What Happens When Work Meets Wellbeing?

Growing up, many of us are raised with a certain philosophy – we work hard, and then we come home. But what that wonderfully simple ethos lacks is the human element that’s different in every member of the workforce. It doesn’t account for how we react to pressure, cope with our own experience and understanding of mental health, and the multitude of other things that affect the way we feel on a day to day basis.

And while this is certainly acknowledged in the world of work more prevalently than ever before, it does leave the question of what more could be done to address it – and what happens when we do.

A reduction in absenteeism?

The potential for improved wellbeing to improve attendance is something no manager or director should ignore. It is estimated that around 30 million working days were lost in the UK, in 2018/2019, with almost 13 million of those due to stress, depression and anxiety.

Whether or not a focus on employee wellbeing would help to reduce this significant number isn’t really important – the potential alone should be enough to take the lead on boosting wellbeing in the workplace.

But what does this look like?

In part, because of statistics like those above, the misapprehension that wellbeing is related solely to mental and physical health is common. However, wellbeing is actually a far broader topic, encompassing factors that go beyond how people feel on the inside.

For instance, wellbeing in work could be a drive to improve physical health too, or educate staff on financial matters. This is one of the reasons that comprehensive wellbeing applications, such as Employee Wellbeing Solutions from Lifeworks, have become immensely popular for employees and employers alike.

Who wants wellbeing in work the most?

Again, those of a certain age may still stoically see the workplace as the… place… we put aside our troubles and focus on what’s in front of us from 9-5. However, as the workforce quickly becomes home to Millennials, and younger people from Generation Z, there are more employees who seriously take wellbeing… seriously!

These are the generations that, according to Forbes, prefer employee benefits, including mental health support, over and above better pay. So although there will still be plenty of people who prefer to get on with their work, and deal with the rest later, they are soon to be outnumbered by the others, who don’t believe that ‘that’ is a healthy way to live.

Whose responsibility is wellbeing in the workplace?

At the end of the day, everyone plays their part. It’s the responsibility of the individual to speak up, if a problem is affecting their work, and life – but the responsibility of the employer to support them. In between them, there are also colleagues who need to know what they can do to improve their peer’s wellbeing, and in what ways their employer can help.

Really though, this is what should happen, when work meets wellbeing. It should be an environment in which both can thrive, and where no problem can’t be a problem shared. To some, it may sound unnecessary, even utopian, but to others it can be genuinely priceless. Plus, sooner or later, everyone one of us will go through a time when our wellbeing needs a tune up – and who better than those we work for, to help guide us through these troubling times?