Great organisations have long known the value of creating great places to work. In the war for talent and the quest to constantly improve productivity, investment in workplace wellbeing has been a feature of leading and admired companies.
So the science of wellbeing is highly relevant in our challenged world, bruised by huge uncertainty, greater than what we thought existed before the pandemic.
As we unlock, what can we do differently to embrace and promote well-being for ourselves and for others – to survive AND thrive?
Here are some profoundly simple ideas to practice, all backed by substantial research in neuroscience, wellbeing, happiness and positive psychology.
- Compassion. Starting with self. To create a great place to work, protect your mental and physical health. Give yourself time to weep and time to laugh, time to grieve and time to have fun.
- Sleep. 7 hours a night is the clinically healthy minimum. 5 or less hours a night classifies as “sleep deprivation”, accelerates ageing, increases chance of dementia, reduces life expectancy.
- Exercise. As little as 3 times 30-minutes of cardiovascular exercise a week maintains physical health and improves cognitive performance.
- Experiences over things. Experiences capture our attention, create memories that allow us to repeat the pleasure. Things, once acquired, quickly “lose their value”, “get taken for granted”.
- Social connections. Relationships are key to healthy and long life. Human survival depends on our collective abilities to combine efforts in pursuit of shared goals.
- Meaningful work. Clear purpose and goal clarity fuels energy and resilience, contributes towards survival in extreme adversity.
- Acts of kindness. Giving to another person boosts well-being scores for several days after the act – much longer than gifting something to ourselves.
- Gratitude. Expressing gratitude to another brings that for which you are grateful back to mind, mindfully, fuels positive thinking and extends the positive experience.
- Time affluence. After a certain level of earnings, more wealth doesn’t satisfy. The freedom to do the things you enjoy, especially with the people you appreciate, satisfies more and for longer.
- Meditation and savouring the moment. Our minds wander 47% of the time that we are awake, taking us out of the “here and now”, eroding happiness and ability to be our best every moment.
- Positive statements. Companies with a “Losada ratio” (positive to negative statements) between 3:1 and 15:1 flourish. Marriages with a Losada ratio above 5:1 are strong and loving.
- Focus on strengths. Neurosciences have shown that playing to our strengths generates more learning, creates more new neural connections than trying to correct or work on weaknesses
All of the above have featured, to differing degrees, in the strongest national and corporate strategies during lockdown. What an opportunity for us as humanity to explicitly embrace the above, in full or in part, to fold these practices into our organisations’ new business as usual.
So let me ask, which of the above practices will we adopt and champion in our organisations, for the sake of humanity, compassion, wellbeing and higher economic performance? The opportunity is ours to unlock with a difference - with courage, discipline and love.
Contact us if you’d like help to improve wellbeing in your organisation – especially now as we unlock.