Well-Being in the Workplace: Are We Focusing on the Right Things?

While there is lot of data on pay, ethnic and gender disparities, practice settings, insurance reimbursement and RVU conversion, there is little available on well-being in the workplace. Gallup’s Life Evaluation Index includes a metric to measure best possible life – 10 representing the best possible life and 1 as the worst possible life. This index is a good predictor of the current and future resiliency of the workforce and identifies burnout.

The basic five elements of well-being included from Gallup research are:

  • Career
  • Social
  • Financial
  • Physical
  • Community

Career well-being is the foundation of the best possible life. But with growing awareness around well-being in the workplace and many institutions starting programs in response, we are seeing a greater focus on physical and mental health rather than career well-being as a foundational pillar. Here are some measures that institutions can consider for systemic well-being for all involved in the health care workforce.

  1. Have clearly defined and balanced expectations where each member knows what is expected of them.
  2. Focus on each person’s strength and ensure that people are working in their strength zone and interest level. Engaged employees report higher well-being, even with longer work hours.
  3. Have a balanced workload with clearly defined responsibilities between different members of the team so each member is pulling their weight and contributing to team. Have a fair and transparent reimbursement system to ensure fair reimbursement.
  4. Create a culture of empowerment where power is given away and success is measured as much by how much we improve the life of those on our team as by our individual accolades.
  5. Move work-life integration from theory to practical application and embodiment. Make well-being an integral part of career development conversations and encourage hobbies and interests outside of work.

Most people spend a third of their waking hours working. Therefore, well-being at work is integral to a living a fulfilled and happy life. However, more research and work are needed in this area. An engaged, happy, and healthy work force in health care will translate to better health care outcomes and can lead to a greater focus on disease prevention and wellness for our patients.



This article was written by Pooja Sethi, MD, FACC, associate professor of cardiology and Director of Advanced Cardiac Imaging at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

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