By Tim Bean –
I’m currently having a dialogue with a large company here in the UK, whose mandate for employee Health and Safety is to “Do No Harm”. This may sound a bit trite on the face of it, until you discover that their genuine intention is to achieve ZERO workplace accidents and injuries in the workplace. A laudable, and ambitious, aim, and one I think they could well succeed in achieving.
(I’ve always thought it interesting that, up until now, “Health and Safety” usually has everything to do with preventing people doing stupid things to themselves, and virtually nothing to do with your health…!)
They are also in the process of creating a completely new and separate policy around “Health and Wellness“. It will be interesting to see how that evolves in both policy and practice, but I’m hoping that it will go much further than simply “doing no harm” to the wellbeing of its people.
You see when you have large populations in an organisation who spend their days chained to their desks, under pressure, and suffering from fatigue, lack of movement, poor nutrition and dehydration, simply striving not to make them sick doesn’t go far enough. Not being sick doesn’t mean you’re healthy, in the same way that not being bankrupt doesn’t mean you’re wealthy.
I believe that true health and wellbeing in the workplace occurs when every person, every day is practicing habits and rituals that will consistently ADVANCE their health position. In other words it’s about creating an environment that will actually make people more healthy, energised and vital when they leave the office than when they arrived.
Now wouldn’t THAT be interesting!