In the fast-paced and ever-evolving landscape of business, success is often measured by financial achievements, sales and professional recognition. During a cost-of-living crisis, UK wide health challenges - physical and mental - and the constant need to adapt to change, it is becoming increasingly clear that the journey to success is complex and often tough.
Perhaps we start at our very human foundations, based on how we treat people.
International Day of Friendship – 30 July – is described by the United Nations as a time to show solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation . This is integral to Plymouth Charter’s goal of developing a fairer city. We want a strong economy with businesses that embrace inclusivity and support the friendship ethos.
What can Plymouth businesses do to support communities and individuals which will, in turn, build us a stronger, more resilient, happier workforce? Success, wellbeing and happiness are underpinned by the power of friendship, understanding, supporting each other and treating people kindly and thoughtfully, the very foundations of an inclusive community.
The Importance of Friendship: Friendship goes beyond mere companionship; it is a source of emotional support, encouragement, and inspiration. Studies have shown that having a strong social network positively impacts our mental health, boosts resilience, and enhances overall well-being. For businesses, fostering a culture of friendship among employees can lead to increased productivity, creativity, and employee satisfaction.
The Cost-of-Living Crisis: The rising cost of living presents a unique set of challenges for both individuals and businesses. In times of economic strain, friendships can serve as a vital support system. Businesses can support their employees by implementing measures such as flexible work arrangements, financial education programs, and providing resources to help alleviate financial stress. Nurturing a sense of camaraderie within the workplace can also lead to the sharing of cost-saving tips and strategies among colleagues.
Nurturing Mental Health: Mental health issues are on the rise, and the workplace is not immune to their effects. By promoting a culture of friendship and support, businesses can create an environment where employees feel safe to discuss their mental health. Encouraging open conversations, providing resources, and implementing mental health programs can make a significant difference in employee well-being, job satisfaction, and overall productivity.
Managing Change: Change is a constant in today's business landscape, whether it's technological advancements, market shifts, or business restructuring. Friendships can play a crucial role in helping individuals and businesses navigate change successfully. By fostering strong connections, businesses can create a supportive environment where employees feel empowered to adapt, embrace new opportunities, and weather the storms of change together.
Being Inclusive: There is still work to do to understand what we mean by being inclusive, this could be about being flexible, such as providing working hours to allow carers to pick up children, building in flexibility for medical appointments in delivery schedules or making changes to the workplace to support employees to do their jobs. If there is an underlying foundation of support and friendship these changes can be developed together, opening up new skill sets and resources to your business, developing positive and progressive personal, team and organisational learning, culture and progression.
Building a Friend-Friendly Workplace: To harness the power of friendship, businesses can take proactive steps to create a friend-friendly workplace:
Foster a culture of inclusivity, respect, and empathy.
Encourage team-building activities and social events.
Provide opportunities for mentorship and cross-departmental collaboration.
Implement wellness programs that prioritise mental health support.
Recognise and celebrate personal milestones and achievements.
Facilitate communication channels that encourage open dialogue.
At Plymouth Charter we are working hard to come up with deliverable actions to help businesses to lessen the cost-of-living crisis for our communities. There is more practical advice to support our communities here - https://www.plymouthcharter.co.uk/community
GET INVOLVED: We want to support those who are economically inactive to re-engage, so those that might be on long term sick, have caring commitments or are under-employed can get back in the game. Join our summit of charter champions and business leaders to help us respond to the cost-of-living crisis through business change.
Contact Anna Peachey and Ellie Tighe at firstname.lastname@example.org