MEWS Research Findings

MEWS Research in Brief

For a complete overview of the reliability and validity data that underpins the MEWS Survey and Framework, please download the MEWS Research in Brief document.

Evidence for a holistic view of Wellbeing

In July 2016, we were thrilled to present our MEWS research results at the 31st International Congress of Psychology in Japan.  We were invited to share our insights regarding the measurement and development of a holistic approach to wellbeing, as a pathway to promoting harmony and diversity in the workplace.

The challenge is in overcoming the trend that many of us see today, where so many organisational wellbeing approaches are generic, superficial or based on spot interventions with an overly physical emphasis (the fruit, yoga and gym approach), all at the expense of the powerful psychological factors that correlate more highly with our overall sense of wellbeing.

Our research findings clearly show that when we look at what’s most important to one’s overall feeling of wellbeing, our physical health does correlate but it’s not the strongest aspect.  Meaning, Purpose & Direction, Intellectual Engagement & Flow and Authentic Relationships and the other domains measured by the MEWS correlate more highly with one’s overall wellbeing, both inside and outside of work, than physical health.

The takeaway message – organisations need to take a holistic view of wellbeing and without an accurate diagnosis of the specific wellbeing needs and circumstances of an individual, it is highly unlikely that wellbeing will be improved. 

The paper is now available to download below…

ICP paper image

What do executives report as their top wellbeing priorities?

Executives identified the following work related factors as being significant wellbeing priorities to be addressed:

  • Feeling pre-occupied by work (23.6% of the sample)
  • Having difficulty in ‘switching off’ (22.6%)
  • Toxic politics at work (18.9%)
  • Not taking sufficient breaks (18.9%)
  • Not adequately controlling their schedules (17.9%)
  • Self-doubt (17.9%)
  • Not unplugging from technology (17%)
  • Racing against the clock at work (18.9%)
  • Not making enough time for relaxation (16%)
  • Not feeling well rested (15.1%)
  • Procrastination (14.2%)

From an outside-of-work perspective, the following aspects were identified as priorities for action to improve wellbeing:

  • Not getting the right kinds of exercise (23.6%)
  • Being still in ‘work mode’ when with family or friends (22.6%)
  • Not getting enough sleep (22.6%)
  • Being seen as stressed by family and friends (18.9%)
  • Anxiety over finances (17%)
  • Feeling stuck on ‘fast forward’ (17%),
  • Lack of time to reflect more deeply on aspects of meaning, purpose and direction in life (16%)
  • Experiencing sleep difficulties (14.2%)
  • Unresolved unpleasant emotions from past experiences (13.2%)

Top 10 Enhancers of Executive Wellbeing – Working Well

Executives who report higher levels of wellbeing also report more positive, pleasant, optimistic, confident and purposeful feelings, thoughts and experiences about their careers, ability to perform well and to thrive in changing circumstances, as well as about their relationships with colleagues.

Of the MEWS Working Well questions, here are the top 10 correlates with overall reported wellbeing levels.

  1. Feeling your work is acknowledged and appreciated
    (Authentic Relationships)
  2. Being happy with the amount of time you spend working
    (Balance & Boundaries)
  3. Feeling there is a point to what you do at work
    (Meaning, Purpose & Direction)
  4. Knowing where you stand with regard to your performance
    (Authentic Relationships)
  5. Being able to stay focused and concentrate at work
    (Intellectual Engagement & Flow)
  6. Not being anxious about uncertainties in your role or responsibilities
    (Resilience & Equanimity)
  7. Feeling you will be “ok” irrespective of changes taking place in your
    organisation (Resilience & Equanimity)
  8. Being pleased with where your career is heading
    (Meaning, Purpose & Direction)
  9. Enjoying your job and feeling motivated to come to work
    (Meaning, Purpose & Direction)
  10. Trusting your boss (Authentic Relationships)

Top 10 Enhancers of Executive Wellbeing – Living Well

Executives with the highest levels of wellbeing have a clear sense of balance at play – ease, security, pleasure and equilibrium alongside purpose and striving to deliver value beyond self-gratification, with plenty of emotional and physical inner energy and capacity.

Of the MEWS Living Well questions, here are the top 10 correlates with overall reported wellbeing levels.

  1. Feeling your home is a safe and happy place where you feel at ease (Resilience & Equanimity)
  2. Being able to balance your own needs with the emotional need of others (Resilience & Equanimity)
  3. Feeling optimistic and confident about being able to shape your future (Meaning, Purpose & Direction)
  4. Spending time and doing things with the people you like (Authentic Relationships)
  5. Feeling you are living life in a way that is useful to others (Meaning, Purpose & Direction)
  6. Feeling full of vitality (Vitality & Energy)
  7. Having plenty of energy to do the things you want to do (Vitality & Energy)
  8. Partners and family would say you are not stressed (Resilience & Equanimity)
  9. Feeling you have sufficient energy to perform at your peak (Vitality & Energy)
  10. Feeling you can be your “true self” without fear of being judged harshly by others (Authentic Relationships)

Respondents’ views and experiences of MEWS

In case there is any concern about MEWS being received critically by a senior population, our results show that NONE of the 100+ senior executive triallists’ found it anxiety provoking, irritating, frustrating, de-motivating or annoying despite the explicit opportunity to provide such feedback on an anonymous basis.

From this data, the insight gleaned is that the vast majority of respondents reported their experiences of reflecting on their wellbeing via MEWS as being constructive and valuable, with a pleasing lack of endorsement for negative descriptions.

The most frequently cited experiences of MEWS by senior executives
(prior even to receiving any feedback!) are:

  • Thought Provoking
  • Interesting
  • Beneficial
  • Helpful
  • Meaningful
  • Enlightening
  • Enjoyable

The findings presented are from the initial trialing process of the MEWS which involved:

  • 106 Australian executives
  • 11 different industry sectors
  • 46% were male
  • 54% were female
  • 50% aged between 41 and 54 years of age
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