Well-being vs. Wellness in the Workplace

Haley Bass
Well-being and wellness are not the same thing.

The same rules that guide the grammatical difference between “good” and “well” can be applied to well-being and wellness. You ARE good; you DO well. In other words: who you are as a person and your perception of how your life is going is your well-being. The actions you take toward a healthy lifestyle direct your wellness.1

Despite their differences, well-being and wellness influence each other. Both are essential to a healthier and happier work and personal life. Understanding how to incorporate both into your company is necessary for a positive work environment.


Well-being is focused on your holistic life experience: are you content, balanced, and positive? Do you find your life to be fulfilling and satisfying?

The O.C. Tanner Institute 2015 Health and Well-Being Study found impactful connections between an employee’s well-being and the perks and wellness benefits provided by their company.2 Impactful perks and benefits included 5 that are common in most businesses: fair pay/salary, family emergency/care leave, paid time off, paid sick leave and maternity leave.

However, the perks with the greatest impact were related to company culture: having open work spaces that promote collaboration, and consistently providing positive employee recognition. Employees with these perks reported well-being scores 13% higher, on average, than employees without them.

The study also discovered that employees with poor well-being reported that they were only working at 64% of their maximum output, losing employers over a third of potential productivity.

More benefits and positive interactions equal better employee well-being, which leads to a more successful business. Easy math.


Wellness is the sum of all of the positive steps you take in order to lead a healthier life. It is body-focused and depends on your physical, social, and mental state.

Physical wellness is measured by positive health habits, like losing weight and clinic visits when sick, as well as negative habits, like smoking. Social wellness is all about work-life balance and having positive social interactions at work and home. Mental wellness, the highest impact on well-being, refers to an individual’s recognition of talents and ability to cope with stress.2

Most wellness programs consist of a gym in the office or a discounted gym membership. While this is a perk that employees typically enjoy, there are so many other ways to promote wellness in the workplace. Many companies have created co-working spaces with gyms, yoga studios and walking desks as part of the office.3 Some businesses include healthy meal plans or healthier vending machine options for employees.

When each facet of wellness is addressed positively, the overall well-being of an employee is improved.

Better Wellness = Higher Well-being

As previously stated, while well-being and wellness shouldn’t be used interchangeably, they influence each other. The more wellness opportunities offered in the workplace, the higher sense of well-being each employee will experience.

Wellness programs in the workplace provide a substantial return on investment: motivated and productive employees, loyalty in the workforce and curbed long-term health care costs. An article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a 35% decline in medical visits for minor illnesses at businesses that focused on prevention and wellness programs.

When employees feel like their employers care about their personal well-being, they often feel more invested in their work.

Concentra's Wellness and Well-being Programs

Concentra develops wellness programs that are custom-made to the goals and needs of your workforce. We focus on everything that will keep your office healthy and motivated, including preventing illness and injury, promoting health and productivity and lowering total cost of health care.

Concentra’s wellness and well-being programs begin with a comprehensive assessment and consultation of your employees’ needs, then focus on health promotion, education and coaching, both in-person and online. We’ll provide periodic reports on program utilization and effectiveness.

Enhance the well-being of your employees by investing in their wellness.

[1] "Is There A Difference Between Employee Wellness and Employee Well-being?" Huffington Post. December 6. 2017.  
[2] "A Combination of Benefits/Perks Drives Overall Employee Well-Being." Plansponsor. July 14, 2016.