Many people use words interchangeably even when they shouldn’t. It happens to the best of us. Classic case: wellness and well-being. Although both words start with well, they do not mean the same thing.
Think of well-being as the big-picture term. Well-being is holistic, taking into account all aspects of a person’s life. Wellness is a subcategory of well-being and refers to one’s physical health.
Employers need to be concerned about employees’ well-being — not just their wellness. Any workplace efforts to show employees that the company cares about them need to focus on employees as whole people (including physical health). Many companies already look beyond wellness and touch on aspects of well-being, which is good. For instance, you probably wouldn’t give overworked, over-stressed employees apples in the hopes of “making work life easier” and call it “all good”, would you? No, no, you would hopefully recognize that you need to address other issues to make employees’ lives better. And, although companies recognize and often address other areas of well-being, employers may not include everything that they could or should.
So what all does well-being include? Many organizational development and workplace culture experts recognize the areas included in the often-cited book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, by Tom Path and Jim Harter.
- Career well-being — the most important one — whether you like what you do each day
- Social well-being — relationships
- Financial well-being — managing finances to reduce stress and increase security
- Physical well-being — levels of health and energy
- Community well-being — involvement in community activities
At this point, you might be thinking to yourself, “How are employers supposed to make sure to cover all areas of well-being?” Well, that’s a good question and one that could take pages and pages to answer. We’ll do our best to give you the highlights in coming weeks in this Hope at Work blog space. This is the first of a series of blogs on making the transition from the mindset of workplace wellness to workplace well-being. Be sure to come back next week to learn more about career well-being.
In the meantime, check out all of Hope Health’s fun and informative communications that touch upon all aspects of employee well-being.