Lesley Cooper is the founder and CEO of WorkingWell Limited and the co-author of “Dangerous Waters – Strategies for Improving Wellbeing at Work”. She contributes to TV and radio programs in the UK on the subject of employee wellbeing, including Channel 4’s highly acclaimed documentary “Stressed Out”. Lesley is also a full member of the International Stress Management Association.
"I'd say the number one thing missing in today's workplace is a focus on the quality of the work environment. We are very focused on training people to be more resilient and helping them recover when they experience burnout, but it's like cleaning up a fish and putting them back in a dirty pond. There's not enough attention given to the toxicity in the work environment that may be contributing to burnout. We need to change that, but right now, the focus is primarily on secondary and tertiary interventions like training and treatment.
On a more specific level, the COVID pandemic and the shift to digital technology has led to a lack of water cooler moments and a greater focus on well-being interventions like products and services. However, there is not enough focus on the people actually doing the work. It's important to talk to the human doing the work, not just the task they're performing. I think this relates to your podcast series on the human aspect of well-being in the workplace.
Unfortunately, we've lost contact with each other, and it's become harder to have those inconsequential conversations that make people feel valued as humans. We tend to just talk about work, and that's a loss because when you employ someone, the whole person comes to work, not just the part that does the job. We should talk to the whole person to promote well-being in the workplace."