Prescient Business Consulting
This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as part of the 2020 Growth Through People campaign.
Growth Through People is the Chamber’s annual campaign aiming to help local firms boost productivity and grow through improved leadership and people management skills. In 2020 this involves 8 free workshops taking place between 2nd March and 27th March, culminating in a full-day Growth Through People conference on 2nd April. In addition, throughout the campaign the Chambers will be publishing thought leadership podcasts, videos and blog content such as this.
Thanks to our Headline Sponsors – Prime Accountants Group, Aston University, Curium Solutions and CIPD - all workshops are free to attend. Interested readers can find out more and register to attend Growth Through People workshops here, and the Growth Through People conference here.
Working conditions and environments are constantly changing. In the modern world, we face growing expectations and employees - whilst juggling demanding lifestyles and family needs - are often working longer hours in roles which are becoming increasingly more complex and challenging.
All of these factors can have a huge effect on people’s mental health and as a result, it impacts on their ability to perform well in their jobs.
According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), mental ill-health costs the British economy £94bn a year, of which, nearly half of these costs - £42bn - are indirect costs related to lower employment and productivity.
In our region alone, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) reported that a staggering £1.7 billion is lost each year due to poor workplace wellbeing and its impact on productivity - including 4.1 million working days lost due to the mental ill-health of employees. Locally, nationally and internationally, these alarming ﬁgures are set to continue rising.
This sends a very clear message of the greater need to prioritise the promotion of good mental health and wellbeing practices. But what do we really mean by ‘wellbeing’?
Wellbeing isn’t just one thing or a one-time initiative - it’s a holistic approach to our overall health. It’s about encouraging people to make small yet manageable and sustainable changes to existing routines and lifestyle choices to ensure that our bodies at functioning at their optimum emotionally, physically and mentally.
Although wellbeing impacts many aspects of our lives, the workplace is an ideal setting for interventions. Not only can employers influence the physical and psychological wellbeing of their employees, they find that in doing so, they help to boost attendance, productivity and engagement levels.
If as employers we can encourage and support our employees, managers and leaders to adopt healthy wellbeing practices in the workplace – enabling them to recharge themselves every day in the same way we do our mobile phones – we are building resilience and increasing the capacity for people to remain healthier and happier. People are able to manage the challenging conditions within their work and have greater ability to recover more quickly from difficulties – boosting productivity and leading to reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, as well as lowering sickness costs.
What’s more, people who feel valued and can see that an organisation is taking a genuine and proactive approach towards improving their wellbeing, are more likely to join and stay with that organisation, leading to greater talent attraction and retention.
So, what steps can we start taking to improve employee wellbeing? (and we don’t mean just a daily 10k steps challenge!)
Most of us know that physical activity is an important component of keeping healthy but because wellbeing is multi-faceted, we must make sure that other equally important areas, such as mental health, nutrition and sleep, are not overlooked or neglected.
Having employee champions is a great way of ensuring wellbeing becomes part of the culture within the workplace. They can help to recognise and highlight those employees who have demonstrated efforts to improve their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing - rewarding them with cards and certificates (or, if you have the budget, small gifts) to celebrate the successes – as well as sharing best practice within the organisation to inspire other employees. After all, not only does this makes the employees efforts feel worthwhile and valued, but gratitude itself is an important aspect of wellbeing. Focusing on the positives in your life and what you appreciate helps to reduce feelings of frustration and regret - increasing joy and building mental resilience – making us healthier and happier professionally and personally. Win win!
Partner – HR & Culture
Prescient Business Consulting