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Embracing Emotional Regulation: A Journey Through Workplace Evolution

"Emotional regulation refers to the process by which individuals influence which emotions they have, when they have them, and how they experience and express their feelings. Emotional regulation can be automatic or controlled, conscious or unconscious, and may have effects at one or more points in the emotion producing process.”

(Gross, 1998, p. 275)

Historically, the emotional dynamics within workplaces received minimal attention, often overshadowed by a focus on skills and knowledge. However, as the complexity of workplace challenges and interpersonal dynamics has increased, so has the recognition of emotional regulation as a fundamental element of effective professional practice.

The increasing awareness about mental health in the workplace, as highlighted by the Harvard Business Law Review article, signals a cultural shift towards greater transparency and support for emotional well-being in professional environments. As conversations about mental health become normalised, employees and management can benefit from embracing emotional regulation strategies. Such strategies empower individuals to effectively manage their stress, anxiety, and other emotions, contributing to a healthier work atmosphere and enhancing overall team cohesion and productivity. Understanding and implementing emotional regulation can lead to a more supportive environment where employees feel heard and understood, ultimately driving better mental health outcomes and organisational success.

Fundamentally, the bedrock of every successful organisation is an engaged and motivated workforce. Below is an excerpt from The 2022 Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey (Malaysia Report) by PwC, drawing from over 2,000 local responses, explores current sentiments around job satisfaction, skill development, and workplace preferences, offering a comprehensive overview of the evolving employment landscape in Malaysia.

The insights from the Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey by PwC point towards a Malaysian workforce that is acutely aware of the skills gap and professional development needs within the country. A third of respondents recognise a shortage of skilled professionals for their type of work, signalling a critical eye on workforce readiness and the potential for improvement. Coupled with this is the anticipation for career growth, evidenced by the same proportion of the workforce intending to negotiate for higher pay, and a notable 28% aspiring for a promotion within the next year. This picture of the workforce is one of proactive ambition, with a clear call for specialised training to bridge the skill gap, empower professional advancement, and fulfil the increasing demand for advanced competencies in their roles.

At Peter Ong & Nair, we believe in taking proactive steps to align with this cultural evolution. In response to the revealed needs for both professional and emotional development, our team participated in an Emotional Regulation and Intention Setting Workshop conducted by Emotion Pod. The workshop activities, which included forest bathing, also known as Shinrin-yoku, a concept originating from Japanese culture, completion and analysis of a Profile of Mood States (POMS) test, and engagement in the emotionally insightful card game 'Unpack,' designed to encourage open conversations and engage our team's capacity for emotional processing and regulation. This hands-on approach ensures that our team members are not only advancing in their professional skills but also developing the emotional discernment essential for thriving in today's work and personal environments.

This initiative is part of our broader commitment to nurturing a workplace where professional growth is supported by emotional intelligence, and where every team member feels equipped to manage the demands of their roles with confidence and composure. Our team certainly enjoyed the workshop, and the day was concluded perfectly with everyone enjoying a delectable plate of nasi lemak!


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