The Big Question

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The implementation of wellbeing is (still) more about productivity and bottom-line issues than it is about really looking after people. Do you agree?

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Damien Clifford, Associate Director, Cost Management, Turner & Townsend

No, I don’t agree – I feel there is a genuine empathy within organisations with regards to the wellbeing of their staff, whether that be physical, mental or emotional health. Of course, by having a happy and healthy staff, there is obvious performance and profit margin benefits, however I think companies are also cognisant of the social impact that the individual and collective wellbeing of their people in the workplace has, which will also help to alleviate long term pressures on our national health service.

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Colin Watson, Secretary General, The European Office Furniture Federation

The two are equally compatible and mutually beneficial. A well-constructed programme to enhance wellbeing in the workplace will provide the potential for a more effective performance from employees. Initiated by the employer, this is just one aspect for success, the other requires a commitment from the individual, who is responsible for aspects outside their place of work. Wellbeing at home, including family security, leisure activities and financial stability complete the circle. It’s a circle for life.

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Morgan Doouss, Founder, AllSfär

I don’t think these are mutually exclusive issues. Organisations must balance a duty of care towards their employees with a responsibility to keep the business profitable. Wellbeing means different things to different people and whilst investing in wellbeing initiatives may be seen by some as a means of getting people to work harder and longer, there’s huge evidence to suggest that healthy people are happier and so more productive. The expectations of employees are now also driving the wellbeing agenda, so it’s becoming more of a tool to attract and retain the best talent.

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Gaynor Taylor, Director, Mansfield Monk Limited

Yes, because ultimately business is about profit. However, there is an increasing realisation within many organisations that wellbeing has a direct effect on profitability. Successful companies attract and retain high calibre personnel, inhabit workplaces where job satisfaction is high and sick leave levels are low, create communities where coming to work is more than just a job and wellbeing plays a pivotal role in all of these factors.

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Rodney McMahon, Managing Director, Morgan

Companies are primarily motivated by the bottom line. So while, yes, the implementation of wellbeing is more about productivity, it’s becoming an inherent part of the workplace to everyone’s benefit. Bear in mind productivity is derived from working smart, not necessarily working hard. Physical and psychological comfort are prerequisites for this so, in fact, even if they are not the priority, looking after people has to come first. While this isn’t yet consistently the case, it’s a desirable aspiration.

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Gary Helm, Founder, obolife

Forward thinking organisations (and indeed societies as a whole) are re-thinking what success looks like. With so many high-profile individuals talking openly about struggles with mental health, it is finally okay to not be okay. This refreshing new attitude, which puts employees health and happiness at the centre of corporate strategy, is adopted by all employers regardless of sector or location. There are more important markers of success than the ruthless pursuit of financial profit – the companies that understand this will be the most sustainable in every sense.