Employee Engagement with Well-being Initiatives 

This article aims to understand what well-being is and how to implement it efficiently so that you or your employees feel a lot more engaged at work. What are the key issues to consider when addressing well-being and engagement? Read more: How‌ ‌to‌ ‌Successfully‌ ‌Implement‌ ‌Well-being‌ ‌Initiatives

Content

1. What are well-being and engagement?
1.1. Different levels of well-being
1.2. The motivation behind improving well-being in the workplace
2. Main steps how to effectively implement the well-being programs at the workplace
2.1. Well-being at the workplace
2.2. Tricks that help to stick to the new well-being habits
3. KPIs for the well-being
4. Examples of well-being programs
5. Great tools to use for well-being initiatives
Final thoughts

1. What are well-being and engagement?

Employee engagement is the degree to which an employee feels enthusiastic about his job responsibilities, relies on the organization, is aware of his company’s goals, and makes an effort to achieve them. Engagement can also be described as the strength of the connection we feel to our work and as our efforts to contribute to the success of the organization.

Well-being, in turn, is important in the context of work, as it directly impacts our energy, quality of life, and also the quality of work performance. Well-being means that we feel good, both physically and emotionally, and it covers almost every aspect of our lives. When we are happy with what we do daily, it has a positive effect on our well-being. And equally, if we feel good and full of energy, we can also show better results at work.

Most employers know that an engaged work team is more likely to be productive. However, less often people are aware of the link between getting engaged in work and the overall well-being of the individual. It would be very difficult for each of us to be fully involved in work processes if we did not feel well. And similarly, because we spend such a large part of our lives at work, our overall level of well-being will be lower if we do not feel the purpose and joy of what we do daily. It can therefore be concluded that engagement in work and well-being interact and are synergetic, so anyone who wants to improve one of these aspects must think about the other one as well.

Of employers offering wellness programs, 67% reported increased employee satisfaction, 66% reported increased productivity, 63% reported increased financial sustainability and growth, and 50% reported decreased absenteeism (IFEBP). Gallup’s study on employee well-being and engagement shows the benefits of health programs in the workplace. Employees working in companies that use some well-being initiatives:

  • 42% more often evaluates their quality of life as high;
  • are 27% more likely to show excellent performance in their work;
  • over the next 12 months, 59% less often look for a job in another organization.

It is in the interest of every company to also reduce healthcare costs and create a health program that makes the company an attractive workplace where employees feel cared for. However, it is important to understand that wellness initiatives can mean a lot more. For example, they can create a culture that helps employees to get engaged, to realize and fulfill their potential, in line with the priorities and values of their particular company. In other words, by supporting all aspects of health, employees can become 64 % more productive, that’s why these activities should not be neglected.

According to O.C. Tanner data companies with official health programs observe:

  • increase of ideas and innovations among employees by 17%;
  • by 20% bigger the number of staff visiting doctors for general examinations;
  • an increase in the general well-being of employees by 14%.

By including well-being initiatives in the company’s internal strategy, the most important aspects of the company’s culture can be influenced: goals, values, innovation, management, etc. Besides, every company wants its team to be made up of happy employees. Efforts to create and maintain a healthy corporate culture will help encourage healthy choices that promote positive emotions and a happy mood. As healthier employees are happier, they will also be more productive – on average, happy employees are 12% more productive than dissatisfied employees.

1.1. Different levels of well-being

Well-being describes how we feel and how well we can cope with everyday life. There is no common definition of well-being, but there’s a consensus that well-being includes the presence of positive emotions and mood (e.g. satisfaction, joy), the absence of negative emotions (e.g. sadness, worry), life satisfaction, fulfillment, and the ability to function positively (Happiness and Economics). Poor well-being affects the general health of the individual, the ability to work productively, and relationships with other people. On the other hand, if a person has good well-being, he can:

  • feel engaged in the world around 
  • live and work productively
  • feel confident
  • build and maintain good relationships with other people
  • cope with daily stress and challenges.

Well-being is based on good living conditions. Each of us has needs, from the primary necessities of survival to the spiritual and self-actualization needs. And many of them are closely related to the work environment.

Physical well-being includes both – the environment (housing, work) and the physical side of the person – nutrition, physical strength, and enough energy to function at our best. Primarily in this dimension of well-being, one’s physical and safety needs are met. Appropriate work environment and ergonomics are important not only for the health of employees but also for productivity because it allows performing processes more conveniently and efficiently. Physical well-being is closely linked to quality, thoughtful eating, sleep, getting fresh air, and physical activity (usually insufficient, especially for office workers). (usually insufficient, especially for office workers). Studies have shown a strong link between healthy habits and better cognitive abilities, reduced stress levels, and better learning outcomes. Have you heard a saying that our body is our temple for our soul to live in and to take care of? Physical well-being is like the foundation for us and requires us to plan our daily routine so that we can eat healthy foods, exercise a lot, and sleep well.

Social well-being includes relationships (including those in the work team) and a sense of belonging. Psychological safety and trust within a team are one of the most important aspects that Google has identified in its performance research. If employees feel a sense of belonging to their organization they are 5 times more likely to show the best performance compared to those colleagues who do not feel the same level of belonging. Therefore, it is worth considering what kind of work culture prevails in the company; whether it supports the social well-being of employees and collaborative relationships.

Mental well-being includes aspects such as mental health, calmness, self-growth, work purpose, and spirituality. This is often the determining factor in whether an employee chooses the existing job as his long-term job and how his performance will be after primary needs are met. From a professional point of view, self-realization is an opportunity for personal growth, the meaning of work and creativity. The Deloitte 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey found that only 43% of employees are convinced the employer provides them with binding growth opportunities, whereas 53% of employees acknowledged that the organization they represent provides meaningful work. Poor mental health and stress at work can lead to poor performance, increased sick leave, early retirement, and/or exclusion from work. If a business is perceived to have high levels of absenteeism; it can also have a detrimental impact on morale, staff loyalty, and recruitment.

Other well-being categories. In various research papers and books, many other aspects are mentioned as levels of human well-being and indicators of one’s quality of life. It is important to realize that well-being means more of what and how we do, and not so much who we are. What we do and how we thindk can greatly affect our lives.

1.2. The motivation behind improving well-being in the workplace

Employee well-being is complex. Many factors impact how employees feel, such as workload, management style, relationships between teammates, and employees’ personal daily lives. However, any company needs to create an organizational culture where team well-being and engagement are priorities. Employees who believe that their employer cares about their well-being are more engaged than others. Both company management and employees should show an example, by being a good role model for others: to take a well-deserved break from work, to be active, to listen to others, to say thank you, etc. As you may have heard, “great leadership is not authority but influence and inspiration“.

Researches have shown that employment has a positive effect on a person’s health and well-being, enabling one to put one’s skills into practice, achieve goals, and develop. Working people are generally happier and healthier than those who do not work. However, work can also be detrimental to health, reducing the quality of life due to various negative work situations. 

Companies that do not care about the engagement and health of their employees will not be among the jobs where people would like to work for a long time. People today are increasingly aware of the importance of their health, as the latest data show it. A survey conducted by IF Insurance in 2019 revealed that 55% of employees are ready to leave their current workplace to find a job that is more in line with what they consider to be a normal job. Furthermore, 57% emphasized that the employer would need to improve the well-being of employees.

Well-being needs to be addressed holistically – at all its levels. On a personal level, this would mean taking care of one’s physical, mental and social well-being, while in the work context ensuring that employees’ physical well-being (body), psycho-emotional well-being (mind) are covered, and an appropriate work environment and culture are created. The aim is to ensure a healthy and safe working environment, work-life balance, and a growth-rich and friendly corporate culture. 

Good health, high energy levels, and appreciation are important both for the employees and the company in which they work. According to Virgin Pulse, employees want to be happy, gain more energy, have a sharper perception and become more focused.

The majority of employees participating in health programs are highly motivated to improve various aspects of their health, and 96.3% consider this to be the main reason for their participation. Boosting energy levels (92.2%) is the second most important motivator for employees. Another important reason why people participate in such programs is the incentives offered by companies, as 9 out of 10 employees (90.4%) participate due to rewards.

To sum up, the main motivators why people want to improve their well-being are strengthening their overall health, having more energy and focus to get things done as well as receiving recognition at work, which is immensely important for every human being. And the main motivator why organizations should address employee well-being is quite self-explanatory: happy employees are the basis of a successful business, and happy employees are healthy employees.

2. Main steps how to effectively implement the well-being programs at the workplace

Some of the most effective and comprehensive ways to improve well-being are to have closer relationships with others, be active and physically healthy, learn new skills, help others, and to be mindful. But a question arises – how can employers help their team improve well-being in all these ways?

2.1. Well-being at the workplace

As employee health is of the greatest importance and as health insurance is becoming more expensive, it is worthwhile for employers to consider a well-designed health program that benefits both the well-being of employees and the organization.

It is noticeable to point out how personal well-being differs from workplace well-being. People are very different and each person can choose from various types of diets, healthy foods, and types of exercise that also can include our family members and friends. But at your office, there are some rules you should keep in mind to take into consideration the individual needs and not create very broad well-being initiatives that only a few will use

  1. Survey the employees. A report concerning employee retention reveals that 89% of HR representatives confirm that feedback from employee surveys about the processes in the company is an important aspect of its future operations and problem-solving. There is no need to try to guess what your employees need – it’s best to just ask and take action accordingly. Ask what they want and what is that the company can do to make them happier. Employees must feel empowered for these kinds of decisions. A company that listens to its employees has already taken the first step in improving the well-being of the team. An inclusive and understanding environment is the very basis for an employee to be able to feel good and engaged at work.
  2. Set some expectations and goals. Ask HR and company managers what are their goals and expectations from the well-being initiatives, managers are the key players of an employee engagement practice. A more positive work environment, improved relationships between the colleagues, better company reputation, or maybe less sick leaves. It will be much easier to create an effective health program if you know what’s the goal for it, as well as if you inform the team of the benefits that will come with participation. Also, help teams set their own health goals, because the practice of setting goals itself benefits a person’s well-being and clarifies things in life.
  3. Accessible for all. You can create a challenge by counting daily steps. Or counting workout minutes. But it is not a good idea to create, for example, a cycling challenge for all employees. This will have some backslash for those who don’t have a bicycle. So when promoting a healthy lifestyle in the work environment you should always consider whether everyone will be able to participate. Activities should be inclusive and appropriate for different ages and abilities and should allow people to do only what they feel comfortable enough with.
  4. Easy tool for tracking results. Employees will lose interest or even become annoyed if they have to enter detailed stats every day. So choose solutions that are easy to use or where the data is added automatically (for instance, counting steps, that can be imported automatically from your mobile phone health app). At the end of the activity, it is important to evaluate how successful it was. Ask: what went well? what could we do differently next time? etc.
  5. Have a social element. All employees should see the progress of other employees to express their appreciation with comments and share pictures. Sharing insights will not only make the activities more fun but also help to build closer and more meaningful relationships with the people you work with daily and pursue a common goal. Helping others and being friendly is an important part of well-being.
  6. Add extra motivation with gamification elements and rewards. Often we need a great amount of help to start doing something new, change our behavior, and leave our comfort zone. The good news: people like games because they let us experience emotions that are closely related to the main elements of happiness. Anadea statistics show that gamification makes employees more productive by as much as 90% and can improve motivation by 48%. Therefore, companies usually add some rewards or so-called “carrots” to boost the challenging spirit that’s inside each of us. Have some rewards (at least something symbolic) for the participant with the best results and for those who complete the challenge (for example, have 70 000 steps in a week).
  7. Don’t underestimate the efficiency of well-being and collect data. Are you aware of why it is necessary to implement well-being programs at the workplace? It is best if you measure the overall engagement/well-being/satisfaction levels at your company both before and after the challenge so that you realize all the benefits it provides. You might survey your employees, track the productivity of the team, or use other methods that suit them best in a particular situation. 
  8. Break the rules and make it simple. All the KPIs and tools can make the whole process sound complex and frustrating, especially if you are just starting well-being initiatives in your company. Maybe start with putting into practice something extremely simple and “Just Do It”. Find a local race and offer coworkers to train for some 10k or 20k race and ask the company to pay for participation. Or just ask the company to buy a boil of fruits 2x per week and place it in a common area. That could be a good place to start.

These are the fundamental aspects to consider when taking up well-being initiatives. What are your best tips on how to improve the well-being? And which health initiatives you believe would be great to have in your company? Feel free to share your ideas! 

2.1. Tricks that help to stick to the new well-being habits

Introducing new habits both in your life and in the daily lives of employees is not an easy task. At first, we are overwhelmed with enthusiasm, but when the initial excitement begins to fade, special effort and wise “tricks” must be used in order not to give up the new habit.

According to Dr. Stanford University Behavioral Psychologist Dr. B. J. Fogg, there are several cornerstones worth sticking to bring new healthy habits to life as effectively as possible in personal life or company culture. It is worth keeping in mind this model:

  1. Focus on the right behavior – it is important to focus on specific, clearly defined habits that you want to change, such as quitting sugar, sleeping for 8 hours, being physically active every day, etc. Try not to focus on what you need to give up, such as sweets or other unhealthy snacks, but instead be mindful about things like nutritious meals that fill you with energy, improve your ability to work, make you look better, and more.
  2. Keep it simple – most people underestimate how much attention is required to stick to a new habit. It is easy to start doing something new, but sticking to those newly introduced habits, in the long term, is a much more complicated process. Goals should be simple and easy to understand. Initially, it is better to aim for small habits that are relatively easy to achieve. It can be a small meditation, walk, or exercise breaks – anything that does not require a lot of time and can be easily integrated into the daily routine. Leonardo da Vinci has said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
  3. Celebrate achievements – it is no secret that habits are formed based on emotions and rewards. It is important to celebrate small victories and rejoice at every step that has allowed you to move forward on your way to the goal. Digital employee engagement platforms such as Efectio, which allows complementing health programs with gamification elements, will help to give the spirit of competition, interactivity and rewards for good results.
  4. Practice and repeat – developing new skills requires support, repetition, and regular practice. It can take 18 to 250 days for a person to develop a new habit, as well as an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become ‘automatic’.

Habits are small activities that we do every day, and they can also define the organization. Humans are creatures of habit, so it is usually more convenient for employees to simply continue their old habits than to start new ones, therefore when developing a well-being strategy, one must be aware of the potential resistance from employees. However, simple ‘micro-actions’, which are engaging on a daily basis and take only a short time, will transform the organization for the better.

3. KPIs for the well-being

Any business needs to justify the cost of a well-being program. Whether it’s well-being software, awards, healthy snacks, or a sports club subscription, you need to understand the impact of the activity on your company’s profitability and employee well-being. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can help companies improve employee well-being and job satisfaction by providing data that will allow them to measure the success of the program. But many wonder how to measure something as versatile and variable as well-being?

Measuring the level of well-being is extremely important, not only to show the organization’s management the correlation between well-being and better outcomes but also to highlight areas for improvement.

Determining the level of well-being

Happiness and well-being in the workplace are what each of us aspires to, but as we know, this concept can mean something different to each of us. Therefore, before making any changes, you should try to find out how happy your employees are at the moment, what factors positively and negatively affect specific employees, and how this could be addressed. The easiest way to do this is to ask employees for their feedback, asking how they feel overall and at work. Such surveys also need to be conducted after introducing well-being initiatives to find out what has improved and what has not. It should be noted, though: such an approach requires a fair and open corporate culture in which people feel free to share.

Although KPIs should be tailored to the needs of a particular organization, it is always necessary to determine the current level of well-being of your employees by addressing certain aspects. This is essential for the growth of any organization. Some of the factors that can help determine the current situation are:

  • Employee satisfaction (how satisfied employees are with their positions in the company, management, and colleagues).
  • Retention of employees (how likely is it that employees will remain in the company in the near future).
  • Employee motivation (how motivated employees are to succeed and invest in the success of the company).
  • Work environment (how satisfied employees are with the work environment and atmosphere).

Choosing the right KPIs

First, the overall goal of the KPIs needs to be defined, which will ensure that HR professionals pursue one goal and work in the same direction. When thinking about workplace health programs, some basic key performance indicators should be considered, like, physical fitness, nutrition, as well as cognitive, social, emotional, financial, and environmental well-being. The organization should then discuss their implementation and review the results weekly or monthly. For example, an organization can put positive mental health among the work team as a key performance indicator. To achieve this, it will be necessary to measure how well employees cope with stress, get along with colleagues, maintain a positive perspective of things, etc.

Measurements can be made in a variety of ways, not just through surveys. It is important, for example, to collect data on how many employees participated in the company’s health program and how many of those employees were actively engaged. Employee activity can be a sign of positive well-being. People who are happier and healthier also tend to be much more involved, and vice versa: higher levels of activity can improve well-being and increase joy.

Here are ideas on KPIs based on what type of well-being activities you want to measure:

  • Physical body – food
      1. Weight loss challenge
      2. Controlling water intake
      3. Healthy snack days
      4. Educating about how food impacts how we feel
  • Physical body – movement
      1. Daily/weekly step challenges – by a health organization it is recommended to have 10 000 steps per day (approximately 7 km)
      2. On-site/online workouts
      3. Encouraging to stretch every few hours, while at work
      4. Cycling, hiking, running, etc. team building activities
      5. Running a marathon or other races as a team
  • Environment
      1. Available perks at the office (coffee, gym, playroom, etc.)
      2. Comfortable and adapted workplace (work desk, lighting, personalization, etc.)
      3. Coaching and mentorship
      4. Work breaks
  • Social
      1. Interactions amongst all members
      2. Good collaboration mechanism
      3. Kind, friendly, and diverse organizational culture
  • Overall KPIs for HR that are connected 
    1. Happiness surveys (before and after well-being programs)
    2. Average time to achieve goals
    3. Retention
    4. Absenteeism

54% of benefits professionals cite employee morale as their most improved metric from implementing well-being programs (HUB). If a company performs well in terms of employee well-being, it will not take so much effort to engage them in other initiatives – they will improve together with the well-being of the whole organization.

4. Examples of well-being programs

We have explored some practical examples from other companies that have successfully implemented these programs in their workplace. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, so it can be helpful to borrow ideas from well-known companies and “test” what is the most appropriate and effective initiative or program.

By studying the types of health programs, it is revealed that all the largest and most popular companies in the world have implemented some kind of health initiatives. And no surprise: such companies need to set a good example for others, and their managers are aware they cannot do that without having any significant well-being programs. No matter how big or small the business, health activities will definitely bring benefits. Not only will they enhance the company’s reputation for being caring and responsible, but they can also help employees to improve their well-being, productivity, and quality of life in general. In other words, bring more happiness to this world!

Great examples of well-being activities at work

  • Sports lessons on site

It is known that sports activities not only keep us in tone but are also the best helper in the fight against stress. Larger companies are more and more frequently planning office space for a small gym, which helps attract new employees. However, even in smaller organizations, various sports activities, such as yoga twice a week in one of the largest rooms of the office, are no longer a rarity nowadays (the most important requirement for practicing yoga is simply the place to do it). However, if the company does not have the opportunity to carry out sports activities on-site, offer employees a subscription to a local sports club or swimming pool. It would be a remarkable gesture to improve the team’s well-being.

The most common companies with gyms are, of course, various sports brands, such as Reebok, Under Armor, Nike, as well as IT companies (like, Facebook and Weebly), where many employees spend a long time sitting at computers (which can be very harmful to our health in the long run, unless regular and intense enough movement is performed). For example, the SAS Institute, recognized as one of the best places to work, offers impressive gym and fitness programs to keep their whole team in good health. Adobe, on the other hand, offers pilates and kickboxing classes to its team on site for both relaxing and energetic types of personalities.

  • Healthy snacks

Recently, services that deliver healthy snacks to the office, giving employees a break to absorb energy, have become popular. And not in vain! All employees will enjoy the lunch and snack program, as food is compelling to everyone. It is unlikely that a company will be able to provide a healthy lunch for all employees, but small snacks rich in valuable nutrients, such as nuts, fruit, veggies, or dark chocolate, are the best way to promote healthy eating in the workplace. The organization should also allow enough time for employees not to choose fast food eateries or have lunch at their desk, but to have an opportunity to devote time for a healthy meal. Healthy, mindful and common eating breaks contribute not only to improving health but also to socialization among employees and a positive environment, because, as we know, well-being is also affected by how good are our relationships with other people and the environment in which we are situated.

  • Employee assistance programs

Well-being means not only taking care of the body but also the mind. By providing additional support initiatives, organizations ensure a degree of empathy and backing to their employees, thus fostering their satisfaction and confidence in their employers.

For example, Accenture provides confidential support on issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, etc. They provide access to, for example, financial assistance to all employees through support programs. Accenture also rewards its employees for setting and achieving well-being goals.

  • Sleep breaks

No matter how funny this well-being initiative may seem, a 15-minute nap in the middle of the day can help you regain energy and concentration. It even has clinically proven productivity benefits. That’s why innovative companies like Playtech, Google, Facebook, and Asana provide specialized lounges for employees who want to relax for a moment. Having such a flexible work schedule, employees can return to their projects with new energy.

The best recommendation would be to allow 15 minutes for employees to recharge in the way that suits them best, as everyone has their own best way to restore quickly. For some it could be a walk in the park, for another, it would be reading a book in a quiet area. Various studies indicate that a person can fully focus on work only 3-4 hours a day, so it’s necessary to look for ways that help to work effectively enough for the remaining working hours (even if those are tasks that require less concentration). Everyone receives energy in different ways, and by finding the right way, we can improve mental well-being and use time more efficiently.

  • Health challenges

Various well-being challenges can act as a useful team-building event. For example, a monthly challenge in which employees have to walk or run 10,000 steps every day. Nowadays, everyone has a pedometer on their phone or bracelet, so this is a relatively easy challenge. You can also challenge your team to cook lunch by themselves and take it to work instead of eating out, which is often more expensive and unhealthy because we don’t know how the food is prepared. Challenges can range from measuring the amount of water you drink per day, using stairs, providing meditation apps like Headspace (where they have their challenges), and more.

To motivate employees, it is necessary to reward at least the most active participants of the challenge, who have shown the best results, but the best – everyone who participated and tried. Such challenges will introduce gamification, giving motivating elements of competition and prizes that make activities more fun.

  • Initiatives for mental well-being

Many of the world’s best companies use meditation to create a happy and healthy workplace. Google has been offering meditation courses to its teams since 2007! These include attention training, self-knowledge, and mastery, as well as the development of mindful mental habits. On the other hand, Sony offers its employees free health assessments and personalized help at the office. Their New York office also has a healthy food café and even a weekly farmers market to encourage organic foods.

Different types of relaxation help to reduce stress. Employees of various companies such as SpaceX can enjoy massages that help relieve stress, tension, and back pain. Companies also tend to reward employees by offering gift cards in spas and recreation centers.

  • Flexible work schedule and environment

Airbnb regularly appears on the “best and happiest jobs” list. This company takes great care of the well-being of its employees in various ways. Airbnb even has a whole team that’s dedicated to ensuring the health and happiness of Airbnb employees. Its team also took part in setting up the company’s office, which offers various types of workspaces, such as standing desks. Airbnb also offers employees long vacations and flexible work schedules.

Even though American Express employs more than 50,000 people worldwide, they offer the opportunity to work from home to employees with young children, to people who live far from the office, or in the event of any unexpected events. Knowing that employees can work from home or take time to see a doctor or do family-related responsibilities will significantly reduce employee anxiety.

As we can see, companies are introducing health initiatives because they want employees to do the right things and support a happier life. Organizations also understand that a successful workforce ensures business achievements and that a high level of well-being is needed for a work team to be continuously engaged and productive. Nevertheless, it is important to add that well-being strategies are at their most effective when employees contribute to the program’s development and cultural change. And similarly, when the management is participating in all activities together with their teams (REBA Global).

5. Useful softwares to use for well-being initiatives

By addressing well-being, it is possible to increase productivity, generate new ideas, efficiency, and improve your skills. We may know very well how well-being can be enhanced, but the question is: where to find enough time to take care of all the various aspects of well-being regularly? Luckily, today, a huge number of digital tools have been designed to look after our well-being more conveniently and effectively. Almost a third of employers (30.5%) provide access to a smartphone app for well-being (REBA Global). However, a large number of applications can be confusing and overwhelming. What are the best apps to improve well-being? We have created a list of what we consider to be the most useful applications that have gained a lot of attention worldwide.

(Source: calm.com)

Meditation and arranging our thoughts

Even 5-20 minutes a day of meditating will help improve concentration. It is also recommended to develop mindfulness and reflect on the work that has to be done the next day, as well as to review what has been done on the current day.

Apps that offer programs to achieve various mindfulness goals (for example, to organize thoughts, improve sleep, personal growth, learn to meditate, etc.) will be useful for meditation. The University of East London has studied an app called Headspace, which used for 10 days already showed reduced depression and stimulated positive emotions. Before meditating, Headspace educates you on why a particular practice is helpful. Its courses also teach how to incorporate meditation into specific situations, such as prioritizing tasks at work, dealing with the death of a loved one, and more. Similarly, natural music is the basis of the Calm app, which contains mind exercises, meditation and stories for falling asleep. Calm also sends inspirational quotes for awareness every day.

Get the apps: https://www.headspace.com/

https://www.calm.com/

(Source: sleepcycle.com)

Sleep

A full night’s rest instead of overworking will double your next day’s productivity and well-being. Studies show that more sleep reduces stress, improves mood, cognitive ability, and the immune system.

Tracking your sleep habits nowadays can be quite easy, namely with a mobile device. Sleep Research Society’s study found that sleep sensors can accurately track sleep stages. Sleep tracking apps can help you discover what internal and external factors affect our sleep. We tend to move more in the early stages of sleep and less during deep sleep, so by tracking movements, the device understands which sleep state we are in and is able to determine the duration of the phase.

The Sleep Cycle app is highly valued for not only providing easy-to-read data analytics (how long did it take you to fall asleep, how many deep phases of sleep you went through, for how many hours you were sleeping), but also allows you to set the alarm so that it wakes you up at the most convenient 30-minute interval during the sleep cycle. The Sleep Genius application is used even by NASA astronauts because of their relaxation programs, which use research-based sounds that help you fall asleep faster and, likewise, use the best sounds to wake up our brains quickly.

Get the apps: https://www.sleepcycle.com/

https://advancedbrain.com/sleep-genius/

(Source: audible.com)

Time for hobbies

Find a hobby that brings joy, satisfaction, and new energy. Hobbies help to develop new skills, as well as allow the mind to disconnect from daily stress and work responsibilities. Studies show that people who enjoy hobbies feel more interested are more cheerful, have less stress, and lower heart rate, even several hours after doing the hobby. There are many apps that can help you to discover new hobbies or just try out new things.

Duolingo allows you to learn 30+ languages ​​online with small snippets. The app makes language learning fun because it uses a variety of interactive, game-like techniques. Another great app for hobbies is Audible – a world-famous app, and for good reason. It has a huge virtual library of different books and it allows you to spend more time reading if that’s one of your hobbies that you have not enough time to devote for. Audible allows you to listen to a book while doing other things, such as cleaning your home or standing in a traffic jam. Whereas if you want to learn the basics of photography, use Elements Of Photography (EOP), which illustrates what every photographer needs to know, before starting, and offers a variety of tips for taking better photos. Offering small “step-by-step” courses, app How to Draw is suitable for anyone who wants to learn drawing and offers virtual training in various categories, such as cartoons, animals and nature.

Get the apps: https://www.duolingo.com/

https://www.audible.com/

http://www.elementsofphotography.com/

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/how-to-draw-learn-drawing/id1428780100

(Source: mypacer.com)

Movement and sports

People are made to be actively moving around every day. However, unlike the everyday life of our predecessors, most of the work today (at which we spend at least half a day) does not involve a significant amount of movement. Therefore, the humans of the 21st century are forced to look for ways to move regularly and keep themselves in tone.

Fitness apps for smartphones have become increasingly popular in recent years. Pacer Pedometer is an easy-to-use free application that allows you to check if the required number of steps has been taken per day. The app also shows the distance you’ve reached, the time spent in the activity, a calendar with monthly statistics, plus an opportunity to record your running/jogging sessions. Simple and offering all you need. Yoga Studio, on the other hand, offers users workouts for balance, flexibility and strength, as well as specific needs such as back pain postures and yoga for runners. 10K Trainer by C25K will appeal to running enthusiasts. It is designed to boost the runner’s endurance so that you can run 10K at the end of the third month (other apps with 5K, 25K are also available).

Get the apps: https://www.mypacer.com/

https://www.yogastudioapp.com/

https://www.zenlabsfitness.com/

(Source: ewg.org/foodscores)

Nutrition

Nutrition affects not only how energetic we feel but also our mental abilities and productivity. If we eat unhealthily and poorly, we will not be able to fully engage in work. A bad habit, however, a common one is to sacrifice lunch for urgent work. In this way, we develop the habit of working at the expense of our health. Using a nutrition app helps you focus more on eating habits. And that’s always important to devote time to.

Not everyone is able to navigate food labels well and not everyone has time to examine them when buying products. With the Fooducate app, you can scan nutrition labels to assess how healthy the product is. For example, if it contains a lot of artificial sweeteners, Fooducate will display a red exclamation mark to warn you. EWG’s Food Scores works similarly – they have created a database of more than 50,000 products, each ranked on a scale of 1-10 depending on three categories: nutrition, ingredients and processing levels. Fresh products will show a score of 1, but extremely processed (which is harmful to our health) – 10. Another easy to use and helpful app is Green Kitchen. It offers recipes for vegetarian dishes with natural ingredients and minimal use of gluten, sugar and dairy products. This app will help you eat more vegetables on a daily basis which we at most times do not consume in sufficient quantities, although they are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and the basis of our well-being.

Get the apps: https://www.fooducate.com/

https://www.ewg.org/foodscores/

https://greenkitchenstories.com/apps/

(Source: plantnanny.app)

Water

It is not a novelty or a huge discovery, but drinking water on a daily basis promotes metabolism, supplies the body with the necessary minerals and oxygen, so the brain can work properly. But in the daily rush, we can forget about drinking. How to create a habit of drinking enough water every day or replace coffee and sweetened drinks with water? 

Drink Water Reminder is a very useful app, the purpose of which is to encourage the user to drink water at a certain interval (to which one becomes used to over time). All you have to do is add info, like, what time you get up, when you go to bed and how often you want to drink water (every 10 minutes to every 3 hours) and you will receive customized reminders. By the way, a similar and very interesting water app is Plant Nanny, which uses gamification by drinking water. Namely, it gives you a virtual plant that you must not let dry during the day. How? By drinking enough water. Another app, My Water Balance, based on your personal data, calculates how much water you need per day. The app also allows you to choose the types of drinks (even compotes, kvass, protein shakes, etc.) that you take during the day, which will change the percentage of how much of the daily dose you have reached. By the way, on My Water Balance, alcohol consumption reduces this percentage.

Get the apps: http://www.waterdrinkreminder.com/

https://plantnanny.app/

All in all, that’s a fact: our smartphones have become an essential part of our well-being. From communicating with friends, gaining new knowledge to looking up food recipes, or listening to music. If used wisely, they can make our lives more convenient, therefore, it makes sense why sometimes we feel we can’t live without our phones anymore. Even though not all well-being apps are useful, some of them have gained widespread attention and can improve our well-being and enjoyment of life, when used properly and diligently.

Final thoughts

Every employer needs a work team with better health, higher energy levels and job satisfaction rates. It is recommended for managers to complement well-being programs with gamification elements and motivating rewards so that employees would feel appreciated and engaged. 

Remember that well-being is vital and there are so many initiatives that can be done. There is no question whether you need this in your work environment, it’s rather obvious – Yes, you need it!  The only question is – which activities should you implement first? And the best solution would be to start very simple and test what works and what doesn’t in the specific workplace. Activities will be dependent on the organizational culture, core values, people’s needs, feelings, etc., but eventually, you will find the best way to help the well-being thrive!

Sources:

  1. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236483/enhances-benefits-employee-engagement.aspx
  2. https://connect.virginpulse.com/files/PulsePaper_BusinessHealthyEmployees2014.pdf
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  19. https://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/csr_report/employees/
  20. https://www.businessinsider.com/spacex-worker-company-culture-2017-11
  21. https://livingroomanalytics.com/2019/08/21/how-airbnb-became-the-worlds-best-place-to-work/
  22. https://jobs.americanexpress.com/virtual/jobs?keywords=work%20from%20ho&page=1
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