Carl Chapman, associate & head of workplace health, Barnett Waddingham writes a blog series explaining what wellbeing really means
Barnett Waddingham's Carl Chapman is writing a blog series on Eudaimonia using the Greek alphabet as a reference point to give insight into how this old concept can significantly improve your business performance by maximising output from your greatest asset.
Γ γ – gamma
It may be at this point that you are beginning to question how I am going to link every letter of the Greek alphabet to Eudaimonia in the modern workforce. I must confess that at the time of writing, I am thinking exactly the same thing. You may notice that from here on that the links get a little hollow but hopefully the points I make still resonate.
I decided recently that I wanted gamma to focus on workplace stress which is the number one cause of long term absence in the UK, but how do I get from gamma to workplace stress?
Bruce Banner was a gamma scientist who once had a freak accident and was exposed to fatal doses of gamma radiation in which he became the incredible hulk. Workplace stress can turn even the most docile of colleagues into something similar to the incredible hulk, but what causes it and what should be done?
I have purposely used the term workplace stress and not work related stress because stress in the workplace does not necessarily manifest in the workplace. The key like everything else is to determine what causes the problem.
You will know from my previous blogs that I am a strong advocate of analytics and I stand by that 100%, however in some cases you don’t need analytics to tell you there is a problem because the problem itself is so far reaching. Mental ill health such as stress, depression and anxiety is one of these cases and the other is cancer.
Every company should have a policy to deal with mental ill health and I believe the same is also true of cancer. This policy or strategy should be based on the prevention, intervention and education framework. Although I do not believe that analysis is needed to determine that there is a problem, it can help determine what is causing the problem. If there is a common theme that means the education, prevention and intervention framework can be tailored.
Δ δ – delta
The uppercase symbol for delta is a triangle and this neatly leads me onto the three key areas of support that you will have heard me mention a few times in this blog series already.
We split Eudaimonia neatly into our six pillars of wellbeing; job security, financial security, health, support, protection and work/life balance; our analytics determine which of these pillars requires reinforcing, but what does reinforcing entail?
This is where our three key areas of support come in. It is our belief that if you wish to build a comprehensive strategy within each pillar you must provide education, you must provide prevention initiatives and you must have an intervention strategy.
Most companies will focus heavily on intervention; private medical insurance, dental insurance etc. are all intervention products and are an important part of the overall strategy but as the old adage states, “prevention is better than cure”.
Prevention does include education but we have purposely separated these out because we believe education deserves as much focus as prevention. Prevention is more product based including things like smoking cessation seminars, nutrition seminars and health screening, whereas education is more likely to be a resource library available to all.
What is placed where in the overall strategy will be determined by what risks exist - there is no set formula. However there is a framework and that framework helps ensure that the strategy is focused and provides a return on investment.