In this great episode we welcome our first podcast guest from the Middle East. Dr. Mansoor Anwar Habib is the Senior Director for Employee Wellness and Happiness at the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company “du”. Since 2009 he has established two in-house staff clinics and a wellness department. His responsibilities at du include both clinical and administrative tasks. From treating patients in the clinic, and tackling the day-to- day occupational related health complaints, to managing chronic diseases and implementing prevention strategies.

Holistic view on Wellness

We start off by discussing the definition of wellness. With respect to our global listener base, we are sure there are many definitions out there. Mansoor touches upon the 6 dimensions of wellness, but I particularly like his focus, which is stepping away from the point of view of viewing wellness as the absence of sickness, but the way we live every single minute of our lives, and how we interact with out environment, in particular focusing on the physical and mental aspect. 

Even though the country recently appointed a Minister of State for Happiness, her Excellency Ohood Al Roumi, there is no legal pressure on companies to have in-house healthcare services or wellness policies or initiatives. What "du" has done is really a testament to the recognition of the close link between the way employees and their families feel, their wellbeing and their performance at work. 

Always lead by example

Mansoor takes us through the process it took to develop the business case for the initiative and how they obtained management buy-in. They made sure the initiatives are based on real needs and communicate regularly with their staff. They seem however quite strict on one thing: managers and senior leadership modelling wellness and a positive attitude towards health and physical exercise. One of their most popular initiatives is the participation at the famous Dubai marathon, as you can see below, the chairman himself joining in. 

Founding chairman Ahmad Bin Byat joins other senior managers at "du"

Trust, try and transparency

The initiatives are not compulsory, they are optional. They leverage the enthusiasm of champions within the organisation to motivate others to follow, and they ensure that an appropriate amount of choice is available for the employees to participate without any obstacles. Healthy eating, exercise that is adapted to your physical abilities and interests, regular surveys to what employees want (the flu vaccine!) are all parts of the well-oiled programme. However, they are aware that this needs to be an on-going experiment, and the company is mindful about signs if they need to adapt or change. 

If you are interested, Dr. Mansoor Anwar Habib would be more than happy to hear from you and receive your questions via Twitter or LinkedIn. 

This podcast was created through our media partnership with the Wellbeing at Work Event organised in Dubai on the 21st February 2017. For more information please visit the conference website: http://dubai.wellbeingatworkev...