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Macorva is more than just a feedback platform. We are a tool for change, helping businesses enhance their performance, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.
Employee wellness and wellbeing survey
MacorvaFebruary 29, 202412 min read

5 Factors to Include in Your Employee Wellness Survey

Workplace wellness programs have grown in popularity due to increased awareness of the links between stress, mental and physical health, and overall well-being. According to recent studies, 92% of workers prioritize emotional well-being in the workplace when choosing where they work.

Yet, for businesses just getting started on their employee wellness journeys, it can be difficult to know which initiatives will yield the highest returns. An employee wellness survey is a valuable tool for determining the best path for your wellness program and identifying areas for enhancement. Solutions such as Macorva offer data-driven wellness survey templates to kickstart your efforts, though creating a custom survey is also an option.

To maximize your survey's impact, consider these five critical elements to prioritize employee wellness in your future plans.

1. The big one: STRESS 

Stress negatively affects every system in the human body. High stress levels have been linked to chronic health issues, including high blood pressure and sugar, heart disease, and immune deficiencies. Because its effects are both severe and pervasive, particularly in context with other lifestyle factors, it is important to include questions around stress in your wellness survey.

According to the 2023 ComPsych StressPulse Report conducted by The American Institute of Stress, 62% of American workers have high levels of stress, including extreme fatigue. 41% cite workload as the main factor in their stress while 32% cite people issues.

These are worrying numbers, with effects that contribute to employee exhaustion, burnout, and turnover in conjunction with the previously mentioned physical conditions, which often lead to medical costs, absenteeism, and more turnover. The StressPulse Report also found 42% of workers lose around a half hour per day due to stress. Over half of workers (54%) miss 1-2 days per year because of stress while around 1 in 7 workers miss at least an entire week.

Yet, despite these harrowing figures, only 25% of employers offer stress management programs, and only 18% offer meditation or mindfulness. According to another study conducted by the APA, only 21% of employees report having any meeting-free workdays, and only 15% report mental health days at work.

All these statistics have a common conclusion: that stress is dangerous for the health and productivity of workers, yet it is not a priority for most business leaders. To help measure your employees’ stress levels in your wellness survey and address these issues before they become serious, consider these types of questions:

I am able to manage work-related stress.
I feel emotionally stable at work.
I experience normal levels of stress at work.
I am comfortable with my work/life balance.
I have access to resources that reduce stress.
I would recommend this job to someone susceptible to workplace stress.
I am happy with my workload and performance expectations.
I feel that management cares about my stress levels.
I feel that I can balance my work and home life.

*1-5 scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree

After learning more about your employees’ state of stress through your survey, you’ll understand better what stress management and emotional well-being initiatives are worthwhile, including:

  • Mental health benefits
  • On-premise or on-demand counseling services
  • Stress management workshops
  • Meditation classes

Employee wellness: work environment

2. Work Environment

Employee productivity relies in large part on a comfortable work environment. This has only become more important in the post-pandemic economy where remote work opportunities are plentiful. Surveys have found that employees switching to remote work experience even higher stress levels than those with in-person jobs. Individuals with chaotic homes may be particularly susceptible to being burnt out, not just by their work, but also by their work environment.

It’s important that your wellness survey addresses this by assessing both the mental and physical influences on your worker’s productivity. This should include asking about the different factors that may have an impact on their productivity, such as:

Notifications from emails or instant messages
Noise from a shared workspace or family home
Meeting frequency
Physical comfort level
Ability to use office equipment at home
Other employees’ behavior
Company internet efficiency

*1-5 scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree

You can also include direct questions about the work environment, such as:

I have the tools and resources needed to do my job well.
I can get my work done without being distracted.
My work environment is physically comfortable.
I am satisfied with the available software systems.
I can easily communicate with my fellow employees.
I am fine with the noise levels at work.
I feel included in the general work atmosphere.
I feel safe at work.

*1-5 scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. 

Once you understand how employees respond to their work environment, you can identify and address the factors that influence their mental and physical well-being. Depending on your employees’ responses, consider these common ways to improve the workplace to meet their needs:

  • Ergonomic investments such as standing desks
  • Meeting-free Fridays 
  • Quiet rooms 
  • Regular support check-ins with remote employees
  • Encouraging time off
  • Reducing the frequency of company announcements
  • Dealing with inappropriate workplace behavior
  • Offering counseling services
  • Upgrading workplace security

Employee wellness: physical health and wellbeing

3. Physical wellness

Physical wellness is the most common focus of employee wellness programs. It refers to many employee lifestyle factors, ranging from activity level awareness to vaccinations. Yet, according to Statista, only 52% of employers offer wellness programs. Concerning the specific physical wellness programs organizations do offer, they discovered these statistics:

  • 34% offer smoking programs
  • 34% offer health risk assessments
  • 30% offer incentives for completing the program
  • 25% offer weight loss programs

This means that core medical wellness initiatives are missing from at least 2 in 3 businesses, which tracks with another study that shows only 25% of workers feel that their organization cares about their well-being. The result of this combination is an epidemic of employee burnout, which moderately affects 35% of U.S. workers and severely affects a further 22%.

The APA’s 2023 Work in America Survey contextualized these findings in the post-pandemic economy in terms of productivity, well-being, and retention. They found that among the workers reporting work-related stress and the symptoms of burnout,

  • 31% reported emotional exhaustion
  • 23% reported a desire to quit
  • 20% reported reduced productivity

To reduce these statistics, make your business more attractive to current and prospective talent, and reduce burnout, physical wellness programs can take many forms. These include nutrition classes, exercise programs, activity challenges, diet services, on-site physicals, or company reimbursements for lifestyle changes like gym memberships and nicotine patches. An employee wellness survey can show what your employees value so you can help them recover from burnout on their own terms. Consider questions like these:

I feel good about my overall physical health.
I have healthy eating habits. 
I exercise at least a few times each week. 
I would participate in employer-led programs to pursue a healthier lifestyle.
I have access to healthy snacks.
I eat nutritionally balanced meals at work.
I feel free to take breaks from my computer.
I have access to health resources at work.

*1-5 scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree

If your employees report issues with your company’s physical wellness practices through their responses, your reaction doesn’t have to be complicated. The APA also reports that only around 1 in 3 employees feels encouraged to take a break and only 2 in 5 believe that time off is respected by their employer. This means that less than half of your employees would probably recommend your business to prospective talent and more than half would appreciate a simple change in the demeanor of the workplace that encourages needed physical rest.

To change the trajectory of employee burnout and curb the low productivity and high turnover it creates, the right employee wellness surveys can identify the unique problems and needs of your workforce before it burns out.

Employee wellness: social wellbeing

4. Social well-being

Social well-being is even less addressed than physical and mental well-being in the modern workplace. Yet, social well-being has a defining impact on those other factors because of how dependent humans are on feeling part of a community of interaction and learning.

According to the APA, 1 in 4 employees experiencing negative effects on productivity as a result of work-related stress in 2023 also reported a desire to keep to themselves. Nearly 1 in 5 reported being irritable or angry with their coworkers. Around the same percentage (19%) described their workplace as “toxic,” with in-person workplaces being the most prevalent at 22%.

Though “toxic” has become something of an HR buzzword, the APA meaningfully contextualized it with a further study. They showed that 76% of those who work in a “toxic workplace” reported negative mental health effects from their work compared to just 28% who reported working in a healthy workplace.

Loss of motivation and productivity are soon to follow these feelings of toxicity while fostering healthy social connections reduces stress levels and increases job satisfaction. Consider these questions when assessing your employees’ social well-being:

I have a best friend at work. 
I have someone I can talk to at work when I need support. 
I get along well with my teammates.
I often want to be alone at work.
I feel angry or irritated at my coworkers.
I feel supported by my managers.
I want to participate in social work functions.
I have time to engage in social activities.
I feel encouraged to socialize during my work breaks.
I feel safe around my coworkers.

*1-5 scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree

If your survey identifies employees’ social well-being as an area of concern, you may consider implementing initiatives to encourage employees to build connections with others at work in your employee wellness program. These can include:

  • Offsite team-building activities
  • Employer-sponsored sports leagues
  • New hire mentorship programs
  • Private chat networks for employees
  • Holiday parties
  • Work-sponsored birthdays
  • Gamified work goals
  • Increased employee recognition
  • Increased break time
  • Team collaboration software

Employee wellness: job satisfaction

5. Job satisfaction

Not every workplace combines employee wellness with job satisfaction, but satisfaction is a fundamental part of building a lasting program for mental and emotional wellness. The 2023 APA report uncovered that 26% of workers report a lack of motivation while 18% report feeling ineffective at their jobs. These are huge factors in gauging how satisfaction impacts productivity.

Consider that two-thirds of all employees are unsatisfied with the opportunities for growth and development at their workplace. It should be no surprise then that providing these opportunities can raise employee retention, increase productivity, and promote mental well-being among workers.

To engage these principles in your employee wellness survey, consider questions like these:

I am satisfied with my job.
I enjoy working with my teammates.
I would recommend my job to others.
I feel that I am advancing in my career.
I am satisfied with my upskilling opportunities.
I am actively looking for other employment.
I enjoy after-work activities.
I am working too much.

*1-5 scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree

If you notice concerning trends in your employees’ job satisfaction scores, you may need to follow up with a more in-depth job satisfaction survey that assesses various aspects of work including work impact, career path, task variety, and more. Other initiatives you can consider to improve job satisfaction parallel to your employee wellness program include:

  • Defining and communicating your company’s culture, mission, and values
  • Employee recognition programs
  • Leadership training for people managers
  • Increasing upskilling opportunities
  • Introducing gamification to the workplace
  • Improving your internal communication framework
  • Increasing company-sponsored activities

Wellness program metrics to consider

Addressing these 5 factors will make your wellness survey more effective, but its real-world success relies on these KPIs, which can be simplified as questions.

Health outcome: Are your employees getting healthier (physically and mentally)?
Satisfaction outcome: Are your employees getting happier?
Participation rates: Are your employees engaging with the programs?
Absenteeism outcome: Are more employees coming to work?
Return on investments: Are you seeing an increase in profits?
Culture outcome: Is the workplace atmosphere more relaxed and productive?
Turnover outcome: Are your employees staying in their current jobs?

You should choose metrics based on the intent of your custom wellness programs and track them over time. Adjusting the programs is a natural part of running an evolving, growing company. However, adjusting the surveys can make the outcomes statistically inconsistent, which is why it’s crucial to get it right the first time.

Understanding your employees’ wants and needs is a continuous process. You may make mistakes. But the biggest mistake would be excluding your employees from the development of the wellness programs since it is their point of view that matters most when refining your strategies.
The second biggest mistake (and one that many businesses are now making) would be to assume that employee wellness is an issue that impacts them but not your business’s profits. Gallup’s Employee Wellbeing study showed otherwise, finding that:

  • $322 billion was lost globally in turnover costs and lost productivity due to worker burnout.
  • 75% of company medical costs are generated by preventable conditions.
  • 15%-20% of the average company payroll goes to voluntary turnover costs resulting from employee burnout every year.

What this means is that investments in employee wellness programs generate an inherent ROI by preventing your business from falling into the increasing trend of workplace stress in the post-pandemic economy. This is crucial at a time when many employees feel their well-being is overlooked by leadership. Focused investments in well-being lead to further ROI gains, as evidence consistently shows that employees who are healthy, less stressed, socially active, and satisfied with their jobs tend to be more productive and loyal to their company, reducing the risk of burnout.

The Takeaway for businesses

In 2024 and beyond, learning and development managers are still struggling with the results of the pandemic, with wellness, motivation, and productivity topping their list of priorities. To combat these trends, they are improving their promotion opportunities, offering more upskilling opportunities, increasing wages, improving internal communication strategies, offering better working hours, and raising the bar on their diversity and inclusion metrics.

With so many employees working from home and the standards of satisfaction constantly shifting, versatile data collection platforms will play a key role in tracking the impact of wellness programs moving forward. Macorva's AI-powered feedback platform helps you design personalized wellness surveys and provides key insights to improve your programs. With actionable steps and guidance, you'll quickly enhance workforce well-being. 

See how we're helping businesses establish successful employee wellness programs in a quick 10-minute demo.


Editors note: this blog was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.



Macorva is dedicated to helping you not only gather unfiltered data, but make sense of it. Our industry-leading team of software developers never stops refining Macorva to pick up on subtleties that can help you build a better business.