Why promote wellbeing in the workplace?

Workplaces are a great setting to provide opportunities to practice positive wellbeing and reduce stressors that challenge this. Workplace wellbeing programmes benefit both staff and the workplace as staff with high levels of wellbeing are more engaged, motivated and creative. This flows onto the workplace through higher productivity and performance, greater staff retention and are more resilient to change.

Wellbeing is about feeling good and functioning well. It is more than just being free of illness; it's about feeling positive about life, full of energy and capable of taking on the challenges of life.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing have been shown to be associated with higher wellbeing. People who are socially connected with others (Connect), give time and resources to others (Give), are able to appreciate and take notice of things around them (Take notice), learn new things in their life (Keep learning) and are physically active (Be Active) experience higher levels of wellbeing.

Mental Health

Mental Health is a key aspect of wellbeing, it can be thought of as a continuum from mental illness to flourishing.  Flourishing is about experiencing positive emotions, feeling engaged, living with meaning and purpose. People who are flourishing have healthy self-esteem, optimism, vitality and engage in positive relationships.

Flourishing people live longer, healthier lives, are more at peace with others and are more productive than those who are not flourishing.

Mental health is defined as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

The positive dimension of mental health is stressed in World Health Organisations definition of health as contained in its constitution: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Below are some suggestions of activities that you could do in your workplace:

1. Promote the Five Winning Ways to Wellbeing (see resources).
2. Provide mindfulness training for staff (see resources).
3. Provide free and anonymous access to an Employee Assistance Programme.
4. Provide mental health awareness and anti-stigma workshops for line managers and staff.
5. Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week (October).
6. Provide work-life balance initiatives and develop a policy.
7. Provide budgeting support.
8. Engage in anti-bullying and domestic violence prevention.

For more information have a look at our wellbeing resources or website links.

Mental Health Foundation, Wellbeing, 2015
Treasury (UK), Working Paper: Developments in the economics of well-being, 2008
World Health Organisation, WHO Definition of Health, 2003