Don’t get me wrong. Kale smoothies I’m sure contain lots of goodies, but I’ve never been a huge kale fan and the thought of trying to down a whole lot of pulverised green gloop that tastes of cardboard doesn’t fill me with joy. In fact, it makes me feel quite nauseous, so I’ll pass on this one.
Wellbeing. It’s being talked about a lot, which is great.
But what do we mean by wellbeing and why is workplace wellbeing particularly important?
Wellbeing is not the same as wellness. Wellness strategies are those activities you engage in to increase and maintain your health, like eating healthy foods, getting enough exercise, sleeping well, and managing your stress.
So, when someone asks, “How are you?” you can reply “well, thank you!”
Wellbeing is different in that it relates to how you feel about how things are for you, and how well you can function. It’s about life (or job) satisfaction. It’s whether you can judge your life in a positive way and feel good about it.
Your health and wellbeing lie on two separate spectrums that interconnect. They are dynamic and you can nudge yourself towards higher wellbeing and better health in several different ways.
You can be healthy but have low wellbeing.
You can be unhealthy and have high wellbeing.
Workplace wellbeing matters because:
1. We spend so much time at work.
How you feel about the work you do, your colleagues and your level of belonging has a big influence on how long you’ll stay in the role, your overall performance and what you’ll tell others about the organisation you work for.
2. There is a relationship between wellbeing and enjoying a sustainable working life.
With hustle and grind the new normal, this is working to the detriment of our emotional wellbeing, making stress, anxiety, and burnout our constant companions.
Covid was a gamechanger.
The global pandemic highlighted and amplified much of what wasn’t working well in the world of work and acted as a catalyst to accelerate change in the where the how and the why of work.
But Covid wasn’t the cause of these workplace maladies. They were present long before. What it did provide was the headspace needed to reflect on what we do want from our work.
Workplace Wellbeing is now being taken seriously.
The revelation that workplace wellbeing is vital to organisational health and success was reflected by the Global Wellness Institute Roundtable back in 2015 where it was agreed that there was a need to:
- Move away from short-term wellness solutions (that don’t work) and move to creating a holistic integrated strategy, given top business priority, that is shaped and evolves over time.
- Get serious. Overwork is killing us. It’s time to redefine what a sustainable workload is, IF we are to reduce the massive burden of poor mental health, stress-related illness and burnout.
- Utilise the new technologies to enable greater wellbeing, that can serve to monitor biometrics and provide practical input while recognising the need to know when to turn the phone off and close the laptop down.
- Redesign the way we work and the workplace environment. Humans evolved to focus in short bursts and to take sufficient breaks to rest and replenish energy. We also have an innate connection to the greater world around us. This is Biophilia and explains why we feel so much better when we spend time outdoors in a green or blue space.
- It is a collective responsibility that needs to be led. Leaders who demonstrate their commitment to everyone’s health and wellbeing are seen as leaders worth following.
Eight years later and we have the 2022-2023 Aon Global Wellbeing Survey findings.
This survey of 1,100 organisations from 46 countries supports the business case for workplace wellbeing, finding that improving employee wellbeing factors can enhance company performance between 11% and 55%.
If that doesn’t impress you. What would?
More companies are focused on wellbeing, increasing their commitment in support and financial investment, and are now also including career wellbeing in creating an attractive employee proposition.
Why workplace wellbeing matters.
Because as a human, we all seek to be seen, heard, and understood and to feel we are making a valuable contribution to something bigger than ourselves.
Because when you work for a boss who is dedicated to the wellbeing of all their employees, you feel cared about, valued and enjoy a stronger connection to the organisation and your colleagues. Belonging matters, which is why those workplace wellbeing initiatives that include diversity, equity, and inclusion, along with environment, social and government add greater value.
I’m keen to know, do you consider your working life sustainable in its current format?
If the answer is no, what would it take, to make a positive difference?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life (Wiley) is now available for purchase.