The importance of wellbeing and how businesses can encourage it

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

The importance of wellbeing and how businesses can take this on board

A study by Harvard University found that people spend 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing.

"A wandering mind is an unhappy mind", says Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert, the psychologists who carried out the study. Searching for happiness can often send you down a materialistic track, which isn’t always healthy, as we should ideally try to appreciate the moment we’re in and try to be accepting and grateful for what we have.

Taking time to stop and reflect is a huge part of personal wellbeing. However, our fast-paced industry and world of work often means that we don’t stop and take time to think about how we really feel in our daily lives. It can be hard to consciously take headspace time, which can make it a fine and delicate balance with many different steps to achieve meaningful results.

The power of entertainment

Graham Pembrey, Bupa’s health and lifestyle editor, recently published a thought piece about how going to the cinema and watching movies can be good for wellbeing. Working in entertainment, it’s easy to take cultural activities like this for granted as screenings are often work for us, but I was thrilled to see it being highlighted in support of wellbeing to help focus, give a break from work and stimulate the mind.

Being mindful

Being able to take a moment to cleanse the brain and find peace of mind is at the heart of wellbeing. Everyone has so much going on, whether it is at work, home, or the constant digital notifications and email alerts we have pushing through, and it can be difficult to get the balance right. But it isn’t complicated to set some boundaries for yourself and strip everything right back to appreciate the moment we are in.

Being mindful is being aware; it’s not something that should be measured. Instead, it is something that should be evolved. Mindfulness is a continuous process. Over time, taking five minutes out of a busy day to re-focus on the moment, can help to give a sense of calm and mental clarity, enabling people to be focused, productive and engaged. In essence, switching off can help you switch on.

A culture of wellbeing

It’s important for businesses to be aware of the importance of wellbeing and how they can improve the sense of community, work flexibility and altruistic wellness they provide their workforce. This will help people to thrive in all aspects of their lives, as well as understand the different factors, which contribute to distress. With challenges all around us to unplug, de-stress and tap into the science of the mind, wellbeing is an exciting space to make a difference in.

So how do independent companies compete with global corporate giants such as Google and Facebook in offering the right level of wellbeing to meet the needs of their employees? The answer lies in company culture.

We’ve been working with Best Companies to ensure we listen to our employees. By analysing survey results and providing a ‘wellbeing committee’ to come up with plans to launch the most appropriate initiatives to meet the needs of our employees, they de-stress and clear their mind.

These plans include:

  • Mindfulness lunch and learn training presentations – covering tips and techniques to improve wellbeing
  • A fun 'reclaim your lunch break' activity programme including walking and knitting groups
  • Wellbeing financial aid to each employee
  • Monthly themes to share tips on healthy eating, local courses, mindfulness, mediation and exercise

For a business working in a sector where the greatest resource is the people, where the marketing services rely heavily on creativity, energy and strategic thinking, to be successful we need to attract talented people who want more than a great salary and ideal location. As Diana Tickwell, chief executive officer of the wellbeing non-profit Nabs points out, “Good mental and physical health is a huge driver of engagement, creativity and productivity”.

Recognising that a need for change is non-negotiable is liberating. I personally love change and it is my responsibility as the chief executive officer of a busy and fast-paced entertainment marketing agency to initiate positive transformation – keep the business moving forward productively, while ensuring that we keep up with the pressures of modern work-life by providing a culture which nurtures, inspires, stimulates and engages employees. The moment to thrive is now.

Daniel Robey is founder and chief executive officer at Think Jam.

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