Beyond Fitness: 5 Ways to Foster Well-Being in Your Workplace

According to the World Health Organization, health is central to human happiness and well-being.

Healthy populations live longer, are more productive, save resources, and make important contributions to sustainability, a better world, and economic progress.

But well-being involves more than just fitness. It includes physical comfort, mental stability, and emotional connectivity. In short, well-being is the “feel-good factor.”

5 Workplace Well-Being Factors

Companies that prioritize safety, work environment, and the emotional well-being of employees will improve morale, reduce absenteeism, and be more productive in the long run.

Aside from fitness incentives, here are five factors that contribute to well-being in the workplace.

1. Physical Comfort and Safety

Do you do your best work when you are shivering or dripping with sweat?

The physical comfort of employees has a significant effect on company outputs each year. The design and “unwritten rules” of a workspace are key factors in meeting employees’ most basic needs – including everything from temperature control, air quality, access to daylight, ergonomics, noise control, and safety risks.

Allowing for discussions about problem areas and individual control for the adjustment of conditions can be critical to overall well-being.

2. Autonomy

Difficult co-workers are hard, but micro-managing bosses can be harder.

When managers are too controlling, employees fail to excel in their collaborative environments. This disengagement has high costs over time: studies show that apathetic workers have rates of absenteeism 37% higher than average, and they work with a dampened sense of creativity. Strategic leaders need to keep a close eye on how company managers are encouraging or squashing employee morale.

3. Remote Work Options

When autonomy is given full expression, there is a permissiveness for working off-site.

This may seem insignificant, but allowing employees to flex their schedule, work around a sick child, or extend family vacations with remote work days can do wonders to keep people motivated. When there is a greater balance between office and domestic life, conflict is reduced, and productivity grows.

4. Positive Culture

Do you work well when you’re having more fun?

Workplace well-being spikes when social connections are strong. The Harvard Business Review found this so necessary that they identified six characteristics of a supportive work culture:

  1. Caring for colleagues as you would friends
  2. Providing support and compassion
  3. Avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes
  4. Inspiring one another
  5. Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work
  6. Instilling trust, integrity, and gratitude across all levels of the organization.

Whether it’s monthly lunch cookouts or goofy employee awards, strong companies prioritize transparent relationships from the top down.

5. Collaborative Competition

Why are shows like The Amazing Race or Dancing with the Stars so engaging?

Maybe it’s because watching teams work toward a common goal fosters community – even between reality TV stars and their audience!

When companies encourage supportive competition, it can build bridges between employees, generate untapped creativity, and spark engagement or support that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Whether you post department “step counting” challenges or have people compete for the best new marketing hook, collaborative competition is one of the easiest ways to boost the physical, mental, and social environment at work.

The Long View of Well-Being

The core of every strong well-being program is behavior change.

If you launch a well-being initiative, identify a long-term impact that you are targeting as well. The best programs are good at helping people adopt AND maintain healthy behaviors, including how they feel about work, and if they’re giving their best each day.

Addressing all levels of well-being optimizing company potential and allows each individual to be personally fulfilled.

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