Business as usual is unhealthy.
We started Habits at Work with a vision: A future where people are healthy, happy and secure, and their better lives build companies that flourish.
Our world has fundamentally changed, but the world of business (and work) has yet to catch up. All of the Industrial Age thinking that served us in the past has become less and less useful. Just the opposite, actually — it is actively harmful to people, society and our planet in many ways.
But all is not lost!
We believe a core set of positive habits are the key to unlocking happy, healthy and secure individuals and flourishing companies.
These “Pivotal Habits” are the building blocks of high performance individuals and company cultures.
In short, we believe that habits determine destiny.
Habits drive people & fuel organizations.
For people, the habits that prepare us to do our best work and live our best lives are also those that enable us to become healthier, happier and more secure.
An organization’s culture is shaped by a shared story, along with shared actions in the form of HABITS — the norms, rituals, roles and traditions embedded within HOW people work and interact with each other.
The habits that make up your culture determine the productivity of your employees, as well as the growth and profitability of your company.
Over the last decade, we have researched why people find it hard to create healthy habits and how best to support them in doing so.
We believe that in order to be successful, companies must invest in the success of their people. This means investing in their lives, even when they’re not at work.
Example: The drivers of individual health status.
In order to understand the role that habits play in our lives and futures, let’s explore a quick example. Below is a pie chart representing the drivers or factors that determine the health status of an individual — basically, whether or not they are sick.
Increasingly, researchers are arriving at the conclusion that it is the HABITS that we practice that have the biggest impact on our health outcomes.
In fact, they have come to the same conclusion, which is:
- Our health outcomes, or how healthy we are today, are explained predominantly by the habits that we practice.
- To a lesser (but significant) degree the environments in which we live, grew up, work or learn today influence our health status.
- Surprisingly little is explained by the access and quality that we have to physicians, hospitals, drugs and other services in the “sick care” domain. Yet, this is where individuals (and traditional corporate wellness programs) spend nearly all of our energy and money.
- Approximately 20% is explained by our genes. It seems like genes should play a larger role, as many diseases run in families, inherited from our parents. In fact, there are many diseases that appear to run in families and it can be tempting to conclude that they are all or mostly genetic. However, the reality is that for most family-borne diseases, the real underlying cause is that we inherit more than our genes from our parents.
In sharing the same environments for much of our lives, we tend to learn our good and bad health habits from our families.
When it comes to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, many forms of cancer, obesity and many other diseases, the main cause can be heavily attributed to a number of poor health habits we may have “inherited” from our parents, cultures and environments.
This is good news, because it means that we can change our future health.
By recognizing that we’re not doomed by poor genes, we are able to see that we can enjoy long and healthy lives…IF we can simply find a way to practice healthy habits every day.
The same is true of other life and work-related habits.
The key is to design positive habits into our lives and our work so that we can achieve our preferred view of the future.
If we can control them, choose them wisely, and practice them consistently, we can effectively design our preferred future — our destiny.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
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ETA Additional Sources:
IBM Curam Research Institute.
McGinnis JM, Williams-Russo P, Knickman JR. The case for more active policy attention to health promotion. Health Aff (Millwood). 2002;21:78–93.