The business of wellbeing

business of wellbeing, wellbeing at work

There’s no doubt about it: the corporate climate is changing toward wellbeing at work.

Slowly but surely, companies are realising that there’s more to management than ‘command, control and pay’. These days, if they want to keep their staff, they’ll need to listen, value and praise, almost like a surrogate family. ‘The soft stuff is the new hard stuff,’ writes Fleur Britten of this changing business model.

Companies express this care in different ways. The fitness brand Lululemon gives all its employees a £350 personal development course which they believe helps them in their personal and professional lives. Yaarit Silverstone, senior managing director for Talent & Organization within Accenture Strategy says “People need to feel their wellbeing is important. That requires responsible leadership demonstrating that it is OK to have boundaries—it’s actually a good thing. For starters, make it clear that people are encouraged to take time off. Employees need to recharge their batteries, and this means unplugging.”

Why is wellbeing needed in the workplace?

These are startling times indeed: companies who actually care how employees feel? This is a long way from Charles Dickens’ notorious headmaster Mr Gradgrind, who was interested only in pounds, shillings and pence. And while some company bosses follow this enlightened path because they simply believe it’s the right thing to do; others claim wellbeing at work also increases productivity and profit.

‘Empathy drives profit,’ says the author Belinda Parmar. ‘The corporate world is in need of rehabilitation. Most business cultures are hierarchical and based on fear. They miss out on revenue because they think there isn’t time to care.’

Laura Morgan, former Group Manager of Training and Development at the MRL Consulting Group made the same connection;

‘We work within a highly competitive sales environment,’ she says ‘and for us, it’s essential that we give our employees an opportunity to address issues which may be affecting them, personally or professionally, with a neutral person. By working with The Mind Clinic, we felt that our employees had an environment where they could speak openly, honestly and in total confidence about whatever they need to and because of that, we got a happier, healthier workforce.’

And our nation’s entrepreneurs appear to be joining in. Two hundred of them recently attended a session on ‘Stress in the Workplace’ led by The Mind Clinic MD Simon Parke and Lead Practioner Mark Godson at the Cranfield Business School. The Q&A revealed there’s much more to running a business than just profit margins for today’s business makers. As one of them said, ‘Just to be able to talk about it feels healing.’

A cultural shift

Tiffany Gaskell, director of coaching at Performance Consultants, agrees. She says ‘We’re not encouraged to be human in the work place, but when we finally get in touch with ourselves, it’s such a relief to be actually who we are. It’s like finding the truth of ourselves for the first time.’

It’s a seismic shift in corporate thinking with some recommending that companies learn from good parenting models. They say that shouting at your employees may work in the short term, but with the way attitudes are changing, this won’t work for long. ‘Anyone who doubts the validity of this,’ says leadership coach Russell Amerasekera, ‘go home and shout at your teenagers and see how that works.’

How we can help.

Mindfulness is one approach to emotional well-being and a significant feature of the quiet revolution described above. The Mind Clinic offers mindfulness groups in companies, as well as one-to-one sessions. If you’d like to know more about mindfulness, see Cranfield Business School’s take on the subject.

If you’d like to talk more about ways The Mind Clinic might help develop emotional support in your company or school, contact us.