In a recent video for the BBC, Planet Organic founder Renee Elliott discussed the various elements of her personal wellbeing strategy.
Elliott says that, ever since she went through a difficult time in her early 30s, she has strived to maintain a balance between the following parts of her life: Economic (earning, saving and spending); Intellectual (never stop learning), Emotional (being honest and telling the truth all the time), Psychological (personal development and taking responsibility), Physical (fitness and good food), Spiritual (meditation), Social (seeing friends, enjoying each other’s company and laughing together), and Sleep (when you feel tired, just go to bed).
All of which are undeniably marvellous . However, there are ample signs that millions of UK citizens are finding it increasingly hard to defend their lives from stresses and strains. In early July, PwC revealed that 34% of people in the UK are suffering from a mental health or wellbeing issue, with the effects particularly pronounced among employees.
Later that month, a global wellbeing chart devised by insurance firm Cigna placed the UK eighth in the world – with India, Thailand and China emerging as the Top Three locations for caring work environments. Clearly, amid increasingly hectic demands on our time, we are struggling to keep the threads of our wellbeing in balance. What message does this provide to employers about the responsibilities they have to their staff?
The Institute of Leadership & Management's head of research, policy and standards Kate Cooper dips back in time to explain: “The Hawthorne Experiments that Elton Mayo conducted in the 1920s aimed to resolve a basic lack of understanding about how people operate at work – whether more or less light would affect productivity, and so on. Prior to that, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth had undertaken research exploring to what extent fatigue impacts output. And we look back at those studies now, and we think, ‘How could we have been so naïve… why did we have to test these things?’ And I think it’s going to be exactly the same in a few years’ time when we look back on our current awakening on the wellbeing front: is there a business case for people being mentally, emotionally and physically fit at work? Well, of course there is!”
Cooper explains: “There’s going to be that desire to go the extra mile, plus that loyalty and commitment that enables employees to work collaboratively to provide excellent customer service, to have great ideas. These are not just nice to haves – they are business fundamentals. Yes, of course you can cost-cut. Of course you can make your employees, in the short term, produce more by making them work longer hours amid less pleasant conditions. But would that deliver sustainability? No.”
“Even if you go back to Fayol’s Principles, they include the notion that worker wellbeing is a major contributor to productivity. Fayol called it esprit de corps – that sense of team spirit and camaraderie, which links to what I talked about in a recent blog regarding Google’s workplace research. When you really think about it, how can we be in the best relationships with colleagues if we’re stressed or unwell, or have too much to do in an allotted period of time? It will only lead to irritability, and all its associated side-effects.”
For further thoughts on wellbeing, check out this range of resources from the Institute
Other resources of interest
- 18 August 2017
- 17 August 2017