How well-being in the workplace is linked to improved performance

Well-being in the workplace is more than physical health — it encompasses five interdependent areas of wellness. When companies address all five elements of wellness, workers are more likely to thrive. Today, a shift is underway from the traditional wellness model of a single focus on physical health to a wider concept of total organizational wellness.

Progressive organizations understand that a healthy, high-performing company focuses on the “whole person” at work.

Five elements

An integrative wellness strategy, says Sandra Larkin in Corporate Health and Wellness Association Magazine, includes five key elements:

  1. Occupational wellness — applying strengths, engaging in satisfying work, believing in the vision.
  2. Intellectual wellness — expanding knowledge, skills, interests and growth opportunities.
  3. Social wellness — building relationships and supportive connections with managers and peers.
  4. Emotional wellness — developing positive approaches to finances and workplace stress, change.
  5. Physical wellness — optimizing nutrition and health with preventive measures and education.

Strategic initiatives that encompass all five elements pay dividends by helping companies improve their bottom line. When Gallup compared adults who are thriving in just physical wellness with those thriving in all five wellness areas, those in the latter group reported 41 percent fewer unhealthy days, being twice as likely to always adapt well to change, being 65 percent less likely to be involved in a workplace accident and being 81 percent less likely to look for a new job when the job market improves.

The five elements are interdependent and reinforce one another. When employees are engaged and healthy in their overall work lives, they are likely to maintain strong work performance even during difficult times in their organization.

Where to begin?

A good place to start is with a feedback survey to identify your organization’s overall well-being. Look for an assessment measuring the five key elements. According to Gallup’s research, the top workplace factors that directly impact employee performance and well-being are:

■ Occupational wellness — job design, engagement in work, control over work, belief in direction of the organization, fairness.

■ Intellectual wellness — opportunities for growth and developing strengths.

■ Social wellness — relationship with supervisor, providing social support, being included.

■ Social, emotional wellness — recognition, appreciation and feeling valued.

■ Emotional, physical wellness — competitive compensation, health insurance.

It is 2015 and organizations are never going back to thinking employees are “hired hands.” The whole person, mind and body approach is a critical lever that drives performance in healthy workplaces.

Organizations that are truly concerned with employee well-being, before working on separate wellness initiatives, should first assess a wide scope of the work environment to learn what is needed in all five areas. Expanding wellness programs to communicate and manage multiple areas of employee well-being will go a long way toward improving the health and performance in your workplace.

Sunny is the author of “Jolt Your Career From Here to There: 8 Breakthrough Strategies for Career Success.”

Advanced Performance Inc. consults organizations on maximizing employee engagement, motivation and performance to enhance corporate wellness initiatives. Fast Focus Careers helps individual clients advance their career to make the right choice for the right career.