5 Types of Wellbeing (With Examples) and How to Achieve Each in the Workplace

February 9, 2023 Workhuman Editorial Team
 team displaying one of the 5 types of wellbeing

Does a person need to improve all types of wellbeing to be a high performer at work?

Various studies show that happy employees are 36% more motivated than their peers. Additionally, they are 31% more likely to achieve their goals. These are undoubtedly great outcomes that employees and employers should strive to achieve.

Wellbeing has a significant impact on personal and professional prosperity. And people can only feel pleased if they take care of all the different aspects of a fulfilled life. Fortunately, there are tried and true ways that businesses can utilize to achieve 5 main types of wellbeing in the workplace. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of wellbeing and how you can help your employees to feel their best in all the main categories.


The 5 different types of wellbeing explained

True wellness is only possible if a person can achieve overall wellbeing. Social psychologists agree that there are five ways to wellbeing, which are:

  • Emotional wellbeing 
  • Physical wellbeing
  • Social wellbeing
  • Workplace wellbeing
  • Societal wellbeing 

The most important component is emotional wellbeing, as keeping a positive mindset is essential to improving any other aspect of wellness. 

According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, optimism is associated with better health outcomes, mood regulation, and maintaining a robust immune system

In general, you can gauge employee wellbeing through surveys, one-on-one interviews, and progress reports. You can also use wellbeing questions to ask employees and get specific measurable answers you can build on. 

1- Emotional wellbeing

Emotional wellbeing means feeling tranquil, having a generally positive self-image, and being able to manage stress. 

The world is a rough place that often challenges people’s sense of wellbeing. That’s why happiness is often associated with resilience in the face of hardships and finding a positive emotion even in hard times. 

Various studies demonstrate that well-adjusted, happy people do better in life generally. They’re more capable of handling job demands, occasional pressure, and disruptive incidents. 

Additionally, their physical health and physiological metrics remain significantly above their demotivated peers.  

Example: How the workplace affects emotional wellbeing.

Being well-adjusted and maintaining a positive outlook is vital in order to live life fully. Burnout is among the biggest contributors to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and various stress-related diseases

Employees who are forced to tackle heavy workloads with little or no recognition fall prey to burnout the most. 

How to achieve emotional wellbeing at work 

A recent study shows that 28% of Americans feel stressed from work-related issues. Further investigation concluded that 42% say they’re also stressed from personal problems. Sadness and anxiety severely affect these employees’ productivity at work. 

  • Boost your employees’ emotional resilience: Employers can assist their employees in learning new life skills to cope with their emotional burdens and mental health problems. Mindfulness and positive thinking are powerful tools to overcome emotional distress.
  • Destress the workplace: Additionally, employers can actively contribute to destressing the workplace by providing yoga classes and meditation sessions.

    According to Victoria Health Promotion Foundation, meditation, and mindfulness can prevent mental illness.

  • Offer psychological assistance if needed: A helpful approach is using surveys to spot problematic issues in a timely manner. Early intervention is often the best approach.
psychological assistance in the workplace to improve the emotional well-being

2- Physical wellbeing

Think about health and wellbeing as a dynamic cause-and-effect relationship. Health issues detract from work excellence, and stressful work deteriorates health. 

Example: Physical wellbeing and success at work affect each other.

Happiness is hard to achieve with a body that’s constantly in pain. Being incapable of moving easily or doing basic daily chores creates emotional and psychological problems over time. This, in turn, affects work quality significantly. 

The opposite also holds true. Being overloaded and constantly stressed at work can cause serious health issues. It’s possible to eat right and still be unhealthy due to missing out on some wellbeing skills. 

Moreover, many employees skip meals or reach out for unhealthy snacks when they’re under excessive pressure at work. They might also spend too much time sitting at their desks, which takes a toll on their posture, metabolism, and circulation.   

How to achieve physical wellbeing at work 

Employers can focus on three areas to keep their teams healthy: 

  • Provide healthy snacks
  • Encourage physical activity
  • Keep the workplace as stress-free as possible
  • Provide healthy lunches for your employees: According to some studies, unhealthy eating during the day can reduce productivity by as much as 66%. This is a huge amount of potential energy gone to waste. In jobs requiring high focus, like performing surgical operations, this can also be quite risky and consequential. Employers should provide healthy snacks at the workplace. People feel better when they feel that their employers care about them and appreciate them. You can also block 30 minutes for lunch daily so employees understand their health is essential.
  • Implement and incentivize a daily steps program: Implementing a daily steps program, or giving the employees several breaks to move their bodies, sorts out the physical activity part.
  • Keep the workplace stress-free: Finally, try to keep the workplace free from unnecessary drama, unrelenting workloads, and unresolved conflicts. Psychological wellbeing is imperative for performing well at work. 

A generally positive and responsive workplace has a much lower rate of absenteeism. Healthy employees create stellar outcomes for the company. Several reports show that improving wellbeing adds at least 10% to the employees’ overall productivity. 

It’s also worth noting that physical wellbeing isn’t only the absence of disease. It also translates to functioning well and being able to cope better with a fast-track life.

3- Social wellbeing

The ability to create meaningful relationships with others is critical for success in life and at work. Social health is quite similar to physical health. Having a trustworthy, dependable, and accessible network of people around you is something that everyone needs.  

Social relationships and feeling connected to others definitely contribute to overall wellbeing. Employees spend so much time at work, so they need to have a sense of belonging and fulfillment in that ecosystem.  

Example: How social wellbeing affects productivity at the workplace.

According to an Elements Global Services study, more than 50% of Americans feel that they can’t trust anyone at their workplace. People facing setbacks report that they have no idea who to turn to for assistance. 

This is a serious matter with grave consequences, and clearly, it affects employees’ productivity in a big way. That’s why social wellbeing is important.  

a group of employees develop the social well-being

Recently, Harvard University researchers concluded that having meaningful relationships with the people closest to you improves wellbeing as much as doing regular exercise or quitting smoking. Social wellbeing also enhances productivity, reduces healthcare bills, minimizes sick days, and improves turnover figures.

Few people quit work or perform badly if they feel happy at work. In short, social wellbeing at the workplace boosts the bottom line.     

How to achieve social wellbeing at work

Employers can work on the following premises for better social wellbeing.

  • Focus on teamwork and forming homogenous workgroups.
  • Keep everyone ‘in the loop’; no one should feel left behind or invisible.
  • Encourage interoffice friendships. 
  • Advise supervisors to interact positively with their teams. 
  • Celebrate milestones and important events whenever possible. 
  • Schedule training getaways or teambuilding events out of the office.

4- Workplace wellbeing

Employees give a 110% at their job when they feel good about the way their careers are going. The three most important aspects of workplace wellbeing are having a clear career path, doing meaningful work, and achieving work-life balance. 

Big companies acquire and retain talented employees by offering them career development opportunities. The possibilities for advancement are always on the table and tied up to the employees’ productivity, innovation, and diligence.  

An interesting article published by Harvard Business Review in 2018 showed that 90% of employees would stay in a low-paying job if the work is meaningful to them. Since then, meaning and purpose have become integral parts of a job profile. 

Finally, having a work-life balance is among the best ways to build your wellbeing. Workaholics who ignore their loved ones’ special occasions are as unhappy as single parents who work two jobs just to make ends meet. 

Example: How workplace wellbeing became a priority.

Workplace wellbeing has a significant impact on the quality and quantity of work you’d get from your employees. Productivity is consistently higher among well-adjusted optimistic employees.

Those who expect to get promoted after reaching a specific milestone and get the promised position will be forever loyal to their employers. This trust and clarity is a huge investment that keeps on paying dividends. Engaged employees are often the ones who solve problems, innovate, and help others. 

Maintaining work-life balance was a forgotten virtue till a few decades when employers finally realized that they lose more than they win when their employees immerse themselves in work. Well-adjusted employees consistently cope better with challenges.  

How to achieve workplace wellbeing 

Managers should always ask: “What is required for building our workplace wellbeing”?

And here’s the answer: 

  • Convey a sense of meaning or purpose whenever you assign a new project or explain the demands of a new job.   
  • Try to be as flexible as possible with your employees in terms of work hours and possibilities of working remotely. 
  • Start skill development programs for your employees. 
  • Scout the company for exceptional and talented employees, then give them opportunities to shine. 
  • Run regular surveys to gauge employee job satisfaction. 
  • Give worthy employees recognition and visibility

Employee surveys can be extremely impactful when done right. Read this Guide to Employee Engagement Surveys to learn how to craft them.

Download the free guide now!

5- Societal wellbeing

Societal wellbeing is the eligibility to be a part of a community. The ability to contribute to the culture, values, and development of an ecosystem. Giving back to your society is a wonderful way to feel connected and content.  

Some people view societal wellbeing as reaching a prominent level in their community. And that’s when they can influence their surroundings. This is the idea of belonging to the movers and shakers groups. 

a team in meeting developing the societal well-being

However, societal wellbeing would better be viewed as a culture of compassion

Developing stronger local communities eventually improves the world at large. Doing one kind act for someone, or helping a tiny fraction of a society, makes people feel like they’re a part of something bigger. It’s the best kind of connection with one another and the world.    

Similarly, going to recycle plastic makes up a tiny fraction of global waste management, but it’s a valuable effort that the Department of Health recommends. 

Example: How Societal wellbeing improves workplaces.

If you cultivate societal wellbeing, you’re, in effect, strengthening your company’s culture. Your employees stand stronger in the face of challenges when they feel socially connected. Living in a way that’s authentic and genuine is equally important to developing a healthy lifestyle.

How to achieve Societal wellbeing at work

As an employer, you can develop societal wellbeing through different measures. The most important is to encourage understanding, empathy, and sharing.

Kindness is one of the most important skills you need to lead a good life. Demonstrate it first, and your employees will follow suit. 


👋 Attention leaders! Do you want to improve employee wellbeing and drive business success? Discover how strategic recognition can help in the Workhuman and Gallup report: “Amplifying Wellbeing at Work and Beyond Through the Power of Recognition.”

🔍 Learn how recognition can improve engagement, reduce burnout, and increase company loyalty, resulting in clear ROI. 💰 

🌎 The report examines a large-scale study of over 12,000 employees across 12 countries and uncovers the connection between recognition and wellbeing in each region.

🚀 Take action to improve employee wellbeing today! 

👉 Download report


Many business owners have noticed that wellness programs yield positive outcomes on their overall profitability. According to an SHRM survey, The ROI of wellness programs showed that every $1 invested in wellness programs yields at least $6 in healthcare savings. At the same time, there’s an increase of 10% in productivity and a 57% decrease in serious health issues.  

Some of your employees might ask, how can we build daily strategies that help us succeed at work? And do we need to build skills that make us feel like we are a part of something bigger? or help us enjoy our work? 

They might also wonder, can we detox our bodies? Work while living our values? Would skills help us prevent many diseases? And if we help someone else in our community, would that make a difference? If each one of us did one kind act, would that be enough? 

Well, it takes time and effort to build any new skill. As for connectedness, a kind act for someone else has a significant impact on our overall community.