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Jan 2017 at 12:22

The Greatest Wealth is Health - Creating Happier Workforces

Good afternoon all

The Greatest Wealth is Health

2016 has been a shocker! Not just for the world of celebrity but for clients and friends alike. Heart attacks (plural), cancer, rare diseases, diabetes and accidents have struck my network of fantastic people. Not every one of them has made it through to the end of the year. And so it brings me back to the challenge that I aim at so many of you (and, as you rightly point out, I need to reflect on myself more often than I care to admit) – what are you doing to improve your self-care, your health, happiness and the health of your staff at the moment? Is it time to make sure that health and happiness is central to your business growth strategy?

GNH or GDP in Your Business?

I once heard a story about the King of Bhutan. Apparently he measures GNH (Gross National Happiness) instead of GDP in his country and this emphasis on happiness in the workplace had had a significant impact on the country’s GDP. The happier staff are the more productive they are too. Now whether this is a myth or a fact, I’m not sure, but my experience of working with businesses that are productive, forward thinking and full of fulfilled and cared for staff tends to correlate with higher success levels.

What’s the cost of mental health issues and sickness in your workplace?

A recent UK government survey has reported that the cost of mental ill health and sickness leave is costing the economy a total of £127 billion. Here, Norman Blisset talks about the importance of putting in place health and wellbeing strategies and aligning them with your business growth strategy if you want to ensure that your workforce remains productive and fulfilled in their work. I still have a couple of clients that believe that the working day should start at 8.30a.m., finish at 6.30p.m. and that stepping away from your desk for longer than five minutes is a sin. It is interesting to compare the productivity of their people and the churn of their staff compared to those who encourage taking time out, paying attention to health and rewarding their staff for their results rather than weekend working and long hours.

….switch off the phone to reduce the threat of your mind feeling like it is in a permanent state of emergency

Now before you bring out the red flag and complain about me banging on about the importance to caring for people’s emotional wellbeing and the need for people to ‘man up’ and find some resilience, I want to share that those that I work with who have suffered most this year have been the toughest, the most resilient men and women that I know in business. There is much psychological research that endorses the need to step away from the laptop and switch off the phone to reduce the threat of your mind feeling like it is in a permanent state of emergency and the physical impact that has on us. It’s worth looking at the fantastic TED talk by Dr Dan Ariely on what makes people happy to see his simple but effective research into the impact of our behaviours on personal motivation and productivity.

 

I suspect many of you are spending time over this extended break to consider your business strategy and what steps you need to take to increase productivity and profitability. Can I be bold enough to suggest that you start with increasing staff happiness and fulfilment in the workplace and truly asking yourselves, what’s really important to your own quality of life before getting out the calculator? It may be just a thought, but given my experience of 2016, it’s a heartfelt appeal to many of you. I’d like to think that we know each other and are still enjoying life in 2018, 19, 20 and beyond.

Have a wonderful New Year one and all and a happy and healthy 2017.

Kindest

Lily

Lily Newman

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