Goldman Sachs takes the health and happiness of its staff seriously. It has its own ‘head of wellness,’ Patrick Watt. Today, Patrick gave a webinar on wellness at Goldman Sachs. We were in attendance. This is what Patrick said.
Specifically, Patrick said recent changes in headcount have exacerbated health problems.
There are two main reasons why people take time off work, said Patrick: muscular skeletal issues and mental health. Mental health issues are a particular problem because they can be stigmatised and it’s more difficult to recognise the symptoms.
There needs to be an awareness of symptoms like sleep problems or skin rashes, said Patrick. People suffering from the symptoms need to know that they can seek help confidentially.
Patrick reiterated this several times.
Patrick said they’ve analysed the data and discovered problems can affect anyone, in any business, at any level: there is no trend or stereotype.
Manager must be equipped to recognise when their staff are having problems dealing with stress, said Watt. This can be a challenge to the extent that it means spending time with people and when business is difficult managers can find themselves focused on revenue-generating activities.
When Goldman held a happiness seminar, 1,000 people attended. Someone put up their hand and asked: “What are three things that will make me happy?” That was a bit sad, Watt admitted.
Goldman’s onsite gym is open from 6am to 10pm and people can go there whenever they like. Managers need to appreciate that it’s ok to take a two hour lunchbreak. “It’s wrong to say that flexible working is only for parents,” Watt stressed.
“If you see three or four people outside smoking, are there things you can do to stop them?” asked Watt. “Have you spoken to local sandwich shops about healthier options?” It was unclear whether he was speaking rhetorically.
We have had issues where people left and said they things they should have said to their managers, explained Watt. Because of this, the firm is placing more emphasis on manager engagement, buddying and mentoring, he implied.