Thriving in the workplace

The science of well-being

Thrive:

The Workplace Wellbeing Index

Rate my Space’s definition of well-being aligns with the current scientific understanding of the topic – one which sees well-being as more than simply a lack of illness but rather a measurable construct that is comprised of several key pillars ranging from emotional well-being, positive functioning, and social well-being. Rate my space combines these pillars with several other signals to provide a snapshot of an individual’s well-being. To find out more about our pillars of well-being, click on the expandable tabs below.

My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.

– Steve Goodier

As an age-old concept within psychology, resilience is notoriously hard to define. A commonly accepted definition is that resilient people are those individuals who display “the capacity to remain well, recover, or even thrive in face of adversity”. The current scientific understanding of resilience views the construct as both a set of traits, and a process – something that can be learned and developed. Arguments about the origin and structure of resilience aside, the research is clear on one thing: resilient individuals have better outcomes including the ability to manage impulses, problem-solving, and confidence

I cant change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination

– Jimmy Dean

We’ve all heard of the cup half full/half empty phrase, and quotes like the one above capture how a positive and optimistic outlook can rewire our outlook towards a problem, and even life. Clearly we can’t be optimistic all the time, but there are positive associations to distinct outcomes ranging from better physical health, life satisfaction, and even financial wealth.

The method of the enterprising is to plan with audacity and execute with vigor

– Christian Nestell Bovee

 

Vitality, or more specifically, subjective vitality is the state of feeling alive and alert – to have energy available to one’s self , and is a core part of what is means to be psychologically well. As a concept, subjective vitality positively relates to self-actualisation and self-esteem, and negatively to depression and anxiety. As a concept that connects mind and body, vitality (high levels) has also been found to be negatively associated with physical pain. In relation to the workplace, having a good amount of vitality means that we can approach our work with vigour and enthusiasm – aspects that are critical to motivation and engagement.

The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile

– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In the context of psychological well-being, engagement is synonymous with the concept of flow – a state of ‘optimal experience’ in which we feel alert, in control, and operating at a peak level of performance. Simply put, its the feeling or state of consciousness where we simply feel ‘in the moment’  and lose track of time. With a solid grounding in peak performance for athletes, flow can also be found within the workplace, typically within environments where the work reaches a sweet-spot where it is both challenging and within the employee’s capability.

 

Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.

– Vincent Van Gogh

 

From colouring our experiences to dominating our lives, emotions are at the heart of what of what it means to be human. The science on positive emotions understands that a life devoid of negative emotions such as fear and sadness is unrealistic, and instead advocates for a healthy ratio between positive and negative emotions. While the exact ratio is disputed within the scientific literature, the logic in aiming to have a greater frequency of positive emotions relative to negative emotions remains sound. Understanding the frequency and intensity of these positive emotions, by way of measurement, is thus an important first step to developing one’s well-being

As one of the oldest concepts in psychology, self-esteem is a concept we that all have a definition for. Perhaps the most widely accepted one is as follows:

Self Esteem is having confidence in our ability to think and to cope with the challenges of life. Confidence in our right to be happy, the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert our needs and wants and to enjoy the fruits of our efforts.”

-Braden

Closely linked with the concept of confidence, self-esteem is an aspect of psychological well-being that affects how we perceive ourselves. Having a healthy level of self-esteem has clear implications for well-being by well of happiness and self-acceptance, but within the workplace, healthy levels of self-esteem has been linked to openness to discussing new ideas and assertiveness, which are important to team-effectiveness and innovation.

I used to want the words “She tried” on my tombstone. Now I want “She did it”

– Katherine Durham

Whether it be learning a new instrument finishing a difficult a video game, or finishing projects at work, people often strive to find activities that are intrinsically rewarding. In addition to a short term burst of dopamine and subsequently happiness, regular feelings of accomplishment helps us to assess where we are within the workplace. Not feeling like you’ve accomplished or achieved much in work? This might be a reflection on your current motivation or your job-specific skills. Understanding how much accomplishment you get from your work might help you with that career change, or perhaps less drastically, signal the need for you to get that sense of accomplishment from sources outside of work.

If one wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely, to mete out to him the most terrible punishment, all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

We’re all motivated by different things. For some, its money, for others, its meaningful work, and for others still, its family. Given that a sense of meaning is important to well-being, understanding our current levels of meaning helps us to re-focus our energy to tasks that go towards that feeling of devotion to a cause greater than ourselves. Clearly we cannot all be part of organisations that have committed themselves to a noble cause, but there are other avenues such as non-profit volunteering or community building to meet that need.

Panic causes tunnel vision. Calm acceptance of danger allows us to more easily assess the situation and see the options.

-Simon Sinek

Amidst the chaos that surrounds life and work, it’s easy to become swallowed up by it all. Feeling calm and peaceful – at ease with one’s self and what the world throws at us is an important pillar of psychological well-being. Assessing emotional stability provides you with an indication of how well you’re coping with it all and whether you currently have the resources to deal with life’s challenges.

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.

-Vince Lombardi

Life is a contact sport. It should therefore be of no surprise that our well-being is affected by who or what we’re surrounded by at work. Relationships, or more specifically, positive relationships form the basis of our social capital and support networks which acts as a buffer against adversity. On top of having a support network to draw on, positive relationships within the workplace help us form a shared group identity – a concept important for well-being as well as team and organisational effectiveness.

Why is the workplace important?

We spend anywhere from a third to half of our waking day at work. And as much as we’d like to think that we can keep life and work separate, the reality is that one domain ultimately spills over to the other. It therefore makes sense to assess well-being in a holistic way, and follows reasonably that the first step to change is to see where we’re at. Take the first step towards thriving in the workplace by contacting Rate my Space.

Interested in our well-being assessment?