Pay attention to personal wellbeing at work

Taking care of your own workplace wellbeing is important because not only does good work ability let you keep working longer and earn a better pension, but it also improves your coping away from work.

If you find it difficult to continue working because of health reasons, it is important that you consider the options with an open mind. You should also not hesitate to bring up the matter with your supervisor. Occupational health care may be able to help as well, while occupational safety and health representatives and shop stewards may be consulted in the event of problems. We also recommend reading the page How to go forward.

Workplace wellbeing is like a jigsaw puzzle where the conduct of supervisors, the meaningfulness of the work, the workplace community and the individual person make up the different pieces. Everyday choices, attitudes and conduct can make a difference in our personal physical and psychological wellbeing as well as in the atmosphere in the workplace, and thus our ability to cope.

We have put together some helpful hints on how to enhance your own wellbeing at work.

Strengthen your personal resources

Resource depletion may ultimately result in workplace stress and burnout, which is why you should work out in advance a set of tools to help you manage stressful situations.

Personal resources that support coping at work include a positive attitude, life management skills, perseverance and self-esteem. Luckily, personal resources can be built up and strengthened, but it requires active effort.

Ways to strengthen your personal resources include:

  • maintain a positive attitude even in difficult situations
  • have faith in your ability to make a difference, and take charge
  • increase your self-awareness by understanding both your weaknesses and your strengths
  • show appreciation and respect to yourself and your co-workers
  • be open in all matters relating to work.

Striking a work-life balance is also important, as it allows you to allocate your energies appropriately to all areas of life.

Sometimes consulting an expert such as an occupational health psychologist can help you reinforce your personal resources and discover new ones.

Discover your motivation and work engagement

Work engagement is a general indicator of workplace wellbeing and it reflects energy, commitment and absorption. Work engagement is not the same as ‘finding the flow’ or ‘getting in the zone’ but rather a holistic state of wellbeing and engagement with one’s job duties.

Work engagement is worth pursuing because it has numerous positive effects: higher motivation, better health, and greater happiness and satisfaction with one’s various roles both in the workplace and outside it. 

Work engagement is supported by work-related resources that help lessen the perceived demands of work and also reinforce and augment positive factors. You should consider the following:

  • the psychological and social resources available to you
  • ways in which the workplace can provide support

Internal motivation is also an essential component of work engagement. Consider the following:

  • what aspects of your work are important to you?
  • what aspects of your work do you find rewarding?

Activity, diet and rest are the foundation for coping

Varied physical activity, adequate rest and a balanced diet are key to maintaining and improving work ability.

Physical activity both at work and outside work will boost your physical and psychological resources and reduce your risk of illness. The importance of everyday physical activity cannot be over-emphasised. The smallest changes to your routine can help you double your physical activity and will help deliver noticeable changes to your coping.

Consider the following, for example:

  • taking the stairs instead of the lift
  • walking or cycling to work at least part of the way
  • doing stretches and taking exercise breaks during the workday
  • playing outdoors with your children
  • making physical activity a part of your everyday life

In the workplace, ergonomics and work arrangements play an important role in maintaining musculoskeletal health. Occupational health care can provide guidance in these.

You should also ask yourself whether you get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet.

Take the UKK Institute test to see if you get enough physical activity.

UKK Institute’s physical activity guide for tips on how to start exercising and increase your physical activity.

Workplace community provides support for coping at work

The support of family, friends and co-workers plays a vital role in wellbeing, which is why it is important to form and cultivate social relationships and not be afraid to ask for help, both at work and away from it.

A supportive workplace community can be a huge resource for higher motivation and better coping at work.

Everyone in the workplace should contribute equally to the creation of a community spirit.

Everyone in the workplace should therefore consider the following questions:

  • Do I engage in open and constructive communication in the community?
  • What do I usually talk about in the break room?

Since both positivity and negativity are highly contagious, positive interaction is vital to building a supportive atmosphere. Building and maintaining a sense of community also requires active input from everyone. A sense of community only comes about through reciprocity and shared effort.

Tools for building and maintaining a sense of community include, for example:

  • openness and solution-oriented speech and action
  • creation of and compliance with a common set of ground rules
  • kindness and sharing
  • showing appreciation to oneself and to co-workers
  • shared activities on a regular basis.

Enhance your skills

Solid professional skills help reduce the strain of daily work and lead to higher job satisfaction. The enhancement of personal job-related skills is one of the essential ways of maintaining and building on workplace wellbeing.

Formal training opportunities include:

  • employer-paid courses
  • continuing education
  • vocational training completed alongside work

Skills enhancement can also be accomplished more informally:

  • Opportunities to observe and work together with others may provide valuable learning experiences.
  • You should always ask for and welcome feedback on your work.
  • Skills enhancement is facilitated by open and constructive dialogue.

Other ways of skills enhancement at your place of work may include taking part in job rotation and mentoring, for example.

You should not hesitate to bring up your professional goals and potential avenues for skills enhancement at e.g. performance appraisals. Skills enhancement is also relevant to motivation. Could additional training allow you to move on to more meaningful job duties, or give you the additional challenge and responsibility you feel you need in your current work?