We live in a fast-paced world and personal well-being in the workplace is becoming increasingly important. Companies are constantly looking for new ways to improve their employees' well-being, beyond encouraging a work life balance, such as developing HR strategies and offering employee perks, such as gym membership and flexible working hours. After all, smart employers know that organisations perform better when staff arehealthy, motivated and focused.
Companies who are committed to improving staff well-being should also be exploring ways to connect their employees to their workspace. Well-being should be at the heart of the workplace; people work better in aspace designed to promote productivity and minimise distractions. A poorly designed workspace can crush creativity, employee engagement, innovation and ultimately performance. For instance, desk partitions that are slightly too high can impact thinking, creativity and collaboration. Similarly, a lack of appropriate meeting spaces can have a knock-on effect on the performance and outputs of a conversation. Furthermore, employees having to make private phone calls on the stairwells may also breed resentment.
These easy tips can help you to help your staff and thereby your company:
Create a productive environment
Prevent fatigue and headaches with good lighting and stimulate brain function with inspiring colours. Even if your workspace is designed beautifully, encouraging your employees to take breaks (without their smartphone) and to walk outside has been proven to increase creativity and productivity by as much as 60%. Exposure to natural light increases productivity by 18% and better lighting in general pushes up work rates by 23% (Source: World Green Building Council Research).
Encourage creativity with collaboration spaces
Design workspaces to enable your employees to feel comfortable with a variety of different furniture to best suit their specific tasks. It's no longer purely about aesthetics, but rather about the right ergonomic furniture that can unlock creativity and support collaboration.
Nutrition - more than your five-a-day
It's also worthwhile having a holistic approach to your well-being initiatives. Health isn't all about salads and jogging. A large open-plan kitchen, as opposed to a kitchenette, is attractive to employees, as it inspires creativity and some time-out. In addition, healthy office snacks and infused-water or bowls of fresh fruit proveto be popular.
Nutrition isn't just for the body. Emotional wellness is equally important.
Most employers tend to offer perks to their staff like a discounted gym membership or walk/bike to work schemes, however, more can be done. Encourage walking meetings and on-site yoga classes for stress relief; this can easily be facilitated by smartly designing your workspace.
Improved air quality and ventilation increase productivity by up to 7% and thermal comfort by 3% (Source: REHVA Guidebook, 2006). Humble indoor plants don't just look nice; they work quietly behind the scenes toabsorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
By having plants dotted around the place and clean air circulating in your building, you will be improving the health of your employees rather than enforcing sick building syndrome on them. No one needs to be battling headaches, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry coughs and fatigue on top of a busy working day. The issue that most employers overlook is that having air conditioning in a newly refurbished building isn't always enough;most employees that we interview report dissatisfaction with the air quality and ventilation, which effects their productivity and increases absenteeism. And we all know about what that can cost an organisation.
Reduce the volume
It's almost impossible for most people to concentrate with phones ringing, conversations and a general background hum. Noise is an unwanted distraction and a major cause of employee dissatisfaction. Thegood news is that it can easily be addressed through design and furniture solutions, such as acoustics and furniture that reduces, rather than promotes, noise transmission.
A splash of colour
Exeter University's School of Psychology found that employees who have influenced the design and layout of their workspace are not only happier and healthier - they're also up to 32% more productive.
A smaller study by Cass Business School explored the perceptions of employees towards art in the workplace. Interestingly, 39% of male respondents rated art (and plants) as highly important. 80% ofwomen stated that art at the office could reduce their stress-levels, and 54% of women rated art ashaving a strong impact on their creativity at the office.
Furthermore, 92% of the women stated that art affects their general well-being, compared to 71%of the men. From a design perspective, the art you choose should be aligned to your company'sbrand and reflect your culture in the workplace.
Is the investment worth it?
There are many reasons why workplace wellness is an excellent investment, especially as it will deliver a significant ROI based on your team's improved performance and general well-being in the workplace.
Maximise your workspace by understanding how it is being used now and how it might be used better in the future. Review the workspace from the perspective of the senses and ask for your employees' input.
Look at workflows and patterns, sizes and locations of teams, desk ratios, use of technology and meeting rooms, facilities for mobile workers and provision of recreational spaces. A workspace that sounds, looks,feels and smells great, and reflects the individuality of the people in it, while meeting business needs, will be more efficient and morale-boosting.
Three reasons to promote well-being in the workplace:
- Increase productivity and talent retention
- Improve collaboration and boost morale
- Decrease work-related stress and absenteeism
But as with any investment, it needs serious thought and planning. A loose strategy of having gymmembership, a fruit bowl and other perks may not be enough.