Organisational wellness plans tailored for your people, budget and goals
Workplace Wellbeing began in 2005 with the aim of creating workplaces where people were happy – yes, actually happy.
A place where people liked coming to work, that was fulfilling and improved your wellbeing – not reduced it, where you felt better being at work rather than avoiding it.
It was a notion that Cris had been grappling with for many years i.e. “Why do people speak so disparagingly of work?”, “Why, for so many people, are the words “burnout”, “stress”, and “overwhelm” so synonymous with “work”?”
It came to a head one Wednesday morning when Cris arrived early at his job. As he walked in, he noticed that all of the phones were ringing. Not unusual, but what was more surprising was that one of his fellow team members was sitting right in the middle of the office, within earshot of the phones, playing solitaire on their computer. It was around 8:57 AM.
This particular person, let’s call them Lenny, started their work promptly at 9 AM, and finished the day seven hours and 36 minutes later (plus one hour for lunch) at 5:36pm. They appeared oblivious to the phones and continued to play.
Now Lenny, was known to be quite unhappy at work, had fairly unhealthy habits, and complained about their health and wellbeing.
To be fair to Lenny, they’d been at the organisation for many years, there had been substantial changes, and the leader of the team was, to put it politely, “headstrong”.
The culture at this place was one which was very ‘professional’. While all that is well and good in this team, that seemed to mean there was not much tolerance for mistakes, space for self-care, allowance for the natural rhythms of life, and of people being “people”- wonderful but flawed, perfectly imperfect.
Nevertheless, it was a great opportunity for Cris. The organisation did good work, and he liked the people he worked with.
He began to wonder why others didn’t feel the same, and how you could create a workplace that was highly productive yet still looked after the wellbeing of its people.
Eventually, it led to Cris creating Workplace Wellbeing. Cris is proud that it is the first organisation (and probably the only one still) to countenance the outrageous idea that work could be a place of fulfilments and happiness.
In fact, he developed one of his first and most popular keynotes “Happy Hour Is 9-To-5” around just this concept – the link between:
- success and happiness
- joy and productivity
- wellbeing and performance
(Book one of these talks with Cris – and if you’re not 100% happy, we’ll give you a refund.)
I‘m well, We’re well, All’s well
Cris and the team are ideally placed to be your partners in helping your people develop sustainable, healthy habits – because they’ve lived the journey themselves.
It may be hard for some to believe, but once upon a time, Cris was a very unhappy human. And he’d been unhappy for quite some time.
He spent many years struggling with his own wellbeing, particularly his mental health. During this time, he got made redundant, there was death, separation from his partner, financial disasters and mayhem.
Cris felt totally discouraged and had given up. He resorted to any means of escape from his uncomfortable feelings – and red wine became a good friend.
After medication failed to help, he started to investigate what else he could do – particularly what he could do for himself.
He then started a laughter group in a local park, after which he received a call from someone who asked him if he could run a laughter session. He combined that with a talk on happiness, and building on his workplace training as a facilitator. It was a great success.
He read “Learned Optimism” by Martin Seligman and found it helpful. He restarted his meditation practice and began pursuing other wellbeing and self-help practices.
Shortly after this time, he received his first invitation to speak at the world’s first and largest conference on happiness – “Happiness and its Causes”.
It was at this forum that his commitment to wellbeing really kicked up a notch. He was able to meet and share the stage with some of the world’s leading exponents of positive psychology, happiness and wellbeing, including the Dalai Lama, Brené Bown, Barbara Fredrickson, Sonia Lyburmurski, Professor Richard Ryan, Roy Baumeister, Andrew O’Keefe, Alan Wallace and others.
Their inspiration and guidance shaped the wellbeing practices he now brings to corporate Australia.
However, there was a degree of frustration. While people were very receptive to the messages – after all, everyone wants great wellbeing and wellness – they struggled to put their knowledge into action (see the research the difficulty of change by Prochaska and Diclimenta).
This led him to investigate behavioural change and study how people form good habits, thus the inspiration behind Workplace Wellbeing’s unique methodology.
The ability of participants to apply knowledge to develop their own sustainable and healthy habits is what makes Workplace Wellbeing different from every other wellbeing program in Australia (or perhaps the world).
Let’s face it, everyone knows what to do. You all know you need to eat more vegetables, get more sleep, learn to relax, and exercise more.
Mostly, what we don’t know is how to make wellness a part of our lives in a way that makes our wellbeing habits sustainable.
Experimenting on himself, Cris found that applying behavioural science to his wellbeing knowledge helped him create really good, positive, and sustainable wellbeing habits.
The trick seemed to be starting small and building a sense of success and progress around wellness.
From the very first session, participants reported being able to make positive and long-lasting changes that improved their ability to deal with stress and enhanced their wellbeing.
Better still, they were able to make those changes immediately after each session.
People left his programs feeling not weighed down with “more they should be doing” but with a sense of relief. Participants in these programs felt empowered to be better.
Cris developed the techniques into methodology. The result? Workplace Wellbeing was born.