The Link Between Personal Wellness and Productivity at WorkAUTHOR: Maliha Safiullah
Zombies, the fictional undead that wander in search of nutrition and purpose may not be so far off from reality and may as well be depicting a specie we recognize close to us. If you were to look around and observe the actions of an everyday man during his work routine you will be surprised to recognize zombie-like traits in him. Sleep-deprived, over-caffeinated, stressed and restlessly bobbling from one task to another to get through the day without a sense of purpose or well-being is the general description of your modern-day man. Time to reflect or even simply spare a thought on emotions appears to be a luxury since the pressure of the daily mundane routine seems to over-weigh all notions of self-analysis or self-evaluation. The lack of any genuine feeling and an aimless struggle to acquire unachievable goals that substantiate the idea of achievement and satisfaction makes for a rather hollow life and leads to absence of wellness.
What is Wellness?
Simply, wellness is a mindset, a mentality. Not to be confused with health that is measured and quantified, wellness is the acquisition of genuine personal awareness to choices that confirm a healthy life and having the will to follow a lifestyle that is dedicated to self-care.
A rather complex definition of wellness would encompass multitudes of physical, emotional, spiritual, logical, social and financial aspects that have a direct connection with your state of mind. In this regard, acquiring wellness would be a pattern one develops to acknowledge the impact of these aspects and exploring avenues that aid in creating a balance in each.
However, for most, acquiring wellness works on individual basis and what may work for one may not entirely hold true for another. It is a methodology that each individual has to uncover for his/her own-self. Meditation, writing in a journal, venting to a friend may help establish your sense of well-being while going out for a run or baking may be therapeutic for another.
That being said, wellness cannot be confined nor defined as an introverted experience since our lives and choices are radically impacted by the world around us and in that sense, wellness cannot be an individual experience. A social structure that is supportive and focused on wellbeing can enhance the will to pursue healthier choices and aid in building individuals up rather than bringing them down.
The Effect of Personal Wellness on Productivity of Work
For most individuals careers are the most integral part of their life with decisions regarding all aspects in life revolving around their work routine. From the time one has to wake up to the kind of breakfast he/she will consume and how much time he/she will be able to take out for exercise or which weekend he/she can get away to see family or have a holiday are questions dependent entirely on the decisions based on their work.
Without conscious understanding, most of us have become accustomed to being driven by the work we do and it sets itself up as our biggest motivator to get out of bed. Also, achieving career goals brings us with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that possibly other aspects of life do not. The focus on this particular aspect of our life lets it control all other aspects and more often than not, it overtakes our own sense of wellbeing and governs all major decisions. When personal wellbeing is taken out of the picture and work is all that is left, do we end up becoming better workers or not?
Healthways and Gallup conducted a comprehensive survey throughout the United States of America to understand and monitor wellbeing among various communities and uncover the answer to this question. The objective of the survey was to not only comprehend wellbeing at an individual level but to assess the link and impact between wellbeing and productivity of an individual at his place of work.
Various metrics were employed and patterns were uncovered to reach a conclusion that would authenticate if any link existed between wellbeing and productivity and the findings ultimately showed that an individual with an unhealthy lifestyle was responsible for higher levels of incompetency and loss of productive work time compared to one who made better decisions for himself/herself. It seemed like an obvious fact staring at one’s face that the better you are mentally, physically and spiritually, the better you would be in any situation that you are placed in. A content mind and a physically astute body will be a desirable candidate at an organization producing substantial content and outcomes beneficial for the company.
However, contrary to this, another practical study that lasted for 30 months and was conducted by the iThrive’s wellness program amplified health screening rates to but demonstrated that it had no effects on health behaviors, or employee productivity. Furthermore, it demonstrated that there were null effects of workplace wellness programs on the main outcomes of interest regardless of using diverse programs, unsystematic designs and even observing various different populations. The conclusion of this study showcased that wellness is a philosophy that one may adopt for their own personal wellbeing and it may make an individual content in his/her own skin but it does not in any way substantiate the individual’s sudden capacity to be more productive and other factors may play a larger role in determining productivity than wellness.
Even with this in mind, multiple organizations the world over now consider incorporating social wellness programs for their employees in an attempt to create a healthier organizational structure founded on the notion that colleague interactions will inculcate the idea of team-spirit and employees will be less likely to leave a company which offers them a sense of belonging. Retreats, birthday celebrations, team-hikes or even a departmental coffee-break time in the middle of the day gives employees a chance of interaction and brings them together. These practices, have led many organizations to benefit with less socially-isolated employees who are unhappy doing their work and in the process are most likely to leave or remain unproductive in their station.