How does your business feel this morning?
What is the connection between creating a good working atmosphere and the financial success of your business?
At the recent BSR conference, Dr Dean Ornish, Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI), spoke about health in the corporate culture. He said that solidarity between workers can help to create happier and healthier employees, who are more productive – in turn making your business more successful.
A healthy business is a successful business
There has been much research in the last few years which has shown a correlation between good physical and mental health and friendliness among employees with success in business. Research that has been carried out on the health of employees and Johnson & Johnson shows that the company has saved more than $25 million on healthcare of their employees. Between the years 2002-2008 they saved $2.71 on every dollar they spent on health.
British Gas implemented a similar program to Johnson & Johnson, and saw a drop of 43% in the number of employees who calling in sick. The energy company EDF reported a rise in employee satisfaction in their workplace from 36% to 68%. Google is famous for taking care of all the needs of their employees – reporting the lowest quitting rate of employees in high tech at only 5%.
All this sounds great, but how do we do it?
At Johnson & Johnson, two thirds of the smokers quit – but how can you do that in your company? Dr Ornish claims that the most important thing is to encourage them to quit in a positive way by using positive reinforcement rather than negative messaging; negative messages make people uncooperative. Dr Ornish also says to focus on the middle ground – telling someone to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke a day is easier than asking them to go cold turkey.
Companies around the world already provide much of these health benefits in the work place; resources provided include life counselors, health checks, sport activities, gyms, lectures about taking care of your health and soul, and explanations about health and nutrition. Some of these things only need a small change in the organization itself, like changing the food in the dining room and the food in meetings.
Environmental responsibility and personal health
An interesting fact that Dr Ornish mentioned is the connection between environmental responsibility and personal health. In many fields, you can see a correlation between the two – in other words, what is healthy for the earth is healthy for us as well. Eating meat, for example, is the number one cause for a heart condition, and rearing animals for meat is also one of the main reasons for global warming, with the methane they produce damaging the environment more than cars.
The most important thing is to have fun and feel good about yourself. Stop using a black and white tone of voice when it comes to health, and change the message to “health is fun”. In this way we can adopt a healthy way of life that will help us, our businesses and society.
First Published at Strauss blog: Food For Thought