Money doesn’t buy you happiness. However, it could be said that it's an important factor in providing you with better health and wellbeing.
It’s not to say that having money automatically leads to less stress or illness of course, but there is a correlation between poor health and the unskilled workforce (and unemployed) in the UK. Economic and social challenges create relative disadvantage on various fronts, including access to education and adequate housing. This, in turn, means that people in these demographic sectors are less likely to understand nutrition or take advantage of opportunities to take part in activities promoting fitness and good health.
It has a cumulative effect too. The economic stresses of life - with a severely limited budget - increases mental health issues such as depression, meaning a greater propensity to substance abuse or obesity. It could also be argued that people living in poorer housing stock within inner cities have greater exposure to harmful chemicals, moulds and air pollution, further impacting on their relative health issues. Research has shown that this is the demographic most likely to smoke, too.
It was not that long ago that visionary industrialists such as Lord Leverhulme (Port Sunlight) and George Cadbury (Bournville) created villages, schools, leisure and health provision for their workforces, to lift them out of poverty and improve their quality of life. This was both altruistic and connected to their awareness that happy, healthy workers are more productive.
If you are a decision maker at a large company, there’s a modern moral to this. Inclusive and diverse workforces are increasingly the focus for business growth and ethical business practices. Perhaps to underpin your own wealth creation, the health and happiness of your employees should be reviewed and the subject of well-planned investment. This is part, too, of the growing understanding that to get the best out of staff, companies need to manage them with caring and empathetic working practices.
The best modern business leaders and visionaries have emotional intelligence, which according to Psychology Today is “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” This also means that the individual needs, pressures and influences on staff need to be considered.
Workforce health and wellbeing is a productivity issue and a corporate responsibility. Building your own wealth on a legacy of improved health and happiness should be aspirational for all business leaders. And it's something that the philanthropist entrepreneurs of the last century laid the foundations for.
If this is something that strikes a chord with you, please share your views on how this should work with modern businesses. Get in touch here.