Is wellbeing at work something you need to manage?



In today’s world, wellbeing at the workplace is certain to be on every manager’s agenda. Does wellbeing at work require management; and if so, how should it be done?

It has been said, that as a director, it’s quite OK for you to send the following email to supervisors:

Can you ask your team to feel better? We need the wellbeing at work indicators (that the HR has come up with) to show better numbers.
Thanks, Boss
P.S. They’re telling me that this is supposed to be very important 🤷‍♂️

Whether this story is true or not; it’s definitely not something we should be experiencing this day and age. Of the many topics that directors need to address, wellbeing at work is one where proactiveness will be rewarded. Whether a company and its personnel are doing well or not. This is why the topic should be given priority.

Wellbeing at work is a cornerstone of successful business operations

Research shows that employees who are doing well are more motivated, efficient and committed. And well doing employees improve the overall productivity and quality of work. At its best, wellbeing at work makes people feel happier, even if it is “just about work”.

Wellbeing at work includes a mental, a physical as well as a social dimension. Mental wellbeing stems from the opportunities offered by the workplace for improving professional skills, and from the methods used for supporting the staff’s wellbeing. For example, by allowing flexible working hours or access to occupational healthcare services.

Physical wellbeing offers a perspective where wellbeing at work can signify, for example, good work ergonomics, keeping yourself fit, following a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep; all of which contribute to coping at work. Companies should pay more attention to their role in enabling and supporting their staff’s physical wellbeing. Regardless of some occasional resistance from employees. (We all know just how easy it is to slip in the elevator instead of taking the stairs. Or to promise to take the bike to work the next day when we’re feeling a bit tired just now. And to burrow ourselves deep into the couch after work instead of having a walk, stretch out on the living room carpet or hitting the gym.) Luckily, many employers are already enouraging physical activity and weaving activation exercises into the workday.

Social wellbeing is the strongest area in including factors that affect people’s spirits and wellbeing at the workplace. Important factors in this are the atmosphere at the workplace, the significance of people’s work, and the balance between work and family life, to name a few.

The most fundamental thing describing wellbeing at work is the feeling you have when thinking about your work or your colleagues. Or when you are sitting in a crowded bus on your way to the office. At its best, the feeling is about:

  • being accepted just as you are
  • being cared for and knowing that your colleague is sincere in encouraging you to do better
  • having the chance to fail and still being offered new work tasks, opportunities, and moments to shine
  • knowing that you are a valued employee and that your work matters.

 Does wellbeing come from leadership?

At the beginning of this article, I asked whether wellbeing at work is something you need to manage? Well, it is. But you will not succeed, if you do it from the top down. Wellbeing at work must be managed both by the organization and the personnel themselves. The organization will create the framework and platform, and each person is then expected to bring their contribution to the mix. The responsibility for building wellbeing lies with all of us – regardless of hierarchy.

And what if we just accept at this point that a company can no longer choose its people. But it is the people that actually choose their company. This setup will continue to gain a stronger foothold in the future, as the younger generations are taking a more substantial role in working life. Companies are built by the people within their sphere of influence; the owners, employees, clients, and other stakeholders, who all have their own interests. The ideal situation for all people concerned is that these interests are congruent with one another. Or at least that they support one another, which will result in cooperation being productive and functioning as a foundation for wellbeing at work.

History offers us the benefit that we can rely on it. Despite this, we shouldn’t cling to our old practices and ways of doing things. This also goes for employees and their roles. Of course, you should try to hold on to your good employees, but at the same time you should also encourage and support all employees in making their dreams come true. A company’s mission (in addition to the traditional one of making profit) is to offer its employees good conditions for work and ensure a sufficient amount of wellbeing. So that even the best of talents will not want to leave but the company would actually function as a magnet to attract more talent. You also do need to make time for coaching leadership or sparring efforts to ensure that those employees having temporary lapses in their ability to perform at their best will have the possibility of becoming talents of the future.

Managing the company culture and yourself

From the perspective of wellbeing at work, company culture is of huge significance. It can have an impact on mental, physical as well as social wellbeing. The foundation of company culture is laid down in the company’s values and in the way its people interact. The greater part of the culture stems from everyday actions: helping a team member, asking a colleague to lunch, telling good (or bad) jokes, or admitting that you’ve made a mistake. Unfortunately, company culture is not immune to more negative elements, such as selfishness, avoidance of responsibilities, inappropriate jokes or remarks better left unsaid, or dishonesty. It is the management’s task to set an example, but each and everyone of us should also take a look in the mirror at times.

Whether you are a director, manager, subordinate or a self-employed entrepreneur, encourage yourself to be a bold leader for yourself. This is often a good way to learn more about the most difficult person to manage – yourself – so that in the future, you can be a better leader for your team and a better team member for your manager. But most of all, for yourself. Many entrepreneurs and business-minded people know it from their own experience: the greatest responsibility is always to ourselves. But still, we tend to forget it too often.

Have we ensured that our own workplace is on top of things?

Everything I have shared so far is easy to write on paper. True value is created only when these things are put into practice. At Systam, our goal for wellbeing at work is very clear: committed, motivated, and happy employees. We are working toward that goal by living up to our values every day: by trusting, having courage, and caring. Flexible working hours, lunch and activity benefits, or any bonus incentive programs will not make up for enduring daily troubles at the workplace.

How are we doing so far then? Carried out monthly in 2022, our eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) survey resulted in an average of +58. (The eNPS score indicates how likely it is that the personnel would recommend their employer to a friend. The overall score is on a scale of -100–100, and a result of more than 50 points is already an excellent achievement.) Based on these numbers, I am confident that we are making good progress on our wellbeing journey, but we do not intend to stop here. Managing wellbeing at work means that we need to keep listening, having a dialog, and striving for even better results.

This is why I am encouraging you to ask yourself now, and to keep asking yourself along the way: “What are the things that promote my wellbeing at work, and what can I do today to highlight them and make them reality?”

Tip us off with your good ideas! You can find me and Systam in LinkedIn or gt in touch using our contact page.

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