With the fast pace of change and constant, multiple demands on our time, modern life can be a minefield of stress. The consequences of this fast-paced, high stress lifestyle are far reaching, impacting on health and wellbeing, both in our private and professional lives. Regaining and maintaining a sense of equilibrium can be a precarious balancing act, but crucial to an optimal life.

Much like spinning plates, it doesn’t take much of a distraction to put the whole finely tuned balancing act at risk. All too often we hear about senior managers who devote so much time and energy to work they forget about the reasons for working in the first place.

While there do seem to be pockets of people who have an almost intuitive grasp on maintaining balance and wellbeing in their lives, many of us still need to learn a few tricks it would seem.

A wellbeing focus can offer insights on how to be happy, healthy, motivated and ready to work. Enabling business leaders and employees to improve their sense of self and wellbeing, with focusing on building resilience in times of stress and allowing people to pause and reflect on their personal strengths, values and purpose.

“Our research shows that improved employee wellbeing leads to better engagement in the workplace and ultimately to a more productive organisation,” says Sarah Trotman, director of Executive Education at AUT.

Employers who are committed to the idea of wellbeing for their staff are more likely to attract and retain talented staff. At the same time, a “well” workforce provides a lift in productivity, employee engagement and organisational performance.

But what is “wellbeing” and how can we know when we’re achieving it?

The concept of wellbeing is best defined by the World Health Organisation as a state wherein “every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

The international research-based, global performance-management consulting company Gallup, well-known for the International Gallup Wellbeing Index has adopted this definition. Gallup has expanded the definition to include five elements of wellbeing –

  • Career
  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Social
  • Community

A sense of wellbeing is achieved when all five elements are in alignment and life feels rich and fulfilled, people are more productive and happier as a result. It all boils down to a sense of balance in life.

For many, turning to physical activities is a great way to balance the mostly sedentary lifestyle that office dwellers tend to have. Research also shows that spending money on experiences rather than possessions improves wellbeing. Within a work context, employees who use their strengths within their jobs have higher levels of wellbeing as do those with strong social connections both in and out of work.

No matter how balance is achieved, people can feel that wellbeing is something that to be taken seriously. Being able to discuss issues like resilience, strengths, purpose and meaning with colleagues and sharing their concerns and ideas in a safe environment is something many would like to do more of.

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