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Hybrid working: wellbeing and inclusion
Hybrid working: wellbeing and inclusion

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2.2 The PERMA model

Wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’. However, it is important to realise that wellbeing is a much broader concept than moment-to-moment happiness. While it does include happiness, it also includes other things, such as how satisfied people are with their life as a whole, their sense of purpose and how in control they feel.

A useful perspective on this comes from American psychologist, educator and author Martin Seligman. Seligman’s research (2011) indicated that five core elements are needed for people to achieve a healthy sense of wellbeing, fulfilment and satisfaction in life. He called this the PERMA model:

  • Positive emotion
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Achievement.

Activity 2 Identify examples for the PERMA model

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes
  1. Spend a few minutes thinking of a workplace example for each of the elements of the PERMA model – e.g. what was the last positive emotion you felt at work, and why; what gives meaning to your work?
  2. Now read this short article (700 words) on Positive Psychology in the Workplace [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (Finkbeiner, 2022) from workplace wellbeing provider Zevo.
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How did the examples you thought of compare to the suggestions from Zevo? Note that the author of the article says ‘Employers, managers, and leaders all have a role to play in workplace happiness’. Section 3 will pick up on this.