“A calm mind helps our human intelligence to assess the situation realistically”

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Being a great business leader, role model, mentor, partner, parent, carer, sibling or friend is not easy in today’s “always on” culture. Frequently we see these roles, and others we perform, competing for our attention and converging, regardless of time and location. That’s before we even begin to think about making time for personal development, exercise, hobbies oh and of course sleep. And that’s where Little Bit of Calm comes in…

Imagine a scenario where you have invested heavily to brand your organisation and your culture as a people centric business that wants to attract, develop and retain high calibre individuals who are central to the current and future success of your business and bringing life giving and saving products to market; people who will work hard, give the best of themselves in an environment that will at times be challenging, uncertain and require your people to work across cultures, functions and time zones dealing with multiple and sometimes conflicting priorities in this “always on” culture we live in.

Then imagine that same scenario but add in the word support to “attract, develop and retain” and what does that make you think of? A company that has a culture where mental health or mental illness is not stigmatised and spoken about in hushed terms or brushed under the carpet, a culture where it is ok to say “I am struggling” and “I need some help”.

Key statistics:

  1. The latest estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) used in the UK Health and Safety Executive’s 2016 statistics report* on work related stress, anxiety and depression reported that stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health in the UK
  2. The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2015/16 was 11.7 million days which was an average of 23.9 days lost per sufferer
  3. This same report defines work-related stress, depression or anxiety as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work*
  4. These numbers quoted only relate to the UK and the cost of mental ill-health at work to the UK economy alone is £26bn**

When I took a career sabbatical 18 months ago I knew I wanted to take some time out for me, to recharge and decide what my next career chapter was going to look like. I knew I loved the Life Sciences industry; the intellectual challenge; learning every day and knowing that collectively all of us were making a difference and changing peoples’ lives for the better around the globe. During this sabbatical I also realised that we ask (and give) a tremendous amount of ourselves to our companies, colleagues and roles and at times, this may be to the detriment of our own health, be that physical or mental.

Having launched MLA, I really wanted to see how I could contribute to helping our industry help its people and so, in early 2016, I then became involved in Minds@Work. For those of you who have not heard of it, or Geoff McDonald, one of its founders, Minds@Work was launched in 2015 and their mission is to help break the stigma associated with mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety, in the workplace.

Most people who know me know I have a passion for health, wellness and having a positive impact on the health of others. What perhaps is not so well known is that I am also a qualified yoga instructor.

Over the last 12 months as MLA has evolved, so has my thinking. My career to date has afforded me direct insight and understanding of the challenges and growing pressures of working in our industry and hence the creation and now launch of MLA’s Corporate Little Bit of Calm workshops; structured and bespoke workshops designed to help you help your team maximise their well-being both in the workplace and at home.

We do great work in the Life Sciences industry developing and bringing lifesaving products to patients around the globe and you look to identify, attract and retain great employees to do this. Surely you and they deserve that bit of calm to be and give your best?

Click here to find out more about our Corporate Little Bit of Calm workshops.


*‘Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence’.
**Centre for Mental Health

About the Author Macdonald Lewis Associates

Specialist executive search for the Life Sciences industry and creator of Little Bit of Calm, a bespoke corporate workshop program
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