The environment in which a person functions should satisfy his or her needs, otherwise frustration and a decline in well-being may be expected. As an adult spends most of his conscious life at work, it is the responsibility of this environment to care for what is known as well-being. The recently fashionable well-being is a very spacious concept than, which is broader than the equally popular idea of wellness. Both concepts overlap to some extent, but are implemented with a different emphasis on the physical and mental aspects of well-being. Well-being allows you to meet the needs of the employee and the needs of the organization, so that each employee could answer the question about life satisfaction and career satisfaction in the affirmative. Well-being is a response to the organization’s challenges such as stress, depression and absenteeism caused by excessive workloads imposed on the employee, and the resulting high labour and recruitment costs.
Well-being and wellness
In many languages, including Polish, there is no distinctive translation for the English words well-being and wellness, and we understand both of them as well-being. These concepts are different but related to each other. In simple terms, wellness is about caring for well-being from the outer sphere, and well-being from the inner sphere of a human being. The term wellness was coined by Dr. Herbert Dunn in 1959. Dr. Dunn has rightly seen that there is more to health than the absence of disease. Wellness is a philosophy based on the assumption that well-being can be achieved by consciously taking care of your physicality. Wellness relates largely to physicality and focuses on all positive steps on the path to a healthier life. It may be a change in eating habits, physical activity, actions to maintain a good figure. Corporate wellness are activities aimed at preventing diseases and supporting a healthy lifestyle of employees. Wellness can be accomplished by providing access to sports activities, massage and physiotherapy, dietary training, facilities that encourage employees to move around by bike, e.g. bicycle racks.
Such a pro-health policy of the company is aimed at keeping its employees in good physical health, and thus reducing the costs related to loss of their health. Fit and healthy body may be very important, but it is not the only guarantor of well-being. The idea of well-being is deeper and is characterized by a broader view of human well-being, also taking into account the mental condition. Although, of course, it pays attention to the energy of the body, which is necessary to do the job. Well-being focuses on positive moods, emotions, and good life experiences that bring overall satisfaction. The concept of well-being is more difficult to implement, and therefore more time-consuming, as it is not only based on unified benefits, but also recognizes employees as individuals, introduces solutions that allow us to achieve work-life balance and realize our full potential in the sense of happiness. The idea of well-being reaches beyond the scope of human enjoyment, it also speaks about proper functioning. Well-being discovers the human being and its pros, allowing us to discover the meaning of life.
Psychologist Martin Seligman, an advocate of positive psychology, proposed a five-component well-being model called the PERMA model (an acronym of Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement/Accomplishment). This model speaks about the pillars that are prerequisite to achieving long-term happiness and well-being. These are:
- Positive Emotions once supplied and reinforced they can build resilience, in the long run positive emotions or sensations alone are not sufficient for feeling and perceiving one’s life as happy. Pleasures are usually fleeting, so we cannot rely solely on them. An example of evoking positive emotions is the ability to listen to music that gives pleasure, inspires and gives vigour to the employee. Another example recommended by Seligman is expressing gratitude to the other person, and what is interesting, the emotions delivered in this way have a long positive influence on both sides.
- Engagement, also known as the flow, absorbing an activity in which the skills or strength of the employee are harmoniously combined with the challenges realized. It is about making the best of the strengths of the employee, they have to do what they are best at. An example of increasing commitment may be adjusting work to the skills/strengths of the employees, posing challenges that will be both motivating and attainable.
- Relationships with people in the work environment: colleagues, superiors, bosses and mentors, but also with ourselves. Good relationships can form a source of strength because they give us a feeling of support. Strong social networks support health. And good relationships form the strength of teams. Examples of building good relationships include engaging forms of contacts between employees, open communication in the team and everyday kindness.
- Meaning and using your advantages to serve both ourselves and something greater than ourselves. Meaning can be realized through a profession or by involvement in a cause or organization that is of significance. The essence is the feeling that work is needed, it serves us and others. Employee volunteering forms jus one example of actions in giving a sense of meaning to an employed person.
- Achievement/Accomplishment allows us to experience empowerment and control over our life. They encourage and motivate people to develop and work for this employer, who appreciates even those achievements, which are not related to the place of employment, e.g. in sports. An example here would be celebrating achievements, rewarding the goals achieved.
When introducing the concept of well-being in your organization, it is worth treating the Seligman model as a signpost. Working with these ingredients reduces mental stress and correlates positively with physical health. The concept of well-being is aimed at helping employees become a better version of themselves, on the basis of, and with their needs in mind. Keeping people in relative health happy is as important as restoring mental and health losses. Corporations responsible for their people allow employees to speak up about ideas for the implementation of well-being projects. Workers like rest rooms, meditation rooms, and games rooms. They also like novelties and eagerly reach for games in virtual environment. Provide your employees with valuable virtual content to maintain their productivity and well-being. The virtual therapy of mindfulness and relaxation, offered by VR TierOne, is a great solution here. VR TierOne can serve employees in times of depressed mood, and also those who do not complain about their health, but would like to cope better with their stress and learn to rest. High-quality relaxation with VR TierOne allows them to return to work with replenished energy after just several minutes.
Making it happen
The use of wellness practices that support physicality, e.g. saunas, massages typical for wellness, can also form part of the well-being assumptions. However, wellness practices detached from the actual well-being of employees in the company may turn out to be insufficient. It is hard to expect that the offered massage will solve the employee’s frustrations and fears related to relationships and the lack of acceptance in the group. Noticing the multidimensionality of well-being and caring for the employee in these many dimensions guarantees mutual contentment and satisfaction. It proves impossible to implement the asssumptions of well-being without taking the basic needs into account. Destabilizing the employees’ basic needs, for example in terms of economic security, through an inadequate contract or irregular salary may reduce their efficiency and motivation to work. Well-being does not assume that all the employees’ needs will be catered for by the organization in which they work. It is about creating opportunities for the employees to satisfy their needs by their own. An example is the opportunity to work flexible hours, enabling remote work, shorter working days on Fridays and during the holiday season, and even the possibility of taking a pet to work so that the employees can cope with their other life roles.
The benefits of well-being
If material well-being alone satisfied employees for a long time, probably no employer would even think about the concept of well-being. Changes in the labour market, as well as generational changes, to some extent resulted in the need to meet the expectations of the employee. This is natural, the more is expected of employees, the more care require the employees. Proven, effective and pleasant solutions such as VR TierOne help to maintain the well-being of employees. Well-being is not detached from the needs of employers, well-being of employees renders it possible to build not only a good image, but prosperity, achieve financial goals and reduce costs related to recruitment. The return for employers is the maximum value that a person can generate in the long run. Well-being prevents burnout, teaches how to use the available resources, reduces employee retention rates, and allows the employer to acquire, support and discover employees’ talents. Low well-being adversely affects employee engagement, productivity and performance. According to the Gallup Institute, the likelihood of leaving the job of an employee who assesses his or her well-being as low increases by 48%. Interestingly, according to the same institution, responsible for worldwide opinion polls, the well-being of the immediate superior is also important, because it increases the chance that subordinates will feel good by 15%. In order for well-being or wellness to be well implemented, it must involve everyone in the company. Employees need to know that such a program exists, and that they can participate and take advantage of it. It cannot be a façade activity that exists in the company, but only few people know about it. Well-being is a healthy fashion understood not as a passing trend, but as a method and rule for dealing with the market challenges of contemporary organizations.