Want to perform at your best at work? Put your health and wellbeing to the top of your to-do list

For many of us, August can be the ideal month to revisit our work/home balance.  With half-empty offices and trains and multiple out-of-office messages, if we can’t get a happy balance this month, then what’s the hope for the rest of the year?

July’s HR Review article looked at the effects of employee health and wellbeing levels on business performance.  In a nutshell, recent research from Aon reports that 93% employers believe there is a correlation between health and employee performance:

‘A healthier workforce works more efficiently and productively.’

I guess most of us know this already.  Many organisations are developing Health and Wellbeing steering committees, and we are pleased to see that this year’s Working Families Work/Life Balance week in October is generating lots of interest.

I wonder if this ‘93% of employers’ actually encourage their staff on a daily and weekly basis to invest time and effort into their personal health and wellbeing?  My guess is not.

I work mainly with parents in organisations, but also with their managers, and we run career management workshops.  On the agenda is topics such as relationship management, image management, setting goals and building confidence.  However, well before coachees are ready to think about career-enhancing activities, we discuss health matters – are they getting enough sleep and exercise; how are their stress levels?  More often than not, especially with new parents,  coachees are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  With so many conflicting priorities, and the innate need to put our children and to-do lists before our personal health, it’s not surprising that our nutrition plans and gym memberships fall off the agenda.

So the first step of a career management programme often becomes health and wellbeing management.  It’s the same principle as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – if you don’t take care of the basics at the bottom of the pyramid (food, water, shelter); how can you climb to the top of the pyramid and perform at your best?

On a lighter note, I read with amusement The Telegraph article last week, which outlines ‘6 reasons why August is a great time to get ahead at work’.

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