The Future of Workplace Wellbeing using the PERMA Model

The PERMA model is an excellent way to measure how well you're flourishing in life. Here's how employers can use it to enhance workplace wellness.

PERMA model in workplace. PERMA stands for Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment.
PERMA model in workplace. PERMA stands for Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment.

The issue of mental wellness in the workplace is not a new one. However, it has certainly come under scrutiny in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as other recent events.

According to a survey conducted by meQuilibrium between December 2020 and July 2021, employees reported a 21% increase in burnout, 17% increased in physical symptoms of stress as well as added work-life balance challenges and overall job stress.

a man holds his head while sitting on a sofa

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Aside from the ramifications of burnout on employee mental wellness, there are other consequences that employers should be worried about. Rising turnover rates and diminished productivity are but two of many issues caused by growing rates of employee burnout.

As such, employers and organizations have all have a part to play. It is important that they tackle the issue of workplace wellness and implement measures to better support their employees and intervene as necessary.

Here is one possible solution: the PERMA model.

What is PERMA?

PERMA model image from Practical Psychology
PERMA model image from Practical Psychology

PERMA is a model of wellbeing introduced by American psychologist Martin Seligman in 2011. The PERMA model advocates that flourishing comes from 5 core pillars of wellbeing: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment.

Although the PERMA model was originally conceptualized in terms of personal wellbeing, efforts have been made to incorporate the PERMA model into the context of the workplace.

PERMA in the workplace

person sitting beside table

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash

Researcher Margaret L. Kern, the creator of the Workplace PERMA Profiler (which we'll discuss further later) has done much to apply the PERMA model to the workplace.

Let's take a look at what the PERMA model looks like in the workplace, and what can be done to address them.

P: Positive Emotions

low-angle photo of pink and orange balloons

Photo by Hybrid on Unsplash

Emotions are an important part of our wellbeing. According to Kern, our emotions can range from positive to negative, and high arousal to low arousal.  Workers who experience positive emotions tend to be more productive, possess better problem-solving skills and are more adept at team cooperation.

E: Engagement

Engagement refers to being involved, absorbed and interested in one's work. When workers are highly engaged, they may enter a state of peak productivity called "flow". You yourself may have experienced "flow" before, where you're so focused on your work that you lose all sense of time.

R: Relationships

three people sitting in front of table laughing together

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Relationships refer to "feeling connected, supported and valued by others in the organization", according to Kern. Having positive relationships among employees in the workplace allows them to build healthy support systems, which will be instrumental during times of stress and difficulty.

M: Meaning

When it comes to meaning, it's all about having a sense of purpose in your work. As an employer, it's important to help your workers feel like what they're doing matters. When they feel that their work is making a difference, they will be more satisfied with their work and feel more driven to perform better.

A: Accomplishment

yellow and white trophy

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Accomplishment in the workplace isn't just marked by praise and rewards (though those are important as well), it also involves a sense of working towards and achieving goals, as well as mastery and efficacy in completing tasks.

Ensuring workplace wellness with PERMA

As mentioned earlier, Margaret L. Kern also came up with the Workplace PERMA Profiler, a questionnaire designed to evaluate and collect information on the mental wellness of your staff.

With Asa, you can make disseminating the questionnaires to your staff easier and more hassle-free. Simply input the questions from the PERMA Profiler, and you can generate your own questionnaire to get a better understanding of how your staff is doing.

Create your own PERMA Profile Survey using Asa
Create your own PERMA Profile Survey using Asa

Furthermore, Asa's survey feature is anonymous. The security of anonymity will allow your employees to truthfully answer the survey without fear of judgement or negative responses. This will eliminate any possible bias that could skew the results.

Interventions and support in the workplace using PERMA

It's not enough to simply know how your employees are doing; you'll also need to take action where necessary!

If you've identified that your employees need extra support, here are several measures you can take in order to intervene.

A table of interventions employers can take using the PERMA model from Alex Bailey
A table of interventions employers can take using the PERMA model from Alex Bailey

Limitations of using questionnaires for workplace wellness

That said, the PERMA Model does have its limitations when used to measure workplace wellness.

Being a questionnaire, the PERMA Model allows you to evaluate the wellbeing of your staff quarterly or monthly, at best. However, this means that employees in need of support might only come under your radar when things have worsened beyond intervention.

As such, it's important to come up with a system that allows you to stay up-to-date with your staff's mental wellbeing frequently — like Asa.

Using AI, Asa can track and predict the emotional and mental state of your employees with its features. This allows you to take action and increase support for your staff preemptively.

For example, your employees will be able to indicate their mood whenever they clock-in for the day using Asa . It allows your staff to remain anonymous, and Asa will generate a mood chart for you to gain a better understanding of your team's overall wellbeing.

Track your team's overall mood and wellness with Asa
Track your team's overall mood and wellness with Asa

This is just one of the many features Asa has that can help you maintain a happy and healthier workplace!

As employers and team leaders, it is our duty to not only strive for greater results, but to also look out for the people working alongside us. It's time to start building a positive workplace where your staff can thrive and stay mentally healthy, and create a workforce that wants to be there.