Why wellbeing in the workplace is a business imperative

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Whether you work in the technology sector (like I do) or not, you have probably seen articles discussing automation and robotics, and how they can transform the workplace. But as I wrote recently, automation isn’t about replacing people, it’s about enabling people to spend more time on the tasks that matter most.

The same can be said of the importance of wellbeing in the workplace. If we aren’t mentally, physically and emotionally healthy, we cannot fulfil our potential.

Business leaders must understand that wellbeing in the workplace isn’t a tick-box, top-down HR programme; it is a business imperative. From the C-Suite to the IT Ops teams, helping employees to develop their own wellbeing is not just good for them, it’s good for business too.

With World Mental Health Day fast-approaching on 10th October, now is the time to remind ourselves that, according to the World Health Organisation, 25 percent of us will suffer a mental health problem during our lifetimes. Even those who don’t will almost certainly face times of great stress or uncertainty that impact their mental wellbeing.

These difficulties are inevitably brought into the workplace, too. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has estimated that 50-60 percent of working days lost annually are due to stress. This makes wellbeing everyone’s responsibility. And like many aspects of work, we must collaborate and support each other to succeed.

The same principles apply to physical health. Whether you’re like me and enjoy a long bike ride, or prefer a session in the swimming pool or gym, staying physically active can reduce the risk of some diseases, give you more energy and improve sleep. Exercise can also improve your mental health. Research cited by The New York Times showed that men and women with the lowest levels of fitness were 75 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those with the greatest levels of fitness.

But wellbeing does not just refer to our personal health. It’s important for business leaders to reflect on the way employees connect with each other, and the wider community outside of the office. I’m proud that CA celebrates its diversity, as our 100 percent score in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index shows. We all benefit from understanding the perspectives and histories of our co-workers and friends. As a father, I know my daughter can learn a lot from the life experiences of the diverse people she knows and looks up to.

Charity and community work is also at the heart of CA’s values. Our employees regularly give their time to non-profit organisations, giving back to their communities and understanding the life stories of others.

I’m proud that these four elements – mind, body, connectivity and community – form the central pillars of CA Technologies’ new EMEA Wellbeing programme. From a health and mental wellbeing app challenge to on-site gyms, our goal is to give employees the tools they need to help themselves thrive, and bring their best to CA every day. I also hope it gives employees the confidence to talk openly about any issue, and in so doing challenge stigmas and stereotypes.

Offering a comprehensive programme such as this isn’t just important now, it’s crucial for the future of our company. If CA is to close the skills gap by attracting more diverse, millennial employees in the future, it must reflect their values and expectations. A recent Deloitte study found that 76 percent of millennials believe business has a positive impact upon society. If millennials believe businesses as a whole should have a positive impact on society, they will expect the same of their own employers as well. That includes recognising the importance of personal wellbeing and celebrating diversity.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of businesses to empower employees to achieve their goals by helping them to help themselves. Whether that’s through investing in the latest technologies or providing for their physical and mental wellbeing, as business leaders it is our job to set the tone in our organisations by encouraging a culture of transparency, trust and inclusivity that reflects our values as a business, and as people.

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