BSBPEF201 Support personal wellbeing in the workplace

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Chapter 3

Support personal wellbeing in the workplace


Learning outcomes

In this chapter, you will learn how to:

  • Recognise factors that impact personal wellbeing
  • Plan communication with a supervisor
  • Communicate with a supervisor
  • Investigate available wellbeing resources

Wellbeing is something that everyone should be concerned with and is associated with numerous health, job, family and economic benefits. For example, higher levels of wellbeing can result in a decreased risk of disease, illness and injury; better immune functioning; speedier recovery; and increased longevity. Individuals with high levels of wellbeing are more productive at work and are also more likely to contribute to their communities.

There is no consensus around a single definition of wellbeing, but there is general agreement that at minimum, it includes:

  • the presence of positive emotions and moods such as contentment and happiness
  • the absence of negative emotions such as depression or anxiety
  • satisfaction with life
  • a sense of fulfilment and positive functioning.

In simple terms, wellbeing can be described as having a positive life attitude and feeling good. Even though happiness is an integral part of your personal wellbeing, it includes other things, such as the fulfilment of long-term goals, your sense of purpose and how in control you feel in life.

Recognising factors that impact personal wellbeing

An overall sense of wellbeing can rarely be achieved without having a balance in the following key areas:

  • Physical wellbeing. This includes lifestyle choices that affect the functioning of our bodies. What we eat and how active we are will affect our physical wellbeing.
  • Emotional or psychological wellbeing. This is our ability to cope with everyday life and reflects how we think and feel about ourselves.
  • Social wellbeing. This is the extent to which we feel a sense of belonging and social inclusion. The way we communicate with others, our relationships, values, beliefs, lifestyles and traditions, are all important factors of social wellbeing.
  • Spiritual wellbeing.This is the ability to experience and integrate meaning and purpose in life. It is achieved through being connected to our inner self, to nature or even to a greater power.
  • Intellectual wellbeing. Gaining and maintaining intellectual wellbeing helps us to expand our knowledge and skills in order to live an enjoyable and successful life.
  • Economic wellbeing.This is our ability to meet our basic needs and to feel a sense of security.

The world we live in is complex. Understanding the factors that influence wellbeing, whether as an individual, community or nation, helps us to work together to improve our quality of life. Although genetics and personal behaviour play a large part in determining an individual’s health, our wellbeing starts with where we live, where we work and learn, and where we play.

Identifying personal and workplace factors that may impact on wellbeing

Wellbeing isn’t just the absence of illness or of feeling bad. As we have seen, it is a complex combination of physical, mental, emotional and social health factors and is strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction. Wellbeing, however, does not simply “happen” and there are common personal and workplace factors that have an impact on your state of wellness.

Personal factors, for example, can include;

  • Culture. Your cultural upbringing may influence what foods you can and cannot eat, how you dress, how you relate to people of other cultures, and what cultural customs you must observe whether you are at work or not.
  • Your education level may be a factor in your social interactions, influencing who you socialise with and the types of activities you participate in. It will also be a factor in determining the type of job you can get.
  • This includes not only environmental factors that impact on your health, such as air and water quality, but also things such as the quality of your home life or your neighbourhood environment.
  • Family life. Family influences include your responsibilities towards your family, whether you have enough private space and time, and how pressured you feel to do well.
  • Your financial state impacts on what you can and cannot afford to do. It influences where you can live, and how much disposable income you have to spend on doing things you enjoy.
  • Psychological state. All of the above factors influence the amount of pressure a person feels to work harder in order to succeed.

Workplace factors can include:

  • Workplace culture is different from your personal cultural background. It describes an organisation’s general view of its work operations and its team of employees. This might relate to:
    • how social the organisation is in terms of relationships with its staff
    • whether there is an “open-door” policy between staff and management
    • its environmental policies and views on “green” workplace operations
    • its work ethics (e.g. the organisation might have a “no nonsense” approach to work processes and discourage social interaction among staff).
  • Empowerment and psychological safety. Factors here might include:
    • possibilities for promotion
    • praise and recognition
    • the feeling that you are secure in your job.
  • Inclusion and diversity. While it is against the law to discriminate against people because of their culture, religion, physical or mental abilities, and gender, among other things, it does still happen that people from diverse backgrounds feel excluded from workplace teams or social activities.
  • It could be said that strong leadership within an organization creates a strong team, while weak leadership might lead to an environment in which everyone works to their own agenda and there is a lack of team spirit. This, in turn, can lead to job dissatisfaction and resentment. Strong leadership:
    • provides motivational strategies designed to build a cohesive team, so that members work together for the good of the organisation and its people as a whole
    • creates an organisational structure that has clear lines of responsibility
    • provides policies and procedures that ensure a safe, smooth and consistent mode of business operation
    • allows team members to offer suggestions and ideas
    • allows team members to approach their supervisors about any concerns they might have
    • offer wellbeing programs as part of the organisational culture and ensure that the workplace is a safe and healthy environment.
  • Workplace health and safety (WHS). WHS programs are a legislative requirement in all workplaces. They ensure that workers (or anyone visiting business premises) have a safe and risk-free environment in which to work. Some workplaces are hazardous by their very nature, which puts additional pressure and stress on workers. Inadequate WHS policies and procedures can lead to sickness, serious illness, accidents, or even deaths, in the workplace.
  • Workload. In an effort to maximise profits, some organisations expect more work to be done by fewer people, causing stress from the pressure of getting work done.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by pressures, so it is important to take steps to maintain your wellbeing both at home and in the workplace.


  1. Think about your own work or study environment. How do the factors identified in this section impact on your sense of wellbeing?

The relationship between personal wellbeing and workplace factors

In order to support and increase your own wellbeing, you first need to understand the relationship between personal wellbeing and the identified workplace factors that are relevant to your own role. The factors that influence wellbeing are interrelated, so they should not be considered in isolation. In your own case, for example, you might find the following:

  • Your education level influences the type of job you can get or your job security.
  • Your cultural heritage may have an impact on:
    • the type of work you are allowed to do
    • the hours you are allowed to work
    • workplace social activities you can take part in
    • how you are perceived by work colleagues
    • the extent to which you are accepted as part of “the team”.(A job provides not just money, but also a sense of purpose, goals, friendships and a feeling of belonging.)
  • Your family culture around using resources wisely or wastefully may have an impact in a work environment where wastefulness is frowned upon and is a matter of organisational culture.

Some personal factors can make up for the lack of others. For example, a good relationship can compensate for a lack of friendships, while religious beliefs may help a person come to terms with physical illness. How these factors integrate can have either a positive or negative effect on your wellbeing. If the effect is negative, you may need to take steps to overcome this for your own peace of mind.

Wellbeing in the workplace can also be negatively affected by a lack of understanding of your role and responsibilities in the organisation. Remedies for this might include:

  • Read your job description, which will set out exactly what your particular role and responsibilities are within the organisation.
  • Discuss with human resource (HR) staff and/or your supervisor anything you don’t understand about how your work fits into the organisation as a whole.
  • Establish relationships with colleagues to gain a better understanding of your work environment and to have people you can seek help from when needed.

…. continued in learner guide….