‘Wellbeing is hard to define because to a large extent it is subjective’
What images does wellbeing evoke when you hear the words?
To me wellbeing means being physically active, owning and running our own business, travelling to sunny destinations and managing the day to day pressures while still being able to laugh and enjoy the small things.
So why is Wellbeing at Work so important?
Most of us in business understand, at least at a fundamental level, the importance of safety at work, however often the health and wellness piece comes a far distant second. As a whole it appears that recent changes to health and safety legislation has spurred a large majority of businesses into action, who had not already addressed this as a priority, however the area of wellness and focus on psychological wellbeing is an area we often see as lagging behind and not always a fundamental part of business planning, focus or ethos. Some are very good with aspects of this, however it is often a case of ‘ not knowing what you don’t know and challenging when some of the risk factors are subtle or not easily seen in an organisation.
When you consider the fact that we bring our whole selves to work everyday (like it or not we are human and that comes with all if our life long learnings and experiences, personal values, personal triggers for stress and anxiety, personal state of health and mental wellbeing at any given time.
As Humans, we are complex, often unpredictable and our health and wellbeing may fluctuate according to a multitude of external and intrinsic factors, which ironically may have a direct risk impact on our safety at work and the safety of others.
Having started my career (many years ago) as a registered nurse – with a large proportion of this time spent as an ER nurse , I know only too well the importance of a person’s holistic wellbeing and seeking to understand and address risk factors, prevention being the first line of defence, before moving to de-escalation and emergency intervention – both psychological and physical being equally important in both preventing and treating people. In corporate environments, sometimes the value of a person’s holistic wellbeing is not seen as important and often treated as a ‘nice to have’ vs critical. In high risk environments, such as construction, manufacturing and logistics, the risks are generally far more visible and clear actions can be taken to mitigate harm but what about in seemingly lower risk environments?
Often the dangers in lower risk environments are just as dangerous and in fact more so, given that they may remain undetected – eg: stress and anxiety/ depression, long hours, inability to switch off and the list goes on … all of which will extend to physiological symptoms at some stage if prolonged.
We spend a significant proportion of our lives at work and what we do for work and who we work with often strongly impacts how we attribute self value and forms part of how we define ourselves …. so pretty important huh!?
We know that businesses who invest in the wellbeing of their employees have higher engagement, lower attrition and reduce cost and risk to the business + achieve greater success and results.
As a recruitment, coaching and consulting business, we work with several organisations who are taking great strides in this regard and similarly with businesses who are just finding their feet or not sure how to start.
Our advice is to start with the small things and develop from there.
How to get started?
- Find an expert in health safety and wellbeing to advise and consult with your business
- Ask for champions in your business in your business and ask all to contribute to ideas you can implement and nominate the best / most achievable for action
- Set some key objectives as a business and how you will measure success and keep it simple
- Consider low risk ways for people to check in with others and connect together
- Observe and look at day to day with a new lens that considers the impact to people of actions and behaviours and encourage all to do this and to hold each other accountable for every person owning this
- Create some fun and celebrate success in your health and wellness journey, recognising people that champion and support behaviours and new ideas
Some common risk factors:
- Poor nutrition choices – choosing convenience over healthy options and higher sugar for energy + more caffeine
- Decreased activity/ exercise
- Increased time online and extended hours remotely
- More e communication vs face to face interface and potential isolation with remote working
- Higher stress and anxiety levels
- Less available time with family/ significant others
- Reduced sleep and inability to ‘switch off’
- Increased travel time and therefore less leisure/ down time
Perhaps most importantly – start by asking yourself if you are ok and then asking others you work with…..
Take a survey and see how you are doing in the health and wellbeing stakes?
We specialise in representing and connecting businesses with health, safety and wellbeing talent and will be delighted to be a part of your journey in an area that we are truly passionate about. Reach out today: