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Christmas is over in the UK and a New Year has begun.  For some, it has been joyous and happy, as they reunited with family and friends over dinner, drinks and cups of tea/coffee – a time for catching up and regeneration of energy.  For some, however, there has been exhaustion, exasperation and anxiety as they deal with trauma and devastating effects of flooding and other disasters.

The nation is back to work, each with their own story, and life settles back into the mundane.  Of course, we must not forget that some people worked through the festive period keeping our streets and homes clean and safe, ensuring we had sufficient electricity and gas, tending to the sick in mind and body and transporting safely those who were travelling.

It’s now time to take stock of ‘the healthy business’ and what this means for all involved.

To create, keep and reinforce a healthy business we need 6  key factors:

  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Respect
  • Positive outlook/attitude
  • Strong emotional awareness
  • Business awareness
  • Provide support

I will address the first two of these in this blog and follow up with thoughts on the others in my next few blogs.


Businesses are made up of people who all have differing and varied personalities – which is good.  The differences create a variety of approach, ideas and  innovation which can be considered – even trialled – to keep the Business ahead of competitors and stimulate enthusiasm among the employees.  Managers who are able to listen to innovation and have the power to innovate will help to transform any business.  So why do I hear so many tell me that they are either not interested in their colleagues ideas (because that is their job) or do not have the power to innovate, even if they are prepared to listen?

Problem solving becomes achievable when flexible thinking is encouraged.  Every section, department and directorate need to respond to changing pressures – be it finance or market driven, and this can be highly engaging for the staff, especially when they realise they have a say in future development and enhancement of their work.


Unsurprisingly, this leads to respect both for colleagues and management in both directions, as results improve.  Innovation can occur in every type of business, improving working conditions, product development, service provision as well as respect for colleagues and managers who work on the project together and feedback lack of success as well as success.

On a personal note, many years ago, as a research scientist in charge of a new project, I came to believe that the test we had developed was so sensitive we needed to wash glassware 4 times instead of the usual two.  I personally spoke to the staff involved and explained the reason we required such intense glass treatment and on an ongoing basis invited them to meetings to get feedback on results.  Such a new flexible and respectful approach was unheard of but the outcome was brilliant in every aspect.  Our project was a success and our staff relationships blossomed into real team work resulting in the recognition of our work.

I am sure many readers will have similar experiences which would be great to share!

Our Health@Work Summit 2016 will be chaired by Ann McCraken on May the 12th, in London and will cover practical aspects and benefits of employee health and wellbeing for businesses.


Ann McCracken is a Director of AMC2 and the vice president of the International Management Association (ISMA UK) – the professional body for stress management Practitioners.

She specialises in developing a positive and resilient working culture in organisations by introducing effective strategies in performance and wellbeing at all levels. The effectiveness of such a positive working culture is measured and assessed using AMC2 Corporate Diagnostic innovative surveys which include measurement of psychosocial factors, stress and wellbeing. Having initially trained as a scientist, she carried out research with DEFRA and consultancy in the NHS.

She spent 10 years in Education before retraining as a stress management practitioner in 1996. She is the author of Stress Gremlins©, regularly writes/broadcasts and is an external lecturer at Westminster University. She is also a Key Note/Motivational speaker/Conference Chair.

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