What does wellbeing (really) mean to you?

Employee Wellbeing Month
Virgin Pulse
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 21 June 2023

What does wellbeing mean to you? It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot, but that shouldn’t lose its meaning. Virgin Pulse is celebrating Employee Wellbeing Month by asking people to share what wellbeing means to them, and it shows how wellbeing is so much more than kale smoothies and half-marathons! From hiking, to drawing, to flexible working, to hanging out with pets, and sitting by the seaside – people submitted so many wonderful photos which reminded how important it is to prioritise wellbeing in all its forms.

Virgin Pulse - show us your wellbeing campaign
Virgin Pulse

For me, wellbeing means getting outdoors, journaling and spending quality time with the kids. It also means countless hours on my kindle and banning my phone from my bedroom! We’ve started making our own honey too, and it’s such a wholesome way to take you out of your daily life.

Holly Branson beekeeping
Holly Branson

It’s important for employers to step back and take a look at how they are supporting their employee’s wellbeing, and making sure it is as flexible and comprehensive as possible. Offering fully flexible working is such a powerful way of enabling wellbeing. Embracing flexible work gives people the freedom to do a quick meditation when things get stressful, take a pilates class in their lunch break, or pick up a hobby instead of being crammed on a commute. It’s also really important for employers to encourage this level of flexibility, and to trust their people to get the work done in the way that works best for them. This comes from creating a culture of trust, care and belonging, which is easy to say but less easy to implement – so Virgin Pulse has shared some great resources to help you here.

Holly Branson exercises on a park bench with another woman
Image from Virgin Active

Looking after your employee’s wellbeing in a genuine way really is more important than ever as we look towards a rising mental health crisis. The good news is that more and more businesses and expanding their wellbeing initiatives according to Virgin Pulse’s global report  on the future of health, wellbeing and navigation. The report predicts that 2023 and beyond will see a growing emphasis on health and whole-person wellbeing. This means holistic organisational strategies that recognise employees as people’s and addresses their unique needs, preferences and lives. As Virgin Pulse’s CEO Chris Michalak put it:

We are all navigating external challenges. The VUCA [volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous] world we live in forces us to be agile and innovative while anticipating and planning to deal with the various risks and obstacles we will inevitably face at some point. The only viable way to overcome all these challenges is if people are healthy and happy to work toward a common mission.

Brian Baker, director of strategic development at Virgin Pulse, summed it up so well when he wrote in the report:

People are sick of feeling like a ‘cog in a machine.’ They’re human beings, with real life problems, and want an employer to be empathic and understanding – especially if they want them to take on more work. A more holistic and personalised approach to employee experience is needed.

It was also very encouraging to see Virgin Pulse’s 2023 Global Workplace Wellbeing Survey find that companies who offer health and wellbeing programs see clear ROI and increased employee participation, and prove that these programs help address the very real challenges of company culture and mental health.

Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

It’s clear that really digging deep on your wellbeing strategy benefits both your people and your business. Find more insight and inspiration through Virgin Pulse’s Employee Wellbeing Month resources.