What is individual wellbeing?

Individual Wellbeing


In accordance with the World Health Organisation, wellbeing can be broken down into three parts.


  1. Reaching potential, which can only be owned and managed by an individual

  2. Working productively is a shared responsibility. The individual has to engage with the organisational environment but the organisation has to provide the right environment

  3. Contributing to community is defined as doing things for others, whether that is in the workplace or in the local area. This can only be managed by the individual


Wellbeing isn’t linear, it’s an interconnected system built on dependencies. If you are starting from a base of high wellbeing, then wellbeing can be self-perpetuating and requires little intervention but the challenge comes when it’s low. Our research with Public Health England indicates that the average individual wellbeing score is at 16 on a scale of 35 using clinical measures. This is classified as low. There is a direct correlation between low wellbeing and low productivity and a well evidenced increased risk of mental ill health. It’s within all of our interests to measure, assess, audit and provide tools to increase wellbeing and environments to maintain wellbeing.


The Wellbeing Wheel

There are 3 stages to wellbeing:

  • Building wellbeing: people can increase their wellbeing given the right tools and environment


  • Maintaining wellbeing: often referred to as the 5 ways to wellbeing. If maintained from a low base of wellbeing, it simply maintains that low base, it won’t increase wellbeing alone


  • Flourishing wellbeing: when high wellbeing is maintained, then production and resilience to manage challenges increases


The difficulty for both individuals and organisations is objectively quantifying where they are in the wellbeing cycle. Until this can be evidenced it becomes impossible to design an effective, measured wellbeing strategy.


Diagnosing wellbeing

There are two sides to wellbeing:

The tangible – tools/resources/facilities

The intangible – motivation/engagement/resilience.


For every tangible element there is a psychological impact. The key to understanding wellbeing is knowing how the two work together to identify what can be achieved operationally by the organisation to positively impact wellbeing.


Everyone has a role to play. Individuals need to be motivated and engaged (red) and organisations need to provide tools and resources (green) – if they work together (white), flourishing can be achieved.

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To understand potential problems and find the right solutions, each part, shown in the diagram above, needs to be broken down and benchmarked. This can be done using Tasting Colours Wellbeing diagnostic tools.