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In the world of workplace wellbeing the focus is so often on physical or mental health, but the ideas of ‘social health’ and ‘social connectedness’ have been gaining much more currency of late. At their heart, these concepts are about our social networks and what they provide us with – whether that be confidence, support, knowledge, health or something else! But both inside and outside of work we have a choice to accept the networks we find ourselves in or to work more proactively to create strong connections, which are more likely to help us to achieve our goals and, what’s more, feel better while we’re doing it!

Of course, businesses have a responsibility here too, because just as employers are responsible for creating a working environment and support systems that maximise the chances of good physical and mental health, they are also responsible for creating the conditions for social health. Whether it involves providing the time and space for social connection and social activities to take place (and by extension, giving employees permission) or whether it’s more about facilitating employee voice and connections to the wider community; employers have to play their part.

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When you walk into your office each day, what is it that makes you feel good? The answer to this question, from a biophilic perspective, is that we feel good when our environment connects us with nature.

Biophilia, a concept coined by American biologist Edward Wilson, refers to the innate bond that exists between human beings and nature.  Based on Wilson’s hypothesis, many have researched and written about the positive benefits of nature on human health. In more recent years, this has led to an interest in how we can incorporate nature and natural elements into the built environment, particularly in the workplace, where we spend a great part of our lives.

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There are entire organisations and discrete groups within larger establishments, whose members enjoy exceptional Psychological Wellbeing (PWB). Their people find positive emotions whilst carrying out their duties; pleasure and purpose. Within these teams, individuals tend to thrive and be their best because they can find pleasure within what they do or as a result of what they do. They are also afforded the opportunity to find purpose, as their skills, traits and values make a visible impact on the organisation’s goals and fit with what the group is trying to achieve.

So what can we learn from these groups that get PWB right and how can we practice the alchemy of wellbeing to make our teams more successful?

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The people I work with are among the most talented I’ve ever met and, as a team of Business Psychologists, our mission is laid out in the open for all to see: we are putting psychological health and wellbeing at the heart of business strategy. Ten months in, I’m hooked.

I’m currently in the closing stages of piloting a tool developed in partnership with NHS Employers to help increase the number of wellbeing-focused conversations held by staff at every level of the NHS. Our feedback from several Trusts has been fantastic so far and it seems we’ve hit on a solution that really makes a difference.

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The announcement that Royal Mail will be privatised in the Autumn won’t come as a shock to many. Chief Executive Moya Greene has been openly talking about the need for external investment since January this year, and her tenure has repositioned the group as a viable opportunity for potential investors. So where does this leave the employees of this historic institution?

As part of the flotation plans, each of the 150,000 staff will be given their share of 10% of the share capital on offer – equivalent to around £1500 to £2000 worth each.

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Cary CooperGood Day at Work™

The new wellbeing resources hub founded by @profcarycooper and Roberston Cooper. Join for FREE and access blogs, videos, downloads, podcasts and more.

Ben MossBen on Twitter

MD of Cary Cooper's business psychology firm, Robertson Cooper - for all things wellbeing, engagement and resilience at work.

Cary CooperCary on Twitter

Professor Cary Cooper, Director and Founder of Robertson Cooper Ltd, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School.

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