What's it like to work at ... HappyMaven
Tell us about HappyMaven and your role there?
HappyMaven: Wellbeing in Business was born two years ago when I realised that workplaces urgently need to prioritise the wellbeing of their people and counteract the chronic stress, anxiety and ‘always on culture’ that has permeated our working lives.
Essentially, I would describe myself as an unapologetic ambassador for championing the importance of wellbeing at work.
So now, I help business leaders draw the links between business health and the health of their people and to make meaningful improvements in workplaces, helping to support people (and businesses) to thrive.
What does a normal day look like for you?
I’m not quite sure if I ever have a normal day – not yet anyway!
I can be delivering a stress management workshop to HR leaders, sparking creativity in CEOs by getting them to play with Lego
I could be helping a Finance Director put together the business case for employee wellbeing or today, I’m crafting a PowerPoint deck for a talk I’m giving next week about our circadian rhythms, answering your questions and then off for a walk in my local park to clear my head before meeting up with my assistant Julie.
What’s your career journey been like to date?
I have had what would be termed as a ‘portfolio career.
I started my professional life in human rights, moving into community development and then into business transformation with detours into social enterprise and art. I have been fortunate to have lived and worked in many different communities and around the world.
The key thread in everything I have ever done is people – engaging people, bringing people together, holding the space for their conversations, supporting them to thrive.
And this is what I bring to what I do now. I ensure that the ‘human’ is not missing from HR and that people are factored in as more than ‘resources’.
Have you had a favourite project so far?
I get excited about every project. as it potentially represents an employer who is interested in supporting their people.
But if I had to pick one, it would be working with The Barbican to support their ‘Creative Citizens’ programme. A perfect collaboration of creativity, community and wellbeing with real, sustainable impact.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a Happiness Officer?
This is such a good, and difficult, question!
I really do not know. HappyMaven is such an extension of me, I would even go as far as to call it ‘my purpose’ that I do not know what the alternative would or could be.
I guess that I’d be happy as long as my life involved people, community and creativity!
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing is that I get to make a real, tangible difference in people’s lives.
We spend longer at work than pretty much anywhere else. And if that environment is toxic, whether that be physically or culturally, it will impact on your wellbeing.
And if I can improve people’s lives at work AND show positive impacts to the bottom line, it really is a win-win!
What has being Chief Happiness Officer at HappyMaven taught you?
It has taught me that we still have a very long way to go to make real change in the world of work.
A lot of employers make the right noises about mental health and awareness but still consider employee wellbeing a ‘nice to have’ as opposed to essential and critical business investment.
It took decades for the Health & Safety legislation that we all now take for granted to be enshrined into law. I hope that it won’t take as long for us, as a society, as employers, as humans to give the same priority and credence to psychological wellbeing as we do for physical safety at work.
You can hear more from Suki at our upcoming event on 14th May 2019 where she will be sharing invaluable ideas on how to increase productivity, staff retention and profits by improving employee wellbeing; tickets are available here.