Wellbeing at Work takes the Centre Stage

Wellbeing at Work takes the Centre Stage

Recent disclocation of working environments and practices has resulted in increased awareness of the impact of employee mental and physical wellbeing on multiple metrics: From absenteeism to staff retention to individual and collective quality of output.

Whether employees are working in traditional offices, from their homes, in co-worker spaces, as nomads always travelling from one digital oasis to the next, or adopting a hybrid work model, their well-being is essential for both personal and organisational success. The advent of digital technologies, cloud computing, and collaboration tools have enabled remote work and transformed traditional office environments. To some extent this would have happened anyway, but the accelerated shift has blurred the lines between personal and professional life, making it even more essential to address both mental and physical well-being.

Wellbeing is important for all

Workforces are now more diverse than ever

Consequently, companies are under increasing pressure to think of wellbeing as both a holistic concept and also one that should be tailored and individualised. Millennials and Gen Z, in particular prioritise well-being, seeing a life beyond work and as the employees of the future, are influencing workplace policies and design. The ‘internal customer’ has been a familiar part of management theory for years, but there is growing recognition that this needs to be a genuine business focus, for the benefits of employees, companies and society as a whole.

What is Wellbeing?

Well-being is a broad term, that we often use loosely. One definition is the combination of feeling good and functioning well; "the experience of positive emotions such as happiness and contentment as well as the development of one’s potential, having some control over one’s life, having a sense of purpose, and experiencing positive relationships" (Psychological Well-Being: Evidence Regarding its Causes and Consequences. Applied Psychology: Health and Well- Being, 2009.)

Often these criteria are subjective and hard to define – two people in identical circumstances may evaluate their wellbeing quite differently, as a consequence of their different outlooks on life, their past experiences, their future expectations, and their circumstances relative to the people around them.

Wellbeing is a global mega-trend

What is a mega-trend?

Megatrends are defined as long-term, global shifts that significantly impact various aspects of society, the economy, and culture. They last for several decades, influence all areas of society, and are complex, multi-dimensional phenomena.

As an increased focus for countries, companies and individuals, well-being is a mega-trend, increasingly included alongside health and the economy as governmental metrics. "In the area of business, there has been steady growth in consultancies promoting well-being tools for management, accompanied by a 10-fold growth in academic research titles since 2000 containing the key terms happiness, life satisfaction and subjective well-being." (World Happiness Report, 2022).

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How will artificial intelligence affect wellbeing?

As AI becomes more prevalent, there is anxiety in many quarters about its impact on work and the workplace. Some predictions are reminiscent of 1960’s/70’s forecasts of robotics, with increased leisure time – but also with consequential unemployment. In 2011, “Race against the Machine” predicted that, ‘The Al revolution is doing to white collar jobs what robotics did to blue collar jobs.’

More recently, the world economics forum’s ‘future of jobs’ foresaw 40% of all business tasks automated by 2030. Alternatively, while the past (and unfulfilled) paradigm was that technology would take jobs wholesale, forecasters now see its consequences primarily in the types of tasks that comprise a job. Repetitive, unrewarding desk-based tasks will become ‘sub-contracted’ to a computer; meanwhile, tasks requiring creative thinking, analysis and informed judgement will become the human worker’s main area of focus.

How AI is used is likely to reflect company outlook and culture

AI could enable companies to monitor employee well-being – in the office and remotely - based on physical and mental behaviours, from eye movement to heart rate, language use to activity levels.

Brands that keep up with the Change

Like many brands, Leitz has reflected on changes in the world of work in the last few years. Leitz is dedicated to providing solutions for new work challenges and opportunities, making sure the brand remains relevant in how it serves its business partners, users and importantly, its employees, doing as much as possible for their well-being, both now and in an always uncertain future. If you don’t know Leitz very well, this is what the brand stands for Leitz is a facilitator, making life easier – not just in the workplace, but at home and on the move. The pandemic made many people feel that their lives were out of control. As a result, they are now thinking deeply about the work they do and how and why they do it. With Leitz’s organisational and ergonomic products, the goal is to make a contribution towards helping people take control of their workplaces and their bodies.