We’re back feeling energised and inspired after a week spent with our fellow delegates at the Wellbeing at Work Summit.
We felt very privileged to be in the company of industry leaders practically engaging with some of the real challenges faced by all of us as we shape the healthy workplaces of the future.
We’ll be exploring some of the themes that emerged from the workshops, panels and discussions we attended during the summit over the next few weeks.
For now we’re reflecting on a few key themes that we found particularly thought provoking and important.
A Mental Fitness Emergency
The first is around the scale of the challenge we are all facing. There was a recurring theme emerging from many of the speakers that rather than us approaching the end of stressful times and a sense of “things returning to normal”, we are actually at the beginning of seeing the impact of the pandemic and wider pre-existing pressures on our own, and our colleagues’ Mental Fitness. We’ve spoken internally of a pending ‘Mental Fitness Emergency” and a number of speakers spoke of a similar sense of greater challenges to come. We universally reflected on how rather than this being something to “treat our way out of” this necessitates organisations to be proactive and preventative in their approach.
The importance of honest leadership
The second is around the changing role of leadership in modelling change. One of the key themes here was about leaders themselves showing vulnerability as the first step in starting a conversation within their organisation. That can then support an opening up of Mental Fitness support and training for other levels in the organisation. Running through all of it was a sense that future leaders need to be as well trained and self aware around Mental Fitness as in other areas of business performance, to ensure internal programmes don’t get a disconnect between strategy and implementation with teams.
Role of HR evolving under pressure
Thirdly we came away from the Summit with strong feelings of empathy for individuals working in HR roles in the industry. HR feels very much in the frontline of being asked for answers and solutions that they don’t necessarily have, or are struggling to resolve at the pace demanded. Organisations and employees are often demanding rapid solutions to the challenges of restructuring work around our post pandemic landscape that quite simply aren’t there yet. Rather than being seen to “have all the answers” the role for HR becomes more one of opening up the conversation for everyone to be a part of to arrive at collective solutions.
Overall if we were to try and distil the many and varied insights we gained from the summit into one key theme it would be around the importance of organisational culture in workplace wellbeing. This runs through everything, from a leadership culture that’s able to show vulnerability and open up conversations about Mental Fitness, to establishing a collaborative culture where everyone feels involved in decisions that can affect how people work and sustain their resilience. Proactively designing and creating a wellbeing culture is vital for organisations to thrive into the future.