Wellbeing at Work

Somehow working hard has become a badge of honor.

One HR Director recently reported to me that her boss got up in front of a group and said “I’ve been traveling everywhere so I’ve stopped running and gained twenty pounds” in order to show his work ethic and how dedicated he was to the company. Her response internally was “well, that’s not enrolling to me — I’m not interested in becoming that person if that’s what it takes to succeed here!”

Of course not.

Our health and wellbeing should not be pitted against our jobs. We should not be choosing between doing what’s good for us and doing what’s good for the company. The truth is that what’s good for us IS good for the company.

Richard Branson is famous for saying that the best thing you can do to increase productivity is work out. He says it gives him four more hours of productive time each day.

With all the statistics about work absenteeism that relate to health issues, and all the under-reported incidents of people just simply not working to their full capacity while at their desks, you’d think it would be clear that a healthy workforce is one that best supports the company. Many companies do, in fact, understand this. But short of putting in a massive gym and cooking everyone’s meals a la Google, what is there to do?

How about creating a culture of wellbeing? This takes more of an attitude shift than financial investment. Here are several of my thoughts — I’d love to hear yours!

1. Send internal emails that remind people to get up from their desks once an hour and walk around, rest their eyes and stretch their muscles.
2. Rather than cake, cookies and balloons to celebrate a birthday, how about bringing in a massage therapist for chair massages?
3. Ban sugary, fatty food from meetings — if you need to supply energy food, try nuts or fruit.
4. Praise people who take their vacation time and cover their work gladly. They just took time to refresh and restore to come back reinvigorated! And, they’ll do the same for you.
5. Stop complaining about the drudgery of anything work-related.
6. Encourage those around you to go home on time.

You can shift your company’s culture from wherever you sit within the organization.

What are ten other things you could implement today that would make a difference in the wellbeing of those you work with?

Wellbeing at Work