The success of a business depended on employees’ mental health, Dr Lynda Shaw told Fresh Banter, a food industry group for senior decision makers, last month. “When we’re having a pleasurable time, we feel safe and feeling safe makes you more productive and creative,” Shaw said.
More firms were now trying to ensure their employees felt good while at work, compared with in the past, because of the knock-on-effect it had, she added.
Big food and drink firms, such as Moy Park and Coca-Cola Enterprises, had recently invested millions of pounds in new staff facilities across their sites in a bid to boost morale.
When people felt unhappy, their brains produced cortisol, which affected their mood and productivity. High levels of cortisol could also cause memory loss and depression, Shaw claimed. “Cortisol regulates neural transmitters and when it’s up it lowers serotonin and dopamine, and that also affects our thinking and can cause depression,” she added.
Finding ways of helping workers produce the natural neuro gas nitric oxide in their brains could help regulate cortisol levels and boost serotonin and dopamine levels, Shaw said. “Nitric oxide is a wonderful chemical in the brain and permeates in the blood cells very quickly it’s our best friend and we can help produce it by encouraging things like exercise and healthy eating.”
But, the best way of creating it was through pleasure, including good deeds, positive feedback, fun and achieving goals, she added.
Manufacturers could also use psychology to encourage consumers to buy their products, Shaw claimed. Businesses should avoid marketing products based on negatives, and should instead focus on their positive impact on people’s lives, she added.
“Consumers are more inclined to make a purchase if they know something is going to have a positive impact on their lives.”