Happy & Healthy Business Breakfast – turns out wellbeing is not just a ‘nice to have’

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Over 70 people gathered on a sunny morning in the beautiful venue of St George’s for the fourth Go Green Business Breakfast which was on the theme of Happy & Healthy workplaces. With an expert line up of speakers we set out to explore why ‘happiness’ and ‘wellbeing’ are growing buzzwords, and why happy and healthy staff should be a key feature of any business or organisation.

 We heard from Mike Zeidler, Director of Happy City. Mike gave a compelling talk, outlining the need to rethink the idea of putting profit and GDP first as the key measure of success in business or society.  Happy City’s work is about promoting this idea and looking for ways to measure happiness. The good news is, that Bristol is a leader in this field, and consistently tops quality of life surveys. Other cities are actually look towards Bristol – and are taking inspiration from what we are doing well!

We also heard from Martin Groom, Director of Talent and Learning at PwC. In recent years, PwC has faced a particular challenge. Many of its global workforce are now classed as millenials, that is: they were born after 1980. The majority of them are unmarried with no children. For 3 in 4 of them, this is their first job out of college or university.

PwC began to notice that these young professionals were leaving in large numbers, just three or four years into the job. As this happened more and more, they couldn’t ignore that fact that this younger generation no longer seemed to be motivated by the elements of working life that the older generation had – namely an intense work commitment in one’s 20s and 30s in exchange for significant reward and opportunity later. By 2016, over 80% of their workforce will consist of millenials, so this is hardly a problem that they could ignore!

To find out what they could do, PwC partnered with the University of Southern California and the London Business School to commission a study into how to boost levels of staff retention. The insights from the report are revealing to say the least.

The study found that the keys to retention are:

  • Balance and varied workload
  • Engaging work, development and opportunities
  • Flexible working culture
  • Good people and teams
  • Competitive pay and job opportunities

They also found that emotional connection to the firm led to commitment to the company and job satisfaction, ultimately boosting retention rates.

This was a fascinating presentation that was very well received, you can see the more about the key take home messages in Martin’s slides.

Rhian Sherrington, Choose2Flourish then led us through a practical exercise to help determine how balanced we are in life, are we getting everything we need for true wellbeing?

Read on to try it yourself!

Draw a circle on a piece of paper. Divide it into 8 equal segments so it looks like a wheel.  Label each section as follows:

  • Sleep
  • Play
  • Down Time
  • Connection
  • Physical Activity
  • Focused Attention
  • Altered State
  • Self Efficacy

Then on a scale of 0 – 10, 0 being the least satisfied and 10 the most, draw a line across the segment of the circle to represent how satisfied you are.  Zero is right in the centre, and 10 is the outer edge of the circle.

Many people in the audience were clearly surprised by the results, it’s easy to let some things slip when life can be so hectic. However, Rhian highlighted that it’s not about having a perfect circle with all segments at 10 but it’s about taking action to put a few segments a few points higher gradually. This wheel could be a useful tool in a workplace staff review to begin a discussion about wellbeing.

You can see more in Rhian’s slides below.

Key Takeaways from the Happy & Healthy Business Breakfast

1.   It’s important to redefine the importance of profit in a company. Stress has a negative impact on our productivity. Your staff are your most valuable asset, are they happy working for you? Investing in your staff could go a long way.

2.  Appreciation is key. Develop appreciative skills in your team and lead by example.

3.   There is a link between happy lifestyles and low carbon lifestyles. In most cases, healthy living is also sustainable!

4.   We all need to exercise our mental health, as our mental health has a big impact on our physical health.

5.   Stop multitasking! There is a great power to a focused mind, but that is increasingly rare in an age of emails, texts, social media and other distractions. Make sure you take time to focus your mind.

Thank you all who attended our event. We’re very grateful to St George’s for hosting us at their magnificent concert hall. We look forward to seeing you at the next breakfast!

Happy & Healthy Stallholders

Pukka Herbs  –  Anne Barr

neighbourly  – William Troughton

Give a Monkeys  – Dom Lane

Bristol Workplace Wellbeing Charter  – Grace Davies

Fresh – range –  Rich Osborn

Incredible Edible  – Sara Venn

Green Tomato Kitchen  –  Jo-Anne Croft

Netwalking South West –  Rosalind Jane Turner

Women in Sustainability –  Clair Banning

Bristol Cycle Grand Prix  – Nicola Waterworth

Bristol 2015 Volunteering  – Emma Thompson

Nissan Wessex Garages –  Clare Collings

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We run green business events all the time in and around Bristol! Head to our events page to find out what’s coming up.