Why great companies understand there is more to life than work
We all like to think we learn from our experiences. As a society, we take lessons from the past. Often, though, our understanding and learnings can be coloured by our memories. Our minds can unintentionally distort or alter our interpretation of life’s events. So, imagine if someone were to track a vast number of lives over many years. Surely their findings would give us the evidence we need to make better informed decisions in our own lives?
Well, that’s exactly what researchers at Harvard have done. The Harvard Study of Adult Development has spent nearly 80 years tracking people’s lives – expanding the original study group to include the pariticipants’ children and others. And the findings make for very interesting reading.
The number one learning is that social connections are vital to our well-being in later life. (In fact, its findings suggest that loneliness kills.) What matters most though is not the quantity, but the quality of those relationships that we nuture. That’s why, at age 50, the greatest predictor of how healthy and happy we’ll be in our 80s is how strong our relationships are. Not, as you might think, our cholesterol level or the level of our bank balance.
We know that’s certainly of interest to our clients, many of whom are deeply committed to long working hours and stressful schedules. Of course, work brings financial benefits but, as the study shows, it can also be hugely beneficial to step back for a moment and reflect on what truly matters. And, increasingly, it’s the companies who demonstrate that they understand the value of a well-lived life who have the most success in recruiting and retaining the most talented work force.