Former Olympian and now head of performance at Champion Health, Jack Green used his second career working in wellbeing to advocate for the importance of workplace health. We chatted to Jack about his new book, An Olympian’s Guide to Workplace Health, why looking after your mental health is just as important as the physical side of things, and how we can all take small steps to implement healthy workplace habits!
What was the inspiration behind An Olympian’s Guide to Workplace Health?
I have been sharing my story of managing mental health and elite performance for many years now and myself and the Champion team felt it was a good time to marry the two together during the Tokyo Olympic Games.
What overarching message do readers take away from reading the guide?
I believe the overarching message from the guide is that high performance is for everyone. High performance is simply trying. Whether that’s trying to be the best parent you can be or simply the best version of yourself, that understanding has been lacking previously.
As an athlete, did you ever find that there were times when your mental health wasn’t as much of a priority as your physical health?
Mental health has never been prioritised in the sporting world to the same extent that physical health is. And, as you can see from Simone Biles and many other athletes at this year’s Games, mental health is the foundation of elite physical performance.
How can employers better support their employees who suffer from mental health problems and subsequently reduce stigma?
There are many ways to support your employees from platforms and services like ours at Champion. What our platform does is help to shift the culture in an organisation. Think about your leadership and management, are they championing mental health through their words, actions and behaviours? Through positive actions, we create an environment where people have permission to be themselves. That’s where I would start and there are so many other ways to help move the dial to positive mental wellbeing.
Was there a point where you decided to take workplace health seriously?
I fell into workplace health. I had recently retired from track and field and had been an ambassador and speaker on mental health, performance, and culture for many years. I went straight into a wellbeing role with BBC Studios and that’s where my second career began.
Tell us about the work you do with Champion Health?
As head of performance, I have a few different hats to wear. I oversee new and existing relationships with the platform, deliver keynotes and panels around wellbeing and then guide the strategy and development of our organisation.
What piece of advice would you give to someone trying to find time to bring healthy habits into the workplace?
Start small. The journey has many steps and if you’re putting the effort in, that is all you can ask of yourself. Don’t try to climb Everest in a day!
What is your career highlight?
My first career was on the track where I went to two Olympics and won World and European medals. My second career is interesting, I have delivered keynotes for over 200 businesses so to have been able to hopefully help hundreds of thousands of people is a real highlight.
What piece of career advice would you give your younger self?
You are a human being. You are allowed to struggle. You are allowed to fail. It’s all a part of life.
Find out more about Jack's book here.
Words: Grace Goslin