Our work – what we do, where we do it and who we do it with can positively impact our wellbeing, but all too often the effects are negative, with some workplaces being considered toxic.  These effects have ramifications not just for workers but their families, communities and wider society. However, the relationship between work and wellbeing is two-way. Our wellbeing also impacts our performance at work and at a collective level it also influences organisation performance. This chapter explores evidence for why work matters for wellbeing, why wellbeing is also important for our work and the factors that make most difference, including the vital role leaders and managers play. We share ways positive psychology principles can shape workplaces for the better and how they apply to other forms of worker, such as the self-employed. We also examine the implications of the science of wellbeing for pay systems as a primary, yet often ineffective, source of motivation. Importantly, we discuss why wellbeing in the workplace is a corporate social responsibility. We end the chapter by exploring the future of work and how and why positive psychology and the science of wellbeing should be central to shaping it.

Dan Pink: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us: RSA Animate

The Erik Erikson quotation is cited as a personal memory in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s TED talk (2008) Lessons from past presidents.

Why work matters for wellbeing

Wellbeing is good for work

What makes work good for wellbeing?

Wellbeing as a corporate social responsibility

The psychological principles at work

1. Feeling connected to others
2. Autonomy and the importance of managers
3. Feeling competent
4. Emotionally positive work environments
5. Meaning at work

People management processes

The science of wellbeing and the future of work