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How Does Employee Wellness Affect Performance?

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

Employee wellness consists of many different factors such as emotional, intellectual, physical, social, environmental, financial and purpose. All of these tied together are what create an employee's quality of life both personally and professionally. These factors all individually contribute to an employee's performance at work since they affect things such as focus, decision making, motivation and more. Emotional Wellness Also known as emotional health or emotional wellbeing, emotional wellness is a person's ability to process, understand and handle their emotions during various events in life. Emotional wellness impacts almost every aspect of our life since humans are emotional creatures, there is an array of emotions behind everything we see, do and create. Emotional wellness aids in our ability to keep relationships happy and healthy since strong meaningful friendships often need a deep understanding of both our own and others' emotions, even our work relationships can require this deep understanding. Our work lives are often affected by our emotional wellness which may be surprising to some as the workplace is seen as a professional area where only logical thinking is used, not emotional. Although this may be true to some, there is still emotion behind things such as how motivated towards our job or our goals are. Our emotional wellness helps in the process of being able to handle setbacks, conflicts, mistakes, or failures without completely giving up. Poor emotional wellness can cause employees to react drastically to minor inconveniences or lack the confidence to begin or complete tasks as they fear the outcome and doubt their own ability to do their job well. These difficulties at work can lead to hypertension and a large lack of focus which will lower work standards and increase stress levels which are known to lead to illness over long periods of time. To manage employees’ emotional wellness, it is important to be promoting mindfulness as well as being open to the topic of mental health and having strategies in place readily available for employees if and when needed. Intellectual Wellness Intellectual wellness consists of engaging activities that stimulate our minds to encourage creativity, improve our mental health and expand our knowledge. Taking the time to explore passions, hobbies, personal development, professional development, cultural involvement, and general interests is what helps keep our intellectual wellness at a good level. Intellectual wellness benefits an organisation by keeping the employee's creativity flow moving forwards, even if their preferred topics to learn about don't tie in with the work they do, it can still provide good motivation towards both their passions and their job. Intellectual wellness encourages a huge workplace factor which is learning. Already, 41% of employees consider their organisation's career advancement opportunities a very important factor for job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is responsible for keeping employees engaged in the workplace and helps avoid absenteeism as well as thoughts of resignation. The potential of people is limitless and organisations should be willing to take the time to care for intellectual wellness in order to keep their employees growing and developing all kinds of skills useful to the workplace and for personal use. Physical Wellness Physical wellness is our instinctual need for physical activity, healthy foods and a good night's sleep. These three factors have a large impact on life as a whole and that includes the workplace largely too. Physical activity is known to increase mood and can be a great outlet for any built-up stress as well as keeping our bodies healthy and avoiding illnesses. Many organisations are aware of this and implement strategies such as free gym access to employees to encourage healthier lifestyles in order to keep their work performance levels increasing or at least above the average. Nutrition is also an important factor that helps with illness as well as good brain function. It is very common for hardworking employees to neglect this aspect of their physical health, using excuses such as “I don't have time to make meals, I have too much work to do” These unhealthy eating habits lead to employee absences since overeating or under eating can cause illnesses such as headaches, migraines, stomach aches etc. Research into the eating habits of employees also shows us that employees with poor eating habits suffer more than the average person from emotional strain, especially over their diet choices. We also know that undereating causes employees to struggle to make decisions, solve problems and regulate their emotions since brain activity is affected by even modest dieting. Lunch breaks need to be a suitable amount of time for employees to be able to finish a good meal or have more than enough time to be able to buy food from a nearby shop, alternatively, some organisations are able to provide food at work which is an effective way of encouraging and making sure employees are eating well. Currently, 43% of workers are sleep-deprived and lack of sleep has been shown to costs the UK economy £40.3 billion every year due to loss of productivity in the workplace. Consistent lack of sleep has a long term impact on physical health, most commonly weakening the immune system, making employees suffering from lack of sleep more susceptible to illnesses such as the common cold. Sleep deprivation then has knock-on effects on an employee's mental health, causing them to be slower and concentration issues will arise. Focus is one of the key factors that help us achieve high-performance levels at work and our physical wellbeing largely impacts this.

Social Wellness Social wellness is based on the relationships we have with family, friends and acquaintances as well as how we manage new relationships, so our social wellness is our ability to maintain and nurture relationships as well as foster new, meaningful and successful bonds too. Optimal levels of social wellness is what enables us to have the ability to form healthy and stable relationships at work which is how we attain being able to handle conflict, have open conversations and create boundaries with good levels of trust. Having good social wellness also develops our emotional resilience which makes times of crisis and stress much more manageable in both personal lives and your work lives, this does not remove stress and difficulties completely, but it does allow employees to adapt to adversity without lasting difficulties. Performance consultants and those with an understanding of good workplace culture will know how important worker's relationships are to the organisation and their personal wellbeing, performance and motivation. Bad social wellness can cause the feeling of exclusion amongst employees, especially if other employees seem to have better social wellness amongst each other. A lack of social wellness may cause employees to then refrain from contributing to team meetings or attend team-building sessions if possible to avoid them, all causing the social wellness to spiral to even lower levels than before. This affects performance levels by secluding the employee completely, they most likely will not ask for help on certain tasks which may cause a drop in their work quality. If this drop in quality is then noticeable to the employee themself, they could begin to lose motivation and confidence, leading to imposter syndrome and/or low self-esteem. Leaders should nurture every relationship in the organisation and constantly encourage and guide employees through the process of forming their own healthy friendships at work. These real, trusting, open and caring relationships are what bring good teamwork, people will notice who they have chemistry with and this will give the organisation every advantage it needs to have strong teams who work well together.


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