WELL-BEING AT WORK: Just Another Buzz Phrase?

Well-being is an overarching word that expands the view of wellness to cover more than the physical body, writes AMOGELANG MOATLHAPING*

As the world of work continued to evolve over the last few years, many were introduced to the concept of well-being at work. But what comes to your mind when you think of employee well-being?

It has become quite easy to confuse well-being with wellness. So let’s talk about it.
Wellness refers to a state of overall health in the human body whereas well-being is an overarching word which expands the view of wellness to cover more than the physical body, encompassing an employee’s mental and emotional state as well as their productivity and ability to perform at the peak of their capabilities. Well-being recognises that employees’ physical, mental and emotional states are all interconnected and will often have an impact on their work performance.

During the industrial age, work was characterised by clocking systems, monotonous production and production-related tasks and horrible working conditions. However, in the 21st Century work as we know it has evolved to be characterised by words such as fulfilment, happiness, meaning and mental health.

Thanks to technology and globalisation, companies have significantly shifted from offering benefit packages that include health insurance and an employee assistance programme to actively prioritising employee well-being which, as we now know, requires so much more such that if not addressed, it could have a hugely negative impact on a business.

With that noted, as business leaders we want to move beyond just wellness to where we are taking a more holistic approach, one that considers both the employees and the environments they work in. It is about ensuring that employers create a conducive (in all aspects) environment that propels productivity and flourishing.

To provide a better context around the concept of well-being, think about all the elements that contribute to a person’s idea of quality life. These are emotional well-being, good social well-being, physical well-being and financial well-being. It is worth noting that well-being can be quite subjective. Your role, as a business and team leader, is to learn your team members. Know what their personal views of well-being are and work with that information to create a holistic approach that caters to everyone.

Several studies have documented that employee well-being leads to various individual and organisational outcomes such as increased organisational performance and productivity (Hewett et al, 2018). Other benefits include increased levels of engagement, autonomy and creativity.

Furthermore, employers could work together with their teams to create the right culture where employee well-being is at the core, not only to deliver on individual purpose and development but for the business as well. We must work towards building cultures that incorporate happiness into the actual work and create systems, technologies and leadership that align with the values of well-being.

*Amogelang Moatlhaping is a Transformation Specialist. To find out more about your own employees’ levels of well-being at work, please email us at info@positiveperformance.co.bw.