Do your employees have to choose between work and well-being?
By: Dominique Davison
With the increase in stress and inequalities employees face, they have less time to focus on their well-being and a greater need for it than ever. At Limeade, we define well-being as feeling good and living with purpose. While well-being initiatives may vary between organizations, we believe each organization should strive to empower employees and make space for them to focus on their holistic well-being. By infusing well-being directly in the flow of work with integrated, accessible well-being approaches, organizations can help employees improve their well-being — ensuring they don’t have to choose between work and their own well-being.
VP of Product, Colette Foreman and Chief Marketing Officer, Dr. Patti Fletcher hosted a Limeade Fireside Chat on LinkedIn Live to discuss this topic. They covered:
- Tips for removing barriers at work that impede well-being
- How to bring well-being initiatives into the flow of work
- The future of tech and well-being for organizations
“When I first started working at Limeade, one of the very first stats that I saw was the average industry registration rate for all employee well-being programs was about 25%. I was blown away! All these programs that companies are investing in and we’ve got 25% utilization and uptake? Meet people where they are and give them the tools that they can use. Doing that will break apart this construct of well-being done right versus well-being and let it happen.”Colette Foreman, Limeade VP Product
Dr. Patti Fletcher: If you were to go to Google and type in “well-being” you’re going to see several definitions out there, so, please tell us, what is well-being?
Colette Foreman: Great question. Let me start by saying, it is different than wellness. Our definition of well-being is feeling good and living with purpose. Let’s blow that up a little bit, it’s that positive feeling and life conditions that enable an employee to thrive and reach their potential. It’s about the whole person. We can’t just say it’s physical or emotional; we need to add all the elements that we, as employees, bring to the workplace. Along with bringing our physical and emotional selves, we have financial challenges that come with us to work, and I would even add work well-being. When we get to work, how do we feel? How do we thrive at work?
Dr. Patti Fletcher: I want to dive deeper into work well-being. Work is the number one stressor and something that impacts our emotional well-being and our relationships but what is the concept of work well-being?
Colette Foreman: Work well-being is within itself a construct that we need to break down and we need to make sure that we are taking care of our employees at work. There are tools you can use and that’s how we get into the work being in the flow of work. We need to be thinking about work well-being in a much bigger sense.
Dr. Patti Fletcher: We do! Let’s talk about how we don’t force people to choose between work and well-being and make it part of how they work.
Colette Foreman: That’s what we, and others like Microsoft, call flow of work. Flow of work is all those interactions and behaviors that employees engage in throughout their workday. Well-being in the flow of work is when employees find moments through the workday to access some concept of well-being. There are three barriers: time, access, and intent.
I’m going to use an example from history. In the old days, there was a bank, and it was a central area, and all our money transactions were conducted in that one space. Everything I needed was there except I had to have the intent to go there when I needed money when it was open. Then banks got smart and added a kiosk on the outside of the bank so that the hours of the bank didn’t restrict access. Then they got even smarter and said, “people need money in different places”, what if it was easy to get money where you are? While you’re shopping. Access to well-being needs to be more like that! We need to meet people where they are when they need it, and at the time it’s appropriate for them. It also doesn’t need to be big buckets of well-being; I would propose micro-moments of well-being done right.
Dr. Patti Fletcher: Let me tell you, I am someone who struggles to take a vacation and like so many people I think about the inbox when I come back. Almost like you must choose between taking time for myself or letting people down.
Colette Foreman: We really need to get our heads around the fact that well-being in the flow of work is not a destination, it’s an experience. And how we choose to surface that experience in our companies is going to make a difference to big things like our employees’ accessing the resources that I have purchased and invested in as an employer.
When I first started working at Limeade, one of the very first stats that I saw was the average industry registration rate for all employee well-being programs was about 25%. I was blown away! All these programs that companies are investing in and we’ve got 25% utilization and uptake? Meet people where they are and give them the tools that they can use. Doing that will break apart this construct of well-being done right versus well-being and let it happen.
Dr. Patti Fletcher: Now that we’ve been grounded in the concepts, I would love for you to talk to us about how do we use technology here.
Colette Foreman: At Limeade, we are looking for how we support employees during their workday. We’re looking at listening strategies to surface a pulse survey easier in the flow of work and I will say early experimentation has shown that when we use well-being in the flow of work, the tools that we integrate into collaboration tools we get double fold the response rate and much more done.
Dr. Patti Fletcher: What have you and the team learned about nudging?
Colette Foreman: Limeade has started a project where we are integrating into Microsoft Teams. I can program Teams to tell me three times a week to nudge me to show gratitude. Do I do it? Every single time. And sometimes I do it two or three times to different people on my team. That is intentionally being aware of myself as a human in my workplace.se are micro-moments of care and surfacing it in Teams and showing people that the possibility for well-being does exist and you don’t have to choose just do little things multiple times a day and you’re going to feel the benefits of a healthier work-life experience.
Dr. Patti Fletcher: I love the concepts that we’re testing. As you’re heading this product team that is not only delivering for today but let’s face it, setting up for tomorrow, what’s next?
Colette Foreman: In our team when we design products and are looking at road mapping and things like that, we always start with the question “why?” “Why are we trying to do some of these things?” And we design our questions around “why” for our organization. Why for our managers or employees? So, my parting words would be for organizations adopting a holistic approach and caring for employee well-being to make sure that it’s not just physical and emotional but also includes financial and work well-being elements, that is something we at Limeade are recommending in our best practices.
Micro-moments of investment and supporting a culture that depends on micro-moments and not grand expansive well-being programs. As managers, we need to be cognizant of our employees and model the behavior that is the hardest thing to do. Modeling the behavior and knowing that well-being and integrating it into our workday gives permission for our employees to do the same thing. Focusing on empathy-based leadership when we’re interacting with employees and setting them up with tools that offer them this ability to engage small amounts of well-being. And for individuals, which is everybody, try to increase this mindfulness concept and it’s about intent. If you need nudges to create intent, that’s okay.
Dr. Patti Fletcher: I love it. We cannot change if we keep doing the same thing and I love the nudges because they’re not obnoxious, they’re helpful and they’re light enough that they’re effective.
Infusing well-being into the flow of work allows employees to have moments throughout their workday to engage in activities that support their well-being. Limeade helps organizations infuse well-being into work with small in-the-moment reminders and nudges, personalized communications, an interactive social feed and gamification to improve employee well-being, work performance and productivity. Learn more here.