7 Key Factors for Workplace Well-Being

7 Key Factors for Workplace Well-Being
How to keep your employees happy.
by Square Jun 28, 2016 — 3 min read
7 Key Factors for Workplace Well-Being

A good salary, paid vacation, and a full benefits package are certainly important to workplace well-being, but there are a lot of other factors that companies should consider when attempting to build a team that will stay loyal and motivated for the long term. Read on to see seven factors that are essential to overall workplace well-being.

1. Autonomy

Micromanaging bosses are not only bad for morale, but they’re also likely to lead to job dissatisfaction. The stress these managers put on employees can cause disengagement over the long term, which can cost you. Studies by the Queens School of Business and the Gallup Organization show that disengaged workers had a 37-percent-higher rate of absenteeism. Developing roles that allow employees to thrive and excel on their own and in collaborative environments is critical to a company’s long-term bottom line. Leaders need good social and interpersonal skills as much as they do business acumen.

[RELATED: Things Exceptional Leaders do Every Day]

2. Stress management frameworks

Some businesses can attribute success to their high-pressure environment, but they fail to realize that this kind of environment has detrimental effects over time. The American Psychological Association estimates that $500 billion is lost from the U.S. economy because of workplace stress, and 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress-related absenteeism. What’s more, workplace stress can lead to a turnover increase of almost 50 percent, according to the American Institute of Stress. Companies that believe in positive organizational psychology — with policies that put a cap on overtime and maximum number of hours worked and that provide access to premium health insurance — may find themselves ahead of the pack (as well as a more attractive place to work).

3. Inclusionary culture

Workplace well-being is largely attributed to a positive culture. The Harvard Business Review identified six characteristics of such a culture: caring for colleagues as you would friends; providing support and compassion, especially to anyone who is struggling; avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes; inspiring one another; emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work; and instilling trust, integrity, and gratitude across all levels of the organization. Companies can work toward a positive environment by fostering social connections among employees and prioritizing transparency from the top down.

4. Physical comfort and safety

According to a paper published in Frontiers in Psychology, a workplace’s built environment can have detrimental or beneficial effects on employees’ cognitive ability. This research suggests that businesses might benefit from consulting with architects and psychologists to design optimal work-friendly spaces. Judith Heerwagen, a former scientist with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory who is now a program expert with the General Services Administration, says, “A building can positively affect ability by providing comfortable ambient conditions, by enabling individual control and adjustment of conditions, and by reducing health and safety risks.” Things as basic as temperature control, access to daylight, noise control, ergonomics, indoor air quality, secure entry, and sometimes even color choices are key factors in meeting employees’ most basic human needs — all of which are critical to overall well-being.

5. Workspace design

Thoughtful workplace design can be a powerful tool for supporting and even boosting employee performance. Since today’s workplace requires employees to both concentrate and collaborate, it’s important that office design fosters both. Gallup researchers found a direct correlation between employee engagement and worker satisfaction, both of which are linked to increased productivity and innovation. Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, goes on to say, “A ‘best office’ is one that would give people a choice of how much stimulation is coming at them at any one time. I would create an office that has lots of nooks and crannies, lots of zones of privacy, but also lots of zones where people can come together and schmooze and hang out.”

6. Collaborative competition

Working toward a common goal fosters a sense of community at the office, and often an atmosphere of supportive competition can further motivate employees. Whether it’s putting contests in place to meet certain sales goals or setting up an office exercise challenge, collaborative competition positively affects physical and mental well-being. An article in the Financial Times notes that many employers encourage wellness at work with physical activity trackers like Fitbit, plus online networks that promote competition and collaboration between staff to encourage exercise.

7. Remote access

It might seem insignificant, but setting up remote access and giving employees the opportunity to work from home does wonders to keep them happy and motivated. According to the Financial Times, it eases the conflict between work and family commitments and can mean a better balance between office and domestic life. Increased productivity, as a result of workplace flexibility, can be a nice byproduct as well.

The Bottom Line is brought to you by a global team of collaborators who believe that anyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy.


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