It’s already starting. Or is it? Maybe it’s been around for years. The movement from wellness to wellbeing feels and sounds new but the concept has been put forth in the past.
In 1948 the preamble to the constitution of the World Health Organization defined health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease.” Then, in 1961 Halbert Dunn, wrote his book “High Level Wellness” and said wellness was all about holistic approaches to living life with meaning, vigor and social connectivity. Now, in 2016 whatever the definition for well-being is, it’s safe to say it includes the word complete and/or holistic.
Wellness is moving away from just a focus on a person’s physical health to focus on a person’s overall wellbeing. As this focus changes, so will the initiatives that support the wellbeing. And employers can have a significant influence on an employee’s wellbeing.
Should employers be a part of the wellbeing movement?
When a company understands their influence in helping an employee reach a higher level of wellbeing, they will benefit from a happier, healthier, more productive and engaged workforce, that will ultimately have a positive result to their bottom line. Businesses would be wise to measure and manage employee wellbeing consciously, consistently and with a goal of improving outcomes.
So maybe our future is hidden in the past. With improving and ever-changing technology we can reach and support people in ways we haven’t done before. We can offer more solutions. Solutions outside of the healthy nutrition and activity realm (physical wellness) and move into solutions that positively affect our overall wellbeing including our social, community, career and financial health. Still, with any component of wellbeing, a strong mentor/advocate/coach will always bring additional value by supporting those who are ready to live happier, healthier lives. And a happier, healthier workplace is a safer workplace – physically and psychologically.
Essential elements of wellbeing
A past Gallup organization’s study of 150+ countries worldwide identified five essential elements of wellbeing. These elements describe aspects of our lives we can do something about, make a life that matters.
- Career Wellbeing — the most important one — whether you like what you do each day (which is not necessarily work)
- Social Wellbeing — relationships and love
- Financial Wellbeing — managing finances in order to reduce stress and increase security
- Physical Wellbeing — levels of health and energy
- Community Wellbeing — involvement in community activities.
Over the next few weeks, will be taking a closer look at each of the Pillars of Wellbeing and how each can impact your organization.