Why holistic well-being experiences matter at work
By: Lindsay Simons
What is holistic well-being?
Many people use wellness and well-being interchangeably, but they’re actually very different.
The concept of well-being is rooted in positive psychology, a term that Abraham Maslow coined, and psychologist Martin E.P. Seligman adopted. It’s a movement in psychology that focuses on what’s right with people rather than what’s wrong with them. It shifts focus away from dysfunction and disorder to understanding how individuals flourish in their lives or reach their potential. Wellness, however, is historically defined as the absence (and prevention) of physical or mental illness. It doesn’t focus on an optimal quality of life.
We define well-being as feeling good and living with purpose. Well-being is a comprehensive concept that describes human beings as the complex and interconnected systems that we are. This comprehensive approach is what we describe as “holistic well-being”.
Why does holistic well-being matter at work?
When you consider everything in an employee’s life — their physical, emotional, financial and work well-being — you’re acknowledging that what happens in one part of a person’s life affects every other part of their life.
The domino effect of holistic well-being is real. What happens in one part of your life affects another part, and the interconnected chain of events is suddenly set into motion. You probably know this already, but don’t think of it as holistic well-being.
The challenge is great, but the evidence still shows how important it is to focus on the holistic well-being of your employees. In fact, our research shows that 88% of employees who have high well-being feel engaged at work. Only 50% of those with low well-being feel engaged at work.
In seeing employees as holistic, organizations can better support employee well-being and reconnect employees to what motivates them in their jobs.
How to infuse holistic well-being into the workforce
Employees shouldn’t have to choose between work and well-being. We believe the future of work puts employees at the center. Life is a balancing act of work, relationships, family, finances, hobbies and more. Acknowledging that every person has multiple roles in both work and life — and that they’re all connected — is becoming more apparent than ever in the workplace. Recent Forrester research shows that just 62% of workers feel as if their employer is willing to invest in their health and well-being.
Well-being at work includes all the interactions and behaviors employees engage in throughout their workday. This can include leaders, managers, co-workers, company policies and even the tools they use to perform their job. The way employees interact and behave throughout the workday has a big impact on their well-being, work performance and productivity.
To make this experience positive, infuse small in-the-moment reminders and nudges throughout their day. Personalized communications, an interactive social feed and gamification also help to improve employee well-being, work performance and productivity. Why? Less than 6 out of 10 employees say their company embeds well-being into the workplace culture and people’s jobs, despite 68% of employees preferring to engage in well-being-related activities at work according to LinkedIn Learning.
What are the benefits of a holistic approach?
Well-being in the flow of work means reducing barriers to enable employees to find moments throughout the day to intentionally focus on their well-being, to feel good and to make purposeful change. In essence, living with purpose at work. We believe companies achieve this when they put well-being at the heart of the employee experience, promoting holistic well-being — including physical, emotional, financial and work health — and deliver well-being experiences in the tools where employees spend their time.
“Over time as an organization … we knew we wanted to get somewhere holistic and digital [with our wellness program]. As more and more people are working from their phones and are less likely to be tied to a computer, we strived to make something [with Limeade] that could be accessible anywhere.”
Wellness program manager, healthcare
Limeade enables organizations to deliver intuitive and intelligent well-being experiences throughout the day, even in micro-moments. We call this well-being in the flow of work. We offer a holistic approach based on research and backed by care, providing a single platform to measure and improve employee outcomes.
Congratulations to the State of Washington and the HCA team on this amazing recognition, and we thank you for your partnership since 2014.
About the author
Lindsay is the Sr. Director of Acquisition and ABM. She loves connecting companies to Limeade to help improve the employee experience with well-being tech. She's also passionate about fostering a team culture of care and empathy. Outside the office, Lindsay enjoys backpacking and game nights.