17 May 2018

MPA Thrive - health and wellbeing in the workplace - Lawrence Jones MBE

Image from MPA Thrive.

What is the most important part of a workplace? What do you value above all else?

I spoke at an event yesterday, joining a panel to discuss mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

We discussed our work environments, of the fun we have, and how we ensure that people are not just spending their time buried in screens. It’s extraordinary how huge the impact of making a few simple changes can be.

We created relaxation spaces with walls at unusual angles, thick carpet and underlay, and cosy fabrics. The onsite gym is brightly coloured with walls covered in motivational messages. We also have real plants – studies show the health and wellbeing benefits of having real plants in the workplace, so our living wall is more than just an interesting feature!

Alongside this there’s the steam room, games loft, sleeping pods and a whole list of extras. Back in the early days, we introduced a ping-pong table, you would not believe the incredible impact that had! It brought so much energy to the space and encouraged people to move away from their desks.

Ultimately, the most important part of the workplace is in fact something much simpler. One of the most important roles you play as the leader of an organisation is to provide clarity.

Do your teams understand what their role is? Are they empowered? Do they understand what is expected of them?

Wellbeing in the workplaces hinges on one thing…

During the MPA Thrive conference yesterday, this point cropped up a few times amongst the panel. Whilst Social Chain have a Director of Happiness to help meet everyone’s workplace needs, and we heard from the a psychotherapist at the BBC – both came back down to knowing what’s expected of you and being supported on that journey.

Whilst it doesn’t do well to become tied up in process, it’s essential to ‘clarify and verify’ each team’s roles and responsibilities. Of course, this becomes a challenge as a business grows, and inevitably, people find their own paths. That’s why regular catch ups and one-on-ones within the team are so important.

Check in with the team to make sure they doing ok, both inside and outside of work, but also ensure that they are happy in their role and that they are empowered.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and a lot of my posts have linked into this theme. It’s incredibly important to talk about mental health in the workplace and, as leaders, do all we can to support the team around us. Having an empowered team with a clear vision is a foundation of that.

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