Co-founder of Robertson Cooper, Cary set up the business with Ivan Robertson in 1999. A Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University, he is recognised as a world leading expert on wellbeing. Cary is also the media’s first choice for comment on workplace issues. He remains an active member of the Robertson Cooper team, focusing on strategy, external relations and PR activity.

With US election results and ongoing Brexit rulings, this week has been a timely reminder that we are navigating through uncertain political and economic times. The landscape in which we now work and live is vastly different from even 5 years ago. Good Day At Work Professor Cary Cooper reflects on how a cultural revolution can help people thrive in future workplaces.

We are in a period of societal change, and our workplaces need to know the role they play in making work lives, and our lives as a whole, better. I believe it’s up to both organisations and employees to create more good days at work, by taking and owning shared responsibility in wellbeing.

I say, it’s time for a revolution. In our attitude to work, that is — what we expect from work, what we contribute and how we can help ourselves have more good days. We need to focus on the human factor.

We need to raise our expectations of what work can do for all of us. Work can be a place of growth, where people thrive and organisations prosper. We need to place people as the new bottom-line; as central to an organisation’s strategy as finance, performance, technology, or research and development.

In the study that my team at Robertson Cooper have done with Bank Workers Charity, What is a good day at work? we explored the wellbeing, expectation and experiences of work for UK employees in banking, and across wider industry.

Our research tells us is that a good day at work isn’t determined exclusively by what happens in the workplace, it is also affected by factors occurring in people’s personal lives. 

Through research like this, that will continue to shed light on wellbeing and to look to the future, we have examined the changing scope of wellbeing for UK workers.

Managing change in a new societal landscape

Brexit has forced UK businesses to re-evaluate where they and their industry sit in a changing global business environment. The wellbeing landscape is changing too.

Our changing world means wellbeing at work is more important than ever—it is the way we can ensure people are positive, healthy and connected at work. But the playing field has changed—with expectations around workplace types and working patterns changing drastically, it can be challenging to raise and maintain organisational wellbeing.

There remains a need to deliver sustainable change in everyone’s mindset, at all levels of roles and authority—and this is a big challenge for business.

What I feel is important is, taking the ‘whole person’ into consideration—looking at people’s lives and wellbeing beyond the office walls. Too often through my work, I’ve seen wellbeing changes in workplaces that have often been made in isolation.

While it is encouraging that wellbeing programmes are becoming more commonplace, they often lack the deep cultural transformation that needs to happen for meaningful and ongoing behavioural change. Cultural change though, is a perennial challenge for organisations. Easy to talk about but hard to do.

The focus of any strategy that requires change should be about changing your organisation’s culture—ensuring your organisation has embedded wellbeing at its core and that all people are empowered to take responsibility for their own wellbeing.

We believe there is nothing more important than investing in the health and wellbeing of employees to create more good days at work.

Healthier, happier people can do great things. It’s simple – a business filled with happier people having good days at work is a better business. That’s not too revolutionary if you think about it.

To understand more about how your people can have a Good Day At Work, download our latest research with partners, Bank Workers Charity, here.

Follow Professor Cary Cooper on Twitter @profcarycooper