«Blue Zones» Impact on Workplace Well-being and Productivity

By september 20, 2023desember 11th, 2023No Comments

Well-being has gained significant importance in the workplace, thanks to its direct influence on productivity, engagement, and overall performance, according to Forbes, Gallup, and Harvard Business Review. Despite its relevance, well-being was often overlooked by top managers until recently. However, quantifying its impact through factors like sick leave, turnover, engagement, and loyalty has brought this issue into sharper focus.

For instance, a typical Norwegian company with 100 employees and a 15% turnover rate faces a staggering people turnover cost of around 1.5 million USD. Additionally, when only 14% of employees report feeling engaged in their jobs (Gallup 2022), the cost and productivity implications become evident.

Recently, the documentary «Live to 100: Secrets of Blue Zones» was released. Can the lessons from the five regions where people live the longest have relevance for leaders and workplaces? Absolutely!

Blue Zones are known for their inhabitants’ longer, healthier lives, driven by lifestyle and cultural factors. These factors can provide valuable insights for individuals and organizations aiming to enhance workplace well-being, productivity, and leadership. Here’s how Blue Zones’ principles can be relevant:

  1. «Ikigai»: «Ikigai» is a Japanese concept that roughly translates to «a reason for being» or «a sense of purpose in life or career.» The concept of Ikigai has relevance for workplaces in several ways; employee motivation and engagement, job satisfaction, career development, talent acquisition and retention, innovation, team dynamics and more.
  2. Social Connections: Strong relationships are paramount for longevity. Promoting a sense of community and camaraderie among employees can enhance teamwork, collaboration, and job satisfaction. Encourage social interactions beyond work tasks.
  3. Stress Management: Workplace stress is common. Fostering a growth mindset culture reduces stress and builds psychological safety. Teaching stress-reduction techniques like mindfulness and meditation can bolster employees’ ability to handle work-related stress and improve mental well-being.
  4. Employee Engagement: Prioritizing employee well-being fosters engagement and motivation. Incorporating Blue Zones principles can boost employee commitment.
  5. Leadership Style: Effective leaders can emulate Blue Zones principles by leading by example, creating a supportive work environment, and championing employee well-being.
  6. Long-Term Perspective: Emulate Blue Zones’ long-term outlook by focusing on sustainable business practices and employee development rather than short-term gains.
  7. Wellness Programs: Integrate Blue Zones principles into wellness programs, promoting healthy eating, regular physical activity, stress management, and social connections. This leads to a healthier and more engaged workforce.
  8. Work-Life Balance: Encouraging work-life balance is crucial. Emphasize downtime, relaxation, and social connections to reduce burnout and boost overall satisfaction.
  9. Healthy Eating: Promote healthier eating options in cafeterias, provide nutritious snacks, and educate employees about nutrition, following Blue Zones’ plant-based, whole foods philosophy.
  10. Physical Activity: Encourage physical activity through initiatives like walking meetings, gym facilities, or fitness challenges in alignment with Blue Zones principles.

Incorporating Blue Zones principles into the workplace can yield a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce while reducing turnover and sick leave, ultimately increasing loyalty and engagement.

Such investment will probably pay itself back both in the short and long term for organizations.

Want to join our huge journey and get more insights, new learning and hopefully some inspiration? Please follow us in social media; FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and TikTok. Please visit MadeToGrow University for free content and exiting learning programs. You are also welcome to sign up on our news letter, where we will keep you updated.

Warm regards

Sissel Naustdal