is producing a growing body of evidence that improved well-being in the
workplace is good for business. Improving
the well-being of a workforce helps create a work culture that boosts
loyalty, increases productivity, improves morale and cooperation, and
decreases absenteeism. Well-being is a key factor in performance
New Economics Foundation (NEF) was commissioned by the British
Government to research the drivers of well-being.*
In this study, well-being is comprised of two main elements: feeling good and functioning well. Feelings of happiness,
contentment, enjoyment, curiosity and engagement are characteristic of
someone who has a positive experience of their life. Equally important
for well-being is one’s functioning in the world. Experiencing
positive relationships, having some control over one’s life and having
a sense of purpose are all important attributes of well-being.
Actions for Wellbeing
The NEF’s review of the most up-to-date evidence suggests that
building the following five actions into our day-to-day lives is
important for well-being:
1. Connect Connect
with the people around you: family,
friends, colleagues and neighbors. Think
as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them.
Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
2. Be Active Go
for a walk or run, cycle, dance, play games, garden etc.
Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a
physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and
3. Take Notice Be
curious. Catch sight of the beautiful, remark on the unusual, notice the
changing seasons, savor the moment, and
whether you are walking to work, eating lunch, or talking to friends,
be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting
on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
4. Keep Learning Try
something new, rediscover an old interest, sign up for a course,
take on a different responsibility at work, fix a bike, learn to
play an instrument or how to cook your favorite foods. Set a challenge
you will enjoy achieving. Learning
new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
5. Give Do
something nice for a friend, colleague, or a stranger: thank
someone, smile, volunteer your time, join a community group, etc. Look
out, as well as in. Seeing yourself as linked
to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates
connections with the people around you.
The NEF study
concludes that each action theme (connect, be active, take notice, keep
learning, give) positively enhances personal well-being. The study
suggests that following the advice of these interventions enhances
personal well-being by making a person feel good and by bolstering
his/her mental capital. The actions mainly influence well-being and
mental capital by interacting at the level of “functioning.” They
may not be sufficient to denote “good functioning” in its entirety
but, according to the evidence base to date, they play an essential role
in satisfying needs for positive relationships, autonomy, competency, and
With your team
discuss the five actions for well-being listed above.
Then for each, brainstorm ways that each can be enhanced in the
workplace. Then select one
brainstormed action for each of the five categories and devise an
implementation plan to put them into practice for your team and/or your
Ways to Well-Being,
The New Economics Foundation, 3 Jonathan Street, London SE11 5NH;
commissioned by the Foresight’s Mental Capital and Well-being Project.