Happiness: the Big Picture

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Happiness is one of our favourite subjects. We’ve looked with envy at the Happiness Index of the happiest country in the world, Bhutan, and we have even made our own compilation of happy hits.

One big reason why we have a happiness fascination is because it is completely bound in with wellness. Feeling good, both mentally and physically, starts with eating the right things, exercising and getting enough good-quality sleep. These things are mostly within our individual control. So far so good, but there is a next level.

At this year’s Global Wellness Summit, International architects Arup Associates, who have a long-standing association with health and environmental research organisation, Well Living Lab, revealed a startling statistic: that we spend, on average, 90 per cent of our time indoors. Who would have thought it? So it stands to reason that we need to take a long, hard look at our immediate environment and the impact it has on wellness.

Arup believes in the holistic approach: healthy buildings using materials that reduce air pollution, providing sustainable water solutions and thoughtful, healthy lighting; well designed, ergonomic offices; facilitating fitness into workplace daily routines, as the picture shows. That, of course requires a big change in the way things are done. In the UK, landlords pursue the biggest rents at the lowest investment in infrastructure, and it’s left to us, the tenants, to fund any improvements. And that’s a bigger challenge for SMEs.

All of these things support the mental health of a workforce. And it’s needed: Global Wellness Institute stats for 2016 show that, worldwide, 76% of workers worldwide are “struggling” or “suffering” in their physical wellbeing.

So what about the wider environment, beyond the living room or the Fashionizer office? Companies such as our clients Six Senses have put this at the top of their agenda. They may be providing luxury at their resorts and spas, but environmental preservation and support for the local community is at the heart of all of their projects. Building ecologically sensitive buildings that respect the culture and environment is the start point, but using domestic labour to build and service the resorts is a key way of bringing income to the population. And with greater wealth comes greater choice, control and – yes – happiness.

Having a happier, healthier team is good for everyone – including business. At last year’s summit, clinical professor Ken Pelletier tabled research results that showed an organisation’s productivity grew in line with the wellness of its staff – in some cases by as much as 200%.

All of which goes to show that the GWS provides food for thought on an annual basis. With next year’s summit scheduled to be in Trump’s US, it promises stimulation on a whole new level. Climate change, anyone?



Talk about happinees

Talk about happinees


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