Differences Between Employee Wellness and Employee Well-being
Work Wellness

Differences Between Employee Wellness and Employee Well-being

|Aug 26, 2023
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Employee wellness and employee well-being have a lot in common. Both focus on improving workers' lifestyles and refer to their goodness. 

However, although many use them interchangeably, both terms are different. While one focuses on physical health, the other takes a broader approach to ensure employees live fully in and out of the workplace. 

Most organizations have focused on employees' physical health for years. However, people need much more than that to improve their performance and quality of life. Workers must nurture and care for their body, mind, and soul! 

Therefore, it's important to understand the differences between employee wellness and well-being. Is that what brought you here? Read on to find all the information you need about these terms! 

What Is Employee Wellness and Employee Well-being?

In order to understand the differences between the two terms, you should know what each one means. 

Employee or corporate wellness focuses on workers' physical health and involves the following aspects: 

  • Health management
  • Disease prevention
  • Workplace safety
  • Disaster management

What Is Employee Wellness and Employee Well-being?

Why Do Organizations Offer Wellness Benefits?

Corporate wellness programs have been around for decades but gained more popularity during the pandemic. Why did this happen? 

More and more organizations now offer comprehensive wellness programs because of their advantages, such as reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity, employee retention, and better job culture. 

In addition, employee wellness programs provide the following benefits to organizations and their employees: 

  • Key information on how to behave in a working environment
  • Greater proactivity in saving each other and providing support if a workplace emergency occurs
  • Safety and physical measures to perform in order to avoid disasters, accidents, or illnesses at workplaces 

However, many companies and employers face several challenges when implementing employee wellness programs, such as difficulties to track each employee's wellness score if they work remotely. Furthermore, this approach is not holistic.

Why Do Organizations Offer Wellness Benefits?

What Is Employee Well-being?

The term "employee well-being" is broader and encompasses many more aspects, as it not only covers efforts to boost workers' physical condition but also involves their mental health and job performance. 

In this regard, employee well-being programs focus on workers' mental or emotional, physical, occupational, and financial health. 

Besides ensuring that employees have optimal physical and mental health, these programs also make sure they can perform their best, overcome financial difficulties, and increase their productivity. 

Compared to wellness efforts, well-being programs don't adopt a siloed approach but integrated methods that address different key aspects of each employee's experience. Therefore, they also have a higher chance of engagement. 

Now, these efforts are replacing traditional wellness programs, offering more options to boost employees' overall well-being through activities and benefits that enhance every aspect of their lives on and off the job.

What Is Employee Well-being?

Why Do Organizations Offer Well-being Benefits?

Programs focused on employee well-being offer many benefits to organizations and their workers, including the following: 

  • Help organizations provide better and more favorable workplace experiences to their staff
  • Works for all employees, even if they work remotely from different locations
  • Improves engagement rates, keeping employees delighted and happy 

However, well-being programs also have several limitations, as they need data and well-thought-out strategies to work, require large budgets that most small companies cannot afford, and must be monitored and updated on a regular basis.

Why Do Organizations Offer Well-being Benefits?

Employee Wellness vs. Well-being – Key Differences

Now that you know each term, it's time to compare employee well-being vs wellness to choose the one your organization needs. 

As mentioned, employee wellness and well-being have a lot in common and are used interchangeably. However, these terms are different and serve different purposes within an organization. 

The main difference lies in the approach of each. Wellness programs focus on workers' physical health. Therefore, they consider health assessments to provide management and disease prevention recommendations. 

Additionally, wellness programs teach employees the actions they must take to achieve specific goals, leaving little room for individual choices.

That's why many wellness programs go unnoticed. These alternatives often encourage one-off actions but don't usually result in significant behavioral changes or have a far-reaching impact on employees' lives. 

Contrastingly, employee well-being programs encompass workers' mental and physical needs in a comprehensive way, considering their emotions and preferences to provide a satisfying workplace experience. 

Well-being efforts also involve actions that can improve employees' productivity and job performance, which not only benefits them but also the organizations they work for. 

In addition, many well-being programs consider workers' financial situations as part of their overall health and prioritize social interactions, relaxation, and entertainment as basic needs.

Employee Wellness vs. Well-being – Key Differences

Employee Wellness vs. Well-being – Which One Does Your Organization Need?

According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, wellness programs have evolved to include benefits that address workers' growth, physical and mental health, financial health, and purpose. 

In other words, organizations are shifting to a broader approach that not only focuses on employees' physical condition but on their overall well-being. 

High employee well-being can boost satisfaction, retention, teamwork, and productivity, ultimately improving a company's bottom line. Therefore, these programs are more suitable for today's organizations. 

Why Should Your Organization Prioritize Employee Well-being?

Here are the main reasons why an organization should prioritize employee well-being over corporate wellness: 

Happy Employees Don't Miss Work

Employees who often struggle with emotional, financial, and personal issues get sick more often than those who enjoy optimal well-being. 

Even if they're at the office, workers with poor physical and mental health may not be productive, which can hurt both their performance and the company's operations. 

However, focusing on employees' well-being will result in a happier workforce that reports to work without feeling forced and genuinely enjoys completing daily tasks to benefit the company.

Happy Employees Don't Miss Work

Healthy Employees are More Engaged

Workers who enjoy optimum mental and physical health are also more likely to commit to their roles and get their tasks done on time. Plus, they often get better results. 

Employees who get support from their employers are often willing to put in more effort to succeed. They also know how to deal with stress and can contribute to a positive workplace environment, increasing productivity. 

Happy and Healthy Employees Stay Longer

If increasing employee retention is one of your goals, you should also consider their well-being. When employers take a holistic approach and really care about workers' mental and physical health, they'll want to stay with the company longer. 

Employees who feel like valued individuals rather than just workers and believe their values ​​are aligned with the company's goals often work for the same employer over the long term. 

When you combine employee well-being with other benefits, you can also create a happy team with workers who are willing to stay, increasing retention and decreasing quits.

Happy and Healthy Employees Stay Longer

How to Boost Employee Well-being at the Workplace?

As you can see, boosting employee well-being can bring many benefits to your organization, but how can you do it? If you don't have a plan in place, don't worry! Here are some ideas and tips you can implement: 

Create an Active Work Environment

Although this approach is broader than employee wellness, employee well-being also considers workers' physical condition. Furthermore, exercise has a positive effect on their mental health. Therefore, you must make your workplace ideal for staying active. 

An L-shaped standing desk not only adapts to various room layouts to provide more space but also helps workers add more movement to their workday. 

These pieces of furniture have been designed to alternate between sitting and standing, which is ideal for reducing back pain and fatigue, burning calories, strengthening muscles, and more!

Create an Active Work Environment

Make Every Workspace Comfortable

Workers should also feel comfortable in their workspaces, whether they work in an office or from home. An ergonomic adjustable desk can adjust to differen types of posture and relieve pain associated with prolonged sitting. However, it isn't the only thing you need. 

An ergonomic chair is essential to make a workspace comfortable. In addition, these pieces of furniture are ideal for practicing active sitting, which involves performing movements similar to those people do when standing and walking. This activity offers many benefits, such as improved blood circulation and core muscle strengthening. 

Provide Flexible Options to Your Employees

As explained in the "Employee Well-being vs. Wellness" section, today's companies don't just focus on workers' physical health. Instead, organizations prioritize their staff members' quality of life. 

People have multifaceted lives that include activities outside of their workplaces. If you offer flexible work options, your employees will find a way to accommodate their personal needs and habits with professional tasks. 

As a result, they'll be motivated to continue working on your projects or stay with your organization for longer. 

In addition, employees who can choose between flexible work options don't feel like corporate robots but like partners and are often willing to put in more effort to succeed in the company.

Provide Flexible Options to Your Employees

Focus on Personal Development and Growth

Compared to employee wellness, employee well-being leaves room for personal needs on an emotional, mental, financial, and professional level. 

Do you want your employees to work in your company for years? That requires commitment! However, people won't commit to a company that doesn't offer opportunities for personal and professional growth.

No employee, especially young people, will want to sacrifice their self-development for a company that doesn't value their role. Therefore, companies that really care about workers' well-being and want to increase retention levels should give them the opportunity to grow and achieve their goals.

You can create individual development plans according to your employees' goals and aspirations. This will create a sense of purpose that will also motivate them to contribute to the company. 

Besides offering opportunities, try to encourage your employees to share their knowledge and experiences with others.

Focus on Personal Development and Growth

Recognize and Praise Your Employees' Efforts

As part of your efforts to boost your employees' well-being, you can also recognize and praise them for their efforts and contributions. 

Recognition can make your employees feel that your company values ​​them and help them see that their contributions really benefit their team, motivating them to put more effort into their work for better results. 

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Promote Mental Health Awareness

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 280 million people in the world suffer from depression. Furthermore, the latest data showed that over 300 million individuals live with an anxiety disorder. 

Considering those statistics, it's safe to guess that a few employees struggle with mental health issues in almost any workplace. Therefore, companies should join the fight against depression and anxiety by offering resources to their workers. 

Organizations can offer mental awareness programs and counseling to help their employees seek help early if they're struggling with personal or emotional problems. 

You can offer weekly tips on effective stress management or regular counseling sessions to employees suffering from depression or anxiety. Emotional support is key to their well-being and will help them feel connected to their teams and the overall organization.

Promote Mental Health Awareness

Should Companies Invest in Ergonomic Furniture?

The debate between employee wellness and well-being is not over. There's another important aspect you should consider: which program requires investment in ergonomic furniture? 

The truth is that both employee wellness and employee well-being programs need a suitable and comfortable workplace. Whether you only focus on workers' physical health or take a holistic approach, ergonomic furniture becomes essential for companies. 

Ideally, employees should have a space where they can work comfortably and be active or exercise from time to time. Therefore, organizations should consider the following pieces of furniture: 

  • An adjustable desk
  • An ergonomic chair
  • An adjustable keyboard tray
  • A monitor stand
  • A footrest
  • Equipment for exercising while sitting 

If you have employees who work remotely, you can also consider home office desks, which are ideal for creating an optimal and functional workstation in their own rooms. 

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Want to Save on Ergonomic Furniture? Discover the Autonomous Bulk Order Program

You already know the main differences between employee wellness and well-being and chose the best option for your company. Now, there's another thing to handle: where can you get high-quality ergonomic furniture to create a healthy and comfortable workplace?  

If you want to save, the Autonomous Bulk Order Program is for you. Thanks to this initiative, companies can buy everything they need for their offices and workstations at the best price. 

Buy furniture in bulk with Autonomous to boost your team's performance, improve employee retention, create optimal workspaces for greater productivity, and be successful!

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