What's in a name?
Picking up on the Health Discussion:
Modern businesses, attempting to grow and thrive in a 21st century context have inherited a 19th century mindset around wellbeing and this is holding back our ability to get peak performance from our people.
The mental models that we have used to frame how we think about the health of our people within organisations has narrowed our thinking and our impact; these models include:
1. physical v mental health – thinking that they are independent
2. work v non-work health – thinking that conditions and opportunities can be compartmentalised
Physical and Mental Health
We’ve fragmented our workplace thinking into physical and mental health – because historically that’s what the medical profession did – not because that’s the best way to think about keeping people well. The proliferation of not-for-profit organisations with highly specific targeted interventions have supported this artificial dichotomy.
The relationship between the brain and physical health, feelings of wellness and peak performance is complex. Health and Wellbeing professionals consistently reflect on resource wastage from pendulum swings between mental health initiatives and physical health initiatives.
Work versus non-work-related health
Businesses have historically thought about health as occupational versus non-occupational and have based strategies plans and actions on that outmoded and frankly unhelpful paradigm. This reflects an obligation/responsibilities-based mindset. Businesses have traditionally focused on those things for which they may be held responsible. We see this most consistently in businesses where the occupational health risks were traditionally obvious such as, mining, the chemical industry and to a lesser extent construction. In those industries where, for example, silicosis and noise induced hearing loss were potential compensable conditions, health and wellbeing has developed, often within the compensation function and within a mindset of responsibility, cost-benefit and obligations. Non-communicable diseases and conditions such as diabetes, some cancers and cardio-vascular diseases without work-related causes are often seen as the ‘responsibility’ of the employee and therefore either out of scope for the organisation or simply issues for which the provision of information is ‘doing enough’.
It's time to think about creating workplaces with a focus on peak performance.