Be Well: But How?

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Following on from last month’s Spotlight feature on Wellbeing, BDG’s Andy Swann gives us his take on this hottest of topics.

The idea of wellness in everything we do is everywhere and has become the go-to sales patter of many lifestyle suppliers. In recent times, the idea of wellness as an important factor in the workplace has crept in too. The original idea of employee engagement and the notion that employees should be treated in a way that engaged them in the task at hand, or the purpose of the company, still expected the people to be beholden to the company.

The tide has turned today. Employers are starting to realise that people are more than their job title. More than a work-life balance, people work best when work and life are integrated. By allowing people to be who they are and enabling them to thrive, they are able to do their best work, because the conditions are right for them to do so. But how does that translate to providing an actual, physical workplace?

Where flexibility, changing tasks, personal preference, mood, physical and mental health all come into play, creating an environment where everyone can thrive and achieve their own version of wellness at all times requires attention in a number of areas. Socialising and comfort are as important as a secluded space to concentrate – and all of these things help people to work better too.

“The tide has turned today. Employers are starting to realise that people are more than their job title”

Studies show that when we’re happy or content, we’re less distracted and more able to concentrate on our best work. We also live in an age where collaboration, crowdsourcing, the development of ideas and the sharing of information are replacing old, secretive and controlled ways of working. So by creating the right environment for people to thrive, organisations create the right environment for themselves to thrive.

But what really constitutes a working environment? Is it purely the physical space, or is it the way it’s configured, the equipment it provides, the flow and energy, the inspiration, the equipment? If the organisation is a platform for people, it needs to be a combination of all of these things and start to consider them as an intrinsic, non-negotiable part of its own design.

I’ve been lucky enough to watch the development of ‘Wellness Together’, a groundbreaking piece of research, looking at what factors really contribute to workplace wellness. Launching soon, it examined the needs and views of over 1,000 employees to start to piece together the people’s view of what really creates wellness at work.

There’s no surprise that a key finding was that there’s a strong link between people’s wellness at work and a positive outcome for the business, but this study delves deeply into what factors create that elusive ‘well’ workplace and will enable a conversation on what those by-design factors need to be. Let’s hope it’s the starting point for an even deeper understanding of the link between people and work.

Far from the dark ages of the subservient employee, employers need to truly understand that when people thrive, they thrive too – and build for it. Maybe for the first time in the history of work, it’s a situation where everyone wins!