Thriving Together Series: Why Well-Being Increases Productivity

Thriving Together Well-Being Productivity team hands

By: Jenny Bolanos, Aneeqa Tajammal, Valeria Santana, and Naser Al-Rafaih, Mason students in the School of Business

“Good health IS good business.” – Paul Drechsler

Well-being involves thriving – not simply surviving. You may wonder if, by investing in your personal well-being, you will pay a price in your professional productivity. Thankfully, just the opposite is true. By practicing well-being habits daily, you can boost your productivity along with your health. Personal well-being often leads to professional success. Here’s why well-being increases productivity.

Physical Well-Being

The physical aspect of well-being – which is also called wellness – involves preventing illnesses or injury. Wellness increases employee productivity and helps decrease the chances of developing a chronic disease. According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it has been proven that employees who have a healthy life are physically active, show lower costs when it comes to healthcare, don’t miss as many workdays as those who don’t work out, and are more productive at work than those who don’t exercise regularly. Some employees now believe that encouraging a healthy lifestyle and behavior will attract better employees by helping them to remain healthy and productive. This also decreases costs for companies, especially in health care costs. Employees that include wellness practices in the office have a 21 percent greater profitability than those who don’t, according to Forbes. Also, a survey conducted by Statista showed that 79 percent of employees value their organization’s well-being programs, and those programs help prevent employees from getting sick.

Companies can use wellness practices to increase productivity in ways like building a culture of health by promoting a healthy culture in the company, presenting a monthly wellness seminar to employees, and developing wellness support networks such as walking clubs and office group exercise programs. Even though getting people to participate may be difficult, it is key to give them reasonable goals, such as including their families in activities. This will increase productivity by engaging and motivating people to reach wellness goals. By encouraging employees to not worry about looking a certain way, but simply exercising, companies can help employees feel happy, confident about themselves, healthier, and supported by their job.

Mental Well-Being

Mental well-being refers to the emotional, psychological, and social relationships that allow you to function in your daily life. Many people associate it with meditation, listening to music, going for a walk, or even going on vacation. The Global Wellness Institute segmented mental wellness into four categories:

  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Mental
  • Social

These are important topics in mental health because they influence how you perform both internally and externally. It is a form of how people grow with self-acceptance, growth, a purpose, and creating positive relationships, according to a Global Wellness Institute article. The article discusses the five main components of mental well-being – starting with mental wellness, which is more than just the absence of mental illness. The horizontal axis measures mental disorders such as depression or anxiety, whereas the vertical axis measures stress, personal growth, or relationships. The second component is the active process to flourish and prevent stress or worry. People should move toward pursuing personal or professional growth to have a more meaningful life. The third element can assist in shifting the focus from guilt to shared humanity and shared duty. By shifting their viewpoint on a bad circumstance, people might achieve a positive outcome by recognizing that everyone has a similar experience. The fourth component is the rise of mental health awareness. People can embrace a holistic approach that acknowledges the mind-body connection, which can include lifestyle practices like nutrition and exercise. Lastly, people can also connect mental health to their beliefs and values.

Some businesses are becoming more conscious of the importance of mental health in the workplace. Companies are investing in reducing stress and fatigue, to increase productivity. Employees become drained or exhausted after just several hours of work. According to a Gallup study, some companies believe roughly two-thirds of their full-time employees (or nearly 7,500 employees) have experienced burnout. Another research study, conducted by Deloitte, discovered that 70 percent of their employers did not do enough to attempt to minimize burnout. Some companies have started meditation, yoga, and other stress relief classes to try to reduce burnout. Allowing these kinds of breaks can help employees restore concentration and enhance creativity. Other businesses organize events and activities for the building to show their appreciation to their employees. There are many ways to boost productivity that can help employees express their creativity and allow them to feel valued by the business or company.

Financial Well-Being

The financial aspect of well-being means having a sense of financial security and financial freedom of choice, both now and in the future. Financial well-being is a state in which you can pay off debts, meet immediate needs, manage financial emergencies well, and save for long-term financial goals like college tuition and retirement.

Financial well-being entails being able to achieve your goals, capitalize on opportunities, and have the freedom to pursue your aspirations. It allows you to have a sense of security by having control over your day-to-day and month-to-month finances. In the future, that will give you the capacity to absorb a financial shock. Financial well-being gives you the freedom to make choices to enjoy life and puts you on track to meet your financial goals. A BetterUp blog by Madeline Miles shows that according to PwC’s 2021 Financial Wellness Survey, stress is on the rise. Nevertheless, 63 percent of employees believe their financial burden has worsened since the pandemic began. This survey of 1,600 full-time employed U.S. adults also found that employees who have experienced significant financial stress as a result of the pandemic are four times more likely to have experienced a drop in overall household income and find it harder to meet monthly household bills on time.

It is important to have an emergency fund to prepare for when you are unemployed or faced with an unexpected expense. Employers are providing a variety of options for employees to accumulate emergency funds, ranging from bank-sponsored savings programs to special accounts, in addition to standard retirement plans. One of the most effective ways to get your savings to grow and meet your goals is to put even a tiny amount into savings regularly. This will be beneficial not only in your personal life but also in business.

Another important aspect of your financial well-being is your credit score. Late payments, excessive debt, and huge balances all harm your credit score, mental health, and productivity. Therefore, it’s important to keep watch over your credit score and use it wisely. On the other hand, employee financial well-being includes good competitive wages, benefits, incentives, bonuses, and overtime pay. Employers who incorporate some type of financial education in the workplace see an increase in productivity as a result of their investment. Financial well-being is important for productivity, as financial worry makes people anxious, which can decrease their energy and mental capacity, diminishing their productivity.

Pursuing Physical, Mental, and Financial Well-Being

These three essential well-being categories are very important to pursue in order to thrive in life, as well as to be productive at work.

Physical well-being strategies you can practice include good nutrition, sleep, and physical exercise. Strategies for mental well-being include mindfulness meditation, work breaks, spending time with friends, and counseling when you need it. Financial well-being strategies include personal and household budgeting, consumer credit building, savings, financial crisis management through the use of emergency reserves and investing, and managing personal purchases.

All aspects of your well-being are related. Neglecting any of them could lead to a decrease in your quality of life and your productivity. However, the more you invest time, attention, and energy into your well-being, the better your future can be.

Additional Resources

Build your physical well-being through Mason Recreation, which offers live fitness activities, and Mason BurnAlong, which offers online and on-demand fitness classes and programs.

Care for your mental well-being by practicing mindfulness meditation through Mindful Mason Moments and connecting with Mason’s Counseling and Psychological Services.

Develop your financial well-being by learning about financial literacy in this Thriving Together Series article by the Financial Well-Being Team at Mason’s Student Support and Advocacy Center.

Write one of these Thriving Together Series features! We’re looking for contributions on all topics related to well-being. Read other Thriving Together Series articles here and contact us at cwb@gmu.edu for guidelines. Thank you for helping our Mason community thrive together online!