office-well-being

The Importance of Well-being in the Workplace

Well-being is something every living being strives towards and research has shown that it should be the goal of organizations to help their employees in this process, as the long term efficiency and success of the organization can depend on it. This is not surprising, as well-being incorporates several aspects of our lives, from general health status, spirituality, work satisfaction, family and social relationships, among many other things. These aspects of our lives give us well-being, which in turn results in  a more positive outlook on life, increased levels of energy and the motivation to get things done efficiently and with as little stress as possible.

If we want to maintain well-being at its current level or ideally to increase the overall well-being of employees, organizations will need to invest more resources into understanding how well-being can be improved. We at WELLy looked at the various fields of research and state-of-the-art techniques that are used to prevent or combat work-related stress. Our WELLy report covers best practice case studies, various reports and legislature from several partner countries in the EU, such as Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, while also looking at certain cases in the United States. In addition, surveys on the topic of organizational welfare were sent to 48 countries in the EU.

Based on the research and best practices found in the report, we created a recommended Managerial Professional Profile and Training Curriculum. This training program covers the main competencies required of a Work Wellbeing Manager, within a training model that incorporates various approaches, such as diversity management and gender equality management.  The report focuses on various already validated training programs, takes from them what works and adds to them what they lack. The training program looks at how factors, such as interpersonal relationships, responsibilities and autonomy of leaders, workgroups and individuals, influences stressful workplace situations and provides several methods that can be used to ameliorate these situations.

Lack of opportunities, bad working conditions, leadership approaches, lack of educational and training programs, prejudices and stereotypes are just some of many social, professional, personal and educational factors, which are covered in the report and are known to have a correlation with worker wellbeing. We welcome anyone interested in reading more, in regards to other factors that influence workplace stress, to take a look at the upcoming full report of our findings and recommendations.

The resources and recommendations found in the report are backed by scientific research and with proper education and training, well-being managers or workers can use those resources to improve not only their own work engagement and the work engagement of others, but also their interpersonal relationships and family lives, which has also been shown to result in lower levels of disease, stress, depression and anxiety. By taking these factors into account, the final stage of stress can be avoided (i.e. burnout), which can lead to stress related absenteeism and increased health related costs for the organization. Preventing these negative effects of stress and maintaining well-being is not easy, as it involves a multitude of factors that we do not have full control of.

However, stress can be ameliorated to significant degrees and it is important to not only take away negative stress factors, but to also make stronger those factors that positively affect well-being, something that is important for unhealthy and healthy people alike. There are many methods that can be done at home individually, such as exercise, keeping a journal, time management, meditation and rest. Since rest is meant for the home environment, it is important that stress interventions are also taken in the work environment, as many come home tired from work and do not have the energy or motivation to work on relieving stress in any way other than rest.

One might wonder, if these kinds of programs can cost more than they are worth for a company, which might seem to be the case at first, but studies have shown that in addition to improving the lives of employees, the costs are in the long run likely at least balanced by the gains. However, due to wellbeing creating a more productive and efficient environment, there is a lot of potential for the gains to outweigh the costs. It is a good idea to at least think about testing out such training courses, while potentially making it obligatory for entrepreneurs, managers, supervisors and worker representatives.

There are several ways that these kinds of programs can be made less costly and easier to access instantly from any location around the world. Training courses are increasingly available on the internet and once subscriptions are paid, the content can remain there indefinitely, allowing for flexible e-learning schedules, while also enabling access to the content from a mobile device, in the form of different multimedia files and user friendly interfaces. Such digital access to training courses might not be able to fully replace traditional education, but it can cut costs and save time with activities that do not need to be done in person.

Society is changing at an increasingly faster pace, our business and work environments are constantly being restructured, particularly as a result of technology. The past few decades have seen a lot of technological changes, which can lead to unhealthy amounts of stress for individuals, particularly for those that grew up without technology or those that cannot keep up with these changes. Due to the difficulty of adapting to a fast paced and unpredictable environment, the possibility of technology creating additional stress in the future workplace is not an unlikely outcome. For this reason, it is now a good time for organizations to start investing more into the well-being of their employees, thereby making them happier and productive members of an increasingly digital society.