The perfect storm of Covid and Brexit is continuing to shape the business landscape in a whole new way. Simultaneously, the green agenda is gathering momentum with some businesses showing incredible dedication and blazing a trail for others to follow as we all look to minimise our impact on the planet.
In the face of economic challenges, logistical difficulties and the ongoing pandemic-fuelled uncertainty, businesses are also looking at ways to improve their performance, whether that’s through automation, retention of talent through flexible working practices, improving working environments or perhaps through rethinking their own business models.
From purpose to performance, mental wellbeing to inclusivity, The Business Exchange has asked for your insights on 8 Business Trends for 2022.
Covid has brought with it new challenges from social isolation to diminished confidence and a dip in physical activity. Organisations are thinking more about their employee packages including benefits such as mindfulness app subscriptions, gym memberships and personal development or coaching opportunities.
For Cherie-Anne Baxter, Marketing Director at Unividual, mental and physical health are more important now than ever, and they are both have an equal role to play in employee wellbeing and productivity.
“The stigma surrounding mental wellbeing is still there and I don’t think it ever will be broken in its entirety.
“There is a stigma that if you have something like anxiety that you are weaker than someone who doesn’t. Actually, people suffering with mental health problems battle on their own. They keep going no matter what and actually have more strength and resilience because of it. If we take this view of ourselves (if we suffer with mental health problems) and of those around us, we can start to have more compassion and respect.
“All I can focus on as a business owner is setting a good example and ensuring the people in my business understand themselves and learn about different types of issues people have in their lives so they can better support each other, clients and friends of the business.
“There is absolutely a link between positive mental and physical wellbeing and productivity. Mental and physical health is a revolving holistic cycle. What you eat, the exercise you do, the chemicals in your household, the purpose you have for life, how much you breathe and relax, the hobbies you have; all these things affect your physical and mental health.
“The first step a company should take towards ensuring the physical and mental wellbeing of its staff should be to build psychological safety. By this I mean a feeling that people can come to you about anything without judgement. The reason this has to come first is you really have to understand what your staff are struggling with regarding their health.
“There is a worry as an employee that if they tell you their darkest health secrets you will no longer feel they are good at their job. You have to build in to the culture that it’s a safe space to share and reward that behaviour. Once employees share you can then build a wellbeing plan designed around their needs.
“Balance is the key thing in everything. Most people struggle with getting started with healthy eating or exercise. Start with building new, good habits. You need purpose and hobbies in life outside of work to give yourself time to breathe and relax. So start off deciding what those are and when you are going to do them. The impact that will have will be huge so you then might have more strength to build habits around exercising like walking for half an hour every day.
“As you start to make these changes things snowball. You might then give up caffeine or reduce alcohol intake. You can use a habit tracker to keep yourself on track but also getting a string of days in a row where you have done your habits releases endorphins that reward you.
“When it comes to diet don’t go on one! They are rubbish. Eat more plants, take vitamins, research how much protein you should be taking in and stick to natural ingredients. When you start to listen to your body and really think about what you want to eat you will start to make the right choices.”