Beyond Health Well Being

Giving a truly honest answer to the question, “How are you?” can be complicated. You may be feeling perfectly healthy, but other things in your life aren’t going so well, or vice versa. Since 2008, Gallup and Healthways have conducted daily surveys of U.S. adults to ask them about their “well-being” -- a holistic measure that includes five aspects of life: social, financial, physical, community and purpose. The results offer a way to measure how specific populations feel about their lives currently and how they anticipate their lives will be in the future -- important information for leaders implementing strategies to improve the quality of life of their constituents. The project has now gone global, and the first report shows the US ranked 12th out of 135 countries, with Panama ranked first. One of the key take-aways for employers is that well-being is about more than physical health, so if your health management program is narrowly focused on identifying and reducing health risks, it may be time to think bigger. The survey found that, of the five components of well-being, people struggle most with “purpose” -- liking what they do each day and being motivated to achieve their goals. As this article suggests, “To increase employee engagement and workplace satisfaction, we'd do well to focus on questions of purpose.”

Beth Umland
by Beth Umland

Director of Research, Health, Mercer

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