Changing an Organization’s Wellbeing Behaviour

March 4, 2023

Organizational wellbeing is a hot topic. Forbes, HBR and Entrepreneur Magazine are all talking about it. But how an organization defines wellbeing combined with the consistent intentional actions they take to move toward it are the keys to flourishing at work.For those working in a school environment, wellbeing is for staff and for students. Both are “at work”. It’s a symbiotic relationship of sorts where thriving across a campus means every individual has an impact on those they share their workplace with.So what exactly is wellbeing? Some workplaces choose to see wellbeing as keeping physically health, introducing weight loss challenges, naps, and healthy lunches. Others place focus on work/life balance by drawing clear boundaries about appropriate email sending hours and ensuring adequate down-time. Another take on wellbeing is looking through the lens of risk management, ensuring physical safety as a priority. And recently, many schools are also putting focus on ensuring an equitable and inclusive school environment.

What is thriving or flourishing?

We define it as when you feel good and so you can do your best. Of course this requires teachers and students to have an ability to spend mindful time reflecting on how they feel and expanding their emotional literacy. If you can't feel the feeling and name that feeling you are much less likely to regulate your emotions well. One way to view school wellbeing is encompassing all aspects of reducing illbeing and increasing wellbeing. A strong definition comes from the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (2013) defines as a healthy and safe workplace as “a workplace that promotes workers’ psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to worker psychological health including negligent, reckless or intentional ways”. Thriving requires attention to improving areas of detriment Allowing individuals to use their strengths is another part of wellbeing. Character Strengths are the positive personality attributes that drive thoughts, choices, and feelings. Different than talents and skills, character strengths reflect you at your best and have been shown to have positive impact on wellbeing. A first step might be to assess individual strengths and then develop a culture that supports the use of individual strengths. The next six areas important to wellbeing (either organizational or individual are:

  1. Positivty
  2. Accomplishment
  3. Vitality
  4. Meaning & Purpose
  5. Positive Relationships
  6. Engagement

There are many different ways to use all six to improve workplace wellbeing. Here are a few suggestions:Wellbeing Wednesdays- Each week there will be a wellbeing boosting activity on Wednesday. These can range from a lunchtime nature walk to a free CPR class onsite. Every time a team member participates they are entered in a draw to win a wellbeing weekend at a spa.Monthly Themes- Pick 12 themes and focus on one a month. Choose diverse and topical themes like gratitude challenge, nutrition month, personality assessment month, exercise month, mentor month, creativity challenge etc. Book Club- Try starting a “Best You Book Club” where every month there is a book that participants read, try incorporating ideas that resonate at work and at home. Click here to download or recommended list for 2020. Discounts- Create group discounts at health clubs, yoga studios, meditation classes etc.Positive Feedback Loop- in team meetings ask each team member to write down one great thing they did that week and one great thing someone else did. Reading these allows team leads to see what each individual feels pride about and at the end of each month the team member most mentioned by others gets a reward of some type.The sharing of opportunities as a whole organization-wide community to understand and engage with the science of wellbeing is the best place to begin. Adopting long-term, policies and practices which support and nurture wellbeing within individuals and across the organization is how to anchor these habits.IIf you have examples of how your workplace or school has made positive organizational change using Positive Education, we’d love to hear about it!

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