Wellbeing is not just a fad anymore- it's about taking responsibility for your personal well-being in life and at work and then reflecting that to the larger family- work colleagues, associates one works with..
In 2017 the world saw an unprecedented chaos from both Nature and Man; political, economical and social in ways that has had most of us wake up to the fact that Wellbeing must be a priority, whether in the workplace, corporate boardrooms, in the management philosophies we espouse and/or in our personal relationships which of course all starts within ourselves first.
True wellbeing is the outer reflection of one’s inner emotional state and we are now beginning to understand that ill mental health is a major cause of illness and disease. Here in the UK, mental health is now being taken seriously and the key differentiator in the coming months and years will be to boldly and simply just ‘go there’, deconstructing the societal stigma that is attached to mental illness specifically and the nasty habit we’ve had of ostracising of the ones who suffer from it.
How do we do this? How do we remove the mental health stigma?
Empowering people in the workplace to speak up and express themselves in a safe and encouraging manner when they feel overwhelmed is crucial to organisations, companies and brands who want to lead the way. Without the threat of losing jobs, or pay cuts, being demoted or being ostracised by colleagues and associates, and creating environments where we are able to take personal responsibility for our emotional, mental and physical health is another crucial aspect.
Brands and corporates, especially HR and line managers, can begin to gauge work performance by assessing an individual’s energetic levels at the end of a work week/month based on key areas of physical health, emotional health, mental health and a sense of ‘purpose’. For far too long we have labeled mental/emotional issues as a weakness instead of applauding the fact that an individual has to courage to be vulnerable and honest. Without over normalising it, we can learn to be accepting that anyone is bound to have some issue or the other and understand the fact that we actually create more harm by ignoring or hiding it from the world. Our true inner essence can only be reached by first peeling off the layers that we have put on for protection from the hurts that we have felt at one point or another.
As a collective society, as a family at home and as a team at the workplace we can all come together and be more supportive of each other in understanding what emotionally, mentally and physically ails someone and how this affects one’s work-life balance.
We can turn the entire game around instead of making it all about just ‘material success’ and ‘performance’ in function, to a quality of ‘living-ness’ that is consistent, without perfection and yet reflects our true essence to each other.
A Culture of Transparency Leads to Wellbeing= Healthy ROI
Any company or workplace that is keen for their people to thrive will need to create a vibrant culture of openness, and diversity based on transparency and a two-way communication. Enabling individuals at the workplace to take charge of their own well-being also has been proven to have a positive effect on retention and job satisfaction.
In the coming years, we have to understand that Well-being is not just a fad to be bandied about, or an initiative for corporates to tom-tom as being part of that fad but is an actual integration into a corporate culture. Something that leadership can look into and make their boardroom priority. In fact, companies that give individuals the power to determine their own well-being may well result in deeper engagement. Not being heard is one of the major grievances across workplaces anywhere and this can trigger a case of depression if not addressed immediately thus affecting business performances.
Most company leaders and management are now beginning to look into what exactly makes their company/brand a holistic place to work in. Considering that most of us work 8 hours plus in an office environment, it becomes imperative that our relationships with each other are in harmony. In essence, we are a family equally at the workplace considering the close proximity we work in.
Brands must now look beyond just the typical high salaries, perks, sales related bonus schemes etc as this is not enough to engage anymore, particularly as the quest for a work-life balance has seriously affected modern work culture across the globe. Moving beyond the typical or cliched wellbeing agenda that offers gym discounts, yoga classes, free healthy food etc (although this is a good start!) is the much talked about the concern that these short-lived perks do not have the capacity to help people feel a sense of wellbeing. Wellness is beyond just physical health. Addressing, engaging and communicating the deeper behavioral aspects is now the need of the hour.
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Brand & Culture
Brand and Culture are two sides of the same coin. Internal management and company ethos define culture which is then reflected by the brand’s values which are perceived by its customers. Your Brand is a statement in the outside to the world whereas culture is all about how the internal workforce comes together as a community, taking the vision forward, delivering an experience that echoes the brand’s values externally. Every individual needs to feel an integral part of the brand and not just another cog in the machinery, to be able to offer a fantastic customer experience. This also raises the brand’s value both internally and externally. Creating a culture where every single individual is a brand ambassador is the future.
Aligning Brand Vision with Wellbeing
Any brand’s purpose/vision will have a higher customer engagement and a memorable experience if they align with the wellbeing of their workforce. Companies can look into creating support systems wherein employees have access to 24-hour counseling, health check-ups and health information at every internal touch point. A global survey states that brands/companies are losing employee productive time and workplace underperformance has seen a drastic rise thanks to ill-health and time took off sick. In the Uk itself, this amounts to an average of 27.5 days of productive time per employee each year which when translated into monetary terms is costing the UK economy £75 Billion each year in lost productivity.
It is therefore critical to take well-being into account in a 360-degree spherical manner which encompasses all aspects of an employee’s lifestyle and shows genuine concern for their emotional, mental and physical health. It’s about being present, aware and responsible.
Wellbeing is key to performance
Businesses with a social conscience and an intelligent overview to understanding life are the ones that will set the way forward towards a healthy and vibrant work atmosphere. A company or a brand’s commitment towards wellbeing is not a short-term goal and must be hardwired into the ethos of its management principles.
One of the key philosophies that businesses all over need to immediately start with is the commitment towards building and nurturing their workforce instead of focusing solely on what they can extract out of them. Such businesses and brands that focus on short-term goals, profits and numbers are already setting themselves up for failure in the long-term.
CMO’s and Business leaders who are in it for the short-term can be challenged to imbibe and live this philosophy and hence it is imperative for companies to seriously consider the long-term effects of employee well-being that reflects on their reputation and overall performance. This also means longer tenure-ship of senior leaders in a company can bring that kind of dedication towards wellbeing. Integrating workplace wellbeing into performance management is the new mantra for the future.
Leaders who walk the talk
In the coming months and years, we will perhaps – and hopefully – see more leaders that actually walk the talk. Management must reflect wellbeing through their actions, plus openness/honesty to discuss their own mental and emotional challenges, to truly engage and not disengage, to be willing to understand the challenges of their staff and to truly care for the people who work for their organisations.
True leaders are the ones who are going to own this wellbeing philosophy in every move they make. They know that if they want their companies and brands to go the distance then they have to focus on their people thus staying in sync with the bigger picture.
Leaders who realize their own potential beyond their own fears, doubts, ideas and beliefs are the ones who can rise above and beyond just the wellbeing speak and action it.
Adapt diversify include
Companies and leaders from the top down who are willing to adapt to change and promote diversity and inclusion are the ones who are going to lead the future. In a global scenario most brands are now beginning to successfully break down barriers around gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and other factors that previously would stop genuine talented people to be a part of a company’s growth. Neurodiversity is also a key aspect towards a brand’s true success. Any company or leader that will embrace a culture of building whole-intelligence teams, making sure that individuals are empowered and constantly supported to be the best version of themselves, are the ones who will truly signify and shape the marketing of the future. Company processes need to change to be able to adopt and adapt to diverse thoughts, differences and thus have individuals who are truly talented and committed towards their own – and the brand’s – growth.
Ultimately we all have the intelligence to be able to look into the future and see what’s coming. Instead of constantly tackling disruption and emotional challenges at the workplace, the ability to live life on the front foot cannot only drive ‘true’ change but also reflect that at large to the societies we live in. So begin your 2018 by embracing your wellbeing.
Are you going to lead this change? Are you a leader or a management consultant or a company that would like to know more about how to bring about a model that is capable of bringing this future to the present. If so get in touch with us.