Wellbeing at Work – some practical ideas from #CIPD15

5 Nov

I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the opening keynote of such a big event as #cipd15 was around ‘Mental capital and Wellbeing at work’. Professor Cary Cooper’s session was extremely engaging and gave us some shocking ROIs to think about and take to our CFOs. It also highlighted the issue of presenteeism that is just as bad in the UK, if not worse than absenteeism. Find great summaries of the session from Ian Pettigrew and Gemma Reucroft.

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Above all, the session left me wondering what each and every one of us can do to put wellbeing in practice in their workplace?

The clear theme for me is to be brave enough to challenge the culture of the organisation. Start by giving some seeds and start with your teams and with you. Small steps = more steps. Do you manage a team? Show them that you take your break every day. Go for a walk! Leaving the office at lunch will stretch your spine and muscles, releasing pressure and eliminating discomfort. Plus, you’ll trade that sickly florescent lighting and stale office air for sunshine (if you’re not in Manchester!) and a refreshing breeze.

Do you let your team leave early if they have worked hard? Do you send emails early/late?

Working in a different space and environment does help, so have you tried having a team meeting in the park? Or a walking meeting? What would work for you and your company that would make you and your team happy and ultimately healthier and more productive?

I realise that one size does not fit all, but I know I haven’t tried or been successful at keeping up some of the above. Cary Cooper’s session reminded me just how important it is.

Many managers are working way in excess of their contracted hours; 11% of people work in excess of 60 hours a week. 70% of people work over 40 hours a week. Studies show that long hours does not equate to being effective. If you consistently work long hours, you simply will get ill. Survey results from people show the clear impact of excessive working – the negative impact on wellbeing, on families, and on productivity. How much does mental health related absence cost the UK each year? £70bn, the equivalent to 4.5% of our GDP.

Take some personal ownership and responsibility for your wellbeing and lead by example. Challenge the behaviour around email laziness. Go and speak to people and stop sending an email to people close to you! Challenge the culture, introduce small initiatives that have a positive effect on the organisation and will promote different behaviours.

I loved the idea of promoting the ‘curious coffee’ initiative that Penguin Random House have implemented. Two colleagues are selected randomly to meet over a coffee and have a chat. Not only this bridges gaps, improves internal communications and creates meaningful connections in the business, but it also encourages a break and a chat over emails.

These are some of the practical ideas inspired by #cipd15 and mainly the reminder that small changes can initiate a tidal sea of changes in order to help us shape a healthy workplace.

One Response to “Wellbeing at Work – some practical ideas from #CIPD15”


  1. It’s that time of the year again – #CIPDACE16 | The Resource Force - November 4, 2016

    […] time last year, I was listening to Professor Cary Cooper talking about wellbeing. This prompted a blog post with some practical ideas on how to improve wellbeing at work. I knew last year that I was not leading by example. I realise now quite how badly I was looking […]

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