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Employee Wellbeing 101: Promoting Mental and Physical Health in the Workplace

4 minute read

By Stavy Papasotiriou, Organisational Psychologist and Founder of Work Unlocked

In the quest for organisational success, one of the most invaluable treasures an employer can seek is a team of happy and motivated employees. A transformative approach to achieving this goal lies in what I call the “ABCs of Employee & Workplace Happiness” – Autonomy, Building Competence, and Fostering Belonging. Together, these interconnected elements serve as the magical ingredients that can transform a mundane office into a dynamic and fulfilling workplace.

These three fundamental psychological needs are rooted in the groundbreaking theory called The Self-Determination Theory (SDT), developed by psychologists Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan. Embracing these principles can metamorphose your organisation into a vibrant hub of creativity, productivity, and camaraderie. In this blog, we will embark on a journey through each letter of this alphabet, uncovering the key to unleashing employee happiness, one letter at a time.


Imagine your team members as skilled artisans, granted the freedom to sculpt their tasks and projects according to their own vision. Autonomy ignites the spark of creativity, allowing them to unleash their full potential. It is the pillar that drives employee motivation and satisfaction, creating a more proactive and dedicated workforce. To promote autonomy in the workplace, consider the following strategies:

  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer flexible schedules or remote work options, allowing employees to manage their time and responsibilities efficiently. As they take charge of their schedules and tasks, they'll approach challenges with enthusiasm and determination, as they know that they’re fully accountable for their task execution plan.
  • Decision-Making Empowerment: When you involve employees in decision-making, you offer them a chance to voice their opinions, ideas, and insights. This level of empowerment boosts their confidence and instills a sense of ownership over their work, making them feel valued and respected as key contributors to the organization's success.
  • Open Discussions and Brainstorming Sessions: Create a platform for employees to share their perspectives freely. Embrace their feedback and demonstrate genuine interest in understanding their viewpoints.


Building connections and meaningful relationships is an intrinsic part of our human nature. We all have an innate desire to belong. To promote belonging in the workplace, consider the following strategies:

  • Collaborative Cross-Department Projects: Provide your employees with opportunities to work closely together, and if feasible, encourage collaboration across different departments. This collaborative effort will not only strengthen work relationships but also enhance understanding of each person's role and responsibilities, leading to more efficient collaboration and a stronger sense of group identity.
  • Team-Building Activities and Social Gatherings: Organise team-building activities and social gatherings that go beyond the confines of work tasks. These events can forge deeper connections among employees and strengthen interpersonal relationships. As your tribe comes together, they will face challenges with a united front, drawing strength from each other. In this supportive and inclusive environment, your team members will feel a sense of home, igniting a fire of loyalty and commitment.
  • Inclusive Culture: Foster an inclusive work environment that embraces and respects every employee's unique contributions. Encourage open dialogue and ensure that each team member's voice is heard and valued. By promoting a culture of inclusivity, you create a safe space where individuals can express themselves freely, knowing that their ideas and perspectives matter.


We all want to feel competent and that we're good at what we do. So, creating a workplace where growth and mastery are celebrated leads to a team of inspired and fulfilled individuals. To promote competence in the workplace, consider the following strategies:

  • Feedback: Offer frequent and regular opportunities for exchanging feedback. Encourage employees to set ambitious yet attainable goals and guide them as a trusted mentor, helping them navigate obstacles and emerge stronger. Transform your feedback practices to view them as a journey of continuous learning.
  • Learning Opportunities: Invest in training and development programs to enhance employees' skills and knowledge, enabling them to reach their full potential.
  • Recognition: Celebrate good performance and acknowledge wins, no matter how big or small they may be. By showing employees that they are valued, and their efforts are appreciated, you reinforce a sense of purpose and motivation.


The ABCs of employee and workplace happiness provide a comprehensive framework for your employees to flourish as autonomous heroes, unite as a cohesive team, and master their skills. As an employer, you wield the power to invoke these ABCs. Remember, each step towards workplace happiness is an investment in the future of your organisation. When employees are empowered to thrive and find joy in their work, the results are not only seen in increased productivity and creativity but also in a culture of fulfilment and well-being that permeates every aspect of your organisation's operations.


Stavy Papasotiriou is an organisational psychologist and the visionary behind Work Unlocked — a leading HR consultancy on a mission to revolutionise employee engagement, performance, and retention in businesses worldwide. With a profound understanding of HR practices, Stavy leverages psychological principles to unleash the untapped potential of workforces. At Work Unlocked, Stavy crafts bespoke strategies that are grounded in research and tailored to each organization's unique needs. These strategies are designed to yield remarkable results while requiring minimal resources. Book a free discovery call with one of our skilled organisational psychologists at Work Unlocked.

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