What is wellbeing at work anyway?

Work can positively contribute to your mental health and provide you with a sense of purpose. It can also make you sick and there is no shortage of people writing about the benefits of wellbeing at work. However, at the same time, there are varying opinions about what wellbeing at work really is. Is it:

  • having a healthy physical work environment and safe work conditions?
  • the promotion of health-related initiatives such as eating healthy food and exercising?
  • access to a quality employee assistance program (EAP)?

Or is that too simple? Do those initiatives really help address the ongoing business challenge that is individual wellbeing in the workplace? Or is wellbeing at work:

  • more about having return to work flexibility following sickness or illness?
  • about the learning and development opportunities around positive mental health and resilience?
  • about having appropriate levels of autonomy and variety during work tasks?

The answer is that wellbeing at work can be all these things, because wellbeing at work is the combination of the physical, psychological and social dimensions that positively impact employees’ experience in the workplace.

To illustrate, try answering these questions:

  • How does the relationship style of a leader impact the stress levels of his or her employees?
  • What are the initiatives an organisation should have in place to build employees level of resolve and resilience in order to better manage change?
  • What practices should be considered  to enable co-worker interconnectedness and support?

It is no secret that those organisations that invest in building a culture of positive wellbeing at work perform better financially than those that do not. However, the key to wellbeing is less about the number of initiatives an organisation has and more about how closely linked an organisation’s wellbeing strategy is to the organisation’s business plan and vision for success.

Regardless of how many ticks you have, a  tick in a box on wellbeing does not equal healthy and engaged employees. Rather, a well-integrated and considered wellbeing strategy will go a long way to helping employees thrive at work, and that is a win for all.


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