Care at the Core: Employee’s Total Well-Being is Imperative
May 19, 2023
“Well-being is attained by little and little, and nevertheless is no little thing itself.”
What is Well-Being?
Certain ‘Universal’ elements distinguish a happy life from a life spent in misery. They describe those aspects of our lives that we can control and that are significant to individuals everywhere. These elements may not cover every aspect of what is important in our lives, but they do cover the five broad categories that are relevant to most people.
Those five elements are:
- Career: What you do with your time (i.e., job, occupation, and such others) or what you like to do every day
- Social Life: The existence of strong relationships with loved ones in your life
- Financial Security: Efficient management of your financial life
- Physical Fitness: Being healthy and having enough energy to engage in the daily activities of life
- Community: A sense of belongingness to your surroundings, i.e., the area where you live.
While the majority of us are doing well in at least one of these areas, just a handful of us might manage to excel at all of them. As a result, we are struggling in some of these areas. This also means that the ‘secret sauce’ to a well-lived life is efficiently increasing our well-being in all five areas.
Importance of Well-Being at Work
In a post-Covid-19 scenario, an ordinary working professional spends most of his/her time either at work (i.e., in an office environment) or working from home. Consequently, organizations must understand and accept that work is an integral part of an employee’s life and not a distinct entity.
It is essential to foster a work environment where an employee feels valued, supported, and appreciated. For instance, employees may devote several hours a day to activities that they believe add little value. This may have an adverse impact on their general well-being. Organizations are aware of the repercussions and are working to mitigate them. Activities to promote sleep, meditation, and exercises along with facilities such as food kiosks and the availability of nap pods near workstations, are some innovative ideas worth mentioning in this direction!
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), employment is more than just a way to make ‘both ends meet.’ It is a ‘social determinant of health.’ The distinction between a traditional job and other daily activities continues to blur in the new normal. To reflect such changes in the workplace, we must reconsider the way we think about well-being. Work impacts different areas of an individual’s well-being, including physical, mental, social, and financial health, as well as an individual’s ability to grow and their sense of purpose.
The Pandemic Spotlight on Mental Well-Being and the Need for Wellness Programs
The month of May has been designated as Mental Health Month since 1949. This implies that mental health, along with other health-related issues, has been emphasized for a long time. We do not think twice about going to the doctor if we break a limb or get hurt. No wonder a few injuries are visible; however, this does not make mental health any less important. The Covid-19 pandemic also offered an opportunity to reconsider the way we approach mental health challenges both at work and at home. During this time, we have also conducted research that demonstrates that mental health issues affect more people than pre-Covid. This also implies that the workforce that worked remotely in Covid is different from the workforce that returns to work, even in hybrid mode.
At present, workplace stress is emerging as a significant priority for organizations. As a first step, they are redesigning workplaces modeling them as employee well-being engines. Stress at work affects not only the individual but also the connection that the individual has with his/her coworkers, family, and friends. The mental health of employees has a significant impact on their contribution to the organization and is critical to their performance as well. Although well-being initiatives are not new, organizations recognize that they are critical in the present scenario.