When the pandemic began, well-being suddenly became central to our conversation about work. As a Chief Well-being Officer, I was glad to see the increasing acknowledgment and awareness that we’re in the midst of what can only be called a well-being crisis. But now, in the wake of the pandemic, how do we move forward to do something about it? That’s the subject of a groundbreaking new report by Deloitte called “The Workforce Well-being Imperative: Paving the way for human sustainability.”
The top-level takeaway is that we need to dramatically broaden our notions of well-being. This needs to happen at the collective and organizational level, but there are also things we can do in our own lives to help drive this culture shift.
The report notes that in responding to the challenges of pandemic, most organizations have given significant attention and resources to employee well-being. But, as study authors put it, “Although the intent is good, little progress can be made if the root causes of poor workforce well-being are not addressed.” And those root causes are what we call the “work determinants of well-being.”
Public health institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO) talk about the “social determinants of health,” which the WHO defines as “the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. Included in those factors is work. The reason why we’ve expanded that idea into the work determinants of well-being is because work has a huge influence on every aspect of our physical and mental well-being.
The study breaks down the work determinants of well-being into three categories: leadership behaviors at all levels; how our jobs are designed, by both ourselves and our organizations; and our ways of work, or how we get our work done. To understand how these factors impact our well-being, Deloitte surveyed over 1,200 U.S. employees across a range of industries, regions, and socio-economic levels.
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