News Archive

Management QOL in the News - February 18, 2020

How Much of Your Happiness Is Under Your Control?

The researchers behind the original "happiness pie chart" share what they've learned in the past 15 years.

By Kira M. Newman

Do you know the happiness pie chart? If you’ve read a book or listened to a talk about happiness in the past 15 years, there’s a good chance you heard that 50 percent of our happiness is determined by our genes, 40 percent by our activities, and 10 percent by our life circumstances.

Neat and tidy, the pie chart—originally proposed in a 2005 paper by researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon M. Sheldon, and David Schkade—painted a clear picture of what contributes to our well-being. Unfortunately for some of us, the chart suggested, the genes we got from our parents play a big role in how fulfilled we feel. But it also contained good news: By engaging in healthy mental and physical habits, we can still exert a lot of control over our own happiness.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 13, 2020

How to make the world happier – and why it should be our first priority

There is a wind of change in our society. People are talking about feelings. Even men are doing it. Relatively recently Prince William and Prince Harry talked for the first time about their mother’s death and how it affected their own mental health. All around there is a new undercurrent – a greater concern with our own inner life and with how other people feel. A new, gentler culture is emerging.

By contrast, the older culture, which still dominates, is altogether harsher. It is more focused on externals. It encourages people to aim above all at personal success: good grades, a good job, a good income and a desirable partner. This culture of striving has brought many blessings, and life today is probably as good as it has ever been in human history. But that culture also involves a lot of stress, and people wonder why – if we are now so much richer than previous generations – we are not a lot happier.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 9, 2020

True happiness isn’t about being happy all the time

Over the past two decades, the positive psychology movement has brightened up psychological research with its science of happiness, human potential and flourishing. It argues that psychologists should not only investigate mental illness but also what makes life worth living.

The founding father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, describes happiness as experiencing frequent positive emotions, such as joy, excitement and contentment, combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose. It implies a positive mindset in the present and an optimistic outlook for the future. Importantly, happiness experts have argued that happiness is not a stable, unchangeable trait but something flexible that we can work on and ultimately strive towards.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - December 21, 2019

What really matters at the end of life

At the end of our lives, what do we most wish for? For many, it's simply comfort, respect, love. BJ Miller is a hospice and palliative medicine physician who thinks deeply about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients. Take the time to savor this moving talk, which asks big questions about how we think on death and honor life.

Management QOL in the News - December 10, 2019

Positive Psychology in Action

Management QOL in the News - November 30, 2019

The happy secret to better work

We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards? In this fast-moving and very funny talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive.

Management QOL in the News - October 08, 2019

Total Well-Being: The Wellness Trend Of 2019

Remember when wellness was as simple as losing weight with the latest fad diet and a session of "8 Minute Abs?" While health regimens like these used to be quite popular, they can seem a bit superficial compared to today’s routines, which might involve serving your spirit at Soul Cycle and replenishing your energy with local, organic beet juice. As millennials move the marketplace towards trends like these, the health and wellness industry’s focus is shifting beyond merely beautifying our bodies and onto activities that heal us more deeply. As a result, in 2019 our collective vision of health will expand towards total well-being. With total well-being, wellness isn’t just about healing our bodies. It's about nourishing our minds, spirits, communities and environment through holistic practices that uplift everyone involved. We will begin to see more and more employers moving to support a paradigm of total well-being for their employees as well.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - August 03, 2019

Nicola Stugeon: Why governments should prioritize well-being

In 2018, Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand established the network of Wellbeing Economy Governments to challenge the acceptance of GDP as the ultimate measure of a country's success. In this visionary talk, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon explains the far-reaching implications of a "well-being economy" -- which places factors like equal pay, childcare, mental health and access to green space at its heart -- and shows how this new focus could help build resolve to confront global challenges.

Management QOL in the News - June 03, 2019

Steven Pinker: Enlightenment Now

Management QOL in the News - March 20, 2019

These Are the World’s Happiest (and Most Miserable) Countries

By Kati Pohjanpalo

Finland has topped a global happiness ranking for the second year in a row.

It beat Nordic peers Denmark, Norway and Iceland in a ranking of 156 countries by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The ranking saw the U.S. drop one place, to 19th, while people in South Sudan were the least happy.

The results are based on an average of three years of surveys taken by Gallup between 2016 and 2018 and include factors such as gross domestic product, social support from friends and family, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceived corruption and recent emotions -- both happy and sad.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 19, 2019

The global push to reinvent GDP

When GDP became the dominant measure of economies in the 1940s, the internet was still a half-century out. Today, the internet drives a major chunk of economic activity, but GDP misses much of it. This has widened the gap between the closely watched metric and actual economic health. Economists are working on alternative measures that they say will more correctly gauge national prosperity, accounting for relatively new industries, plus intangibles like income inequality and clean air and water. But the pace of technological advances may be enlarging the gap even as they work to close it.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - November 24, 2018

Estes Weighted Index of Social Progress

The Management Institute for Quality-of-Life Studies (MIQOLS) is pleased to announce the launch of the Weighted Index of Social Progress (WISP). The WISP is a quality-of-life metric innovation of Professor Richard J. Estes, Professor Emeritus of Social Work and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania (USA). Professor Estes has developed the WISP in the 1970s and has reported the quality of life on many countries and world regions since (from 1970s up to 2018) (see references to his publications regarding the WISP in (click Show Sources).

Specifically, Professor Estes’ WISP is a composite index of quality of life at the country level. That is, the WISP index captures quality of life of the vast majority of the countries (countries that maintains social indicators data). The WISP consists of an overall composite score of each country (shown as an actual score varying from 0 to 100, ranks, and standard deviation from the mean). The overall index is made up of 10 subindices: education, health, women status, defense effort, economic, demography, environmental, social chaos, cultural cohesion, and welfare effort.

The Education Subindex is made up of four indicators: (1) Public Expenditures on Education as Percentage of GDP (+; i.e., the positive sign indicates that the higher the score the higher the quality of life); (2) Primary School Completion Rate (+); (3) Secondary School Net Enrollment Rate (+); and (4) Adult Literacy Rate (+).

The Health Subindex consists of six indicators: (1) Life Expectation at Birth (+); (2) Infant Mortality Rate (-; i.e., the negative sign indicates that the higher the score the lower the quality of life); (3) Under-Five Child Mortality Rate (-); (4) Physician Per 100,000 Population (+); Percent of Population Undernourished (-); and (6) Public Expenditure on Health as Percentage of GDP (+).

The Women Status Subindex consists of five indicators: (1) Female Adult Literacy as Percentage of Male Literacy (+); (2) Contraceptive Prevalence among Married Women (+); (3) Maternal Mortality Rate (-); (4) Female Secondary School Enrollment as Percentage of Male Enrollment (+); and (5) Seats in Parliament Held by Women as Percentage of Total (+).

The Defense Effort Subindex consists of one indicator, namely Military Expenditures as Percentage of GDP (-).

The Economic Subindex consists five indicators: (1) Per Capita Gross National Income as Measured by PPP (+); (2) Percent Growth in GDP (+); (3) Unemployment Rate (-); (4) Total External Debt as Percentage of GDP (-); and (6) GINI Index Score (-).

The Demography Subindex comprise three indicators: (1) Average Annual Rate of Population Growth (-); (2) Percent of Population Aged < 15 years (-); (3) Percent of Population Aged > 64 Years (+).

The Environmental Subindex has three indicators: (1) Percentage of Nationally Protected Area (+); (2) Average Annual Number of Disaster-Related Death (-); and (3) Per Capita Metric Tons of Carbon-Dioxide Emissions (-).

The Social Chaos Subindex has six indicators: (1) Violations of Political Rights (-); (2) Violations of Civil Liberties (-); (3) Number of Internally Displaced Persons Per 100,000 Population (-); (4) Number of Externally Displaced Person Per 100,000 Population (-); (5) Estimated Number of Deaths from Armed Conflicts (-); and (6) Perceived Corruption Index (-).

The Cultural Cohesion Subindex has three indicators: (1) Largest Percentage of Population Sharing the Same or Similar Racial/Ethnic Origins (+); (2) Largest Percentage of Population Sharing the Same or Similar Religious Beliefs (+); and (3) Largest Share of Population Sharing the Same Mother Tongue (+).

Finally, the Welfare Effort Subindex has five indicators: (1) Age First National Laws-Old Age, Invalidity & Death (+), (2) Age First National Laws-Sickness & Maternity (+); (3) Age First National Laws-Work Injury (+); (4) Age First National Laws-Unemployment (+); (5) Age First National Laws-Family Allowance (+).

Please visit the WISP metric on MIQOLS’ website at and start using it for research and to guide public policy decisions at the national and international levels.

Management QOL in the News - October 25, 2018

23 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better

For most Americans, these feel like bleak times. We have a massively unpopular, scandal-plagued president whose aides are being convicted of serious federal felonies. Overt, old-fashioned racism is publicly visible and powerful in a way it wasn’t only five years ago. More than 200 admired, powerful men have been accused of sexual misconduct or assault.

This is all real, and truly alarming. But it would be a mistake to view that as the sum total of the world in 2018. Under the radar, some aspects of life on Earth are getting dramatically better. Extreme poverty has fallen by half since 1990, and life expectancy is increasing in poor countries — and there are many more indices of improvement like that everywhere you turn.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 19, 2018

Well-being in metrics and policy

Carol Graham, Kate Laffan, Sergio Pinto

This century is full of progress paradoxes, with unprecedented economic development and improvements in longevity, health, and literacy coexisting with climate change, persistent poverty in the poorest countries, and increasing income inequality and unhappiness in many wealthy ones. Economic growth and the traditional metrics used to assess it—particularly gross domestic product (GDP)—are necessary but not sufficient to guarantee growth that is inclusive and politically and socially sustainable. Well-being metrics, derived from large-scale surveys and questionnaires that capture the income and nonincome determinants of individual well-being, often provide a different picture of what is happening to people. These metrics can provide insight into policies to sustain human welfare in the future.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 2, 2018

What happened to the American Dream?

Q&A with "Happiness for All" author Carol Graham

The "American Dream"—one of the country’s most foundational principles—has long made a simple promise: Hard work leads to success. But what happens when large swaths of American society don’t buy into it? How do Americans really feel about growing levels of inequality? Carol Graham, the Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and College Park Professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, uses economic metrics to explore these and other issues in her book Happiness for All? Unequal Hopes and Lives in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 24, 2018

The US Is the Only Wealthy Nation That's Becoming Less Livable: Report

The world remains a deeply unequal place, and as social progress accelerates in some countries, it’s stalling or even declining in others, according to the nonprofit the Social Progress Imperative.

Over the past four years, the world improved the most in terms of access to water and sanitation and basic nutrition, while social inclusiveness and access to higher education showed the most decline.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 21, 2018

Want to learn how to improve your life in just two days?

Find out how to get happy, take back control and achieve your dreams at The Best You Expo.

Read more here.

Good night’s sleep more important than a pay rise in making you happy, says study

Sleeping well has a far more profound impact on wellbeing than a significant pay rise, according to new research.

A survey of thousands of Britons by the Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research found that a healthy amount of sleep was the strongest indicator of living well.

Read more here.

Science says happier people have these 9 things in common

Everybody wants to be happy.

That's why the science of happiness has gained more attention in recent years —researchers have started to produce reports on happiness around the globe, and positive psychology, which focuses on what makes individuals and communities thrive, has skyrocketed in popularity.

At this point, we actually know a fair amount about how certain behaviours, attitudes, and choices relate to happiness, though most research on the topic can only find correlations.

Researchers think that roughly 40 percent of our happiness is under our own control; the rest is determined by genetics and external factors. That means there's a lot we can do to control our own happiness.

Read more here.

Mentoring can improve youths’ well-being

HUNTINGTON — After a recent in-depth study suggested girls across the country face challenges involving obesity, emotional health and economic conditions that have not improved, the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council is being proactive in its approach to reverse the trend.

Read more here.

Buying Time Can Make You Happier Than Buying Things

We've all been told countless times that money can't buy happiness. But that's not entirely true. There is one commodity on the market that can promote a deep sense of well-being. That commodity is time.

Ashley V. Whillans, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, has done a lot of research into what social scientists call "time famine." As the lead author in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in 2017, Whillans wrote that "people around the world are feeling increasingly pressed for time, undermining well-being." Despite rising incomes across many parts of the globe, she writes, "increases in wealth have produced an unintended consequence: a rising sense of time scarcity."

Read more here.

Are Friends the Key to Happiness?

Long-term studies show that close relationships are better predictors of well-being than almost anything else.

In the world of science, a longitudinal study is a research method in which the same group of subjects is observed and measured over a period of time. If there is one study that really puts the "long" in longitudinal, it's the Harvard Study of Adult Development. It has been providing data on the same group of men since 1938. There were 268 of them then – fewer than 20 are still alive – all Harvard sophomores, including future President John F. Kennedy and future Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. The goal of the study was to find out what factors lead to healthy and happy lives. And perhaps the biggest key to well-being, it has revealed, is having friends.

Dr. Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is the fourth director of the Harvard Study. "This is now the longest in-depth study of adult life we know of," he says. "Once we followed people into old age, then we could look back and find what we knew of them in their 40s and 50s that could predict being healthy and happy in their 70s and 80s."

Read more here.

In Pursuit of Happiness

Neuroscientist Dean Burnett dives deep into what makes us happy.

It's human nature to want to be happy, but people know relatively little about the science behind the emotion.

Scientists are only just beginning to grasp how the human brain processes emotion – the chemical processes and how they affect our thoughts and behaviors. What does it mean to be happy? And what's actually happening in people's brains when they are?

These are the questions neuroscientist Dean Burnett set out to explore in his new book, "Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From and Why," an attempt to understand one of humanity's most potent emotions.

Read more here.

6 Proven Ways to Bring Happiness to Your Life

Happiness is rooted in practices and behaviors.

The pursuit of happiness is guaranteed in our Constitution, but the Founding Fathers, sadly, failed to provide a path for achieving that elusive goal. Social scientists, thankfully, have stepped in. Research has continued to find that certain practices and behaviors consistently lead to greater levels of perceived happiness.

Read more here.

Money Can Actually Buy Some Happiness. But How Much?

David Lee Roth, the former singer for the band Van Halen, once acknowledged that money can't buy happiness. "But it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it," he added. That pretty much sums up the conundrum. Is there some point at which the separate scales of income and happiness cross?

If you are to believe recent research published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, the answer is yes – and that point is in the neighborhood of $60,000 to $75,000 a year per person.

Read more here.

The Many Ways Travel Is Good for Your Mental Health

Americans are notoriously hardworking, sometimes to the detriment of our own health. We take fewer vacations than most other countries in the developed world. We're much less likely to travel, as well. “The average U.S. citizen has been outside the country three times. In other countries, it’s more like a dozen times,” says Dr. Joshua A. Weiner, a psychiatrist practicing in McLean, Virginia.

Though there hasn’t been a lot of direct research into this, most experts agree that travel has powerful mental health benefits. “A lot is based on making reasonable conclusions based on other things we do know,” says Dr. John Denninger, a psychiatrist, expert on mind-body science and the director of research for the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. On balance, he says, travel is “absolutely” good for mental health.

Read more here.

The World's 10 Happiest Countries

Searching for happiness? You might want to head to Finland.

Finland has edged out Norway as the world's happiest country, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report, an annual global ranking of 156 countries by their happiness and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants. The United Nations report released on Wednesday also found that Americans have gotten less happy even as the United States has grown in wealth. The report analyzes countries' happiness by income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust, generosity and absence of corruption.

Read more here.

Health Buzz: The 10 Happiest Cities in America

Everyone wants to be happy. But according to research, you have a better shot at it in certain cities.

The happiest city in America is Fremont, California, followed by Bismarck, North Dakota, and San Jose, California, according to a new ranking from WalletHub. Four out of the top 10 cities are in California, with two in North Dakota and Texas, respectively.

WalletHub ranked the happiest cities in America – more than 180 – across three categories: emotional and physical well-being, income and employment, and community and environment. Each section examined various happiness indicators, including everything from depression rate to average leisure time per day to income-growth rate.

According to the report, the least happy city is Detroit, Michigan, with Huntington, West Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama, rounding out the bottom three.

Read more here.

Management QOL in the News - July 31, 2018

Association for Psychological Science - Happiness News

The Association for Psychological Science has published several articles on happiness. Please visit in order to read more.

Visit the site here.

Management QOL in the News - April 14, 2018

Americans don’t need more money to be happier—they need to be like Denmark

The new World Happiness Report again ranks Denmark among the top three happiest of 155 countries surveyed—a distinction that the country has earned for seven consecutive years.

The US, on the other hand, ranked 18th in this year’s World Happiness Report, a four-spot drop from last year’s report.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 19, 2018

This is the world's happiest country in 2018

Reindeer jerky, anyone? Finland is the happiest country in the world, according to the latest World Happiness Report.

Norway, last year's winner, came in second place in the 2018 report. It's followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 2, 2018

Quality of Life Rankings

Measuring states' natural and social environments

Policymakers have implemented a number of regulations over the past half-century to ensure a safe relationship between people and their environment. Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates air pollution. Similarly, the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act ensure that states properly dispose of pollutants at treatment plants and that public drinking water meets federal standards.

These laws not only help preserve the nation's natural resources, but they protect the public from harmful toxins and resulting health concerns that affect their quality of life.

In addition to a healthy environment, a person's quality of life is largely a result of their interactions with those around them. Studies show that when people feel socially supported, they experience greater happiness, as well as physical and mental health.

North Dakota and Minnesota are the most effective at promoting their citizens' well-being by providing both a healthy environment and a sense of social connectedness. Other top states include Wisconsin, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Mississippi.

Read full rankings here.

These are the states with the best quality of life

By [Yahoo Lifestyle] Abby Haglage

Midwestern states dominated U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best States review, released this week, surpassing their coastal neighbors in education, infrastructure, health care, and — the newest section of the report — quality of life.

Iowa, which placed sixth last year, jumped to first place overall as a result of claiming the top spot in infrastructure and the third in health care. Next in line for overall ranking was Minnesota, followed by Utah, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.

Read the full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 17, 2018

Happiness 101

One Tuesday last fall I sat in on a positive-psychology class called the Science of Well-Being — essentially a class in how to make yourself happier — at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. George Mason is a challenge for positive psychologists because it is one of the 15 unhappiest campuses in America, at least per The Princeton Review. Many students are married and already working and commute to school. It’s a place where you go to move your career forward, not to find yourself.

Read full article here.

Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness

By David Shimer

NEW HAVEN — On Jan. 12, a few days after registration opened at Yale for Psyc 157, Psychology and the Good Life, roughly 300 people had signed up. Within three days, the figure had more than doubled. After three more days, about 1,200 students, or nearly one-fourth of Yale undergraduates, were enrolled.

The course, taught by Laurie Santos, 42, a psychology professor and the head of one of Yale’s residential colleges, tries to teach students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life in twice-weekly lectures.

“Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus,” Dr. Santos said in an interview. “With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.”

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 22, 2017

These Are the Happiest Cities in the US

People have been trying to figure out happiness for a long time. Albert Camus saw Aristotle's "supreme good" as something of a balancing act. "There is no love of life without despair of life," he said. Where you are in the world has an impact on your happiness, whether that's on a vacation, at work, or, more broadly, the city you live in. National Geographic, scientists at Gallup, and New York Times best-selling author Dan Buettner have endeavored to look at cities through that lens. In the process, they've come up with a list of the 25 happiest cities in the United States.

Read the full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 14, 2017

SOCAP17 – Music Action Lab

Management QOL in the News - October 7, 2017

Lessons from the longest study on human development

For the past 70 years, scientists in Britain have been studying thousands of children through their lives to find out why some end up happy and healthy while others struggle. It's the longest-running study of human development in the world, and it's produced some of the best-studied people on the planet while changing the way we live, learn and parent. Reviewing this remarkable research, science journalist Helen Pearson shares some important findings and simple truths about life and good parenting.

View the TED talk here.

Management QOL in the News - September 24, 2017

Good genes are nice, but joy is better

By Liz Mineo, Harvard Staff Writer

When scientists began tracking the health of 268 Harvard sophomores in 1938 during the Great Depression, they hoped the longitudinal study would reveal clues to leading healthy and happy lives.

They got more than they wanted.

After following the surviving Crimson men for nearly 80 years as part of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the world’s longest studies of adult life, researchers have collected a cornucopia of data on their physical and mental health.

Read full article here.

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

View the TED talk here.

Management QOL in the News - September 20, 2017

Is the world really better than ever?

The headlines have never been worse. But an increasingly influential group of thinkers insists that humankind has never had it so good – and only our pessimism is holding us back.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 16, 2017

Emily Esfahani Smith: There's more to life than being happy

Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there's a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life -- serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you -- gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having meaning as Esfahani Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life.

View the TED talk here.

Management QOL in the News - May 23, 2017

See the Cities Where You Can Be Happier With Less Money

Would you be happier with more money? Only up to a point, and that threshold depends on where you live, shows new research provided by Gallup to TIME. In Atlanta, happiness peaks among people making about $42,000 a year—the lowest price tag on happiness among cities analyzed. But in Seattle, New York City, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, it takes roughly $105,000 a year to reach the same level of happiness.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - April 15, 2017

How A Well-Being Index For Cities Is Taking Shape In California

Santa Monica is already a pretty pleasant place to live, but now it’s working to become the first city in the U.S. to create a local well-being index to help the government gauge and respond to citizen happiness.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - April 03, 2017

Which Personality Traits Are Most Predictive of Well-Being?

We all want more well-being in our lives. But which traits are most likely to be associated with well-being? This is an important question because it can help inform our decision to cultivate some aspects of our being over others, and can even inform culture-wide interventions to increase societal levels of well-being.

But in answering this question there are some important considerations. For one, what aspect of well-being are we talking about? In recent years, multiple aspects of well-being have been studied that go beyond the stereotypical smiling and positive vibes associated with happiness (see here for a review).

Read more here.

Management QOL in the News - March 25, 2017

Working class white Americans are now dying in middle age at faster rates than minority groups

In 2015, Princeton Professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton made global headlines after documenting a shocking rise in the proportion of white non-Hispanic Americans dying in middle age.

This year, as part of the Spring 2017 edition of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Professors Case and Deaton are following up on that research to further investigate the rise and its causes, examining midlife mortality rates of white non-Hispanics in the U.S. by geography, education, birth cohort, and more. You can read the full paper here.

Dividing the country into 1,000-plus regions, the authors find that the rate of “deaths of despair” (deaths by drugs, alcohol, and suicide) in midlife for white non-Hispanics rose in nearly every part of the country and at every level of urbanization—from deep rural areas to large central cities—hitting men and women similarly.

In 2000, the epidemic was centered in the southwest. By the mid-2000s it had spread to Appalachia, Florida, and the west coast. Today, it’s country-wide.

Read more at Brookings.

Management QOL in the News - March 21, 2017

World Happiness Report 2017

The first World Happiness Report was published in April, 2012, in support of the UN High Level Meeting on happiness and well-being. Since then the world has come a long way. Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. In June 2016 the OECD committed itself “to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of governments’ efforts”. In February 2017, the United Arab Emirates held a full-day World Happiness meeting, as part of the World Government Summit. Now on World Happiness Day, March 20th, we launch the World Happiness Report 2017, once again back at the United Nations, again published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and now supported by a generous three-year grant from the Ernesto Illy Foundation. Some highlights are as follows.

Read more at the World Happiness Report website.

Management QOL in the News - November 11, 2016

Presentations from the 2016 ISQOLS Conference

Advances in Well-Being: Methodological and Measurement Issues

Distinguishing Indicators of Human Well-Being from Ill-Being

The Psychology of Work-Life Balance

Betterment of the Human Condition Award

Management QOL in the News - October 13, 2016

How to Teach Happiness at School

By Ilona Boniwell

We can teach students crucial skills of well-being without overhauling the curriculum, Ilona Boniwell explains.

Health is part of every public-school education. But what is health? It's more than just nutrition and gym class.

As early as 1947, the World Health Organization defined health as a state of mental and social—not just physical—well-being. Today, more and more schools worldwide are integrating social-emotional learning into their curriculum, teaching skills such as self-awareness, empathy, and active listening.

Read more at Greater Good Science Center.

Six Ways to Get More Happiness for Your Money

By Kira M. Newman.

More than a decade of research looks at how our spending choices can make us happier—or leave us disappointed.

When we think about spending our money wisely, we usually focus on getting the best value for the lowest price. We comparison shop and download apps to find the latest discounts and deals; we’re seduced by the daily special or the limited-time offer.

But, for those of us lucky enough to have disposable income, what if we defined wise spending in terms of the happiness that it brings? That's a completely different way of thinking about our purchases, and one that we have little practice in.

Read more at Greater Good Science Center.

Management QOL in the News - September 27, 2016

A neuroscience researcher reveals 4 rituals that will make you happier

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life.

Read more at Business Insider.

Management QOL in the News - June 22, 2016

Rosling on Extreme Poverty

From "Don't Panic: How to End Poverty in 15 Years" with Hans Rosling. Aired on BBC2 in 2015

Watch at YouTube.

Management QOL in the News - June 09, 2016

Why Rich People Aren’t as Happy as They Could Be

From Leadership & Management Guide, a Flipboard magazine by John W. Ancelet, Jr.

"I've been poor and I've been rich," quipped the comedian Sophie Tucker. "Rich is better." There is merit to Tucker’s argument. All else being equal,...

Read the full article at Harvard Business Review.

Management QOL in the News - May 09, 2016

How to measure prosperity: GDP is a bad gauge of material well-being. Time for a fresh approach

Which would you prefer to be: a medieval monarch or a modern office-worker? The king has armies of servants. He wears the finest silks and eats the richest foods. But he is also a martyr to toothache. He is prone to fatal infections. It takes him a week by carriage to travel between palaces. And he is tired of listening to the same jesters. Life as a 21st-century office drone looks more appealing once you think about modern dentistry, antibiotics, air travel, smartphones and YouTube.

Read more at the Economist.

The trouble with GDP: Gross domestic product (GDP) is increasingly a poor measure of prosperity. It is not even a reliable gauge of production

One of Albert Einstein’s greatest insights was that no matter how, where, when or by whom it is measured, the speed of light in a vacuum is constant. Measurements of light’s price, though, are a different matter: they can tell completely different stories depending on when and how they are made.

Read more at the Economist.

Rewriting history: The nation’s income is a constantly moving target

By how much did Britain’s economy grow in 1959? It would seem to be a question that ought to have been settled long ago. It hasn’t been. Samuel Williamson of the University of Illinois finds that in the British government’s annual “Blue Book” reports on GDP in the half-century or so since this uncelebrated year, there have been 18 different answers. The Blue Book published in 1960 said 2.7%; that of 2012 said 4.7%. British GDP, it seems, is under almost constant revision.

Read more at the Economist.

The party winds down: Across the world, politically connected tycoons are feeling the squeeze

Two years ago The Economist constructed an index of crony capitalism. It was designed to test whether the world was experiencing a new era of “robber barons”—a global re-run of America’s gilded age in the late 19th century. Depressingly, the exercise suggested that since globalisation had taken off in the 1990s, there had been a surge in billionaire wealth in industries that often involve cosy relations with the government, such as casinos, oil and construction. Over two decades, crony fortunes had leapt relative to global GDP and as a share of total billionaire wealth.

Read more at the Economist.

Management QOL in the News - May 02, 2016

Don't Panic: The Truth About Population

In this video / article Hans Rosling blows up some misconceptions and misunderstandings about population growth. He convincingly makes the following points: 1) Population growth should hit a limit around 11 billion within the next hundred years, as the world equalizes in health outcomes. 2) In developed countries, a ratio near 2 parents to 2 children mostly exists. As a result of equalizing health outcomes, low child mortality, and family planning, family sizes go down, and population growth slows in a predictable way. 3) Current population trends are strong enough that by 2100, only ~10% of the world population will be in Western nations (North America, Western Europe) — Africa will quadruple in population and Asia will increase about 25%. Learn more at Farnam Street (14 minutes).

Management QOL in the News - February 03, 2016

Greater Good Live

Please follow the link below to see highlights of a talk given by Richard Davidson, founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as he explains what he sees as the four science-based keys to well-being.

Click here to see the video.

Management QOL in the News - January 14, 2016

Does Happiness Really Help You Live Longer?

A new study contradicts prior research by suggesting that a happy life isn’t necessarily a longer one. But a closer look reveals that there's more to the story.

Click here to read the full article

Management QOL in the News - November 03, 2015

The Secret to Danish Happiness

Denmark consistently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world. The reason might lie with the idea of "hygge."

Pronounced "hooga", the word derived from the Germanic phrase meaning to think or feel satisfied. There is no exact translation of hygge but some attempts are "cozy" or "homey". In Denmark it means being aware the cozy time is sacred and treating it as such. This is a powerful factor in Danish happiness.

Click here to read the full article

Management QOL in the News - April 27, 2015

The Social Progress Imperative

The Social Progress Imperative (SPI) is changing the way we solve the world's most pressing challenges by redefining how the world measures success and putting the things that matter to people's lives at the top of the agenda.

The Social Progress Index revolutionizes the solving of societal problems by enabling leaders to systematically identify and prioritize issues. The Social Progress Imperative's network empowers leaders to convene all the right local actors, global partners, and subject-matter experts necessary to develop and deploy meaningful solutions. Together, the index and the network empower local actors to both identify shortcomings and deliver the solutions to improve them.

Relying only on a country's GDP as the measure of progress provides an incomplete picture of human and societal development because it overlooks factors like access to electricity, health, property rights, and religious tolerance.

The Social Progress Index is used in tandem with GDP to provide a holistic assessment of a country's overall progress.

The Social Progress Index examines social and environmental indicators that capture three distinct dimensions of social progress: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of Wellbeing, and Opportunity.

The Index has four key design principles:

  1. Exclusively social and environmental indicators: The index focuses on indicators like indoor air pollution and women in school, not family income or individual employment.
  2. Outcomes not inputs: The index assesses performance on indicators like access to electricity and suicide rates, not inputs like policies, laws, or levels of funding.
  3. Actionability: The indicators used are specific enough, such as access to improved sanitation facilities, to pinpoint exactly what needs to be changed or maintained.
  4. Relevance to all countries (societies): The index has been designed to measure performance of societies at all levels of income and on any continent.

Click here to read more about the Social Progress Imperative.

Management QOL in the News - April 09, 2015

Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index

Several new reports from Gallup are now available on our resources page.

The Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index (Global Well-Being Index) is a global barometer of individuals’ perceptions of their own well-being — those aspects that define how we think about and experience our daily lives.

The 10 questions that comprise the Global Well-Being Index and were fielded as part of the 2013 Gallup World Poll allow for comparisons of element-level well-being at the individual, social network, organizational (e.g., employer, health plan, patient population), city, state, country, and global levels. The index includes five elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.

In addition to the global well-being index, Gallup has an American Healthways Well-being Index. State and selected community rankings are available.

Click here to learn more.

Poor Behavior

How Behavioral Economics Interacts with Development Policy

The Economist Free Exchange   

By paying attention to how people actually think, behavioral economics has qualified some of the underlying assumptions of classical economics, notably that everyone is perfectly rational. Some of the simplifying assumptions of economics are not always correct: people do not act in every instance in their long-term interest, they do not weigh all of the costs and benefits before making a decision. 

Click here to read the full article.

Joy to the World

What Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim Can Tell Us About Economics

The Economist Free Exchange   

What is the point of economics? It often seems that the objective is to make the world richer. Yet this is the season when the ineffable supplants the material. Making it a good time to ponder whether maximizing income should really be the end-all of economic policy. 

Click here to read the full article.

The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis

The Atlantic's article explores the real roots of a midlife crisis

Written by Jonathan Rauch  

What a growing body of research reveals about the biology of human happiness - and how to navigate the (temporary) slump in middle age.

Click here to read the full article.

Management QOL in the News - September 22, 2014

World Happiness Report 2013

Edited by John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs.

The world is now in the midst of a major policy debate about the objectives of public policy. What should be the world’s Sustainable Development Goals for the period 2015-2030? The World Happiness Report 2013 is offered as a contribution to that crucial debate.

Click here to download and read the report in its entirety.

Management QOL in the News - August 22, 2014

A Test of Two Positive Psychology Interventions to Increase Employee Well-Being, Journal of Business and Psychology; September 2014, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp. 367-380

Authored by Seth Kaplan, Jill C. Bradley-Geist, Afra Ahmad, Amanda Anderson, Amber K. Hargrove, Alex Lindsey.

Despite an abundance of organizational research on how contextual and individual difference factors impact well-being, little research has examined whether individuals themselves can take an active role in enhancing their own well-being. The current study assessed the effectiveness of two simple, self-guided workplace interventions (“gratitude” and “social connectedness”) in impacting well-being.

Sixty-seven university employees participated in one of the two self-guided interventions for 2 weeks and completed self-report measures prior to the intervention, immediately following the intervention, and one-month post-intervention. Growth curve modeling was used to examine the effects of each intervention.

Partially supporting hypotheses, the gratitude intervention resulted in significant increases in positive affective well-being and self-reported gratitude but not did significantly impact negative affective well-being or self-reported social connectedness. The social connectedness exercise did not significantly impact any of those four outcomes. However, both interventions related to a reduction in workplace absence due to illness.

The study suggests that self-guided, positive psychology interventions (particularly gratitude) hold potential for enhancing employee well-being. Because the interventions are short, simple, and self-guided, there is little in the way of costs or drawbacks for organizations. Thus, these types of interventions seem like a potentially useful component of workplace wellness initiatives.

Management QOL in the News - May 27, 2014

Social Progress Index 2014

To truly advance social progress, we must learn to measure it, comprehensively and rigorously. The Social Progress Index offers a rich framework for measuring the multiple dimensions of social progress, benchmarking success, and catalyzing greater human wellbeing. The 2014 version of the Social Progress Index has improved upon the 2013 ‘beta’ version through generous feedback from many observers. We continue to welcome your use and testing of our data, and feedback to help us continue to improve.

Click here to learn more.

The Happiest Countries In The World, Julie Zeveloff, May 21, 2014

Ten of the 11 "most positive" countries in the world are in Latin America, according to a new report from Gallup.

The polling firm asked 1,000 people in 138 countries whether they had experienced various "positive" emotions the previous day.

Overall, most respondents felt some level of positivity in their lives. They were asked whether they experienced enjoyment, laughed or smiled, felt well-rested, were treated with respect, and learned or did interesting things.

Paraguay topped the list for the third year in a row, with 87% of respondents there saying they had experienced positive emotions the previous day. "That so many people are reporting positive emotions in Latin America at least partly reflects the cultural tendency in the region to focus on the positives in life," Gallup's Jon Clifton wrote.

Click here to read the entire article.

Management QOL in the News - April 17, 2014

Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile, February 2010

When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.

You can listen to what he learned by viewing his TED talk at

Click here to view his TED talk.

Management QOL in the News - February 1, 2014

Personnel Matters: Absenteeism due to depression costs employers $23B annually, Matt Dunning, July 26, 2013

Absenteeism among employees diagnosed with depression costs U.S. employers an estimated $23 billion annually, according to a Gallup Inc. report.

More than 18 million full- and part-time employees—roughly 12 percent of the total estimated U.S. workforce—have been diagnosed with depression at least once, according to the report, which was released July 24.

Full-time employees who were diagnosed at some point in their lives with depression missed an average of 8.7 workdays annually for health-related reasons—4.3 more days than employees without a history of depression, according to Gallup's report.

For part-time workers the gap was even larger. Part-time workers diagnosed with depression missed an average 13.7 days of work annually, five days more than workers who had not been diagnosed.

Gallup's findings were based on data collected in its sweeping "Well-Being Index" study, conducted from January 2011 to December 2012. The study interviewed 303,625 working adults nationwide.

Read Full Article Online...

Four Organizations Receive APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, Nine Honored for Best Practices, March 6, 2013

The American Psychological Association will recognize nine organizations for their efforts to promote employee well-being and performance at its eighth annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 9.

The four employers who will receive APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award (PHWA) are Bowers + Kubota Consulting (Hawai‘i), Triple-S (Puerto Rico), Christiana Care Health System’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, (Delaware) and Tripler Army Medical Center (Hawai‘i).

These organizations reported an average turnover rate of just six percent in 2012 — significantly less than the national average of 38 percent estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor. In surveys completed by the winning organizations, on average, fewer than 1 in 5 employees (19 percent) reported experiencing chronic work stress, compared to 35 percent nationally, and 84 percent of employees said they were satisfied with their jobs, versus 67 percent across the U.S. workforce. Only 11 percent of employees at these organizations said they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year, compared to almost three times as many (31 percent) nationwide.

Read Full Article Online...

Health & workplace productivity, Fahmida Hashem, February 23, 2013

A healthy workplace complements this by supporting the health and well-being of employees. A workplace health programme refers to activities undertaken in the workplace. Public health strategies place increasing emphasis on opportunities to promote healthy behaviours within the workplace setting. The workplace directly influences the physical, mental, economic and social well-being of workers and in turn the health of their families, communities and society.

The World Health Promotion Programme (WHPP) deals with various factors affecting employee health such as poor & stressful working conditions, unclear work roles, lack of career development and conflicts between work, family and leisure. Currently nearly all public sector organisations have an ongoing (WHPP) in many countries.

Wellness programmes are linked to greater productivity, less absenteeism, and a reduction of long-term health care costs. Offer your employees healthy meal and snack options that help fuel their performance while also meeting their nutritional needs. Review the cafeteria menu in organisations to replace unhealthy food with healthier choices. Consider replacing sodas with milk, juice, and stocking snack machines with nuts, dried fruit, and other healthy options and be sure the office cafeteria has plenty of healthy meal options.

Read Full Article Online...

Management QOL in the News - August 12, 2013

Three Insights from the Frontiers of Positive Psychology, The Greater Good: Science of a Meaningful Life, Elise Proulx, August 7, 2013

Last month, the third World Congress on Positive Psychology convened leading scientists to explore the keys to a happy and meaningful life. Here are three of the most striking and practical insights from the conference.

Fifteen years after emerging as a major scientific movement, it's clear that positive psychology—the study of what brings happiness and meaning in life—is not just a fad. The field is reaching new levels of breadth and depth: Having established its core themes and principles during its first decade, it is now getting deeper and more precise in its exploration of what it takes to truly flourish in life.

The growth of positive psychology was evident last month at the International Positive Psychology Association's (IPPA) third bi-annual World Congress on Positive Psychology in downtown Los Angeles. A truly international crowd gathered for four days of workshops and symposia on everything from neuroplasticity and mindfulness to positive organizations and positive psychology in film.

"The science of positive psychology has now achieved a point where it is comparable to the other sub-disciplines of psychology," wrote IPPA president Robert Vallerand in the Congress’ welcome message. "And the scientifically informed applications of positive psychology are more popular and diversified than ever."

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What are the Secrets to a Happy Life?, The Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, George E. Vaillant, August 6, 2013

In following 268 men for their entire lives, the Harvard Grant Study has discovered why some of them turned out happier than others.

At 19 years old, Godfrey Minot Camille was a tall redheaded boy with a charming manner who planned to enter medicine or the ministry. In 1938, Camille enrolled in a study that would follow him for the rest of his life, along with 267 other Harvard College sophomores deemed by recruiters as likely to lead "successful" lives.

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Are Positive Emotions Good for Your Heart?, The Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, Adam Hoffman, July 31, 2013

A new study is the first to find that happy people have less risk of a heart attack--even if their family history puts them at high risk.

Having a bad attitude can kill you.

That's the upshot of a large body of scientific research which suggests that negative emotions are connected to developing cardiovascular disease.

But can positive emotions actually extend your life? The answer is yes, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Cardiology. It finds that happy, cheerful individuals have significantly lower chances of heart attack and other cardiac problems.

Read Full Article Online...

Management QOL in the News - April 23, 2013

Elizabeth Weil, Happiness Inc., New York Times, April 19, 2013

According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, you have a happiness set point. It's partly encoded in your genes. If something good happens, your sense of happiness rises; if something bad happens, it falls.

But either way, before too long, your mood will creep back to its set point because of a really powerful and perverse phenomenon referred to in science as "hedonic adaptation." You know, people get used to things.

With her 2007 book, "The How of Happiness," and this year's follow-up, "The Myths of Happiness,"

Dr. Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, caused ripples in her field but also drew a wider audience, cementing her place in a long chain of happiness-industry stalwarts, from M. Scott Peck with "The Road Less Traveled" to Martin E. P. Seligman and "Learned Optimism" to Daniel Gilbert and his best-selling "Stumbling on Happiness."

Dr. Lyubomirsky's findings can be provocative and, at times, counterintuitive. Renters are happier than homeowners, she says. Interrupting positive experiences makes them more enjoyable.

Acts of kindness make people feel happier, but not if you are compelled to perform the same act too frequently. (Bring your lover breakfast in bed one day, and it feels great. Bring it every day, and it feels like a chore.)

Dr. Lyubomirsky ­ 46, Russian and expecting to give birth to her fourth child this weekend ­ is an unlikely mood guru. "I really hate all the smiley faces and rainbows and kittens," she said in her office. She doesn't often count her blessings or write gratitude letters, both of which she thinks sound hokey even though her research suggests they make people happier.

Read Full Article Online...

Management QOL in the News - March 29, 2013

Susan Dominus, Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?, New York Times, March 27, 2013

Just after noon on a Wednesday in November, Adam Grant wrapped up a lecture at the Wharton School and headed toward his office, a six-minute speed walk away. Several students trailed him, as often happens; at conferences, Grant attracts something more like a swarm. Grant chatted calmly withthem but kept up the pace. He knew there would be more students waiting outside his office, and he said, more than once, "I really don’t like to keep students waiting."

Grant, 31, is the youngest-tenuredand highest-rated professor at Wharton. He is also one of the most prolific academics in his field, organizational psychology, the study of workplace dynamics. Grant took three years to get his Ph.D., and in the seven years since, he has published more papers in his field’s top-tier journals than colleagues who have won lifetime-achievement awards. His influence extends beyond academia. He regularly advises companies about how to get the most out oftheir employees and how to help their employees get the most out of their jobs. Itis Grant whom Google calls when “we are thinking about big problems we are trying to solve,” says Prasad Setty, who heads Google’s people analytics group. Plenty of people havemade piles of money by promising the secrets to getting things done or working a four-hour week or figuring out what color your parachute is or how to be a brilliant one-minute manager. But in an academic field that is preoccupied with the study of efficiency and productivity, Grant would seem to be the most efficient and productive.

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Management QOL in the News - February 16, 2013

Total Rewards and Employee Well-Being - WorldatWork

WorldatWork has compiled the results from an October 2011 member survey designed to gather information about current trends in well-being practices. The focus of the research was to construct a well-being researchproject that brings a unique perspective on comprehensive employee wellness programs and the benefits gained by the practitioners.

To view the full results from the survey, download the report by clicking the link below.

Download Full Report...

Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D., Lessons from the Science of Well-Being for New Graduates and their Parents

For the past decade, Todd Kashdan has been teaching a course called "The Science of Well-Being," exposing students to what scientists have learned about happiness, positive emotions, love, creativity, forgiveness, mindfulness, curiosity, and meaning and purpose in life.

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Management QOL in the News - October 25, 2010

Jenifer Robison, The Business Case for Wellbeing: Having high levels of wellbeing is good for people -- and their employers, Gallup Management Journal, June 09, 2010

Management QOL in the News - June 19, 2010

Dana Gionta, Integrity and Employee Well-being: Compromising your integrity at work is high stakes Psychology Today, April 6, 2010

The practice of integrity is an important, although often overlooked, component of employee well-being. I say 'practice' because integrity is formed through repeated, consistent action over time. Webster's definition of integrity is "the quality or state of being complete or undivided".

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Emily Ford, How to maximise employee wellbeing The Times, May 13, 2009

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Management QOL in the News - June 22, 2009

Offering a vision for the best quality of life in care homes: An innovative programme to promote and improve the quality of life of people living in care homes in Wales will be launched this week. Programme manager John Moore from Age Concern Cymru and Help the Aged in Wales, explains the concept behind My Home Life Wales; The Western Mail, June 22, 2009

More Information At...

Management QOL in the News - May 25, 2009

Angela M. Downey, Good Health Is Good Business; Wellness Culture; Why some organizations score over others, Financial Post

Organizations have employed integrated worksite health promotion (WHP) -- policies that encourage employees to choose lifestyles that may improve their health -- for years now. But more and more organizations are using specific bottom-line motivations to define their health promotion activities.

They are designing programs to reduce specific benefit costs rather than relying on direct assessments of employees' needs -- a "hard" approach as opposed to a "soft" approach to WHP.

This trend is likely driven by evidence that creating an environment that encourages employees to take more responsibility for improving their lifestyle choices can have a significant positive impact on productivity, absenteeism rates, morale and, important in today's cost climate, reduce employee benefit costs.

Reviews of WHP studies reveal that sick time can be reduced by 28%, health-care costs can be cut by 26% and workers' compensation can be lowered by 30%.

But all these benefits of WHP don't come easy. Many organizations attempt to create programs that succeed in building a culture of wellness. On the other hand, many fail to achieve the expected results.

The question remains why some build a culture where making better personal lifestyle choices is the norm for employees and some organizations try but never reach the point of institutionalizing a wellness culture.

Recent research undertaken by a team of academics in Canada is trying to address this question. Dr. Ali Dastmalchian and myself from the University of Victoria, along with Dr. Helen Kelley from the University of Lethbridge and Dr. David Sharp from the Ivey School of Business, have gathered data from 75 organizations in Canada deemed to have exemplary WHP programs.

The organizations come from government, financial, manufacturing, health and service industries and each has been recognized as an example of innovative, and in many instances, award-winning organizations.

When we looked behind the result of these organizations, this is what we found:

Exemplary Organizations Use Change Theories

All the firms in our sample embarked on a process of organizational change.

The first step an organization needs to take if it wants a change to be long-lasting is to get its organization ready for change. Once an organization's employees are ready for change, they will try the change on, leading to early adoption.

If commitment to the change is built, then the change will be institutionalized within the organization.

Of some surprise was the amount of readiness activities the organizations in our sample undertook. They used all the change model recommendations to ensure their employees were ready to take more responsibility for their own well-being. They created awareness that there was a gap between the current state of employee well-being and where individuals could be.

With top management support, the implementation team provided the evidence that WHP could fill this gap by planning and designing a program of health promotion activities that met the needs of the employee base.

The readiness process contributed to employee self-efficacy, and provided insights into what benefits were in the program for the employees. In addition, the organization trained and supported multiple change agents to lead and foster the change.

Normally, in a change process, there is an extensive period of adoption, referred to as a "trying on for size" period. Through the adoption phase individual commitment is

built and a change can be institutionalized within an organization. The "adoption" stage in our exemplary firms was very short. Once convinced that this change was in employees' best interest (as well as organizations'), recipients of the change moved fairly rapidly from being ready for change to internalizing the change resulting in improved lifestyle choices.

Hard and Soft Wellness

Normally we expect to see WHP emanating over time out of HR departments, or the traditional health and safety departments, or in today's new environment, out of newly designed departments created specifically to plan, design and implement WHP.

The process starts with accessing the current health status of employees through questionnaires and then designing a program of activities that matches the needs of the employees based on their health status. In some organizations this includes such activities as diet clubs, walking groups, health information fairs, and monitoring processes (i. e., blood pressure, hearing etc.). Employees and their requirements for a healthier life are at the core of this process.

One unanticipated finding was a turnaround in this normal approach to developing WHP. The past few years have seen an increased call for the business justification for developing WHP.

We found firms that were doing just that. They began the process by examining their benefits costs.

They determined what was costing the organization the most and started by planning and designing WHP activities that would reduce those costs. For example, an analysis of employees' use of pharmaceuticals may reveal that the organization's employee base has a high prescription rate for stress-and depression-related drugs.

Organizations are building their WHP around this fact, designing activities to reduce this pharmaceutical use with the main goal being the reduction in the cost of benefits although meeting those goals should also benefit employees in the long run.

The change process is still used to create readiness and institutionalize change, but the motivation is considerably different than it has been in the past for most organizations developing WHP.

The traditional approach to WHP we are labelling "soft" wellness and the bottom-line approach we are labelling "hard" wellness. It remains to be seen if this new bottom-up cost-driven approach is successful at improving employees' lifestyle choices and whether it influences more organizations to consider the idea of building a wellness culture. Currently, it appears to be working for some Canadian organizations!

--- Angela Downey is an associate professor of accounting at the University of Victoria and has been researching worksite health promotion for nearly two decades. In addition Dr. Downey is a health economist examining the financial implications of changes in health treatments and service delivery models

Management QOL in the News - May 11, 2009

Generosity Bears Fruit for Staff, Liverpool Daily Echo 1ST Edition, May 11, 2009

More Information At...

Management QOL in the News - October 25, 2008

Donna Nebenzahl, Companies that make employees feel valued create great places to work. It's that simple. The Gazette (Montreal), October 25, 2008

What sort of companies offer academic scholarships, matching RSP contributions, maternity top-up payments, employee training, generous paid vacations and alternative work options?

Companies that know managing employees well is part of their business. In other words, they're serious about recruiting and keeping quality employees.

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Management QOL in the News - October 15, 2008

The Power of Now to Reduce Stress and Absenteeism Business and Finance, October 15, 2008

Natural Onsite Wellbeing Ltd (NOW) was set up earlier this year. It is a stress-management company designed to deliver active stress management in the workplace. By introducing regular stress management, not only is individual stress reduced, but organizational stress is also diminished. This seeks to reduce absenteeism thus employers cut costs and gain productivity leading to employees feeling more engaged.

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Management QOL in the News - February 8, 2008

Work's fun? You must be having a laugh! In association with Business Venture Daily Post (Liverpool), February 8, 2008

HAVE you heard the one about the Liverpool company teaching people to laugh to improve performance at work?

It may sound like funny business, but laughter is a serious earner for Laughology, a Hanover Street-based humour consultancy.

Estimates claim more than 6m working days are lost every year due to stress, much of it workrelated, which has led organisations to look at innovative methods to improve their employees well-being.

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Management QOL in the News - January 22, 2008

Alexander Kjerulf, Yes, you can be happy at work Christian Science Monitor, January 22, 2008

Although in many American corporations there is no concept of workroom happiness, it does not have to be that way. Alexander Kjerulf discusses the problems with the American worker mentality in an article on happiness in the workplace.

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