KeepWell Programme Manager, Ibec
A clearer understanding of wellbeing in the workplace can guide the development of a sustainable strategy.
Wellbeing and wellness are often used interchangeably. However, when we look at their real meaning in the context of the workplace, there are nuances at play. Both may be relevant, but we should consider many interdependent factors when designing an employee wellbeing strategy.
Adopting a holistic view of wellbeing
The concept of wellness can be more simply defined as ‘the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.’ Typically, when we think about wellness, or ‘living well,’ we think about looking after our own physical health to feel good and prevent disease.
When we look at wellbeing in its broadest sense, the scope expands to encompass a range of drivers that can positively or negatively impact our experience and satisfaction with life and, ultimately, our physical health and performance. Considering these individual aspects can help us to form a holistic view of how a person’s wellbeing is shaped by the many complexities of life. A good example of a holistic view is Gallup’s ‘five elements of wellbeing that add up to a thriving life,’ citing:
- Career wellbeing
- Social wellbeing
- Financial wellbeing
- Physical wellbeing
- Community wellbeing
Businesses should drill into every available data source to understand
the challenges facing their workforce across key wellbeing drivers.
What does this mean for the workplace?
More businesses are beginning to see employee health and wellbeing as a key performance indicator for overall business sustainability and success. However, to maximise this opportunity, it is essential to evolve how we resource and strategise on employee wellbeing.
If we can approach the design of holistic wellbeing strategies both strategically and with compassion, seeking to look at the root cause of why people are disconnected or disengaged, we can get closer to a mature understanding of the state of our workforce and what needs to be done to enable people to thrive.
This may look different depending on the type of business. A key strand is ensuring there is shared ownership for wellbeing. This begins with senior leadership and trickles down through relevant disciplines, line managers, employee groups, etc.
Another important strand is data. Businesses should drill into every available data source to understand the challenges facing their workforce across key wellbeing drivers. There may be gaps to fill, but it is a great place to start. In Ibec, we are enabling organisations to think strategically about wellbeing through our structured KeepWell programme, our Ibec Academy of management training and our specialised HR strategy services.