Book review: Well-being

Emma de Vita reviews the new book by psychologists Ivan Robertson and Cary Cooper

Off the shelf
Off the shelf

Worrying about the happiness of your employees, once a serious matter, seems out of touch nowadays. Where once managers were making sure there was enough fresh fruit to snack on, they're now finding ways not to have to make their colleagues redundant.

Well-being: Productivity and Happiness at Work, by Ivan Robertson and Cary CooperBut staff wellbeing is still important during a recession, argue the psychologists Ivan Robertson and Cary Cooper, authors of Well-being: Productivity and Happiness at Work. In fact, it's during these stressful times that happiness levels matter most, because feeling good at work tends to make you more productive.

So what can the third sector learn from the private sector about keeping up morale? A case study about the telecommunications company BT suggests support for managers is critical: they can find online advice on how to manage pressure and promote "positive mentality", and a self-assessment tool on "becoming a better people manager". There's also a government-funded online chat service run by the counselling and support charity Relate to help employees address the impact of the recession.

Such practical advice can make a difference, but whether it's enough to make people smile again is another matter.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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