The performance of any business depends on the minds of its staff. The World Health Organisation defines wellbeing as a dynamic state in which individuals can realise their potential, cope with stress, work productively and contribute to their communities. If people are in bad mental shape, they lose productivity, make mistakes, and struggle to collaborate. It’s bad for them, and bad for business.
Staff are 12% more productive in a positive mental state (Oswald, Proto & Sgroi, 2012), doing routine tasks quicker and more accurately and making more time for high value and creative tasks. Improved staff health and engagement can boost sales by 20% (Barber, Hayday & Bevan, 1999), and investments in staff engagement and wellness have previously shown an ROI of 9:1 in year one alone (Mills et al, 2007).
Westfield Health’s 2021 report into wellbeing during COVID-19 found 43% of HR managers who had a wellbeing programme in place rated employee productivity as very good, compared to 18% without a programme. Westfield estimate that increased wellbeing spending could add £61 billion to the UK economy by 2025. Interestingly though, 59% of HR leaders said they would like to be able to do more in terms of wellbeing but company culture prevents it.
We need to talk more about our minds. Promoting wellbeing at work isn’t just an ethical imperative: it gives businesses the competitive edge.
Wellbeing is not a luxury
Too often, wellbeing is seen as a luxury, something to be done once work is finished and the to-do list is under control. We run our minds ragged trying to meet our obligations, and only have time to look after ourselves outside work.
But this is a fallacy. We rely on our minds for everything we do, and the quality of our minds affects the quality of our work. Tiredness affects our judgement, making us more biased and causing more mistakes (Danziger et al, 2011). It affects our concentration too, so resting and restoring our ability to pay attention helps us stay focussed at work. Even ten minutes of silence can help. So much productivity is lost because we don’t give ourselves permission to rest and recharge.
There are wider benefits too. High wellbeing is linked to improved educational attainment, reductions in use of healthcare services, safer communities with less crime, and a general increase in overall quality of life (Flourishing People, Connected Communities, Department of Health 2009). Positive psychological wellbeing also correlates with reduced mortality in healthy and sick populations, and reduced mortality from heart disease and other diseases (Chida and Steptoe, Psychsomatic Medicine, 2008).
Looking after our minds is not a luxury, but a priority, a fundamental part of living and working well. As the old saying goes, “if I had five minutes to chop down a tree, I would spend three of them sharpening the axe.” We need to spend more time sharpening our minds.
Mental health is often seen as a matter for experts, something best left to occupational health or specialist care. Managers may feel uneasy talking about difficulties, and staff may be reluctant to come forward.
Reactive services are vital, but they often come too late to help people stay well in the first place, leading to long periods of languishing and poor performance before they seek the help they need.
Smart businesses don’t wait for problems to occur: they take action to prevent problems occurring in the first place. We need a more proactive approach to mental health. We need to do more to encourage a culture of smart, sustainable working in our businesses.
Mindapples takes a proactive, inclusive approach, in which everyone can participate in a conversation about being at their best. By teaching people about their minds early, before problems arise, we promote a culture of personal responsibility and individual autonomy that builds healthy, high-performing teams. If we want people to talk about problems with their minds, first we need to get them talking about their minds.
A fresh approach
Mindapples uses psychological insights to encourage discussion and reflection about mental health, wellbeing and performance.
We unlock the potential of people’s minds by teaching them how to manage their minds effectively, and supporting leaders and managers to create the conditions for mentally healthy and effective working.
We use peer-reviewed research from cognitive science and health psychology to prompt discussion of health and performance, and work with people to help them personalise these insights to their situations.
This non-prescriptive, person-centred approach means everyone can play a role in promoting good mental health. Our focus on scientific evidence and practical experience works across cultures and in a wide range of contexts, and our business experience means we can support both individual and organisational goals.
Our programmes can be delivered digitally via webinars and e-learning, and face-to-face in one-hour masterclasses, management training and keynote talks. We also train staff to act as wellbeing champions, spreading the content further and helping the organisation capitalize on what it has learnt.
- Employees learn in groups of up to 40 (more for webinars), giving wide reach whilst maximising engagement and discussion.
- Managers train in smaller groups of 10-20, fostering deeper conversation and confidential reflections.
This bitesize, group-based approach minimises productivity losses and creates space for reflection and practical application. Rather than trying to transform teams in a day, we can work with an organisation through multiple small interventions, to embed change and personalise training outcomes, all within the normal cost profiles for traditional training.
Our model allows for more learning time with less contact time, with fewer working hours lost and a greater Return on Investment.
Read more about Mindapples’ pioneering approach to wellbeing at work
Bitesize workshops, team off-sites and lunch-and-learns to help people manage their minds
Enterprise programmes for large businesses, giving all staff on-demand wellbeing and resilience support.
Digital seminars for distributed organisations with homeworkers or multiple locations.