes three-minutes to complete and you can take it here.
Be sure to share your test results with us on social media by using the tag #SeeStressDifferently.
For more information about See Stress Differently, please click here.
Find out more tips for dealing with stress at work in this blog article.