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Health and Wellness at Work


Anne Williams talks about Employee Health and Wellbeing 

This is from my interview with Anne Williams from Transforming Health who is a fully qualified accredited hypnotherapist.   Prior to that, she had a number of roles in HR working with some big corporates so she definitely knows her stuff! She is the perfect person to talk to about health and wellbeing at work.  So, Anne, I would love to know what health and wellbeing at work mean to you?

So just a little side note that this is a transcription of the podcast, it’s not going to be perfect grammar or spelling (though I have corrected a lot of it).  It might read a bit funny, but its just a transcript of our conversation that I wanted to post, for those that might be interested to read and might not be able to listen for whatever reason.  The best place is to listen to it on my podcast which you can find here.   However, its good to have it written down.  By writing this blog it also means that people that don’t know about my podcast might be searching online for content and then find my website which will help them find the podcast.  

Emmie: So, Anne, I would love to know what health and wellbeing at work mean to you?

Anne: Sure. Okay. Well as I think about it earlier and I was thinking really it’s about, both physical and mental well-being. So, there’s a lot of talk about stress at the moment. But I was thinking that a really good organization, should be looking after the employees’ physical well-being as well as their mental well-being. So it’s about I guess the physical environment that people are working in and the culture of the organization. How people are managed, how they’re trained and developed all of those things. It’s a really big area obviously because all of those things can have a real impact on people’s physical and mental health.

Emmie: Yeah it is it is there are lots and lots of different factors aren’t there to take into account? And do you think, having worked in HR roles a lot in big organisations, and now obviously treating people with hypnosis, who are struggling from stress or anxiety or other symptoms? Do you think that companies are doing a good job in general with health and well-being for their staff or is the definitely a lot of room for improvement?  Presumably, some are doing a fantastic job and some are struggling?

Anne: Yes,  I think it’s immensely variable. I mean, you hear the really good examples of, I’m just thinking the things maybe that Google is doing.  So they introduce an element of play into the workplace.  I think from what I’ve heard on the radio and in the media, they have rooms where people can go and play games and they see that as part of creativity really.  Getting away from their desk taking a bit of time out and just start engaging in completely different activities. And as people do that it can make them more creative for their job.

Emmie: I think you’re right. We had a table tennis table in our office when I ran my company, and that was just the most popular thing. People are playing table tennis all the time and they loved it. You need to take a break from your work and your desk. Don’t you?

Anne: So, I mean I think it absolutely ranges from looking after employees physical health, and one thing that I’ve studied recently that there’s a branch of psychology called Human Givens and that talks about some of the basic physical and psychological emotional needs that people  have to meet in order to have an overall sense of well-being.  And I think where companies that are getting all of this right,  they are covering all the bases of these physical and psychological needs. It can be really good for employees and therefore really good for the company. So, just obvious things like the canteen serving healthy food, there being a water cooler so that people can remain hydrated, things like making sure that people are able to take a break at lunchtime so they can maybe go out of the office get some exercise.   All of those help with the fundamental physical needs.  And then some of the more psychological needs would be things such as people feeling that their working environment is safe. Really picking up on any harassment, any bullying. And then some of the other things that Human Givens looks at is how people are able to give and receive attention. So, I’m looking back on when I was working as an HR advisor for something called the Investors in People Standard.   Some of the things within the Investors in People Standard very much map up with the fundamental psychological needs. So one of the things that Investors in People looks at is how employees are able to make a contribution to the company. 

Emmie: Yeah, it’s just so important, isn’t it? I mean, you want to feel like you’re being listened to, you want to feel like you’re being heard, you want to feel you’re contributing something. And that you believe in what the company is doing and their values.

Anne: Yes, absolutely and that again goes back to the Investors in People Standard. It’s about looking at how does the organization value employees.  It could be very simply that people get thanks for their work, that they get recognition for it. If a company’s got a good performance management system then that should be happening very regularly – that people get feedback on their work. So they know how they’re doing. They feel that what they’re doing is recognized and valued. Obviously, some companies have a more structured rewards process such as monetary rewards through bonuses, or other things that aren’t necessarily salary related. It could be, very simply, people get a thank you card or employee they are named Employee of the Month.

Emmie: Yeah. It’s lovely.

Anne: The team gets taken out for dinner, stuff like that.  

Emmie: Yeah.  Well, today on LinkedIn I saw one of my clients doing a shout out to someone who works for him. And I thought that just so nice to do that. Actually, the founder of Zoom was bigging up one of his staff. who had done something amazing and saying ‘oh yeah congratulations’.  When you’re working and you feel appreciated you are so much happier aren’t you?

Anne: Yes, absolutely. Another main one is giving people a sense of control so that they feel that they do have input to decisions that are made about their work. All of this can really contribute to people’s mental well-being,  as well as other things that are more directly stress prevention. Monitoring people’s workloads, making sure that people get the training and development they need so they know what they’re doing, that they know who that they can go to if they’ve got a problem.  People feel that they’re able to talk about what maybe not going so well and they’re struggling with. And they feel that they’ll be listened to and they’ll be supported. Well rather than sometimes what I see with clients, they feel that if they say that maybe they’re not that confident in a particular area, maybe they need some more training, they’re perhaps afraid to admit that they’re not doing so well because they think that that’s going to count against them.  

Emmie: Which is awful Isn’t it? Because you can’t be amazing at everything and you need support.

You can listen to my podcast here, and you can read the next part of the interview with Anne about XXX here.  Do get in touch if you have any thoughts as to how I can improve my podcast, or if you have any questions that you would like me to ask future experts.