HRx Saara Tikkanen

Wellbeing is a part of the workday experience and vice versa

Saara Tikkanen, Edenred’s Head of People and Culture

I was honored to talk about wellbeing as a part of a working day experience at the HRx event in November 2018. In this blog post I will tell you everything I was talking about in a nutshell.

Wellbeing is holistic and individual

When it comes to the wellbeing, it’s good to remember that it consists of many different parts:


There are three aspects to the concept of wellbeing that I would like to emphasize:

  • Wellbeing at work and at free time can’t be separated.
  • Wellbeing is holistic: when one thing starts to go down, other parts begin to suffer too. If there is a stress at work it affects your everyday life. Insomnia, unhealthy food choices, loss of motivation, etc. It’s a vicious circle.
  • It is all about balance and personality: everybody’s wellbeing is a bit different and emphasized differently, but it is important to find a balance between the areas!

Working day experience is personal and shared

But what about the concept of a workday experience? Just like a well-being, workday experience is both individual and shared. The definition says that a working day experience is an emotional experience of what a working day feels like. It’s all about the community: for example, negative emotions rapidly spread in a team. This may have been noticed by people whose working environments became poisonous. Bad vibes spread between coworkers.

The figure below illustrates a c. It focuses on the work experience of existing employees, but I would like to remind you that very important points of the employee experience path are recruitment, onboarding and departure experience.

Wellbeing house

The wellbeing of an individual consists of several parts mentioned on the picture in the previous paragraph and it forms the foundation of this house. One might say that the group success depends on individual’s work. Unfortunately, it is not all that simple. There are some other elements built in the base:

  • Meaningfulness of work: purpose, mission, impact, autonomy
  • Leadership: leadership, management, clarity of the job and goals, feedback
  • Growth & Development: performance management, career paths, training, support
  • Working environment: salary, employee benefits, office, tools, systems, smooth processes
  • Working community: appreciation, recognition, security and inclusion

All these above-mentioned elements inevitably point to the experience of each of our working days. The culture of a work day experience is a corporate one: it is unique in every business, which means that workday experiences differ between companies.

Wellbeing is supported by touchpoints in everyday life

How could the employee path look in everyday life? We should remember that every single day offers the opportunity to make choices that promote wellbeing. The working day shouldn’t be a marathon that runs through a blunt path at a steady pace. Instead, the working day should consist of shorter sprints and periodic breaks.

We come to work to workday experience house described previously and we go through it during the day. Hopefully we have had a good night sleep and we feel energetic. We may meet a colleague at the office corridor do we feel good after the interaction?

After doing some work, we take a break. It is a good idea for the company to ensure that there are good coffee and facilities for meeting colleagues. In our meetings we think, develop, influence and decide. If possible, it would be a good idea for the company to encourage short walks during the work day. According to the studies, it can increase the creativity up to 60 %. It would be nice to include social interactions like conversations and work-around discussions. The company can support good lunch breaks by offering a meal benefit.

After lunch there is work again: we save documents, use systems and send emails. It is important that the tools we use are working and the processes are smooth. Finally, it’s time to go home. At this point of the day, the vitality level should be on the plus side so that the gasoline is not completely run out. It is sad when the worker arrives home and has no energy and can’t to do anything else but lie on a couch. It is the time to make choices that support wellbeing and recovery. Although an employer cannot force anybody to move and exercise in their own time, they can support the practice of exercise and culture, for example, offering a sport and culture benefit. In addition, it is important that the work do not disturb free time and that emails are not sent in the evenings or on weekends. Let’s respect each other’s free time.

How do you support everyday small choices?

I would like to say to all of my HR colleagues that it doesn’t have to be always that complicated and difficult! We should all think about how we get these little wellbeing activities into everyday life both in small and big businesses. We at Edenred pay attention to the leaders – “the oxygen mask must first be put on yourself” as the managers show an example of wellbeing behavior. We also have set up the office space where there are balls, sticks, adjustable tables and quiet work spaces. We strive to focus on the lunch breaks and enabling exercising during working hours. Our employee benefits support the well-being, we have a digital wellbeing training ongoing and we do a lot of things together (after works, exercising, celebrating). The small streams eventually grow into a big stream.

ROI for a positive workday experience

In order for a company to enjoy the positive working day experience, it is at least a prerequisite that the focus is particularly on recruitment. In my opinion, the company’s most important decision is how comes in from the door of this “house” to working in the work community and contributing to the company’s culture. Everything starts with the strategy, as loose HR projects would only make this a cosmetic decoration. Building a nice workday experience should be a strategic choice: the workday experience and wellbeing should be measured and managed, otherwise, the impact will remain vague. When these conditions are in place, the result will have a positive impact on individual’s wellbeing, the quality of work and efficiency, customer experience, employer image and the ultimate result. Let’s build the working day experiences that will increase our wellbeing in everyday life!


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Saara Tikkanen


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