Name: Wendy Chalmers Mill.

Age: 58.

What is your business called?

Positive Performance for Home Workers.

Where is it based?


What services does it offer?

Management training programmes in workplace health and safety and culture. Programmes can last from one to four days and they start with looking at how leaders communicate with their staff, how that communication is disseminated and how that affects resilience and wellbeing throughout the organisation. Training covers all aspects of staff wellbeing, including the conditions in which they are operating and how stress in the workplace might occur.

To whom does it sell?

Organisations of more than five people interested in ensuring that the health and safety, wellbeing and happiness of their staff is optimal, which is especially important now because of the Covid pandemic.

What is its turnover?

£30,000 with a projected turnover of £300,000 by 2023.

How many employees?


When was it formed?


Why did you take the plunge?

I began working in the 1980s in a private hospital in North London and then as a mobile physiotherapist for a Harley Street practice, driving to their clients. Very quickly I realised I was doing everything from making the appointments to delivering the treatment and taking the fees so, I thought, why am I not doing this myself? I left Harley Street and launched my first business as a mobile physiotherapist. With the shift from people using typewriters to keyboards, more and more of my clients were suffering from repetitive strain injuries (RSI), so I started looking at the causes. The length of time people spent on keyboards became greater and greater and it felt that some organisations didn’t think enough about the risks. That led me to write a book about RSI and, through media appearances, I quickly became recognised in the corporate world as an authority on risks associated with RSI. As a result of that, I set up my second business, Interact Consulting, with a treatment centre and four staff physios. Eventually, I sold that business to large ergonomics consultancy called System Concepts and I became a director.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

Working for a company didn’t suit my personality and so I quit and moved away from physical ergonomics, going on to work in leadership training and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). After doing that for a while, I moved back to Scotland with my husband because we wanted to start a family. While my three children were growing up my career took a back seat, although I continued to do some consultancy work, mainly at the House of Commons where I set up a health and wellbeing programme, working with back office staff, including in the library, with clerks and at Hansard. It was all pro-active, going in, speaking to people and addressing workplace stress and injury issues before they happened. My youngest child, Ben, left school last year and so I decided to essentially relaunch my career.

What was your biggest break?

While the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact for many organisations and individuals, ironically it came at precisely the right time for the launch of my new business. Because millions of people are now required to work from home, away from tightly-regulated office environments, this has created a new explosion of health and safety problems, similar to the RSI epidemic of the 1980s. For the first time in many years we are now seeing a return of workplace stress, repetitive strain injuries, vision problems associated with poor light and Musculo-skeletal injuries. It’s very sad for the individuals but it has created a lot of work for me.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I’m a self-starter and an enabler and I love spotting gaps in the market and providing them. I’m quite a strong personality; I don’t like to be hemmed into a structure and told what to do by someone else. I like to have the freedom to develop my own programmes, training tools and consultancy assets as and when I see there’s a need for them.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

I enjoy delivering my services too much to go back to running another large business, employing and managing people. My aim is to remain a consultancy size and to work collaboratively with people. However, I do have ambition to grow the business. I’d like to reach a far broader market including internationally. I’d also like to create training products that will create residual income.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Provide more relevant and accessible ways of providing funding for small businesses. There are two problems with current government funding provision – it’s not offered for the right things and the process of applying is laborious and time-consuming.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

That you can achieve what you want with enough self-confidence and belief in yourself. The business world leads you to think that you need to be qualified in this, that and the other before you can work successfully in a particular field. Of course, qualifications are important, but being smart and intuitive and having experience in business is as good, if not better, than having an MBA.