We’re delighted to welcome Dr Steven MacGregor to our team as our resident workplace wellbeing expert.
While it’s certainly been an unpredictable year for most of us, external circumstances don’t have to dictate the course of our lives or have a negative impact on our mood and health. Working from home and lockdown have negatively impacted the wellbeing of around 33 percent of employees but, since 61 percent of them trust their employer to look after their wellbeing, we believe it’s simply not enough to just be ‘coping’. Transition periods can be a catalyst for positive change, self-reflection and growth. That’s why we’re excited to be working with Steven.
As one of the world’s top experts on leadership, health and wellbeing at work, Steven will be helping us tap into the power of our potential and inspiring us to create a positive connection between our personal health and work performance.
Steven is the founder of the Leadership Academy of Barcelona (LAB) and is a guest professor at several of the world’s leading business schools. We sat down with him to find out more about his passion, experience and how he’s already helped improve the health and workplace wellbeing for over 20,000 people worldwide.
Tell us a little bit about your personal and professional background.
I’m a designer, author and athlete, with both of those areas combining to shape my career. I studied engineering at the Masters and PhD level in Glasgow before moving to Spain in 2003. I was an international Duathlete (think Triathlon for bad swimmers!) and was also part of the Athletics team of FC Barcelona.
What made you want to turn your profession to wellbeing at work?
I was a visiting researcher at Stanford University 20 years ago, and was inspired by the search for excellence on so many levels, not just the academics, but also sport, culture and music. I just felt there was such a disconnect between this environment – which, after all, was preparing people for work – and the workplace itself. I thought there must be a better way, and got to work on how design and health could make a difference.
Why is wellbeing at work so important for our overall health?
We spend so much of our lives at work and thinking about work. If we are not well at work, that represents a big chunk of our lives that we’re trying to make up lost ground for in our non-working lives. No matter how hard we try, it’s difficult to separate notions of health and wellbeing between work and non-work. Additionally, work itself can be a major contributor to our overall wellbeing and happiness. It gives us meaning and purpose, allowing us to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. Our workplace is a community of people and helps us to enrich our social connections.
What words do you live by to keep yourself healthy, motivated and energised?
I tend to keep ‘movement’ and ‘impact’ top of mind. We need to remember that a sedentary life, which is a factor in many present-day workplaces, has many negative health effects. It can also be connected to feelings of being stuck in the same set of behaviours and routines over the long term. I try to keep moving in the metaphorical sense by learning and trying new things. It’s not about getting it right and, indeed, sometimes movement can be very slow, sideways, or even backwards. For impact, I strive to help as many people as possible to change their mindset, behaviour and, ultimately, to improve their working lives. This influences my style of work, which I try to keep as accessible and practical as possible. It energises me greatly when I hear stories of real change.
Steven has created a mix of helpful content and habitual action plans designed to help people flourish and thrive in our new working world. Check out his articles and expert guidance in the Tictrac platform.