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Called to Coach
Why Is Wellbeing Important?
Called to Coach

Why Is Wellbeing Important?

Webcast Details

  • What are the 5 elements of wellbeing, and how do people thrive?
  • How does wellbeing at work affect wellbeing in the rest of your life?
  • What has Gallup discovered about wellbeing during the pandemic?

What does a healthy perspective on wellbeing at work look like in 2021 and beyond? It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking a wellbeing emphasis is simply a "nice to have" but not essential to a thriving life. In the first part of a 5-part series on wellbeing, Mohamed Younis, Editor in Chief of The Gallup Poll, and Ryan Wolf, Physical Wellbeing Lead at Gallup, give us a big-picture view of the 5 elements of wellbeing, helping us understand the importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace and what it means to thrive.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 42. This is Part 1 of a 5-part series on wellbeing. Access Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 of this series on wellbeing.

The resilience of the human mind has proven, at least through the research, that the negative experiences don't tank us down as much as the positive experiences boost up our life evaluation.

Mohamed Younis, 21:53

Your [current] life-fact pattern determines how you feel now. But where you think things are going has a massive impact on how you feel now and the hope for the future.

Mohamed Younis, 23:46

A big part of wellbeing in the workplace setting is about ... the connections you have with the people you work with. And if being remote is disabling you from growing those connections, ... it is going to have a negative impact.

Mohamed Younis, 50:08

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on August 31, 2021.

Jim Collison 0:17
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. There's just a link right above me. Click on that and sign into our chat room. We'll be taking your questions live. If you're listening after the fact, and many of you do, that's OK. You can still send us an email with your questions. Send that to Don't forget to subscribe to Called to Coach and, we're going to talk about this a little bit later, The Gallup Podcast on your favorite podcast app. They're all out there and available, you, and for Called to Coach, you can even subscribe to that on YouTube. Just click that Subscribe button. That way, you never miss an episode. Ryan Wolf is our host today. Ryan's a Physical Wellbeing Lead here at Gallup. He's my trainer; he's been on before. We're excited to have him. Ryan, welcome back to Called to Coach!

Ryan Wolf 1:10
Appreciate it, Jim, thank you. Good to be back on Called to Coach. Thanks, everyone, for joining us here as we get this new series kicked off here today. And a big welcome to Mohamed. Thanks for joining us today.

Mohamed Younis 1:23
It's great to be here.

Jim Collison 1:24
Ryan, let me remind the audience really quick. We're working through our new, now bestselling, Wellbeing at Work book. And so this will be an opportunity for you -- if you have it, this will actually be a series that will kind of go along with the book as a companion. And so would encourage you to have that. Read through it; maybe reread it again. There's going to be some great resources. But Ryan, you know, we're kicking this off with Why is wellbeing important? And I think you've got some things to say about that. So let's, let's dig in.

Ryan Wolf 1:53
Yeah, you bet. So, and, and really whether you're a strengths coach or you're a people leader or a wellbeing leader, or really anything in between, we're you're right, Jim, we're definitely excited to kind of bring you a host of Gallup experts who have been working on and focusing on really all things wellbeing -- whether that's the, the methodology of our research, or the practice that we conduct with clients in the public, or anything else that kind of relates to wellbeing and its integration into the workplace or your workforce or your life.

Ryan Wolf 2:28
So the new book on wellbeing -- Wellbeing at Work, just a few months old now -- so really good time to kind of take deeper dives into the topics. And to kind of augment the conversation that we're going to have here today, I would encourage you to check out for even more research and insight. There's a lot of great articles on the topic, deeper dives into more specific topics inside of wellbeing, so There's actually a dedicated wellbeing page and a link to those articles. And we've published -- I went through this yesterday -- we've published 50 articles on wellbeing so far this year. And in 2020, between March and December, we published more than 100 articles on wellbeing. So great place to, to check out more.

Ryan Wolf 3:22
And also, another another good thing to check out while you're there at is our COVID-19 Roundup, where we publish some really fresh and really up-to-date pulses on wellbeing in the U.S. and in the world. So Mohamed, The Gallup, The Gallup Podcast, it's been around for for quite a while for for leaders and curious information-seekers. You took over in 2018 as our editor in chief and host of the podcast, so you've interviewed a lot of people in in that podcast. So Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico; Newt Gingrich; a lot of correspondents from places like CNBC, NPR, CNN; Dr. Ed Diener; Johnny Taylor; Sir Angus Deaton; Arthur Brooks; Chuck Hagel; a whole lot of significant leaders.

Ryan Wolf 4:18
So I kind of, I kind of scrolled through Memory Lane yesterday. I was kind of, I was kind of thinking about our time here today. And one thing I noticed as I was scrolling and reminding myself of all the podcasts is -- and I'm sure a lot of other people have probably noticed this as well -- is how frequently the topic of wellbeing and happiness appears in the, in the regular editions of the podcast. And, and really, it's not by accident, right. It's it's a topic of great concern or great interest for individuals and leaders. So kind of want to start with this conundrum that we've got here, Mohamed. Our country and our world has experiencing some kind of, some rising negative emotions frequently or intensely during the past decade. And you discussed that with Dr. John Helliwell just a few weeks ago.

Ryan Wolf 5:15
But a few weeks before that, you had Dan Witters on the podcast, talking about subjective wellbeing and how, how that and thriving are higher than ever. So how can you, and how can we kind of explain this sort of paradoxical kind of coexistence?

Mohamed Younis 5:33
That's a great question. You know, it's, first of all, thanks for having me, guys. It's an honor to be back here. I am a huge fan of Called to Coach. I am always honored to announce here and remind people, I am a Certified Strengths Coach at Gallup. It's something I'm really proud of. I've coached people in English and Arabic, which was honestly one of the coolest and most rewarding experiences I've had professionally at Gallup. So it's always an honor to come back. Wellbeing is, you know, it's a really tricky subject to just start to think about.

Mohamed Younis 6:11
In 2009, I actually was in the Middle East. And we were measuring using the World Poll to measure life evaluation. And what's really funny is, a lot of the times I would brief leaders of, you know, private sector, government leaders, about the life evaluation state in their countries. A lot of times they'd look at me and say, "Yeah, this is a 'nice to have,' but, you know, we're a, this is a developing part of the world. This is all very nice, and, and not really relevant." One of the most fascinating things that we noticed that Gallup after the Arab uprisings in 2010, late in 2011, is that the countries that actually experienced the most turbulence were almost, to the country, consistently those that saw life evaluation tank really quickly, right before those uprisings. So it was a good, a really good example to me; it was a learning moment for me on the importance of wellbeing, even if you're not somebody who is into physical wellbeing or a community or you don't know anything about it.

Mohamed Younis 7:15
The reality is, the state of things where you live, to a great degree, the stability of it really does depend on the collective wellbeing of the community, the society you live in. A lot of us are listening are probably in the United States. And it's easy to take certain of those privileges for granted. But a lot of cities in the United States are really struggling with exactly what I just said. We see it in all the research we do. So wellbeing is all around us. It defines our experience. At Gallup, we've studied wellbeing for generations now.

Mohamed Younis 7:51
You mentioned, Ryan, Dr. Ed Diener. He passed this year. I was honored to get to meet him a few times and have a few conversations. But he really started with Gallup back in the '90s, to try to understand, you know, how do we put a science around the concept of wellbeing? How do we get from nice conversations about how we feel to actually measuring? How do we know if somebody's wellbeing is increasing or decreasing, improving or falling apart? And what impacts its improvement? But also, what are the impacts around that person when it's falling apart? And I think that's where this becomes really relevant to coaches, to leaders, to anybody, really, who is engaging somebody to perform in any context. Because if they're not able to meet sort of that minimal level of their own wellbeing, it's going to be a very challenging endeavor to cooperate with them to get them to really do anything.

Ryan Wolf 8:52
Yeah, it's just, it's, it's very interesting, I think, how we've got negative emotions rising, yet wellbeing is is higher than it's been in the past. Do you think, perhaps, some of the reason, when you were talking with Dan, why wellbeing is so high in the U.S. right now is because of, because it was measured most recently in June, when we were getting a lot of our lives kind of back together again? We were getting together with our families, we're getting a little bit more stability. That kind of makes sense.

Mohamed Younis 9:29
Yeah. So we really measure wellbeing in, in two different ways, and then within a certain kind of framework at Gallup. So one way is affect -- what we call positive and negative affect. A really basic way to talk about that is kind of like your mood. Have you experienced a lot of worry, stress, anger the day before, a lot of happiness, laughter etc.? The other way we measure wellbeing is what we were initially talking about, which is life evaluation, and we ask people to evaluate their lives today and where they think it will be in the next 5 years. So those are really the two quantitative ways that we can really measure how someone's life is going.

Mohamed Younis 10:10
And you're right. In terms of some of the positive affect measures, they were pretty positive during the, surprisingly, in the U.S., I think during a long period of the pandemic. But some of those negative affects like worry and stress have actually been on the rise for a long time in the U.S. before the pandemic. A really good resource on that is a book called Deaths of Despair by Angus Deaton and Anne Case, and they really get into why the quality of life has really fallen apart for many Americans. It involves -- deaths of despair, or basically suicide, alcohol and opioid use-related deaths. And there's a whole sort of socioeconomic reality around that. They use a lot of our data to really dig deep and, and understand what's happening in those communities. However, we know those are two quantitative measures. When we look at the dimensions of how we measure wellbeing, I think it really gets to the answer to your question.

Mohamed Younis 11:09
There are really 5 dimensions of wellbeing, as we've defined them and study them. It's career wellbeing, social wellbeing, financial wellbeing, physical wellbeing -- and then the last one, which really gets to your point, Ryan, community wellbeing, which is you essentially like where you live, you feel connected to the people around you. So you can imagine in a crisis like COVID -- and John Helliwell on our conversation on the podcast really put it so eloquently: when things are tough, and when there is a crisis, it's when people tend to reach out and, and band together. And a lot of the way you feel about where you live, a lot about community wellbeing, has to do with those connections around us, and how we're able to rely on people in times of difficulty.

Mohamed Younis 11:55
So even with the pandemic, I think there are some elements to what we are experiencing and did experience that would improve perceptions of certain dimensions of wellbeing, even though I am concerned about my job, or my kids are locked at home on Zoom, and it's driving me crazy. So it's, it's, the dimensions are really helpful for us to get to the true complexity of wellbeing -- that it really can't come down to just simply a number. That being said, we know that quantitatively, certain things drive wellbeing, and we know that attitude or your feeling about your financial situation, how much you worry about providing for your family, how you feel about your job -- all of those things have immense impacts on life evaluation, and they have for years and years that we've done that research.

Mohamed Younis 12:43
Dan, you mentioned, Dr. Dan Witters, is our lead scientist on that; he's done that work for years. So in, like all things, the answer's really complex, right? Some of us were experiencing immense community wellbeing drivers at the time of crisis, while other of us at other times were experiencing a lot of mental health issues in our families, in our, on our teams, that were really creating a lot of those negative affect measures to go up even higher than they had already been going before. The most important thing, though, really, is timing. And that thriving metric that you mentioned did come at a time when it was early summer here in the U.S.; things were opening up. People had a relatively negative kind of framework to compare it to, right, we just, were in lockdown, we couldn't go to work; we couldn't go outside.

Mohamed Younis 13:40
So it didn't, Dan did a really good job explaining on the show how it didn't really surprise him that it had gone up so much. The key now is where does it go from here? And I think one of the really important things we've also learned at Gallup about measuring wellbeing is that it's not about a certain number; it's really about the direction of the trend. Going back to those Arab uprising situations and other situations like Brexit, like the war in Ukraine, all over the world, there are examples of how our thriving metric tanks, and then things really hit the fan in the country. So it's, it's a really complex topic, but timing is absolutely also a major factor in what those numbers look like. And it's why you got to read the trend and not, you know, just that one data point.

Ryan Wolf 14:27
Yeah. And the trend is really high. Right? It's -- I'd encourage everybody to get out there and check out what the trend looks like. It's spiked up significantly just recently. Jim, looks like you might have a question for us.

Jim Collison 14:41
Yeah, let me -- let's follow up on that, though, a little bit. Mohamed, as we think about folks coaching now in a coaching world with, knowing that we've got some volatility in this. What advice -- and Ryan, I'll throw it to you as well -- what advice, when, when we're talking about coaching wellbeing with individuals, what advice would you give to coaches on, How do they approach that in a, in a coaching setting? Or how would they approach that from a, from a, from an engagement standpoint? Any thoughts on that as we think about, you know, the importance of it?

Ryan Wolf 15:15
Well, it's a really complex subject, and it's different for a lot of people. But what's similar is our framework and the research that we've done around it. So I'd start with really what's been validated through Gallup, ever since 2005 in our World Poll, and it's our framework of 5 elements of wellbeing that that Mohamed mentioned, and start there. And start asking questions about, you can start with one question about each of those individual 5 elements of wellbeing and go from there, and really just listen, and get people to talk about how those elements are impacting their lives, how they feel about their lives right now, and how they evaluate their lives from the past.

Mohamed Younis 15:58
I think it also just depends on, Jim, kind of the context of the coaching, right? So if I'm coaching a team of executives in a, on a work, working together, you know, my relevance to wellbeing in that conversation as a coach may be different than if I'm coaching, you know, a group of teachers in a school system. But I think, Ryan, you're right. Kind of think through, How does, how does, how is this person living through these dimensions? But you know, it's always, it's not, you know, you can't create an index from one person's data, kind of, you can, but it's not very useful. But you can ask them, you know, "Evaluate how you feel today," just like we do on the World Poll: "On a scale from 0 to 10, if 10 was your best life, and 0 is the worst that you can imagine, what's your life like right now? And what do you expect your life to be like in 5 years?"

Mohamed Younis 16:50
What we know from our research is that if they answer a 7 or higher in their first, in that first question right now, and they expect to be at an 8 or higher in the next 5 years, they're considered to be thriving. So they're either thriving, suffering or struggling -- somewhere in the middle. What we've learned is that that thriving metric is really important to watch. It's actually has proven to be the most sensitive to societal wellbeing. But just asking those questions, I think, can give you as a coach, great insight into, first of all, where is this person right now? And then when you start asking them, like, why you would give it a 7? Why you would give it a 2? I think they'll nail exactly what the challenges are that they're facing. And then as a coach, you got to kind of decide is this within the context of what this person has come to me for in coaching? And usually it is.

Mohamed Younis 17:43
If you're a great coach, I mean, it's not about just being a better worker; it's really about understanding yourself and how you function. So there's nothing more intimate to that than your wellbeing, right? Because I think we all can agree that the state of our wellbeing has an intimate impact on how we function.

Ryan Wolf 18:02
Exactly. And, you know, I think there's just, there's, there's probably one or two elements that might stick out for the individuals that, that you're, that you're coaching. So you can start with, Which of these elements is most significant to you right now? And that's a great way to start the conversation and to then, in a relevant sense and within context, integrate it into your conversation. So thanks for bringing that, Jim. And I encourage, encourage more questions. But, so talking about the World Happiness Report, is a subject that, that you've brought up in the podcast, Mohamed, so it's a great place for listeners to gain even more insight on wellbeing and happiness. Can you tell us what the research and what that report suggests, when it comes to some items that are really pandemic-centric? So things like the mental health casualty and downsides of indefinite remote work?

Mohamed Younis 19:03
Yeah, absolutely. And as -- the, the World Happiness Report has now become kind of the go-to for, you know, the United Nations, world leaders in measuring, essentially, wellbeing, the state of global wellbeing. One of the things that was unique, and one of the reasons I really wanted to talk to John this year, was because you're sitting here at a team of folks -- Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, who's also a phenomenal economist at Oxford, plays a really critical role in creating that report annually. But they're sitting there in the middle of a pandemic, of the likes of which our generation has never seen, and they're writing a report on global happiness. So I wanted to talk to this guy -- like what was that like? And, you know, just typical Dr. Helliwell, he's just an amazing and really, really accomplished scholar in this field. He really went back to the things we know from the past. A lot of what I mentioned about crisis I learned from him -- the importance of that dynamic in how people evaluate their lives is really important.

Mohamed Younis 20:10
The other thing that was really interesting in my conversation with him was, he highlighted that the research has actually shown that the negative affect experiences -- a lot of stress, a lot of worry -- are actually less impactful in overall life evaluation than the positive ones. And I think that was a really interesting way to think about resilience in crisis. Because it's, it's not necessarily that we were stressed out that's going to tank us from a 9 down to a 2. But if we have a positive event in our life, it'll, it actually has much more impact in bringing that number up than a negative one in bringing it down. So I think that's, that was a really important lesson to me in that conversation.

Mohamed Younis 20:55
Another one really is the concept of inequality of wellbeing, and how there are certain communities, or if you want to talk about regions of the world, countries, but, you know, even within countries, there's huge disparity between how people are evaluating their lives at the higher socioeconomic scale of, of the society versus others. How people are evaluating their lives here in the U.S., for example, in the suburbs versus the inner city.

Mohamed Younis 21:22
So it's really important to also keep in mind that there's a wellbeing inequality in addition to financial inequality or economic inequality that a lot of people talk about. And that actually is intimately tied to mental health, career wellbeing, social, I mean, all of those dimensions basically make up that life evaluation metric for any of us. So if, if I took two things away from, from John, it was really this really important concept of inequality of wellbeing, and that the resilience of the human mind has proven, at least through the research, that the negative experiences don't tank us down as much as the positive experiences boost up our life evaluation.

Ryan Wolf 22:05
Yeah, and resilience and, and kind of hope is sort of how and why we ask that two-part ladder question. Right? So we ask that, that, that question, How would you rate your life right now on a 0 to 10 ladder scale? And then in 5 years, how would you rate it? So is that, is that kind of, is that kind of what you mean, in terms of resilience and hope?

Mohamed Younis 22:31
It's part of it. And you know, it's really important that, that you brought that nuance up. Because, you know, if you, so Ryan, you and I are two guys, you know, in the city of Chicago, and you -- we're both unemployed. And you don't have a job, but you did an internship, and you're planning to start working at a company, and they're gonna make you an offer. And you're kind of broke right now, but you think things are -- good things are coming. I don't have a job. And I haven't worked for 3 or 4 years, and I'm starting to lose hope that I'll ever find another job. Right now, both of us would be considered unemployed, right? But it doesn't tell you about the experience that person is actually having on a human level.

Mohamed Younis 23:18
So it's a, it's an economic state that really masks, completely masks what's going on. You're somebody who has a lot of hope for the future; you're starting to think about what car you're gonna buy when you get your first paycheck. You know, you're starting to think about what, what part of town, what part of Chicago you'd like to live in. I'm thinking about, My best days are behind me. I, you know, I don't have a lot of hope for the future. So the point is, where you sit in your kind of life-fact pattern determines, you know, how you feel now. But where you think things are going has a massive impact on how you feel now and the hope for the future. That hope factor is so critical, and a lot of the research, both quantitative and qualitative, for years now has shown that having that hope for the future is really kind of like the secret sauce of wellbeing. Because it really drives resiliency if you have hope for the future.

Mohamed Younis 24:17
And it makes sense, right? If I have hope, no hope, eventually I'm going to tire out and just give up. But logically, if I do have hope, I can tell myself, "Keep going. It's OK. I'm going to make it. Maybe I can adjust this way or that way. So that, life in 5 years is a really, really powerful question. And also it sucks to ask people, "Do you have hope for the future?" Because that really doesn't tell you anything, right? Everybody's gonna either say, "Yes," or they're gonna say "No," and you don't really know what to do with that. So it puts a kind of a trajectory on what is very hard to measure. It's like, what do you, how do you feel things are gonna be going in 5 years?

Ryan Wolf 24:54
Yeah, and we've been measuring it for quite a while, right? And, of course, we measured it again throughout the pandemic -- early stages, middle stages, current stages. Tell us kind of how, how those two questions have changed throughout those times.

Mohamed Younis 25:10
Yeah, that's a really awesome question. So we've actually asked these exact same questions in many other crises, I think, throughout U.S. history, especially, because we've polled the most in the U.S., but we've been asking them across the world since 2005. But the U.S. really provides a great case study of comparing crises to crises. One of the things we noticed, when we looked at that hope for the future factor, is that comparing it, for example, to 2008, the financial crisis, both the current life evaluation and hope for the future really tanked dramatically in that crisis. In some ways, we really didn't recover, in terms of life evaluation, until almost a decade later -- in terms of the metrics, just in terms of the rate of thriving here in the U.S.

Mohamed Younis 25:57
What was interesting about COVID is that that hope for the future metric actually didn't collapse; it held up. So instead of a graph of two lines -- today, and in 5 years -- following each other down into the gutter, and then following themselves back up after things have improved a little bit, we actually saw the line split, where hope for the future held on pretty flat. And current life evaluation really tanked, as millions of people were losing their jobs, as, you know, I don't need to explain to anybody listening what happened and why it'd be tanking.

Mohamed Younis 26:30
So it was an interesting dynamic to look at a crisis where people were losing their jobs, the economy was collapsing, but there was this light at the end of the tunnel, right, vaccine. They're working on a vaccine. We're going to get a vaccine. We're gonna hope to get a -- and even now, with this variant, a lot of us are still living in that mindset of, we're getting through something, but there's an end to it. With the, with the economic collapse of 2008, I mean, it really didn't look like there was an end to it. And it wasn't clear how bad it would really get before things turned around. In some ways, it still hasn't turned around. I mean, that's an economic conversation for another discussion.

Mohamed Younis 27:14
But, you know, that was a real unique aspect of -- and is of -- this crisis: that hope for the future isn't tanking. Obviously, now we're just talking about the U.S. here specifically. Now, because the, the economy has really taken off, the job market, Americans today, highest rate ever, at least for the past 20-25 years, to say that now is a good time to find a job. So the economy, from the public opinion perspective, is really exploding. Obviously, that's a major factor in hope for the future. So I don't see that "hope for the future" number tanking, even with this variant. But it'll, we'll keep watching it. And I'm sure Dan will, will be writing about it.

Jim Collison 27:54
Mohamed, we're talking about numbers. And Lynn asks this question: Have we done any examination of the correlation between Q12 results and wellbeing across organizations?

Mohamed Younis 28:04
Oh, my God. I know a guy named Dan Witters and Jim Harter. You guys should meet them. Yes, we have. And it's, it, there is definitely a correlation and a strong relationship. However, if Dan and Jim were here, I think what they would say is we're still studying very deeply into that to understand, on a more granular level, exactly how different aspects of life evaluation correlate with employee engagement. So obviously, no brainer: Career wellbeing is going to have a really strong relationship with employee engagement. But what about physical wellbeing? What about financial wellbeing? We know that they do, absolutely. But what's interesting is to understand the magnitude, I think, of each of those and to keep in mind that they could be different for different groups of people.

Mohamed Younis 28:51
I think that's another really important thing we learned really from the World Poll, is that the drivers of wellbeing -- or let's not say "drivers" because it implies causality -- let's say the correlates, the strong correlates to what, to thriving globally, are actually slightly different from country to country. So whether or not you would say that this is a good place for children to learn and grow, which is actually a really important driver or correlate to life evaluation in some countries; in other countries, maybe it's not. Maybe it's about being, walking safe in your neighborhood at night. So we need to also keep in mind that these correlates will be different for different groups of people. But on the macro level, we know that each of them do correlate with engagement. It's just a matter of how much and in what settings.

Jim Collison 29:40
As a side note, we get this -- and Jennifer's asking this question kind of now in chat about it -- where does emotional wellbeing fit in? The other question we get a lot is spiritual wellbeing -- where does that fit in? And we interviewed Dr. Jim Harter oh, right after the book came out and kind of asked him this question, and, and he kind of states, both spiritual and emotional kind of over, are overarching over all 5. And so if you think about again -- this is a, this is a real popular question that we get -- those kind of span across all 5. These are the 5 we identified. Jim also mentioned that career wellbeing really leads the way, right, when, in this. It's such an important factor in all this. Not that we need to diminish the other 4, but that career wellbeing is a giant factor in that.

Jim Collison 30:25
Mohamed, as we think about the wellbeing and remote working, like, that's a huge topic right now. Right? Folks are thinking about that. I mean, I, even in my own world, we were talking about that this morning, I'm deciding how many days do I need to go back into the office? It was three, it was three just a month ago. Now it's maybe one as I'm thinking about the variant. So can you talk a little bit about that from a wellbeing perspective in this remote world that we're kind of, kind of dabbling in and out of?

Mohamed Younis 30:54
Absolutely. And Dr. Ben Wigert, Dr. Sangeeta Agrawal are really two people at Gallup I've been working really closely with to try to understand and report on, What are we learning about wellbeing and remote work? A few things we definitely know for sure. The first and foremost, most important thing is, it really depends on the fact pattern of the worker. Forcing of kind of an agenda, at large, is the worst thing you can probably do for both wellbeing and employee engagement. So saying, "Everybody has to come in"; "everybody has to work remotely" -- people have different preferences, and they have different reasons why they would prefer remote work over on-site work.

Mohamed Younis 31:37
The key, though, and I think one kind of takeaway is what we've, we're learning so far is the best setup is really a hybrid setup. So indefinite remote work all the time, with no contact at all with other people in person, is actually not necessarily a great thing for your wellbeing or for employee engagement. There are examples and situations where that can work and makes sense. But just, speaking as a general rule, what we find is that people who have an opportunity to do both -- work on site and work remotely -- tend to have the highest engagement and also have higher life evaluation scores. And it makes sense to some degree: If you feel like you have more control over, you know, your day, Jim, you can only imagine how that's going to impact your wellbeing.

Mohamed Younis 32:27
So if I, if I have really no reason to drive through traffic, but I have to be there because I got to do the 9 to 6, keep the seat warm, and there's no reason, purpose for me to be there, that's going to impact everything: my career wellbeing, I'm gonna feel horrible about my job; my physical wellbeing, I'm sitting in traffic and my back is killing me; my social wellbeing, right, I'm just stuck in the car all day, or I'm stuck in an environment that I don't feel like I'm really connecting with people. But kind of as a general rule, we've found that the hybrid setup results in the best evaluate, you know, assessments, in terms of engagement and wellbeing. But again, it's really, really important to have a case-by-case kind of approach. And I hate to plug another book, but really, it comes down to the manager. Like it really is the manager and their approach, and them making the employee feel like they're heard and their concerns are legitimate, and not simply, you know, nice preferences.

Jim Collison 33:26
Ryan, you know, all this remote working has caused, I think we're calling it the COVID-19, right, as folks, for some folks, it changed their rhythm and their routine, right? And so where does -- and there was a question in the chat room -- when we think about physical wellbeing in the context of all of this change and remote working, what are we seeing, what are organizations doing to kind of combat that? They may have had a fitness center before; they might have had some wellbeing events or some physical wellbeing events before, but any thoughts on that in general trends?

Ryan Wolf 34:01
I think it was called the Quarantine 15, wasn't it?

Jim Collison 34:05
Something like that. Yeah. Yeah, it was 50 for me, so.

Mohamed Younis 34:08
I was going to say, I think it was more than 15.

Ryan Wolf 34:11
Yeah, there's a lot of different ways that we can think about our physical health, more than just eating broccoli and going to the gym. So there's a lot of other things that can impact our day, like getting light first thing in the morning and being physically active throughout the day. Not just dedicating time to getting active and sweaty for workout, but also including, you know, nonexercise physical activity time throughout your day.

Ryan Wolf 34:39
And there's, there's just ways that organizations can really encourage that. It can start with a wellness or wellbeing leader in the organization. If there's not one of those inside the organization, it can come back to the manager, where they can really allow that autonomy to, to, to get your work done, to get your workout done at the time of the day that works best for you, for your life, for your work. So really it comes, comes back again to it's the manager, again, Mohamed. But it also is a reframing of how we think about improving our physical health and being our best physical selves. And there's more to it than the standard "hit the gym hard and make sure you have a lettuce salad for lunch each day."

Jim Collison 35:28
It's, I just have to joke, because it's been -- or laugh at that, because it, for, even for me in my own journey, I went, I was a "hit the gym" for, for a decade, I was a "hit the gym hard" -- I can, literally, hit the gym hard. "I can, I can overcome this with the, with the fitness center." And being home now, I don't have access to our fitness center. And so over the last couple of weeks, I've been thinking, well, if I can't fix this with exercise, I better fix it with diet. And it has led me on a journey to really kind of reconsider and has helped me create a more sustainable, you know, more sustainable lifestyle, approaching it from, from what I eat, as opposed to just the workouts that I get every day. That was a journey, Ryan, I went on a little bit with you. You were my coach in some of this.

Jim Collison 36:18
Some of my colleagues who I've had remote access to -- the three that encouraged me in this, I, there, I don't go to the office. It's not like they gave me office pressure; it came through Teams calls, right, it came through Zoom calls. And so, I guess I want to say to some, we don't -- to get physical wellbeing back, we don't have to be back at the gym, right? There's other things we can do, right?

Ryan Wolf 36:43
You know, if you look at just the purely elemental aspects of physical wellbeing, it's all about improving your health and increasing the amount of energy that you have each day. So a big component of that is making sure we get the right quality and quantity of sleep. So that's, again can come back to the manager and setting an expectation and leadership within an organization that, you know, we're not emailing consistently -- sometimes we can, at 10, 11, 12 o'clock at night. That's when we're sleeping. We'll get up in the morning and figure out business when, once we've had some good shuteye and clarity in our brain. So it's another really big driver of physical wellbeing that people need to be reminded of, that we can't just gain it all in the gym or hope to regain it through what we eat; we also got to make sure that we're getting the proper sleep.

Jim Collison 37:49
Ryan we need to move on here, but one of the things you've said to me often in our time together is I, "Just, just get some movement." Like just get, get up and move around; get away from that desk. Mohamed have you, in, in, in this time, have you been able, what, how have you kind of combated? Because I, sometimes that movement is not just physical; it's, it's, it clears the mind; it allows us to get some steps in. Any additional thoughts before we kind of move on?

Mohamed Younis 38:16
No, other than it's shameful for me to talk about physical wellbeing with Ryan, in Ryan's presence. I will just say that, you know, it's, I totally agree that it's not about everybody hitting the gym and you know, having a six pack. I think those, that dream has far left my orbit; it's not going to happen. But it is about really improving where you're at now, you know, improving on your own situation now to the future. So even if I, I'm a diabetic, like I can be more focused on what I eat. That's part of my physical wellbeing. It's not just about pumping iron; it's really about making an improvement in this, this tool that we have, which is our body.

Jim Collison 38:55
Yeah, I, and I think it's just being creative on this and figuring out a new paradigm. What does it mean? Was too, I used to walk a lot but outside, but it got too hot. So got a treadmill, walked on the treadmill more, but just steps were helpful -- getting up, moving around, thinking, little bit of meditation, some of those kinds of things.

Ryan Wolf 39:13
And who better to help us be creative in our physical wellbeing than strengths coaches? Really understand what your strengths are and apply them to your routines, whether that's physical wellbeing, social wellbeing, financial wellbeing, all of them. So, so we'll move on, appreciate it. Appreciate how you hit hard on, on that element because it's close to my, close to my heart. But Mohamed, we're kind of spending the next four sessions after this one discussing really tactical initiatives with, with other Gallup experts that we'll bring in here, and we'd love for you to kind of help us -- you talked about this with Dan a little bit, about a month ago. Can you help us think about one or two things that leaders can do right now to enhance wellbeing kind of within their workforce?

Mohamed Younis 40:01
Absolutely. I think No. 1, you got to undo the taboo of wellbeing. You got to get your people, your, your folks, your team to see that you are, as a leader, taking wellbeing seriously as an input or an impactful factor in the work you all do as a team together, No. 1. So break the taboo. No. 2, wellbeing is not about a day or an activity. So like, Tuesday, well, Wellbeing Tuesday or Wellbeing Wednesday, I guess sounds better. That implies that wellbeing is something that's going to happen in a meeting. And then we're going to go back to basically what was before, as opposed to really thinking about it in terms of, What do I do throughout my day? And how are those things impacting my wellbeing? How can I improve my wellbeing if I did them a little bit differently? So there it's like, you know, how I eat, how I work, when I sleep -- all the things you mentioned, physical, etc. So undo the taboo. Make it a thing that is always relevant. It's not just something we do on Wednesdays.

Mohamed Younis 41:08
And then I think my last piece of advice would be, Root it in science; root it in measurement and data, if you can, to the degree you can. Don't take the route of massage rooms at the office, because what's going to happen is essentially, a few people who are really already into wellbeing will probably be like, "Hey, that's really cool. We'll do that." But what's gonna end up happening is everybody who really needs to focus more on their wellbeing is gonna say, "This is kooky. This is ridiculous. I'm here to work. I'm not here to get a massage." And, you know, like a decade ago, that was a really hot thing, you know, ping pong tables, and that was -- and at Gallup, like what our research has always shown, and Jim Harter taught us this, is that that actually has very little to do with people's engagement and wellbeing. It's really about understanding where the person is coming from.

Mohamed Younis 42:01
And also, don't sit people down and say, "Let's talk about your wellbeing." Because that's going to feel like they're having an inappropriate conversation at work, if it's not part of their paradigm already. I think what you want to do is create opportunities for, as a community, your team to talk about wellbeing, to focus on it, to have opportunities to improve it in one way or another. At Gallup, Ryan, you do a great job on physical wellbeing of just being our Go To, like proposing activities we do, contests that we all can keep track of online, reinforcing that it's not about running the fastest or jumping the highest. So there are really basic things. I think this is a time when there are a lot of resources out there on this topic. But those would be my, my three things: Undo the taboo; don't make it like a one-time thing that happens in a meeting; and root whatever program you institute in science and in measurement.

Ryan Wolf 42:56
I really like how you said, Don't sit someone down and say, "Let's talk about your wellbeing." There's, there's actually this -- coaches who haven't read the book yet, you'll love this -- there's a chapter in the book called, "Strengths Make Wellbeing Work." So within the context of strengths, you can, you can establish trust, which makes wellbeing easier to talk about, less of a taboo that you might not have to undo, in the words of Mohamed. So appreciate that. So we've measured wellbeing for, for quite a long time, right? So George Gallup actually was infinitely curious about wellbeing; he conducted a study in the late 1950s to unlock the secrets of, of long life, which is an article and a book that he wrote in 1959 after he interviewed several hundred residents of the world who were 95 years of age or older.

Ryan Wolf 43:57
So that framework that he utilized is, has been modernized, but it's been utilized still today in our World Poll as we kind of, kind of discover what is important to people. And through it is our framework of wellbeing. But last summer, Mohamed, you had Alden Lai and Joe, Joe Daly and Ed, Ed Diener on to talk about you had them on the podcast to talk about the new partnership with Wellbeing for Planet Earth. So I'm curious if you could tell us a little bit more about how that's going, tell us more about what we can expect in the future as we modernize our and kind of diversify our, our framework of wellbeing even more.

Mohamed Younis 44:44
Absolutely. You know, it was, it's a testament to his, his career and his life that Ed Diener was actually working on this very project when, when we lost him. The -- Wellbeing for Planet Earth is an amazing organization. It's a foundation that's based in Japan. But its mission is really to understand how wellbeing can be measured and improved across the entire world. So one of the things we've been working with them on is how to expand what has been traditionally a very Western-centric scholarship or academia, academia-focused approach to wellbeing.

Mohamed Younis 45:24
So obviously, wellbeing is not Western-centric, but the way we've studied it and defined those metrics have mostly come from Western institutions of higher education, the United Nations, you know, based in New York, and Geneva, etc. So our mission with them is really to expand the definition of wellbeing to the research community that goes beyond anger, happiness, stress, etc, which are really important metrics. But there are a lot of other Eastern traditions and Eastern concepts of wellbeing that have a lot more to do with things like calmness, and more neutral states of mind and affects than the extreme positive or extreme negative that have been really the go-tos for the wellbeing research in the past.

Mohamed Younis 46:08
So with them, we are developing new items that we're testing all over the world, in terms of trying to understand how we can most expand the horizon of research around wellbeing, how we define it. Because once we do that, we can also understand, at a more intimate level, what drives it in different countries, different cultures, different societies across the world. So Wellbeing for Planet Earth is honestly one of my favorite and most exciting things to talk about and think about. Joe Daly is really the brainchild, he's, you know, it was his brainchild. But Alden Lai and his whole team are amazing partners. We hopefully will be together again in person after this COVID reality passes us and have another awesome summit on how we expand the definition ... . But the work continues. We're polling the world on it now. And we're going to be reporting actually on our first kind of gathering of those data in a couple months.

Ryan Wolf 47:08
Nice. Yeah. So if, if you're, if you're a wellbeing leader, if you're thinking, if you're leading initiatives and integrating wellbeing into organizations, or even, even just your team, or even just for yourself, it's kind of, it makes sense, right? So there's really a lot of high arousal types of Western-centric ways that we've evaluated wellbeing -- things like excitement and positivity and enthusiasm, but Wellbeing for Planet Earth is bringing in, like, like Mohamed talked about, the calm and peace and balance and things like harmony, and also the value of the group over the individual. So that's something that, that we're both very interested in. I'm sure everyone else is as well, as we kind of think about, What's the next, the next, next topic and the next, next chapter in iteration of wellbeing for the whole, for the whole world?

Jim Collison 48:10
Ryan, I'm gonna open this up to some questions from, from our chat room. So you've got, we've got a few minutes if you want to, we'll kind of do some live Q&A. So if you want to drop your questions in right now, you can. While we think about what's coming up next, Ryan, we've got four more in this 5-part series. We have a special guest next time on this. Talk a little bit about who's coming, and what we hope to accomplish in the next session.

Ryan Wolf 48:37
OK, so we've got Anthony Blue coming in. And Anthony is a methodologist and a scientist who, he doesn't just sit in SPSS all day, but he can. And he's, he's a wizard. And he crunches our data and our, and our numbers. And he also is a good storyteller. So he, I'm excited, really excited to have him come in and kind of explain the methodology so we understand it a little bit more. We talked a little bit about it today with our, our ladder scale and net thriving, but we'll go into it more and get his, get his perspectives on it.

Jim Collison 49:20
He's gonna, we're really gonna dig in from a, from a numbers perspective on this and how it's actually done. I'm kind of excited for it. So Jon asks this question; I'll throw it out to you guys: I've noticed a lot of content on increased anxiety and depression with some posting that it's due to more remote work and less connection. Any thoughts on insights here on a macro level? And, and Mohamed, I'm gonna ask you as well: socio, socioeconomically, does that matter? Like, am I less depressed if I'm farther up the chain or I'm making more? It seems to me every, OK, go ahead and talk a little bit about that.

Mohamed Younis 49:56
Yeah, we, that's, that's absolutely a flat "No." It's been consistently proven, like having more money does not, it doesn't equal, you know, better wellbeing. When it comes to remote work, I think it's important to understand that a big part of wellbeing in the workplace setting is about connection. And it's about connection anywhere. But really, it's about the connections you have with the people you work with. And if being remote is disabling you from growing those connections, maintaining those connections, it is going to have a negative impact.

Mohamed Younis 50:31
Ben did some, Ben Wigert did some really great research that highlighted that people who are consistently doing remote work are more likely to miss out on promotions and other opportunities for advancement. And it makes sense, because if you're not around and communicating and socializing and learning, you may not hear that there's a new position opening up or, you know, we need somebody to lead this new team. So we, the initial research shows that absolute total remote work definitely has a negative impact on those factors.

Mohamed Younis 51:05
Now, that being said, there are jobs definitely that can and should be done that way. I think one of the big premises that we need to keep in mind of this research is that we're assuming that working in the office setting is the normal for that person. And now they're going remote, and we're looking at that compared to if they were in the office. And it's -- not to be like too research geek here, but that is a really big bias that I think we're still, all of us are still dealing with as we move forward and really internalize that remote work or hybrid work -- is it a COVID thing? It was already happening a lot. A lot of folks at Gallup were studying it for a long time. And it's gonna stay with us, because the demands for talent and access to that talent will absolutely necessitate organizations to be more flexible about where they can tap into that talent.

Jim Collison 51:59
Ryan, you want to add anything, or do you have anything to add to that?

Ryan Wolf 52:02
Yeah, I would just say that Adam Hickman joined Mohamed this, this winter on a, on a Gallup Podcast. It was probably January or February. It's a great listen. It's a, it's a tactical -- he, he, Hickman is a great researcher. He is a Ph.D. but he also gave some really good tactical advice for how we can, as individuals and leaders, really navigate some of those, some of those difficulties that we might have with connection or anything career-related as relates to being home quite often.

Jim Collison 52:41
We spent, Ryan was, or Adam was talking about remote working a couple years ago. I think his Ph.D. is in, is in that topic, right. And so we have a lot of resources. I guess, Mohamed, what I'm hearing through this whole podcast is, If coaches aren't plugged in to the Gallup Podcast, that's just as important -- like there's a lot of --

Mohamed Younis 53:03
It's like, you're totally, you know. No, I think that, though, but seriously, though, I would encourage you guys to check out the Podcast. We're always having conversations, I think, that are really relevant to coaches, because you're, you know, we're all coaching people in the real world. And that real world of those events on a personal level, and now social and personal, is kind of one and the same with COVID. They're, they're, it's where people are coming from. And I think it'll be really helpful to anyone to just have a better feel of, you know, what your folks are dealing with before you sit down and talk with them.

Jim Collison 53:34
The Gallup Podcast, if you just want to search for that on any podcast app, The Gallup Podcast, we, it's a super original name. And so if you want to head out there and get that done. Mohamed, one last question before we go. And Jenn Selke, who we did a podcast with, she does a lot of work with veterans in her coaching. Is anyone looking at, as we think about those veteran groups from a research perspective, are we looking at doing any research in that area in wellbeing?

Mohamed Younis 54:02
As she mentioned, we have in the past. We're not currently doing it, but we should. We would love to. And we're always looking honestly for partnerships that will enable us to do that. And I think it's, given what has been happening in Afghanistan the past couple of weeks, it's, it's more important now than ever to really provide resources to those of us that have served and are now really trying to make sense of a very difficult fact pattern. But yeah, we need to do more. Unfortunately, we're not current, I couldn't lie and say we're doing it now. But hopefully we will.

Jim Collison 54:33
Lots of things to study. Lots of work to do. Ryan, let's bring this in for a landing. Kind of wrap it for us -- thank Mohamed for coming out, and then let's just wrap it together.

Ryan Wolf 54:44
Yeah, you bet. Thanks, Mohamed. Appreciate you bringing all your insights to us today. It was fantastic. So looking forward to listening to you ongoing, and encourage everybody to come back. We're going to be back here in 2 weeks. Jim, you can give us maybe the exact date if you've got it handy. If not, if not, check it out online. But that's when we'll have Anthony Blue on. And you'll definitely want to, to hear what he has to say.

Jim Collison 55:12
Yeah, the easiest way to do that is just to go to -- B-R-I-T-E on that. You can follow all the sessions, maybe you're listening to this a year from now. And you know, we've gotten through the whole series. But we have more learning for you that's out there. So go to And you can, if you follow us there, you'll get a notification -- every time I put something new in there, you'll get a notification from it. And it's kind of a way to keep. Mohamed, it's always great to have you. We got to do this more often with you. We spent some time last year catching up with you and Adam on this -- all of a sudden, his name, man, we've dropped his name a lot in the last --.

Ryan Wolf 55:52
He will love it.

Jim Collison 55:54
He's a fabulous researcher. Mohamed, thank you for, for taking the time today as well from me. And we got to do some more partnership together. So thanks for coming on Called to Coach. I appreciate it.

Mohamed Younis 56:05
Thanks for having me. And Ryan, you're awesome. Jim, thanks for being the legend.

Jim Collison 56:09
Yeah, well, I appreciate you saying that. With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available. Go to And for what Ryan was mentioning earlier, if you go to, or actually, our search engine is completely integrated across all our platforms. So just click on the little search, and you can find all the topics that are available there. We do have a lot. So it's good to kind of keep up with it. It's one of those kinds of things you don't want to get too far behind. You know, you guys have ever had those dreams where you, you're in college and you've forgotten. Like, "We've been in this class, but I haven't been going for the last 4 or 5 weeks!" You don't want that to happen with all the information that's coming out from us, right? Stay up to date. The Gallup Podcast is a great way to do it. Staying, you know, subscribing to Called to Coach as a podcast and listening to that. I know it's an hour, but it's the best hour that you're going to get every single week. And so we want you to get that done. All that information, For coaching, master coaching or to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach -- which both, both of you are, and appreciate that -- you can send us an email: And, and then, like I said, don't forget to stay up with everything that we're doing: Follow us on any social platform by, either by searching "CliftonStrengths" or just "Gallup." Lots going on in that, and we got a lot of great folks doing it. And we want to thank you for joining us live today. Thanks for coming out. We will be back in a couple weeks with Part 2, and we're looking forward to it. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Ryan Wolf's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Discipline, Achiever, Futuristic, Activator and Harmony.

Mohamed Younis' Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Relator, Input, Learner, Individualization and Intellection.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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