AccessElite Well-being

The Science of Total Well-Being

Employees are seeking more flexibility and wellness than ever before, and they are not afraid to quit their jobs to get them. Nearly half of U.S. workers might leave their current role post-pandemic, a new Return to the Workplace report reveals. Another recent survey shows that one in four employees already plans to quit due to burnout. As the boundaries between work, home and personal life have blurred, responsibilities have increased, support systems and resources have drastically diminished, and people’s health is suffering.

Employee turnover and poor health have significant consequences on organizations’ bottom lines. The cost of replacing an individual employee is up to two times their annual salary, which on a national scale adds up to $1 trillion, according to Gallup. Lost productivity, as a result of missing work or underperforming due to illness, burnout or feeling unwell, cost companies $575 billion in 2019, according to a study from the IBI Institute.

This is a critical moment for organizations: a time for meaningful action and for creating environments in which employees can thrive. To address the root of the problem, leaders need to start by defining a culture that nurtures total well-being. Next comes aligning people around shared values, activating them, implementing programs to drive high adoption and continuously fuel the ecosystem.

Here is why total well-being should be a top priority for your company. The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete well-being, not merely the absence of disease. Healthy employees show up to work with energy, commitment and purpose. Their individual well-being extends to their organizations’ well-being. They are motivated to stay in their roles and perform at their best, which will be reflected in their results and their employers’ profitability.

To establish total well-being, you have to actively build its core pillars: physical, mental, emotional and social health. Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind.

1. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The body, mind, and emotional and social dimension don’t exist in a vacuum; they are interconnected, in constant dialogue, feeding each other. The way you think and feel affects how you act, and the cycle can begin with any one of these areas. In addition, your output and work performance are impacted by a range of factors, including a sense of purpose and social connection. Rather than treating symptoms as one-off issues or navigating challenges as they come up, the goal should be to create synergy. An effective program will cover well-being as a fully integrated lifestyle, including tools, resources and support across each dimension.

2. Cultivate healthy habits. It’s incumbent on leaders to create the time and space to enable new, healthy routines. Habits are formed when we see cues and engage in a routine in order to get a reward. This concept can be applied to everything from fitness and meditation courses to tele-health appointments to team-building events. Employers can spark interest with fresh programming, empower people to block out time for self-care, schedule fun activities at regular times, and create a reward system with fun challenges to encourage participation. 

3. Activate through experiences. Total well-being fuels the body, engages the mind, creates social connection, and nurtures positive emotions, including satisfaction and fulfillment. To activate these areas, organizations can offer virtual classes and events across general health, mindfulness, nutrition, cooking, parenting, art, culture and personal development. A successful well-being program will be there for people whenever and wherever they need it. In addition, companies should be able to deliver personalized solutions addressing a range of questions employees may ask as they check in with themselves: 

  • Am I taking care of my physical health and sustaining my wellness?
  • In what ways am I encouraging awareness and acceptance?
  • What do I feel grateful for?
  • Is there an activity I’m looking forward to today?
  • Have I set aside time in my day for relaxation and me-time?
  • What is one thing I’m doing for myself?
  • Am I using my skills or finding meaning in my work and passions?
  • What is one thing I’m curious about or might want to learn?
  • Do I feel that my relationships are rewarding?
  • How am I connecting with co-workers or contributing to my community?

For more ideas on how to approach culture development and employee engagement through total well-being, reach out to

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.