On Tuesday 16th June, we held our second 106 Breakfast Event, once again in the private dining room at the Wolseley. Amazing to think that the Wolseley was once a car showroom for, yes you guessed it, Wolseley Cars.
Anyway, back to our breakfast. We got together some senior people in HR, as well as a law partner just to bring us back to reality! For over an hour, we discussed some of the key principles, issues and opportunities in promoting health & wellbeing in the workplace.
Here are some of the key thoughts of the group:
The importance of leaders leading by example – of course, this is said time and again. But it can’t be more true when it comes to Health & Wellbeing. This can present a difficulty though; after all you are asking for leaders to open up, discuss sensitive subjects and even show a vulnerability themselves – i.e. admit stress. The more open they are, the more open your colleagues will be.
On the shoulders of managers – According to Gallup, 70% of employee engagement is driven by managers. A lot is placed on their shoulders, and we talked extensively about how much we train and support them to do all these things that we ask of them. There is a tension between delivering and supporting – but the better managers can listen and understand, the more successful they will be in creating real wellbeing at work.
Finding the balance – Employers may promote Health & Wellbeing at work, but if people can’t find balance outside of work, how can they find it at work? We talked about involving partners and family, rather than simply focusing on the colleague at work. Also, we discussed how you should be trying to generate the energy that helps you at home and at work. Energy comes from looking after yourself, hydrating properly, putting the right nutrition in, and often just taking time to get away (especially getting away from your desk at lunchtime).
Global v Local – Working in a global company might not always be good for your health – from simply having to respond to emails and calls day and night, to being expected to work when you’re supposed to be on holiday. Here it’s often about having discipline with yourself, and clearly setting boundaries with your colleagues.
Outcome v Input – Presenteeism is still a prevalent force in our working world – although you can see that changing. We talked about the generations coming into and through the workplace, and how different ways of working will start to take over.
Putting your people in control – The one thing that I certainly took from today was the importance of putting your people in charge of their own Health & Wellbeing. You can promote a healthier diet or encourage people to take more exercise or even provide PodTanks like Facebook where you can take a nap during the day; but ultimately it comes down to personal choice and personal decisions.
We talked about all of this over a breakfast of creamy scrambled eggs and heart-stopping eggs benedict! But talking was good – and as one of our number said, it’s important to take time like this to discuss and debate, and hear new perspectives. That is energising in itself!