Why We Co-Founded Business Health Institute

Recently, in a passing conversation, we were asked ‘why’ we had co-founded Business Health Institute. This got us thinking about our stories and our joint passion about prevention of stress and burnout in the workplace.

We, (Julie Blinkho and Jackie Connaughton) have both experienced stress at times in our careers for varying reasons. However, it was not until we had both experienced burnout, that we utterly understood what impact that had both mentally and physically and on our personal and professional lives.

Burnout has been categorised by the World Health Organisation, as a:

 “syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” (1)

It has three distinct characteristics:

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
  2. Increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.
  3. Reduced professional efficacy.

Stress and burnout, the causal factors

We began to undertake extensive training and research to fully understand the causal factors of stress and burnout. It’s fair to say that burnout is a work-related issue and should not be confused with stress, which it often synonymously is.

In our research, a significant question arose for me, Jackie, around the balance of job demands and job resources.

Fundamentally, what happens in the work climate will have an impact on the work-related wellbeing of employees, which in return affects, employee outcomes and functioning, this also impacts on organisational outcomes. Upon reflection, this was a direct experience that I had faced in some of my working environments, which had led to me encountering burnout. A build-up of lack of job resources carried from one position to another, over a period of time, had led to chronic exhaustion and a felt loss of accomplishment and impact on my work.

My story – Jackie Connaughton

For me, Jackie, my experiences of the work climate compounded my experience of burnout. The systems that surrounded me began to change and did not match my values. Fundamentally, I believed in the work I was undertaking. One of the reasons I undertake the work I do, is to decrease suffering and improve quality of life. However, due to trying to make things work, and asking myself, ‘am I being negative?’ I ignored that my motivation was decreasing, and I was detaching myself from what I trained and believed in. I continued with my tenacity to not give up. It was when I was hit with a virus, struggling to recover and bounce back like I normally would, that I began to take notice. Discussion with my acupuncturist made me realise that my exhaustion was critical and that something had to change.

I chose to step out of this type of working world and took time out to recover and regain my equilibrium. I now feel fully revitalised and flourish in my roles, as Director of BHI, alongside running my private practice and being a Director of CIC Counselling organisation.

My story – Julie Blinkho

For me, Julie, I recognised that my burnout was a gradual ‘creep’ over a number of years…

I began to struggle with completion of projects/tasks and compared myself to others who always appeared to be coping well. I felt physically and mentally exhausted. However, I always told myself, if I can just get over this next hurdle all will be well. Like Jackie, I am tenacious and was determined not to give up! Of course, by the time I was forced to take time out to recover, I also felt the total shame of not being able to cope and a sense of failure and helplessness.

I was fortunate enough to be in a position to reach out and obtain the right support to get me back on the road to recovery. My aim is to assist those in the workplace to either prevent this happening to them or to guide them on how to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

My experience, recovery and passion has enabled me to Co- found BHI, whilst being a partner at Vitality Wellbeing Centre, Garstang.

The BHI mission:

We’re passionate about workplace wellbeing from both a people and business success perspective. We help organisations adopt a relational approach to leadership, creating a culture of empowerment aligned with strategic goals. We do this by using cutting-edge behavioural intelligence tools and technology.

A ‘relational approach’ is a way of interacting or communicating with others that embodies core values such as respect, inclusiveness, honesty, compassion, cooperation and humility.(2)

The HR connection to business success

We are aware that optimising people is all about sustainable returns. People are the one vital element that a business needs to drive forward. How a person is viewed and supported in the workplace, will have a fundamental impact on an employee’s ability to perform optimally.

We took on the challenge to find the best tools that enables us, and a company, to be in a position to quantify the human factor and workplace risks, with a quantifiable WHY answer.

One of our projects recently undertaken enabled a business to understand the impact that the pandemic had on productivity within his company. Findings were as follows:

  • 15% productivity risk for employees in company for 1-2 years
  • 7% productivity risk for employees in company for 2-5 years
  • 38% productivity risk for employees in company for 5-10 years

Quantitative data on the work-related wellbeing status of staff:

  • Average share of stress per day 59%
  • Average share of recovery per day 17%

Understanding the root causes are vital, now more than ever, because of the insurmountable changes that have and are taking place in the world of business….call today to schedule your free consultation.


1 World Health Organisation (May 28, 2019). Burn-out an “occupational phenomenon”: international Classification of Diseases. Retrieved on March 2021, at www.who.int/

2 https://relationalapproaches.com/approaches