When you think of employee “wellbeing,” what comes to mind? Many employers associate the word with physical health, i.e. how many sick days their employees take, how much they have to pay for their healthcare, and how both of those factors impact the bottom line. But wellbeing actually encompasses a whole lot more. According to Dictionary.com, it means “A good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness and prosperity.”
Some organizations have begun to recognize the difference and are capitalizing on it. A recent article on the topic quoted Tom Rath, co-author of the bestselling book “Wellbeing.” “The most successful organizations are now turning their attention to employee wellbeing as a way to gain emotional, financial and competitive advantage,” he said. While physical wellness is one aspect of wellbeing, these organizations are focusing on myriad factors including the cognitive and psychological needs of their workforce.
If you’d like to improve total wellbeing in your organization, consider these six dimensions as well as how you can design a program to address them.
Authenticity – To have true wellbeing, employees need to be free to be themselves. Within the workplace, this may mean allowing self-expression in regards to dress or office/cubicle décor.
Belonging – You can foster wellbeing in your workplace by making employees feel like they belong. Encourage them to form professional and personal connections with their coworkers by engaging in team projects and fun after-work activities. Include contractors and remote workers as well.
Meaning – Wellbeing requires work with meaning. Make sure your employees know that what they do for the company really matters. Share business goals and the progress you are making towards them.
Mindfulness – Distractions detract from wellbeing. Ensure your employees have a quiet space to work where they can concentrate on their tasks. Some workers do well in open spaces, but others will require walls for focus.
Optimism – Employees who are positive about their work and the future enjoy more wellbeing. Praise and encourage them often. Allow them to use their imagination and try new approaches to old tasks.
Vitality – Good physical health is essential for sharp thinking and creativity. Encourage your workers to exercise regularly by offering a gym membership or on-site workout space. Take walking meetings whenever possible. You may even want to gift your workers with step trackers and have contests for total distance covered.
You don’t have to make huge, sweeping changes to your workplace to promote these essential dimensions of wellbeing. Even small adjustments can have a big impact on job satisfaction, employee retention, productivity and physical health. If you’d like additional information or assistance, contact me today.