Interim CEO, WELCOA
If you think about the workplace as a microcosm of broader societal issues, there is a lot to learn from the different ways that people are thriving or not thriving during this pandemic. How can treating the organization as that microcosm make us better at navigating wellness? Access to proper care, social connection, resources for healthy living, and adequate physical safety are all basic human needs that also need to be fulfilled in the workplace.
Wellness is more prominent in the workplace than it ever has been before. This means that organizations need to think about whether their employees feel taken care of and safe. Organizations looking to bring people back to work need to reassess the basics of human need. Do employees feel that through this pandemic their organization has cared about their needs and safety? Not feeling supported by an employer could have some very serious consequences for both employee wellness and employee engagement.
Organizations should start with asking questions like,“How can I help fulfill my employees’ needs?” The goal is to create a microcosm of wellness that makes employees feel truly cared for in the midst of uncertain times. In order to achieve true wellness at work, here is a list of basic human needs that should be reflected in the workplace:
- Health: Beyond the absence of mental and physical illness, health is a feeling of strength and energy from your body and mind.
- Meaning: This includes feeling part of something bigger than yourself, knowing that your work matters, and having purpose.
- Safety: Knowing that you are safe from physical and psychological harm, and being able to trust your organization and team is paramount.
- Connection: Experiencing positive, trusting relationships with others. Feeling a sense of belonging, acceptance, and support.
- Achievement: Feeling you have the support, resources and autonomy to achieve your goals.
- Growth: Learning and being challenged to use and expand on your strengths.
- Resiliency: Viewing life with optimism. Feeling grateful and expressing appreciation.
Wellness requires investing in what humans are motivated by and what they truly need. Let’s get back to what we know about what basic human needs, and let’s think about that in the context of the future of work.