Happy businesses are more profitable

The reasoning is simple and powerful at the same time: the most important and profitable asset of any company is its workers. So what could be better than keeping the most important asset of the organization in its natural state, which is where its full potential shows?

 

This reasoning, however, does not apply exclusively to the workplace. Its connotations are paramount, as all people are workers, at least in potential, whether in the active workplace, post-work field, academic field, or in any other situation. It is clear, then, that happiness transcends all this, and ends up with a common denominator: the human being.

 

The scientific pursuit of happiness

Talking about happiness is nothing new: Aristotle was already giving deep dissertations on it in the 4th century BC. But in recent years, the concept of positive psychology has gained strength. Positive psychology is a current in psychology that studies the foundations of psychological well-being and happiness, as well as human strengths and virtues. The difference with respect to other close currents of psychology and with its historical precedents is that it is based on the scientific method. The psychologist Martin Seligman laid its foundations in the late 1990s, and other authors, such as Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, have made it grow with their contributions. 

At first glance, the purpose of positive psychology may sound too arrogant. Now science seeks to tell us what happiness is? But there are many dissident voices that consider that happiness is much more than just processing a simple set of measurable values in the field of psychology.

Debates aside, we all know, without having to learn it, when we feel good, and most of all, when we feel bad. It is something innate. Our body goes like clockwork with well-being, whereas it begins to give warning signals when we experiment discomfort

 

What do the experts say?

Since companies are mostly sets of people, it may seem basic to ensure the well-being and satisfaction of workers. However, in the business logic linked to the Industrial Revolution (still very much present everywhere), the general paradigm has been quite the opposite: to make them work to the maximum to obtain greater profits. A vision where their personal well-being is far from the concern of the company.

Studies on this topic conclude that the experience of workers who feel comfortable in their organization is much more valuable than even the material goods they can receive as gratification. And this is because this experience has no expiration; it can always be evoked and enjoyed again.

Workers’ happiness as a barometer of business health

So now it is no longer a matter of focusing only on the famous customer experience (CX): the employee experience also plays a key role in the success of the organization, both from the company’s point of view (because a happy, creative, or empathetic employee is synonymous with a more productive worker) and from the point of view of the worker (because we spend almost a third of our lives at work).

A good example of the consolidation of this trend is the emergence of various indices, such as the Global Job Happiness Index, which measure happiness in the workplace. Likewise, the figure known as Chief Happiness Officer consolidates in those organizations that are committed to the value of people and the profitability of a happy employee.

 

Dissemination achieves awareness and involvement

People and companies are a strange mix. People are tangible beings who act moved by gratification; we put our efforts into what rewards us, in whatever form. However, companies are in themselves intangible, although at the same time they are made up of people, and have as their purpose either their own benefit, social benefit (non-profit), or a combination of the two, which provides a sustainable benefit for society.  

A strange mix and, at the same time, what a fruitful synergy when the focus of the organization is on people!

At 11Onze, we have believed in this fundamental value from the very beginning, which is shared by all the people who make up our community. And it’s working! 

 

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There are many therapies with animals. People with Alzheimer’s are being treated with dogs, even inside nursing homes. Dogs are also used in paediatrics, geriatrics, and physiotherapy. People with mental disorders do therapeutic work with horses (equine therapy), cows, sheep, and even chickens. The case of dolphin therapy is perhaps the most fascinating, because it involves the most intelligent mammal and an aquatic environment, unsuitable for humans.

 

The beneficial effects of contact with animals have been abundantly studied and contrasted:

  • Physiologically, petting an animal lowers blood pressure much more than reading aloud or resting.
  • The presence of pets near elderly patients or patients having had surgery for coronary heart disease has increased the life expectancy of these patients by 3%.
  • Many occupational therapists (therapists who specialize in the treatment of mental illness through physical activity) use animals — especially horses — in functional rehabilitation, where exercises are often difficult for patients to accept.

Animal therapy (zootherapy)

Zootherapy is a therapeutic method based on the patient’s interaction with animals and intended for the treatment of certain physical or mental conditions. There are two different approaches:

  • Animal-facilitated therapy (AFT). It consists of using the privileged relationships that certain people (children, adults, the elderly, the disabled, etc.) maintain with animals in order to help the therapeutic (psychological, physical, or social) process. Think, for example, of a person’s relationship with their pet.
  • Animal-assisted therapies (AAT). They use animals to improve the quality of human life, for example, to break social isolation, to give people back a sense of “power over their own lives,” to create spaces for debate that strengthen communication, etc.). The presence of the animal will improve the sense of self-esteem, motivation, and participation in educational and recreational activities.

However, this should be considered as an alternative therapy to traditional therapies which can help, complement, or improve their progress and results, but which does not replace them in any way. 

 

The dolphin myth

Since ancient times, dolphins have fascinated humans. And while we haven’t always treated them in every culture as a living being deserves, their intelligence, beauty, speed, and acrobatics have always left us speechless.

The myth of Poseidon, the god of the oceans, is known in Western culture, whom a dolphin helped conquer the heart of the nymph Amphitrite. Poseidon, grateful for the valuable service done by the dolphin, created the constellation of the Dolphin, composed of eighteen stars and visible in the Southern Hemisphere, in its honour.  

We can also find legends and beliefs in Australian Aborigines, who believe that humans are descended from dolphins, or in the culture of the Maori of New Zealand, who believe that dolphins are reincarnations of deceased humans.

Dolphins also have a reputation for saving people from drowning. There are legends and testimonies from the classical period (Plutarch and Pliny the Elder tell stories about it) to the present day. There are a lot of current and well documented cases of this type of rescue.

However, cases of spontaneous collaboration between humans and dolphins are less well-known.

On the coast of Mauritania, fishermen and dolphins cooperate to make fishing more efficient. Dolphins chase the fish toward the nets, and thus, trapped between two predators, they are more easily caught; a benefit for both dolphins and fishermen.

Dolphin therapy

Dolphin therapy is a therapeutic method based on the patient’s interaction with dolphins, intended for the treatment of certain diseases and disorders. 

The term includes therapy programs where captive dolphins are mostly used, although there are also programs that are developed with wild dolphins. 

The therapy used by dolphins in captivity corresponds to the AFT (animal-facilitation therapy) approach and is the most widely used, while the use of the wild dolphin is closer to the AAT (animal-assisted therapy) approach.

In addition to their cheerful, calm, and compassionate nature, therapists also value the beneficial effects that ultrasound emitted by dolphins have, thanks to the influence they have on our emotions, comparable to that of music therapy. Dolphins therefore seem to have the “extraordinary” power to trigger the healing process in humans.

The doctor Horace Dobbs, a British researcher, in the mid-seventies of the twentieth century, saw how a lifeboat mechanic, affected by a deep depression, after swimming for a while with a friendly wild dolphin, experienced a miraculous cure. From this fact and others like it, he and other researchers have been progressively contributing to dolphin therapy with their work.

It is used in numerous diseases: mental retardation, autism, Rett syndrome, depression, anorexia, emotional and self-esteem disorders, concentration disorders, cognitive problems, phobias, post-traumatic stress, Down syndrome (trisomy), dyslexia, ADHD, cancer, cystic fibrosis, blindness, deafness, physical disabilities, spinal cord and brain damage (cerebral palsy), and so on. 

A dolphin therapy session can last between 15 and 40 minutes, depending on the centre and the type of therapy. There are a dozen large centres in North America, South America, and Europe.

 

Does it benefit or harm dolphins?

Like everything in science, there is controversy here as well. Beyond the results — which some scientists also criticize — captive dolphins are used in most cases. This fact causes what we call indirect impact, which is what wild animals suffer from the condition of captivity. 

In the case of dolphins, in addition to the impact of the capture and transport of the animal, it has effects on alteration of its social structure. In addition, dietary changes and stress alter their reproductive conditions and make them vulnerable to diseases exclusive to captivity. These and other consequences of captivity are well studied and legislation, especially in Europe and the US, is increasingly evolving towards greater protection of dolphin welfare.

About the direct impact of the dolphin’s job as a “therapist”, unfortunately, not enough information is available yet to assess the impact it may have on its well-being. We will have to wait and see.

 

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There are now more mobile devices in the world than people. Mobile phones have changed the way we live, work, communicate and even our quality of life, wellbeing and health.

 

An app is a standalone piece of software that is made to perform a specific task and is optimised for use on smartphones, tablets or smartwatches based on the features available. Health apps are known as mobile Health (mHealth), and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) it is a “delivery of health information and services using mobile technologies”.

 

What is a health application?

It falls within the field of eHealth, understood as the use of communication and information technologies applied to health services (computers, mobile phones, GPS, connected medical instrument monitors, medical robots, etc.). These are computer programmes that are used on mobile platforms and are often connected to medical devices that tell us how to improve our health or prevent risks. There are also diagnostic applications, for treating patients or communicating with our healthcare system.

The European Commission states that medical and public health practice is compatible with mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants and other wireless devices. It also includes in this category applications related to health information to the population, medication reminders sent by SMS, telemedicine, training and guidance systems and even lifestyle and wellness applications created with the aim of maintaining or improving the population’s healthy habits through the practice of sport and wellness.

 

How are they monitored and what quality criteria is used?

In Catalonia, a method for evaluating mobile health applications using objective variables, called iSYScore, has been used for some time now.

The criteria used by iSYScore to select the most suitable mobile health apps is based on the opinions of users, developers and health professionals, and is based on three key factors: popularity, trust and usefulness.

 

What are the problems with these applications?

Basically, the lack of loyalty. There are few apps that have achieved long-term stability. A study confirms that 70% of chronically ill people who have used them stop using them after six months. And 80% of apps are abandoned after only two weeks. To improve these figures, personalisation based on different profiles would be advisable. Each person is unique, and these apps act in a generic way.

Another problem to be faced is that of data ownership and data protection, as well as the loss of credibility the product may have if it doesn’t work for the first users who try it.

 

Tips for choosing a reliable application

  1. Be informed: Search and compare applications on search engines such as Google. 
  2. Reviews: Search forums for user opinions. 
  3. List of options: Choose between 4 or 5 applications.
  4. Reliability:  Make sure they are based on scientific evidence, and a good place to do this is to look for references in PubMed (National Center for Biotechnology Information).
  5. Test: It would be advisable to test (try out) the application with a friend. If, for example, you suffer from insomnia, it is important that your friend does not suffer from insomnia so that you can share how it went.
  6. Who is behind it? To be a quality (reliable) application, it is important that technicians, health professionals (who will be different depending on the purpose of the product) and experts in legislation and data management have been involved in the process. 
  7. Obsolescence: Clinical studies require time and in the world of new technologies time passes very quickly and therefore needs to be taken into account.

Following these simple steps will ensure that the applications you use are quite reliable.

 

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