Wellbeing at Work: What Promotes it?

McInnes Associates well-being at work blog

This is part of our quick reads series; helping you stay informed without hogging your precious time.

This post summarises a presentation at the 2017 World Congress for the International Positive Psychology Association on what promotes wellbeing at work.


The goods news is work (even with its inherent challenges and dramas) is good for your mental health!

The concept of wellbeing at work is broad and covers lots of domains including:

  • The physical work environment
  • Work risks
  • How work & tasks are organized
  • Relationships with workmates
  • Personal health
  • Your ability at the job
  • Even non-work stuff like home and family stress

Wellbeing at work can not only influence your own happiness, but it is also linked to your productivity.

So, in other words, your wellbeing at work matters! It matters to you, your boss and your mother.

The Research

The conference presentation was based on a review of the academic literature on wellbeing at work focused specifically on individual or group factors ‘promoting positive mental health and wellbeing at work”.

Here are the 12 most frequently researched factors, in order of descending frequency:

  • Leadership style
  • Empowerment, autonomy, control at work, participation
  • Possibilities for development
  • Work climate
  • Social support (from supervisor)
  • Supervisor-employee communication
  • Clear goals
  • Appreciation (from supervisors, colleagues, or customers)
  • Work time control
  • Effort-reward balance
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Job security

Warning Will Robinson

Remember to always wear your critic’s hat with whatever you read on the internet – what do you notice? Correct most frequently considered does not = most important.

I suspect that leadership taking the number one slot, is as much trend-based as importance based i.e. leadership is trendy in practice and in academia.


The takeout for me is; it’s a team thing.  My wellbeing at work probably (assuming at least a loose overlap between research frequency and real-world importance) is not fully in my control or my colleagues or my leaders – it’s a team thing.

Feel free to talk to me below about your (real world) thoughts on Wellbeing@Work.

Yours as ever,

The Wellbeing@WorkDr

Links, References and all that Jazz

Lindberg, P., Karlsson, T., Nordlöf, H., Engström, V., & Vingård, E. (2017). Factors at work promoting mental health and wellbeing at work–a systematic literature review. Paper presented at the 5th World Congress International Positive Psychology Association.

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/cheerful-close-up-coffee-cup-208165/

Leave a Reply