It is no secret that Employee Wellbeing strategies can bring real benefits to a company. But while such strategies typically entail a host of fun events and health initiatives, the physical environment they work in is equally important. In fact, the office space can be the key to boosting employee wellbeing and employee productivity.
The space a person works in has a definite effect on work performance, with cluttered offices contributing to negative conditions like stress, anxiety and low morale. Employees know that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Research from the US (the Fellowes Workplace Wellness Trend Report) highlight a growing expectation amongst employees that employers should provide a healthier working environment. In fact, 87% of the participants stated they would like their current employer to offer healthier workspace benefits.
Of course, an office is more than simply the place where people work. It is now seen as a visible manifestation of a company’s brand and culture, and in being so says something significant about the employees there. So, the design of the modern office has more thought behind it.
But how can an office space actually boost a strategy, and what can be done to help maximize this influence?
7 Factors To Improve Your Working Environment
According to the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the ideal workspace should adhere to their own designated WELL Building Standard, a design standard that addresses human health and wellbeing issues through design and construction.
This standard looks at 7 key aspects which together can have a real influence on such importance employee matters as wellbeing, satisfaction, performance and productivity.
Air quality is known to affect employee mood and concentration, with as much as an 11% increase in productivity where offices were subjected to increased levels of fresh air. Key contributors to better air quality are: open windows; a no-smoking policy; air filtration systems; office plants; and introducing a ‘green’ cleaning policy.
Water consumption is key to keeping the mind operating at full capacity for longer, improving our ability to focus, our clarity, and alertness. Key contributors are: providing ample water coolers; educate employees on benefits.
What you eat fuels your day, and providing healthy eating options is already a recognized element of a successful Employee Wellbeing strategy. Ensuring the maximum uptake in a nutritious, balanced diet is helped through the provision of fresh fruit and vegetables, a reduction in processed foods, clear food allergy labels, and general nutrition education.
Quality of light in the office is important. In fact, according to one survey, employees that sit just 10 feet from a window and in natural daylight enjoyed an 84% decrease in eyestrain, headaches, and blurred vision. So, with an office design, it’s worth adding skylights, moving office furniture that blocks sunlight and layering different types of lighting in a workspace.
This doesn’t mean you need to open a gym; it only highlights the simple ways employees can be active in the workplace. Activity and movements encourages better blood flow to the brain, boosting energy and concentration. To encourage more activity set up adjustable standing workstations, ample space for walking, open stairs and even bicycle storage to encourage employees to cycle to work.
Comfort is obviously important, with studies showing that ‘ergonomics’ lessens muscle fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), and enhances productivity. Ergonomically designed seats, sit-stand workstations, hot-desks, footrests, and ensuring monitors are at eye-level all help to improve reduce strain and pain while working.
Mental wellness is hugely important, not just in work. But according to one study (Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace) employees who work in offices with natural features have 15% greater wellbeing, feel 6% more productive and 15% more creative. To achieve a more natural feel, create collaborative spaces, de-stress spaces, roof or terrace gardens, and indoor greenery, like potted plants.
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