How much of your time do you really spend glued to a phone, laptop, tablet or television? Research shows that UK adults now spend nearly half their waking year looking at a screen.
From strategy to regular health checks, we offer the complete guide to wellbeing in your business.
It is becoming clear that there are three key roles when running a business:
- Do whatever you do and make a profit
- Market whatever it is you do so that you gain and retain clients
- Look after your workforce so they perform as well as possible
When a company focuses on the wellbeing of its staff it will see a reduction in sickness absence and increased staff retention. As Cecilia Fritz from Sony UK Tec stated: “To be a high performance organisation with a high performing team we must focus on staff wellbeing.” Happier staff work more effectively because they are more engaged, they contribute more and they are less likely to leave the company.
Almost 8 out of 10 people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. The cost of this for employers is around US$300bn every year in stress related health care and absences.
Stress-related presenteeism (defined as the lost productivity that occurs when employees come to work but, as a consequence of illness or other conditions, are not fully functioning) and absentism are costing employers more than AU$10billion a year.
As industry leaders, it makes sense for boards to tackle this costly issue. And the first step in doing so is to challenge how organisations, and society, have normalised and accepted stress. We actually expect we should feel stressed during certain circumstances e.g. tough market conditions, organisational change, busy times of year etc. For some professions it is almost worn as a merit badge of their commitment to success.
While our health is critical to our feeling of wellbeing, so is our diet critical to our health. The 21st Century diet of pre-processed packaged convenience foods and fast food on the run tends to be high in unhealthy fats, sugars and salt.
This is leading directly to people becoming overweight and suffering with health problems. Intensive farming with the use of fertilisers and pesticides has taken a lot of the nutrients out of the soil so that even much of our fresh fruit and vegetables are lacking a lot of the goodness and nutrition that were present 50 years ago.
As a business professor, students often ask me where they should take their careers in order to have the most impact. They are expecting a straightforward answer: that they should work in finance in a large resource-extraction company, say, or in the advocacy department of a multinational non-profit organization. Instead, I am quick to tell them, “Wrong question: try again.” The key question is one that only they can answer for themselves: “What were you meant to do with your life?”
This deeper exploration leads to the pursuit of a calling or a vocation, which is nothing more or less than your purpose in the world. We all have a goal or purpose to what we do. Where do you devote your energy? How much time do you spend with your family, or in the woods, or pursuing wealth?
Following on from our recent article 'Is Employee Wellbeing the Real Failure of Your Business?', which explored how, when a company focuses on the wellbeing of its staff, it will typically see a reduction in sickness absence and increased staff retention.
How you introduce a Wellbeing Programme is key. Participation must be voluntary and no-one should be made to feel second-best or “wrong” for not wishing to partake.
Incentives might help increase participation but be very aware of not causing any sector of your workforce to feel victimised because they are not yet ready to take action to improve their wellbeing. In addition to staff buy-in, you will also need the support of your senior management team. They need to be convinced that a happy, healthy workforce is a more productive workforce and ultimately, better for the bottom line.
- To do whatever you do and make a profit
- To market whatever it is you do, so that you gain and retain clients
- To look after your workforce so they perform as well as possible
Wellbeing is a concept that is gaining mainstream exposure. Both government and private enterprise are beginning to take the notion of employee wellbeing much more seriously. Why is this? What are the benefits to business and the economy? And what can individual companies do for their own staff to encourage and develop wellbeing?
Like many business leaders, I fill my days with activity related to planning, measuring, motivating, discussing, analysing and generally thinking about our business, the people within it and where we are heading. I spend far too little time looking after myself! Over the summer, as part of a basic recognition that I need to focus more on the Wellbeing of myself and those in our community, I triggered a major focus on Wellbeing within the Vistage organisation.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, Wellbeing is "the state of being healthy, comfortable or happy". Personal wellbeing encompasses mental, physical and emotional health as well as a sense of purpose, satisfactory relationships with others, and general satisfaction with one's life.
With people spending 40-50 years of their life and more than half their waking hours at work, it makes sense to ensure they are happy and fulfilled during those hours. Not just for their own wellbeing but also for the profitability and business advantage of the company they work for.
We all know the lifeblood of every business is its team, with this one invaluable asset directly influencing the ultimate success of the company as a whole. Streamlining your operations is a matter of logic and foresight, removing any present or potential obstacles on the hunt for a more efficient approach. Priming your team for productivity, however, is a little trickier - and it all starts with taking a look at your office environment.
If your office space needs a strategic shake-up, making a few simple and actionable changes to your team’s environment should help you propel productivity to the next level.