Defining workplace wellbeing. Why you don’t want to miss this important step.

Developing a great strategy all starts with defining workplace wellbeing.

Wellbeing at work

At Improveon we define wellbeing as:

the longer term state where people can be at their best for themselves, others and the world around them.


Wellbeing involves moments of happiness and the skills to overcome adversity.

Breaking this definition down ‘Longer term’ recognises that wellbeing involves both moments of happiness and the skills and mindset to overcome adversity. Organisations should ensure realistic expectations are set. Wellbeing isn’t about trying to get everyone to be happy all of the time!

Wellbeing is influenced by internal and external forces.

‘State’ describes the influence of both internal and external forces on wellbeing. These can be things such as organisational policies but also our personal approach to managing wellbeing.

For example, we may benefit from attending a stress management workshop. However, if organisational policy encourages long work hours benefits will be short lived. A good strategy needs to view wellbeing from an individual, team and organisational perspective and take account of the external environment. That could include things like the impact on an individual from the death of a loved one or the influence of political uncertainty on the wider workforce.

Wellbeing helps us improve performance.

‘Where people can be at their best’ is about creating an environment in which we can be at our best in both good and bad times. Following this it is also clear that wellbeing is about performance. When we have purpose, focus, teamwork, resilience and a positive outlook we will be less sick, more likely to stay with our organisation, more creative and perform better.

Often wellbeing initiatives tend to focus on problems. For example, only 25% of people will likely suffer from mental illness and yet many workplace wellbeing programmes focus on this quarter of their employee population. This is important but what about the other three quarters? A good wellbeing programme provides solutions that cover both problems and opportunities to improve the performance of all employees.

Wellbeing is about more than ‘me’.

‘For the benefit of themselves, others and the world around them’ describes the inter-connectedness of personal wellbeing with that of our colleagues, families and the communities in which we live. Wellbeing is about balancing a focus on self and others. Finally it describes the reliance of our own wellbeing on the state of the planet we call home. Unless we protect the quality of the air, light, water and other finite resources that our planet provides we will severely diminish our wellbeing.

Wellbeing initiatives are often narrowly focused when they would actually benefit from a much broader perspective. As an example the purpose and values of an organisation can often be overlooked as elements of a strategy. The environment and corporate social responsibility is often seen as a separate initiative when it is clearly part of the bigger wellbeing picture.

However, when an organisation can ‘connect all the dots’ between employee engagement, culture, brand and a responsible approach to protecting our planet it will achieve the biggest impact.

If we feel like our organisation cares about us, our customers and protecting the planet we’ll be more motivated, focused, productive and take greater meaning in our work.



The CANBE model of wellbeing.

At Improveon we have developed the CANBE model of wellbeing which is an acronym for Creating meaning, Achieving more, Nurturing relationships, Building resilience & sustainability and Enriching lives. The model includes physical, mental, social, financial and environmental elements which are all important to our overall wellbeing.

The benefits of clearly defining workplace wellbeing.

Defining workplace wellbeing will help you:

  • Sell the benefits of a wellbeing strategy.
  • Help colleagues join up the dots and collaborate more effectively in leveraging wellbeing, engagement, culture, sustainability, corporate responsibility and your brand, both internally and externally.
  • Align wellbeing with your business strategy.
  • Agree on the best targets.
  • Measure outcomes more effectively.

Contact Improveon here if you’d like a discussion about how we can help you develop greater personal, team or organisational success through a focus on wellbeing.

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