Why is workplace wellbeing important?
Over the last few years, the concept of workplace wellbeing has been steadily rising up the business agenda. But how important is it, really?
In this blog series, Medigold Health’s new Director of Wellbeing, Dr Amrita Sen Mukherjee, will be exploring what workplace wellbeing is, why it’s crucial that employers prioritise it and the initiatives they can introduce to improve wellbeing in the workplace.
What is workplace wellbeing?
Good workplace wellbeing is a combination of an optimal work environment (manageable workload, positive team relations, job satisfaction) alongside robust organisation wellbeing strategies (career progression, supportive leadership, flexibility when needed) that support the development of a positive health culture for all employees within an organisation.
Workplace wellbeing relates not only to individual employees but relationships within teams, the support employees have in order to perform their role fully, and a sense of belonging to an organisation.
Employees will be affected by different personal and professional challenges. There may be direct and indirect factors that can boost or even discourage employee wellbeing which will, in turn, have an impact on workplace wellbeing. There is no one-size-fits-all, either for individuals or organisations.
Why is workplace wellbeing important?
There are a multitude of reasons why workplace wellbeing is important. Most adults spend approximately a third of their lives working and the average employee spends about a fifth of their time at work feeling unhappy1. The result? Increased levels of workplace stress among staff and higher rates of:
- presenteeism (employees being present at work despite being unwell and unable to fulfil their duties);
- absenteeism (employees being absent from work without a legitimate reason); and
- leavism (employees working when they are not scheduled to be working)
The negative impact of these factors on an individual’s wellbeing as well as on an organisation’s productivity and capability are manifold. Enhancing workforce and workplace wellbeing has been shown to tackle the above problems whilst reducing workforce stress, thus creating positive working environments and cultures within an organisation. This, in turn, serves to improve the organisation’s performance and success.
High levels of workplace wellbeing have been found to improve the happiness, satisfaction, engagement and productivity of employees. Indeed, a meta-analysis conducted by Gallup has shown that organisations with engaged employees have, on average, 21% greater profitability, 17% increased productivity and a reduced staff turnover2.
So, what happens if organisations don’t take notice of their staff? Recent surveys conducted by Gallup and CIPD in 2020 have shown that many employees are suffering from burnout, work-related stress and presenteeism. Needless to say, this has detrimental effects on an organisation in terms of employee morale and organisational performance, not to mention the severe impact on the mental and physical health of employees.
What are the benefits of good workplace wellbeing?
Along with those touched on above, the benefits of good workplace wellbeing include:
- Improved performance – Healthier employees are better decision makers, and good decision-making can have a direct impact on the success of your business, enhancing organisational performance and productivity;
- Increased engagement – Valued employees feel more competent and are more likely to serve their organisation with pride. This not only supports the development of individual and team morale but also creates better work environments for all;
- Better staff retention – A supportive organisation with a positive culture is more likely to retain staff as well as being attractive to potential new talent.
It is clear then that all organisations need to be placing more focus on improving wellbeing in the workplace, not only to protect the mental health of their employees, but to also ensure the success and sustainability of their business. But how exactly can they achieve this?
Tune into our blog again next week when Dr Sen Mukherjee will be looking at some of the common barriers to workplace wellbeing and the different initiatives you can implement to successfully overcome these challenges.
If you’d like to find out more about the wide range of wellbeing services and programmes available through Medigold Health and how we can support your business, click here.
www.2i.recruit.co.uk/only-a-third-of-workers-are-happy-in-their-jobs/ date accessed 14.07.2022
https://haiilo.com/blog/employee-engagement-8-statistics-you-need-to-know/ date accessed 18.07.2022
Barsky, J. Frame, C. McDougal, J. (2004) Variety of Strategies Help Improve Employee Satisfaction. Hotel and Motel Management 219 (21):8.
Diener, E. Chan, M.Y. (2011) Happy People Live Longer: subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3(1): 1-43
Emmons, R. (2007) Thanks: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Forest, J. Mageau, G., Crevier-Braud., Bergeron, E., Dubreuil, P., Lavingne, G. (2012). Harmonious passion as an explanation of the relation between signature strengths’ use and well-being at work: Test of intervention program. Human Relations, 65(9), 1233-1252.
Linley, P.A., Nielsen, K., Gillett, R., Biswas-Diener., R. (2010) Using signature strengths in pursuit of goals: Effects on goal progress need satisfaction and, well-being and implications for coaching psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review.
Lyubormirsky, S., King, L., Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin. 131(6). 803-855.
Lyubormirsky, S. (2008) The How of Happiness. A New Approach To Getting The Life That You Want. The Penguin Press.
Niemiec, R. (2014). Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing. Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe.
Peterson, C., Seligman, M., Steen, T., Park, N. (2005). Positive psychological progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410-421.
Seligman, M. (2002). Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment. New York, NY: Free Press.
Seligman, M.E.P., Steen, T., Seligman (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York: Free Press.
https://www.anahana.com/en/health-lifestyle/workplace-wellness date accessed 14.07.2022
health-and-well-being-2020-report_tcm18-73967.pdf (cipd.co.uk) date accessed 14.07.2022
https://www.gallup.com/workplace/288539/employee-burnout-biggest-myth.aspx Employee Burnout: The Biggest Myth (gallup.com) date accessed 14.07.2022
How can I boost team morale? BMJ 2021; 37: m183
What is burnout? Sen Mukherjee, A. (2022). Practice Matters (1), 7.
Covid-19: channelling our emotions during the current crisis. Sen Mukherjee, A. Gerada, C. (2020) Covid-19: channelling our emotions during the current crisis – The BMJ
www.positivepsychology.com/positive-psychology-at-work/ date accessed 14.07.2022
How psychological safety at work can affect mental health date accessed Psychology Safety at Work | The Awareness Centre date accessed 26.07.2022
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