60% of the world’s population spends a large part of their lives at work and, therefore, it is essential that the work environment is safe and healthy. Along the same lines, multiple studies have found that the emotional well-being of the workforce leads to increased productivity and decreased staff turnover and absenteeism (Domínguez & Blanco, 2022; Grimani, Aboagye, & Kwak, 2019, Martínez-Vargas, & Rivera-Porras, 2019). As established by the National Institute of Safety and Health at Work (INSST, 2022), it is imperative to assess and prevent the development of psychosocial risks that may interfere or harm both the development of work and the physical and psychological health of the worker. For this reason, establishing and maintaining a work welfare plan is of vital importance for the success of companies.
What do we mean when we talk about psychological well-being? According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2022), it is a mental state that positively enhances the cognitive, emotional, behavioral and social development of each person and, therefore, promotes the individual’s favorable relationship with their physical health, their identity personally and with your work.
What is a workplace wellness plan and why is it important?
A work wellness plan is a strategic program designed with the purpose of improving the quality of life of the workforce through their professional development and personal growth, so that they can continue climbing the corporate pyramid, while simultaneously seeking to increase productivity, competitiveness , reputation and attractiveness of companies.
According to the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security (MITRAMISS) of Spain, well-being at work is the key to having a productive, motivated and committed workforce with the company.
The INSST (2022) ensures that a correct implementation of a well-being plan needs to address the psychosocial factors of companies (job content, workload, working time, professional development, etc.) in order to prevent their corresponding psychosocial risks (work monotonous, insufficient or excessive workload, poor conciliation, professional stagnation, etc.). These risks are usually primarily responsible for:
- create a negative social environment with little cohesion.
- reduce work commitment and motivation.
- increase staff turnover.
- cause work stress or syndrome burnout.
- make it difficult to reconcile work-family.
- decrease business productivity.
Therefore, optimizing the emotional well-being of employees not only favors their psychological, physical and social health, but also:
- improves the work environment and the cohesion of the workforce.
- encourages greater commitment and motivation in work teams.
- develops loyalty, not flight, of talent.
- promotes personal and professional development.
- Reduces absenteeism and stress.
- increases professional performance.
According to the WHO (2022), the psychosocial interventions with the greatest scientific support in the literature are instruction in stress management in order to cope with the workload, the inclusion of services such as psychotherapy to improve psychological health, education and training staff to promote internal promotion and labor flexibility to achieve work-family reconciliation.
An enhancer and ally of these interventions is the positive psychology approach. What’s its purpose? Achieve optimal personal and professional development of people by emphasizing the experiences, emotions, strengths and positive virtues of each one, which, in turn, serve as drivers to give more of oneself and be better.
How do we develop a wellness plan? Step by Step.
For a workplace wellness plan to be successful, it must: be included in company policy, be in the public domain, take into account the three dimensions that make up the overall health of the workforce (psychological, physical and social health) and culture organization of the company, together with its mission and vision, and have a budget for its realization.
The steps to implement a wellness plan are as follows:
Identify weaknesses and projections. All possible information should be collected regarding job satisfaction and the needs of the staff, their well-being index, work environment, along with projections for the future of the workforce and the company, in order to establish a baseline as a starting point. and a goal as an objective. Pulse surveys can be used as a measurement tool. For example, in this phase of the plan, workers might establish that they have an excessive workload (psychological risk), that the facilities are unfavorable (physical risk), and that interpersonal relationships are inadequate or non-existent (social risk), or that the task itself carries a psychosocial risk (dealing with vulnerable people). [RI1]
Develop intervention strategies. Next, the objectives must be defined and the actions or programs to establish (with their respective deadlines and costs) must be established to achieve the desired projections and to prevent or remedy the development of psychosocial risks. These can be carried out by an internal and competent team of the company or by a group of external specialists (organizational psychologists). For example, the workload could be redistributed after the hiring of new staff or workflows redesigned to gain efficiency, the physical workspace could be updated to be ergonomic and safe (physical risk) and, finally, it could be promoted a more interactive and cohesive work environment through the realization of group dynamics and a decisive orientation of leadership towards the well-being of employees. Similarly, the company can propose to reduce staff turnover by 10% over a year, reduce stress sick leave or reduce its duration, or set a desired minimum score for key performance indicators or KPIs. (for its acronym in English).
Put into practice. The implementation of the plan will not be starting a one-off process, but a continuous one, and by which information will be generated permanently. The strategies, programs or techniques must be followed and carried out with discipline and consistency, and must be known by all workers. These programs must also involve all the company’s departments and professionals in order to generate a healthy company.
measure results. Continuous monitoring of the results must be carried out, in order to be able to draw conclusions and establish connections between the different factors and psychosocial risks and carry out the appropriate corrective actions.
Make the necessary adjustments. Finally, strategies must be modified and adjusted gradually according to the needs and objectives of the workforce and the company, in order to meet the objectives and achieve the established goals, in accordance with the mission, vision and organizational culture.
By guaranteeing the psychological well-being of the workforce, the company contributes to increasing their motivation when carrying out their work and, as a consequence, giving them greater cognitive flexibility to resolve conflicts and provide solutions. In a BANI environment (Brittle brittle, anxious anxious, non-linear nonlinear and incomprehensible incomprehensible) as uncertain as the current one, companies need to have the maximum contribution and commitment of their workers, so taking care of their comprehensive well-being is a strategic necessity.
Content written by the TherapyChat Clinical Content Team led by Isabel Aranda, a health psychologist and Chief Content Officer.