Is There a Difference Between Employee Wellness and Employee Well-Being?

Posted by Becky Squiers on Mon, Mar, 14, 2016

A lot of people use the words “wellness” and “well-being” interchangeably. Others define them as two Designed by Freepikseparate concepts. We’ve decided to take a closer look at these two words to figure out just what they mean for you and your corporate wellness program.

Let’s start with the basics. Is there a difference between wellness and well-being? Yes, we definitely think there is.

Does that mean one is better than the other? No way!

So what is well-being?

Well-being is a holistic state of being. It’s an overall positive existence that includes being emotionally, spiritually, socially and mentally grounded. A positive state of well-being is characterized by overall contentment and balance in your life.

Essentially well-being is more about positively existing than it is about improving your health. It’s a focus on calm contentment with your life, not necessarily committed concentration on being the best you can possibly be.

And what is wellness?

Wellness is more focused on health. That doesn’t mean wellness has a physical health focus. It’s still holistic in nature, but the focus is on improving how your body works rather than meditating or reflecting on your current state of being.

Wellness essentially places the focus on progress. It’s important to remember that this progress can still occur in many areas of your life. It goes beyond physical health. It also goes beyond the radical changes involved with some health journeys to include building small, healthy habits that add up to complete wellness.

What does all of this mean?

We think it means there’s a unique opportunity to address well-being and wellness together. Yes, they’re two different concepts. No, one is not better than the other. But the two are definitely related! They both contribute to the overall health of your employees.

Well-being is a huge part of employee wellness. You can’t expect your employees to make healthy improvements if they don’t feel good about their states of being. In fact, feeling good and having a positive mindset is one of the secrets of wellness success. Positivity can make all the difference.

Because wellness and well-being are connected, you can definitely address both in your wellness program. Consider implementing activities that address mindfulness and stress management. Both of these health practices can be reflective and contribute to a positive state of well-being. They’re also incredibly effective tools to improve mental health—a key branch of employee wellness.

Striking a balance and “killing two birds with one stone” is a great way to get the most of your corporate wellness program. Both employee wellness and employee well-being play a role in your employees’ health. It’s important to recognize the difference, but also utilize the relationship to ensure your wellness program is exactly what your employees need.

How do you distinguish between wellness and well-being?


Topics: Healthy Workplaces, Wellness at Work


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