The Path to Wellbeing and Wellness: A Company’s Journey
In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of employee wellbeing and wellness has become increasingly evident for companies. These two concepts, while similar in nature, encompass distinct facets of our lives, both personal and professional. It is important for companies to recognize the significance of fostering a healthy work environment that promotes the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of their employees and how this approach can lead to improve employee productivity, satisfaction and overall company and employee success.
Understanding Wellbeing and Wellness
Wellbeing refers to a state of being, which has a prominent mental and or emotional dimension which can be associated with feelings of satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment. Wellbeing is a multidimensional concept that encompasses various aspects of an individual’s life which refers to our general state of being happy, healthy, and comfortable in one’s life, which encompasses various dimensions, such as emotional, physical, mental, and social wellbeing, having good mental health and a sense of meaning and purpose. In general, well-being is just feeling well. Research shows that happy employees are more productive, engaged, and less likely to burn out.
Wellness, on the other hand, relates to intention, action and the active pursuit of activities and choices that lead to a healthy and fulfilling life. It is a holistic concept, that looks at the whole person and not just their body fat, exercise behaviour or blood pressure, it extends beyond physical health and incorporates many different dimensions that should work in harmony.
Wellness is often confused with terms such as health, wellbeing, and happiness and while the two concepts are interrelated, wellness is distinguished by not referring to a static state of being for example happiness, but rather, wellness is an active process of being aware and making choices that lead toward an outcome of optimal holistic health and enhance our overall wellbeing.
The Pillars of Wellbeing and Wellness
Physical Wellbeing and Wellness: It involves maintaining a healthy body and refers to good physical fitness and confidence in a person’s ability to take care of health problems, nourishing a healthy body through exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc., by taking preventive measures to reduce the risk of illness or injury. A company could encourage physical health, by having an on-site gym and fitness centre, offering group fitness classes and personal training sessions. Wellness doesn’t just happen in the gym. Encourage your team to take breaks and prioritize self-care throughout the workday, as well as providing standing desks and ergonomic office furniture to reduce the risk of injury and promote better posture. In addition, companies could partner with their medical-aid scheme providers to host wellness days for employees.
Emotional Wellbeing and Wellness: Emotional wellbeing refers to one’s ability to understand, express, and manage emotions effectively and refers to both our emotional and mental states, thus our thoughts and feelings. It involves cultivating self-awareness, emotional intelligence by accepting and expressing our feelings and understanding the feelings of others, having resilience as well as developing coping mechanisms to navigate life’s challenges. Companies could offer confidential counselling and or coaching services to help employees cope with personal and professional challenges, as well as regular workshops and seminars to foster emotional intelligence and resilience.
Mental Wellbeing and Wellness: Engaging the world through learning, problem-solving, creativity, etc., maintaining a healthy state of mind and fostering cognitive functioning., by practising mindfulness. A healthy work-life balance is key to ensuring employee wellbeing. Make sure your team has the time and resources they need to prioritize their health. Companies could implement flexible work hours and remote work policies to assist their employees maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, companies could encourage regular breaks (for example, standing up every 90 minutes and walking to the kitchen to fetch water or stretch). Companies should consider promoting a culture of open communication, ensuring employees feel comfortable discussing their concerns with management and or to seek professional help when needed for mental health concerns.
Social Wellbeing and Wellness: The ability to interact effectively with other people by connecting and engaging with family, friends, our colleagues, and our communities in meaningful ways, to develop satisfying interpersonal relationships and fulfil social roles, which involves cultivating empathy, compassion, and effective communication skills. Companies could arrange team-building events, after-work socials, and volunteer opportunities, to strengthen interpersonal connections and create a sense of belonging among employees and making employees feel that they are valued and that their opinion matters.
Occupational Wellbeing and Wellness: Deriving personal satisfaction from your vocation, by setting personal goals, that provides creativity and challenge by finding fulfilment and satisfaction in one’s career or work by achieving a healthy work-life balance, pursuing professional development, and feeling valued and appreciated in one’s job. Companies could provide training for skills, career, and leadership development, as well as regular workshops on how to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance, develop a sense of mastery, excel and be successful.
Spiritual Wellbeing and Wellness: Spiritual wellbeing pertains to finding meaning, higher, noble purpose in human existence and a sense in one’s life by learning to experience joy, love, peace, and fulfilment and help others and themselves to achieve their full potential. Companies could provide workshops on how to achieve spiritual wellbeing and wellness through religious beliefs, meditation, mindfulness practices and or engaging in activities that align with employees’ values and passions and how to algin these with the companies, values, and beliefs.
Environmental Wellbeing and Wellness: Fostering positive interrelationships between planetary health and human actions, choices, and wellbeing by being concerned with the quality of one’s surroundings and the impact the world has on companies and their employees, communities, families and friends’ overall health and happiness. Companies should provide training to their employees on environmental issues, which involves living in a safe, clean, and sustainable environment, as well as the importance of making efforts to reduce one’s ecological footprint and contribute to the preservation of our planet.
Financial Wellbeing and Wellness: Financial wellbeing is the ability to manage your finances effectively and make informed decisions about money, which includes budgeting, saving, investing, and planning for future financial needs, such as retirement or emergencies. Companies could provide guidance in this regard, either internally with the finance team and or using external resources to provide financial wellbeing training to employees.
How Wellbeing and Wellness Initiatives can make an impact on the business
Happy employees are the backbone of a successful business. Take care of your team by prioritizing their wellbeing. Workplace wellbeing is good for people and businesses, because when workplaces are mentally healthy, companies can reap enormous benefits for employees and to the business itself, such as:
Improved Employee Satisfaction: Employees perform at their best when they have high levels of psychological wellbeing and job satisfaction. Conducting annual employee confidential surveys to establish the overall wellbeing of employees and assist them via specialised workshops and initiatives to develop and improve in their wellbeing and wellness.
Increased Productivity: With a focus on work-life balance, mental health, instilled sense of purpose, and providing social networks and groups, which provides opportunities to develop and grow, employees feel more energized and motivated, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency.
Reduced Absenteeism: Prioritizing physical and mental health, companies will observe a decrease in absenteeism due to illness and stress-related issues. For those employees living with mental illness, work can play an important role, in helping them to recover, as many mental illnesses in the workplace are treatable and or preventable.
Enhanced Company Culture: Companies that commits to wellbeing and wellness and created a supportive and inclusive environment, will attract, and retain top talent. and fostering.Companies that invest in mental health, wellness and wellbeing are more likely to foster loyalty among their employees, providing many flow-on opportunity effects to individuals, their business, and the community.
Improving the bottom line: Reduced staff turnover, recruitment, and training costs; less sick days and presenteeism (being at work but not able to work at full capacity) results in greater productivity and creativity and thus increasing revenue, decreasing costs and improve the bottom line.
From mental health support to flexible working arrangements, there are many ways to promote employee wellbeing in the workplace. What initiatives do you have in place? Investing in employees’ wellbeing and wellness is crucial to a company’s long-term success. Your team’s wellbeing should always be a priority. Make sure you’re checking in with your employees and providing the support they need to thrive.
Companies focusing on physical, emotional, mental, and social health, creates a supportive work environment that not only benefits employees but also contributes to the overall success and growth of a company. For companies, the costs of poor employee wellbeing go far beyond insurance as it ultimately impacts employee engagement, productivity, and performance. Liz Hilton Segel, summarizes wellbeing as follows: “Businesses should treat well-being as a tangible skill, a critical business input, and a measurable outcome,” therefore companies need to continue to evolve and adapt their wellbeing and wellness strategies, to ensure a healthy and happy workplace for all.