Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
15 Feb 2010

Wellbeing in the workplace how can employers cultivate wellbeing at work?

15 Feb 2010 • by Changeboard Team

Wellbeing - important to understand psychology

With each individual business come individual complexities, and the employment of psychologists within the business team has become increasingly mainstream.

More specifically, businesses have adopted the knowledge of psychologists to not only enhance productivity, but more importantly, the well being of their employees - after all, happy employees make healthy returns.

Addressing issues of stress, burn-out, and anxiety are important; however it is also vital to cultivate resilience, happiness and engagement.

Dr. Ilona Boniwell and a team of positive psychology researchers at the University of East London propose that wellbeing in the workplace Results from creating self determined environments and fostering psychological capital. Staff who have their psychological needs met will flourish in everyday functioning and also in times of stress and adversity. By enabling staff to become autonomous in their own work life, developing competence in the areas of employment and creating positive relationships among teams and staff members, business will benefit from employees who feel intrinsic motivation to do their job - and do it well.

Four main components of wellbeing

Wellbeing can be cultivated by inducing and maintaining psychological capital. Psychological capital consists of four elements, including: hope, optimism, resilience and self efficacy.

Hope and optimism increase perseverance in goal attainment, while resilience can guard against the effects of depression and anxiety. Self efficacy is also key to developing a productive task force. It enables people to believe in their own personal capacities, as well as initiate and engage with tasks and circumstances that may be challenging.

By building on these four elements, businesses can increase productivity, while also creating a more hospitable work environment. Learning the mechanisms by which to strengthen these areas will help employees to better deal with stress and adversity in the workplace.

How can businesses use wellbeing to combat stress?

One of the biggest Challenges facing business today is work related stress and subsequent absenteeism, with billions of pounds lost every year within Britain.

By learning wellbeing techniques and tools, businesses can start to counteract this negative loop. It is not enough to simply fix the negatives; businesses need to enhance the wellbeing of their employees in order to prevent the issues that occur in the first place.

By working alongside expert psychologists in the field of wellbeing, businesses can successfully increase their psychological and financial capital - a win-win for everyone.

Engaged + fulfilled employees = better performance

Fulfilling work can bring flow an absorbing state of psychological engagement, where hours can pass like minutes. Flow occurs when we are Challenged in a positive way, when the task is just right for our skill level.

When work is beyond our capacity it creates anxiety, alternatively when the task is too easy it can quickly lead to boredom. By the same token, increasing an employees wellbeing often Results in an upward spiral: greater wellbeing leads to better job performance, lower absenteeism, reduced probability of leaving an employer and even more work satisfaction.

Can work conditions affect wellbeing of employees?

Employers should know that work provides people with five categories of experience essential for wellbeing: time structure, social relationships, collective effort or purpose, social identity/status and regular activity.

Interestingly, pay has little to do with job satisfaction, while good relationships with colleagues and what you do day-to-day are far more important. To begin with, pay and work conditions can increase your wellbeing, but there quickly comes a point where wellbeing can no longer be affected by these factors.

WAPP training the way forward for wellbeing?

The University of East London School of Psychology has developed WAPP (Workplace Applied Positive Psychology) training for employers and employees. WAPP offers training tools applicable to personal growth in the workplace and advises on ways to increase productivity at work by using effective management and communication techniques as they apply in positive psychology.

WAPP advises individuals and organisations ways to increase their psychological capital (PC). The programme is dedicated to teaching people the skills they need in order to not only succeed in business communications but also skills on which to build a successful life.