Well-being in the workplace

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In this blog

Well-being in the workplace is crucial for employees’ welfare and productivity. A healthy work environment not only creates happy employees but also has a positive impact on the company’s results and success. It’s essential to explore the importance of well-being and share methods to create a positive work environment where employees can thrive.


What is the definition of well-being in the workplace?

Workplace well-being refers to employees’ overall welfare and satisfaction with their work situation and work environment. It is really all about creating a positive and healthy work culture where employees feel engaged, motivated, and valued. Workplace well-being encompasses not only physical aspects such as safety and health but also emotional, mental, and social elements that impact employees’ daily work life.

A well-being-oriented workplace strives to create an environment where employees thrive both personally and professionally. It’s about building a work environment where employees feel motivated and happy to come to work every day. Well-being is not only beneficial for the employees themselves, but it also has positive consequences for the entire company. A well-being-oriented workplace often experiences increased productivity, lower absenteeism, improved employee engagement, and higher employee retention.




Important factors for well-being

There is a long, long list of factors that come into play when considering what contributes to well-being and what potentially leads to dissatisfaction. Just as many variables are described in theory and practice, just as many unseen and personal variables must be taken into account in your daily activities within the organization’s offices and meeting rooms. In this article, you will gain insights into many of the areas that you can actively influence at an organizational level – and thus create a better place for everyone.


Workload and hours

Working hours and workload play a crucial role in employees’ well-being in the workplace. A well-balanced work schedule and appropriate workload are essential to ensure that employees are satisfied, productive, and motivated in their jobs. Let’s explore how these factors impact well-being in the workplace:


Working hours

  • Flexible hours: Flexible working hours allow employees to adjust their work schedules according to their personal needs and responsibilities outside the workplace.
  • Duration of hours: Working excessively long days and overtime can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. It is important to consider the optimal working hours.
  • Work schedule planning: Efficient planning of work schedules is crucial to avoid overtime and stress.



  • Appropriate workload: Too many tasks or high expectations can lead to stress and pressure, while too little work can result in boredom and lack of engagement.
  • Skills and resources: Matching employees’ skills and resources with job tasks is crucial to achieve an appropriate workload.
  • Prioritizing tasks: Encouraging efficient time management and helping employees identify the most urgent and important tasks can contribute to reducing stress levels.
  • Development opportunities: Offering opportunities for professional growth can motivate employees to take ownership of their workload.


Physical working conditions

Physical working conditions play a crucial role in employees’ well-being in the workplace. The physical work environment refers to the physical settings where employees perform their tasks, including the layout of the workplace, furnishings, lighting, temperature, air quality, and ergonomics. These factors can directly influence employees’ well-being, health, and productivity.

Here is some insights into some of the factors to consider if you are unsure about the adequacy of your physical working conditions:

  • Workplace layout and design: A well-designed workplace layout can promote well-being and efficiency. Open office landscapes, where employees have easy access to each other, can encourage collaboration and communication.
  • Ergonomics: An ergonomically correct work environment is essential to prevent work-related injuries and muscle strains. Adjustable chairs, desks, and computer equipment can help employees maintain proper posture and reduce the risk of physical issues.
  • Lighting: Good lighting is crucial for employees’ vision and well-being. Natural light is ideal as it can improve mood and increase productivity. Artificial lighting should also be comfortable and sufficient to avoid eye strain.
  • Safety: A safe workplace is vital for employees’ well-being. Having clear safety procedures, emergency exits, and access to first aid equipment are essential to create a secure work environment.
  • Break areas: Providing comfortable and relaxing break areas allows employees to take breaks and recharge. This can reduce stress levels and improve productivity.


Workplace Culture

Work culture plays a crucial role in employees’ mental well-being in the workplace. Work culture is the collective set of values, norms, attitudes, and behaviors that characterize the workplace and influence how employees interact, communicate, and perform their work. A positive and well-being oriented work culture creates an environment where employees feel motivated, valued, and engaged. Let’s explore how work culture affects well-being in the workplace:

  • Trust and openness: A work culture characterized by trust and openness creates a safe environment where employees feel a high level of psychological safety.
  • Recognition and appreciation: A well-being oriented work culture includes regular recognition and appreciation of employees’ achievements and contributions.
  • Communication: Effective communication is the key to a positive work culture. Clear and open communication channels promote transparency and prevent misunderstandings.
  • Diversity and inclusion: A work culture that values diversity and inclusion fosters a sense of belonging for all employees.


Opportunities and career

Employees thrive when they have clear career opportunities and chances for personal and professional development. A company that invests in its employees’ growth creates an environment where employees feel valued and motivated to contribute to the company’s success.

How does well-being affect results in the workplace?

A workplace that promotes well-being has positive implications for the company’s results and success. When employees thrive, the company experiences the following benefits:


Increased productivity and performance

Workplace well-being is directly related to employees’ productivity and performance. Engaged and motivated employees are more likely to work efficiently and deliver high-quality results in their tasks.

Lower absenteeism and employee turnover

A positive work environment that prioritizes well-being often leads to lower absenteeism and employee turnover. Employees who feel valued and supported are less likely to get sick or leave the company.


Improved employee engagement and satisfaction

Well-being is closely linked to employee engagement and satisfaction. Engaged employees are more dedicated to their work and have a positive attitude towards their workplace, contributing to a healthy work environment.


Methods for promoting well-being in the workplace

After reviewing some of the essential factors that contribute to workplace well-being, how can you best implement these exciting initiatives? There are many ways to get started, and here, we will provide you with some inspiration to create a better everyday life for everyone.


Implementation of well-being programs

Companies can implement well-being programs that focus on employees’ welfare. These programs may include mindfulness workshops, stress management courses, training in work-life balance, and mental health courses.

An effective way to measure and take proactive action on workplace well-being is through a real-time survey platform that identifies areas in need of change, support, or reassessment.


Top-down approach – Leadership support and communication

Top-down leadership is a traditional management style where decision-making and guidelines come from the top of the hierarchy and flow down to the lower levels of the organization. In this leadership style, the top management team is responsible for making overarching decisions and setting goals and strategies that they expect employees to follow.

It is essential that the leadership is thoroughly involved in these initiatives and has a deep understanding that they are there to create better conditions for the employees. The most effective way to foster a healthy top-down leadership is for the leaders to lead by example. If you want to have effective communication in the workplace, ensure that the leadership themselves demonstrate open and direct communication among themselves and with employees.


So, what is well-being?

It is essential to understand that well-being in the workplace is not a static state but an ongoing process. It requires continuous effort and commitment from both employees and management. Companies can use various tools and methods to measure and improve well-being in the workplace, including employee surveys, feedback sessions, and well-being programs.

Workplace well-being is not only the responsibility of companies but also of individual employees. Employees can also take initiative to improve their own well-being by participating in well-being activities, taking responsibility for their own development, and openly communicating their needs and concerns with their supervisors.


Tools for workplace well-being

It is crucial for companies to recognize the significance of well-being and prioritize initiatives that promote employees’ welfare. With our advanced well-being software, companies can gain insight into employees’ needs and well-being, enabling effective well-being initiatives and a more engaged and productive workforce.


Why woba?

Woba has a single vision – to create a better world to work in. We assist companies in centralizing all employee surveys on the Woba platform, where employee feedback is transformed into concrete action steps. These steps proactively address issues such as work-related stress or lack of well-being in the workplace.

Woba provides your workplace with a score that precisely indicates the state of psychological safety and offers you the right guidance to improve the situation.
It brings us immense joy at Woba to showcase tangible results from the platform. The numbers speak for themselves – and they only get better going forward.

21% improved well-being and health
32% reduction in absenteeism
500% ROI in terms of lower absenteeism

Do you need to get an update on the well-being in your organization?

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Employee Engagement Surveys
Transform the Employee Engagement Survey into actionable insights

Employee engagement surveys are a critical HR tool, designed to unlock your organization’s potential. They gauge employee well-being, drive talent retention, boost productivity, and support continuous HR improvement.

Much like conducting scientific research, the journey of knowledge and business intelligence within the realm of human resources starts with simple questions. These questions can vary widely. They’re born from curiosity, assumptions, and a desire to understand the intricacies of your organization’s people. The key is to focus on what’s essential, practical, and relevant to your unique organization.


In this article, the specific type of question you aim to answer with robust evidence is not the primary focus. Instead, the emphasis lies on the approach and methods you employ to design and collect data for your employee engagement survey in the most effective manner possible.


From gut feelings to a data-driven approach in Employee Engagement Surveys

We will show you how to shift from relying on your gut feelings to using a more solid, scientific, and data-driven approach in your employee engagement surveys. This change will help you improve your HR-business intelligence, make decisions and recommendations based on real evidence, and implement effective programs and initiatives where they matter most – for both your people and the organization as a whole.


The success of your organization depends on your role as an HR architect, and we’re here to support you. So, get ready to learn more about creating and conducting a quantitative staff engagement survey.


What is an Employee Engagement Survey?

An employee engagement survey serves as a valuable tool for gauging the sentiments of your workforce concerning their overall work-life experience. These surveys, usually in the form of questionnaires, are tailored to capture employees’ thoughts, feedback, and perceptions related to their work environment and their overall experiences within the organization.

In HR, you’re tasked with answering essential questions, such as:

  • How engaged are our employees?
  • Are they more engaged than last year?
  • Does the level of engagement vary across employee segments?
  • What’s our turnover rate, and how can we reduce it?
  • To what extent do they feel included in the workplace, and how can we empower this sense of inclusion?
  • How do they perceive their current job resources?
  • Do we know enough about employees’ viewpoints when designing programs and initiatives to enhance their psychological safety?


The insights derived from these surveys are a treasure trove for HR professionals. They provide a deeper understanding of the workforce’s engagement levels and well-being, ultimately leading to a more motivated and productive team. These surveys play a vital role in ensuring that the organization can adapt to change and sustain a people-centric approach, where employee satisfaction and commitment are at the forefront of HR strategies.

To fully comprehend the importance of employee engagement in HR, we suggest you read our article Employee Engagement – Definition, Relevance & Strategy.


Designing your Employee Engagement Survey questions: Close-ended questions, open-ended questions or a mix of the two?

Creating a good employee engagement survey requires thorough preparation, and it’s always crucial to have a clear problem statement. When the survey is based on interviews or questionnaires, a well-defined problem statement serves as the foundation for subsequently formulating clear questions. But how do you formulate effective questions for a survey?

When conducting employee engagement surveys, one of the many decisions you have to make is the inclusion of different types of questions. In quantitative research designs, we typically have the option to design our research around:

  • Close-ended questions: offer respondents a limited set of predefined answer options, making them a common choice for surveys aiming to gather quantitative data.
  • Multiple choice questions: provide respondents with answer choices, such as age groups or preferences, where they select the most appropriate option.
  • Simple binary (e.g yes, no) questions: Can help ascertain binary responses, such as whether an individual received adequate training.
  • Ordinal scaled (e.g. likert scaled) questions and open-ended questions: gauge satisfaction levels on a scale, usually ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.”


Such structured questions are valuable in obtaining clear, structured data, facilitating analysis and comparison, and are often employed to assess demographics, preferences, attitudes, and behaviors.


Open-Ended Questions vs. Closed-Ended Questions in an Employee Engagement Survey

Open-ended questions in an employee engagement survey differ from their closed-ended counterparts as they invite respondents to provide detailed, free-text responses. These questions encourage respondents to share their thoughts, feelings, and suggestions in their own words.

For instance, an open-ended question might ask employees to describe their biggest challenges at work or provide suggestions for improving the workplace. These responses are valuable for uncovering nuanced insights, identifying unexpected issues, and gaining a deeper understanding of the employee experience. They offer context to the quantitative data gathered from closed-ended questions and help interpret the “why” behind the numbers, making them an essential part of a comprehensive employee engagement survey.


You need to consider whether it’s most appropriate to use closed-ended questions or open-ended questions in employee engagement surveys for several reasons:


Benefits of using close-ended questions:

  • Provide structured and quantifiable data. They are ideal for measuring specific aspects of employee engagement, such as satisfaction with company policies, benefits, or job tasks. This structured format allows for easy comparison and analysis.
  • Ensure consistency in the response format, making it easier to analyze the data and identify trends over time. This is important when conducting surveys at regular intervals to track changes in employee engagement.
    Are quicker for respondents to answer, making the survey process more efficient. This can lead to higher response rates and more complete data.
  • They use Likert scales, which are commonly used in employee engagement surveys. This allows for benchmarking against industry standards and other organizations.
  • Allow for more objective data analysis, as responses are standardized and do not rely on the subjective interpretation of open-ended responses.


Benefits of using open-ended questions:

  • Allow employees to provide detailed, nuanced feedback. This can uncover issues or suggestions that might not be captured with closed-ended questions.
  • Employees feel heard and valued when they can express their thoughts in their own words. This can boost their engagement and satisfaction with the survey process.
  • Can reveal unexpected issues or opportunities that you may not have anticipated. They can provide insight into the “why” behind quantitative data.
  • Offer better contextual understanding than closed-ended data. They help interpret the quantitative findings and provide a richer understanding of the employee experience.



Employee Engagement Blog
Employee Engagement - Definition, Relevance & Strategy

We explore the employee engagement framework, including what employee engagement is and how to measure and improve it effectively in your company.


What is Employee Engagement?

An employee engagement definition, in short, refers to the emotional commitment and level of enthusiasm that employees have toward their jobs and their organization. However, this might be an oversimplification. Employee engagement is a multifaceted concept that goes beyond initial impressions.

But, much like the transformation of a simple acorn into a sprawling oak tree, the concept of employee engagement has undergone a remarkable evolution since its early days in the 1990s. It has grown to become not only an academic discipline but a pivotal operational practice in the realm of organizational human resource management.


As it gained widespread recognition, the concept of employee engagement, akin to the branches of an oak, has taken on a multitude of diverse forms and shapes. However, there is a significant departure from the analogy of the oak tree. Unlike the tree’s natural evolution, the concept of employee engagement isn’t meant to outgrow its origins.

With the burgeoning popularity of this field, we witness an unintended consequence—an increase in inconsistency and confusion regarding the application of employee engagement as a means to study well-being within modern organizations.


The very essence of employee engagement becomes obscured in the midst of this transformation, leaving us to grapple with the challenge of aligning its core principles with its expanding interpretations. However, we don’t need a multitude of complex definitions or branches when it comes to employee engagement. What we truly need is clarity. We need to ensure that an evidence-based approach, rooted in decades of well-established research, is easily accessible. Furthermore, we need to bridge the gap between the scientific realm and the practical applications of employee engagement in HR.


This article aims to help you better understand some challenging questions:
What is employee engagement and how can we create a simple way to measure employee engagement effectively?


The Employee Engagement Framework

While simple answers to these intricate questions may remain elusive, our objective is to contribute to the ongoing effort to comprehend employee engagement. We aim to do this by retracing the concept to its origins and provide a systematic overview of how it has been operationalized by different scholars and researchers over the past decades. This, in turn, should pave the way for a more concise framework for proactively, strategically, and operationally addressing employee engagement as a means to nurture happier employees, more effective teams, and enhanced organizational outcomes.


We will delve into some of the most validated constructs and definitions of employee engagement that the academic research field has to offer. This is in pursuit of setting a benchmark by replicating sound, evidence-based approaches and standards from the world of science.

Once we’ve clarified the definitions and constructs, we’ll shift our focus to the practical dimension. Here, we’ll inspire you to implement measurement scales that effectively capture the various facets of employee work engagement while ensuring validity and reliability.

Finally, we’ll wrap it up with insights on how to cultivate and enhance engagement within your organization, enabling you to harness the myriad benefits of high employee engagement.


Why is a clear(er) definition of employee engagement important?

To effectively study and understand any phenomenon, we require clear and unified approaches to grasp that specific subject. In the realm of Human Resources (HR), a precise definition becomes crucial due to variations in understanding among different consultancy branches, HR departments, and top-level executives.

The confusion often arises from whether employee engagement equates to elements like job satisfaction, commitment, or motivation. And when it comes to satisfaction, employee engagement and satisfaction are evidently not the same psychological construct, so merging them in one measure can simply be counterproductive.

But this conceptual ambiguity not only introduces imprecision, but also leads to a view of criticism, with some dismissing employee engagement as a mere rebranding or a superficial trend in HR.


However, employee engagement is not merely another superficial HR concept. The view has led some to argue that ‘the concept of employee engagement needs to be more clearly defined … or it needs to be abandoned’. Skeptics have long argued that the term ‘engagement’ is likely to fall out of usage at some point because it lacks substance or distinctiveness. As well as being challenged for a lack of clear definition, it is also seen to be a relabelling of existing constructs, and thus redundant.

Unfortunately, this criticism sometimes overshadows the importance of employee engagement in thriving organizations, where the neglect of it is more evident than proactive efforts to improve it.


Challenges with composite engagement measures

We stand with CIPD in the discussion on and well-argumented criticsm about how consultancy and management practices often creates more “old wine in new bottles”, “fads and fashions” or “been there, bottled that” – see their discussion report from January 2021.

Because a number of consultancy firms have developed (their “own one-point-of-questionable-truth”) composite measures of engagement along these lines. Gallup’s Q12 is just one example of a tool widely used by consultants and practitioners, but it doesn’t always meet the standards of academic research. Some scholars have raised concerns about its validity and consider it a composite measure lacking in scientific rigor.

When developing a reliable measure, it’s not enough to group survey items together and give them a name. Validation is key. The measure should be tested against similar and different constructs to show it behaves as expected in theory. To put it simply, merging various measures into a single score doesn’t work like magic. It results in a confusing mix of metrics, making it hard to interpret the data.


For instance, when an organization wants to gauge employee engagement, it might involve many aspects such as alignment with company goals, using one’s strengths, satisfaction with pay, and relationships with managers. Combining all of these into one score makes it difficult to understand what’s driving differences or improvements. This could very well be the reason why Bailey et al. (2015), in a systematic study review, chose to exclude studies relying on the Q12 due to concerns that it serves as a broad, all-encompassing measure lacking in validity.

Advocates of composite measures might argue that you can break them down, but this can lead to a loose collection of measures that may not provide clear insights. While it’s understandable that employers are interested in various aspects of employee experiences, it’s crucial for measures to be precise and focused. Often, it’s more effective to consider these aspects individually – especially if you wish to investigate the relationship between engagement and relevant independent variables in a regression analysis (which, essentially, requires the dependent variable to be measured!).


The need for clarity

So. Why was a clear definition and understandable conceptualization important again? Because creating a work environment where employee engagement thrives is crucial for organizations, as it leads to positive outcomes like lower turnover, reduced absenteeism, higher job satisfaction, increased efficiency, and productivity.


To become more data-driven and implement progressive HR initiatives, research consistently emphasizes the significance of employee engagement. It all starts with defining the core concept and how it has evolved over the years in various evidence-based interpretations explored in applied research.

And hence, we move forward to where we position ourselves, when we assist, consult, advocate and what-not our clients about employee engagement. A definition. A clear one that’s scientifically grounded.


Survey Fatique 1300x700
Employee Survey Fatigue - How to ensure better response rates

In recent years, our exposure to quantitative employee surveys have increased – which also applies to the organizational field of research. The rise in digital survey platforms and easier distribution methods has led to more frequent workplace survey invitations, but it’s also caused a drop in the response rate.


This leads to Survey Fatigue:

When respondents lose interest in your surveys because of the overwhelming frequency of survey requests or the extensive effort and questions involved in completing them.


This, in turn, can create unfortunate barriers to the validity and representativeness of your engagement surveys in general. As employee engagement surveys gain increasing popularity, the quest for high response rates and valuable insights presents growing challenges. Organizations seek to assess their employees’ work life, but these hurdles cannot be ignored.

In this article, we’ll unveil the concept of survey fatigue and provide strategies to combat this silent adversary of quantitative research designs.


What are the main risks about Survey Fatigue?

When it comes to employee engagement surveys, there are a couple of key issues related to survey fatigue that you should be aware of.

  • First, you might run into a problem of nonresponse. This means that some employees may not participate, which can affect the accuracy of your insights and your ability to make general conclusions.
  • Second, you could end up with data that’s not entirely reliable because tired participants might hurry through the survey, giving quick answers without really paying attention to the questions.


The factors contributing to declining response rates

There are several factors contributing to declining response rates.

Firstly, there’s a proliferation of surveys, as more and more companies and organizations use them to gather opinions. This, along with the growing number of survey service providers and an increasing interest in data-driven decision-making, is causing what we call survey fatigue.

Another important point is that people who don’t respond to surveys are often more likely to contemplate leaving their jobs and generally report lower job satisfaction and less contentment with their supervisors compared to those who do respond.

What this means is that if a company’s HR department doesn’t receive feedback from these dissatisfied individuals, the data they collect may not accurately represent the reality. It could provide a more positive but inaccurate picture of the situation.


Lack of communication and followed actions from surveys triggers fatigue!

A research review performed by McKinsey showed that the number one driver of survey fatigue among participants is when they believe the organization won’t take any action based on the survey results.

On the flip side, when organizations not only run employee engagement surveys but also actively share relevant information and take appropriate actions based on the feedback, it encourages more employees to take part in current and future surveys.

Clearly, the crucial takeaway here is that employee surveys should be seen as a tool for making meaningful improvements, not just a metric by itself.


Malene Madsen
CEO & Co-founder


Malene Madsen, CEO and co-founder of Woba.io, holds a background in psychology and philosophy, along with years of experience in researching and communicating work-related stress. She founded Woba.io with profound professional insight and a goal to assist companies in preventing stress, sick leave, and employee resignations by leveraging employee feedback to retain key personnel.

Additionally, Malene belongs to the rare category of only 1% of female entrepreneurs in Denmark who have successfully secured venture capital.

Topics: #Employeeengagement #Employeeretention #mentalhealth #peopleanalytics

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