A new year, a new emphasis on well-being

There is nothing like an enduring, global crisis to focus the mind on things that really matter.  When that crisis is health-related, it is only natural that greater emphasis is placed on peoples’ well-being.

Which is why, as the challenges of COVID-19 continue, IOGP has determined that the Association’s mission for 2021 will include unprecedented focus on the well-being of everyone who works in our industry, as well as the wider communities in which they operate.  

But what is meant by ‘well-being’? 

Mariana Carvalho

“At IOGP, the definition we use is inclusive,” says Mariana Carvalho, Manager of the joint IOGP-IPIECA Health Committee. “It is the individual’s experience of health (both mental and physical), but beyond that, it is about feeling safe and secure, about a life that feels meaningful and purposeful, and – to different degrees for different people – about connection to our families, friends, and colleagues. This gives us a place from which we are better able to manage the difficult moments that are a fact of everyone’s life, at home and at work. The pandemic has demonstrated that, in addition to physical and mental health, well-being clearly has a social health dimension.

Whilst well-being is an attribute of individuals, its benefits have a direct correlation with good business outcomes. The most successful organisations are those in which employees have a positive outlook on their lives and work. The Health Committee has long promoted the idea that investing in employee well-being will benefit both individuals and organizations. Individuals benefit through increased resilience to stressful situations, reduced sickness, and absences, while organizations gain from a more engaged workforce, better working relationships, higher performance, safety, quality, and productivity. 

Until recently, in most companies the topic has typically only been driven by limited initiatives. The Health Committee aims to change that with the publication of a new Well-Being Framework (estimated publishing date mid-2021), incorporating well-being priorities outlined by the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), and encouraging IOGP Members to develop a well-being strategy.

A fresh impetus

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of well-being has gained momentum. While most IOGP Member Companies and organisations can claim to have handled the operational aspects of the pandemic response effectively, COVID-19’s impacts on well-being and mental health are likely to be longer lasting. The new Framework will help address these challenges.  People’s well-being is always influenced by their environment and the behaviour of others or social health. Hence, aspects of worker welfare – leisure and learning opportunities, employment conditions, and community relationships – also matter.

The subjects tackled include the elements of a well-being strategy and the key aspects of a well-being programme, including: 

  • Work quality
  • Values/principles
  • Personal growth
  • Good lifestyle choices
  • Financial well-being

“Of course, during the past year the Health Committee has also made progress on its usual work priorities, notwithstanding the challenges presented by the pandemic,” Mariana says. 

The challenge of remote health care

Among those work priorities is the collaboration with the Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Health Care. Part of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, Scotland, the faculty was established 2018 to define, review, and set standards of competence for organisations delivering healthcare in remote and rural environments. The Health Committee is supporting the faculty’s development of a competency framework for health professionals in rural and remote areas, which will include for example offshore medics. The competency framework will include well-being and aims to:  

  • Develop clinical examinations in remote and rural healthcare
  • Enable service providers to ensure patient safety and healthcare practitioner support
  • Provide a suite of modular capabilities that can be applied to different roles, skill levels, and contexts within the remote and rural healthcare environment.

Implementation of the framework will benefit oil and gas workers and local communities alike.

For more information about IOGP’s well-being efforts and initiatives, contact Mariana at

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