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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

We need to talk about well-being

By Mike Dixon


In the early stages of COVID-19, when we were restricted from leaving the house, many of us ensured we went out once a day for a walk, often discovering places on our doorstep where we had never ventured before.

So hands up, who still ensures they leave their desk for a walk every day? I am not seeing many hands in the air. How quickly we have returned to the ‘not enough hours in the day’ routine. It’s therefore time that we talk about well-being. And this October the Healthcare Communications Association (HCA), in collaboration with the charity Papyrus, is encouraging just that.

Now, the first thing I hear is ‘October is conference/planning season, we are really busy and can’t dedicate time out for this, could it be another time.’ No! Think about it. This is when we should be talking about well-being, because this is exactly the time we need to consider our well-being.

There are many things that can affect our well- being, but here let’s focus on five areas: workplace, physical, emotional, financial and social well-being.

Workplace well-being
Our people are our most important asset. Ensuring their well-being is essential in maintaining a happy and healthy workforce, delivering at its best. Of course, we need to always consider our own well-being, as well as our colleagues. We should be striving to enhance well-being in our workplaces through support and policies that encourage our people to consider their well-being and the well-being of others. There are many simple things that can be done, but when it gets busy these tend to get forgotten or deprioritised. Therefore, probably the most important thing we can do is to not let that happen. More natural light, plants around the office, encouraging regular breaks and to get fresh air outside, not just to get a coffee, are examples of things to consider. And there are many more you’ll think of yourself.

Emotional well-being
This means being aware of your emotions and being able to manage them in a healthy manner. Our working environments are often busy and highly stressful. It is important to help ensure, and not just expect, people to have good coping strategies. If we don’t, it leads to frustration and feelings of helplessness that will affect people’s physical health and productivity. So, investment in well-being is not just nice to do, it makes good business sense. Positive emotional well-being will mean people will be able to manage their stress, be resilient and self-aware and understand the effects of their behaviour. Emotional well-being is a skill that can be learnt and improved upon, and it should form a key element of every individual’s professional development.

Financial well-being
We may feel that people who work in our sector get paid well and therefore should have good financial well-being, but think again. More junior team members probably have high rents, mortgages and travel costs. More senior team members may be on higher salaries, but people tend to be better at spending than saving, so when something unplanned happens, it can impact even high earners. Financial well-being is about having a good relationship with money, being financially literate and confident in money management. Just because people may be good at managing budgets in the workplace does not automatically mean they will be good with their own finances. Research has shown that those employees who are confident in their finances are more productive in their work.

Physical well-being
Physical well-being is probably easier to relate to. Healthy physical well-being means we can do all we need to every day, without undue fatigue or physical stress. In fact, physically healthy individuals sleep better and are more energetic in their everyday activities. Getting regular exercise is important, but remember what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another. For some it might be a walk, others the gym, a run or an exercise class. Even some exercise throughout the day at your desk can make a significant difference. Ensuring the time and supporting physical well-being during the working day will encourage individuals to consider their physical well-being. Company sports teams, lunchtime walking groups or joint exercise sessions are all things that can be done at an organisational level. Why not make the next team meeting a walk in the park? With mobile technology, this can even be virtual.

Social well-being
Humans are social beings. Having positive relationships within and outside work is therefore important for our well-being. Having no social life because we are always working does not necessarily make us the best employees. In fact, with communication skills being the foundation of our work, it could actually lead to us being less able in our roles. We need to be proactive in helping ensure those we work with have a good work/life balance. Hybrid working has presented new challenges in catalysing social activity, but that just means we need to make more effort, not let it fall by the wayside. There are many positive benefits to good social well- being, all of which are beneficial to our work.

Whenever you are reading this, please consider how you can catalyse more focus on well-being in your workplace. The resources the HCA have produced to help are free and will be available at after the week itself, so please make use of them. After all, well-being is not just for a week, it is something we need to consider and all talk about throughout the year.

Mike Dixon is CEO of the Healthcare Communications Association and a communications consultant

6th October 2022

From: Marketing


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