People may think that workplace wellbeing only concerns and benefits the people in an organisation. When staff are well and healthy at work, they are happy at work. There is less absence and turnover, increased creativity and better relationships and productivity. The company performance and reputation improves, they are likely to attract good talent and be seen as a desirable employer. This is all good stuff.
But it’s SO much bigger than that.
Let’s see what happens when someone is NOT healthy and happy at work…
1. They get sick
Long term dis-ease from workplace stress affects physical health. An employee going off sick has wide repercussions.
- It affects their family; it may put extra load on their partner (if they have one) to look after their children (if they have any).
- Maybe they have other dependents who need their care and support – siblings, parents, grandparents and any other relatives. How can they help them now, if they are sick?
- They may also end up at the doctors and in the hospital. This adds pressure to an already overwhelmed NHS, and costs taxpayers money.
- Speaking of money, our whole economy is affected when people aren’t able to work.
2. It can affect their personal finances
If workplace dis-ease has caused someone to go on long term sick, lose or quit their job, or be unemployed for long periods whilst they recover from burnout, this will affect their financial stability.
- They may not be able to pay their bills and feed their children, further increasing stress at home and affecting the health and wellbeing of the family unit – which is the bedrock of society.
- They may require government support, increasing costs for the taxpayer again.
3. Their unhappiness affects personal relationships
Workplace issues don’t just affect workplace relationships. They affect all relationships.
- After a day of struggle at work, a person may go home and unconsciously, end up shouting at their kids. This affects a child’s mental and emotional wellbeing – and maybe even physical wellbeing depending on how long it ensues and if, God forbid, it turns into physical expressions of anger and pain.
- Or, perhaps they are so overwhelmed with work that they simply aren’t mentally, physically or emotionally present for their children in the way that children need.
- Now the kid is unhappy. They go to school and take it out on their peers and teachers. They’ve now made other people unhappy, who then take this problem home to their family and friends – the ripple effect continues.
- If this goes on for long enough, the child’s mental and physical wellbeing is affected and their long term health and development is at high risk of going in the wrong direction.
- Social relationships may also suffer if a person who is unhappy at work spends all their social time complaining about work to their friends. No one enjoys that kind of vibe, it brings everyone down.
4. Their lack of wellness affects how they show up with all people
Personal relationships aside, a person harbouring misery caused by work can spread that misery everywhere they go.
- At some point, they’ll be driving through traffic or shuffling through the crowded tube. Are they going to be kind, relaxed, alert and courteous as they travel? Or are they more likely to be aggressive, selfish and ratty with their fellow commuters
- How would they treat the local barista and other passers-by? What sort of energy will they spread and leave behind, everywhere they go? What ripple effect will they have on society?
So, what if a person is well, healthy and happy in their workplace?
Whilst this isn’t some silver bullet that will solve all humanity’s problems, it will sure go a far way towards helping them.
We spend most of our lives at work. Organisations are incredibly influential components of society, they are the nodes in a huge network of millions of otherwise unrelated people.
Whilst many corporations are private, profit-making enterprises, they are also social entities and, in my view, should act as such when considering the wellbeing of their staff.
If staff are well, healthy and happy in their workplace, they will be better at home, raise happier and healthier children and families. They may not need to visit the doctors as much, giving much relief to overworked healthcare professionals. And, they will present a better side of themselves as they walk through the world, spreading good energy throughout their community and in many of their relationships.
There’s no downside to wellbeing in the workplace, but there are massive upsides to be had for us all.
I applaud any company that takes this on as a serious endeavour, because you’re positively affecting the lives of SO MANY people, way more than just those who work for you.
Thanks for reading, I hope this has given you some points to ponder…