How well-being programs promote a happier, more connected team environment

Success of well-being programs dependent on measurement, review, modification

How well-being programs promote a happier, more connected team environment

This article was produced in partnership with Carebook.

Humans are by nature, social beings. Cultivating and sustaining positive, supportive relationships within our homes, our communities and our workplaces has a significant impact on our health and well-being.

Strong social bonds not only foster a sense of support and belonging, but they can also contribute to improved mental and physical health outcomes.

The workplace has typically been seen as a place to build social connections, but with today’s remote and hybrid work models, workplace wellness programs, designed to enhance social connections, are playing a very important role.

Key elements to health and well-being programs

The recruitment platform Indeed recently evaluated factors such as overall happiness, job satisfaction, sense of purpose, and stress levels among employees. In collaboration with Oxford University researchers, they developed a work well-being score for publicly listed companies, examining it alongside its financial data.

The Oxford study revealed that companies with higher well-being scores tend to have greater returns on assets, higher profits, and higher market valuations, indicating a positive relationship between employee well-being and financial performance.

The following are key elements of health and well-being programs that can combat loneliness and lead to higher work satisfaction:

Take a holistic approach: Mental, emotional and social dimensions are becoming more important to employees; specifically, activities that foster social connection, provide emotional and mental health support, and help to mitigate stress. Employers who instill and model genuine and authentic connections with employees will foster an environment of collaboration, open feedback and connection.

A new school of thought called “Positive Psychology” developed at the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Centre, is one potential tool for HR leaders to increase engagement in their well-being programs. It is based on the PERMAH Model of Well-Being (Dr. Martin Seligman; The Journal of Positive Psychology) which identifies six “building blocks” essential to well-being: Positive Emotions; Engagement; Relationships; Meaning; Accomplishment; and, Health.

Engage local communities: Well-being programs that include options for community engagement initiatives help foster social connection. Organizing volunteering opportunities, community events, group activities (such as company sports teams participating in charity events such as the Vancouver Sun Run, local hikes, and trips to the local farmer’s market) can foster a sense of belonging, giving back and also contribute to positive mental health.

Develop intergenerational activities: Intergenerational activities give employees from different age groups opportunities to connect, developing a greater understanding of each other’s challenges and companionship. Key elements of these activities involve mentoring, skill-sharing, and collaborative projects that bridge the generation gap and combat social isolation among both younger and older employees.

Be creative with workplace initiatives: Various workplace initiatives such as group lunches (i.e. “make your own sandwich Fridays”) in a social space, team building activities (‘yoga break”) and mental health services (i.e. “Reiki Day”) help employees create and maintain social connections outside of the traditional office environment. These initiatives can also provide a reason for remote employees to take a trip into the office, as they will seek out opportunities for connection, and will look forward to attending these initiatives.

Be culturally sensitive: Addressing the effects of limited social connections requires knowledge and understanding of individuals' cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and values. Well-being programs need to incorporate cultural awareness and training to ensure that support services are inclusive and respectful of diverse cultural norms and practices.

Incorporate digital solutions: Digital platforms are increasingly being incorporated to support employees not only with their health and well-being, but also to facilitate social connection. For example, Carebook’s Health Technology Platform helps employees to connect in the digital world by providing an all-in-one platform for health risk assessment, prevention, education, virtual care, lifestyle tracking and connection with health experts.

Ultimately, the success of a well-being program is dependent on constant measurement, review, and ongoing modification. Recognizing that companies with higher well-being scores tend to correlate positively with higher returns on assets profits and valuations, fostering and investing in organization wellness is indeed a win-win for all.

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