Small cubicles, silent offices, and sad fluorescent lighting...sound like a place you want to be? I didn't think so. It's no doubt that having a healthy work culture is key in the workplace today. Employees are the most valuable asset to a company. If your employees aren't happy, how do you expect them to produce successful work for you? Employee well-being has become a major priority for workplace design. It goes beyond the modern work space and finest amenities. These include: biophilic design, wellness programs, healthful eating options, and more physical activity through out the day.
The word Biophilia means 'love of nature'. It describes the deep-seated connection humans feel towards nature itself. As our world has continued to become more densely populated and more people are living in urban areas, we have decreased the use of our natural world. It is vital that we reconnect with the environment.
Given that we have this natural connection to nature, it is important for our overall well-being to incorporate it more into the place that we spend most of our time...work. According to The World Health Organization, stress related illnesses like mental health disorders and cardiovascular disease will be the two largest contributors to disease by 2020. Biophilic design has been known to improve memory, mood, attention span, stress, inflammation, and immunity. Businesses that incorporate biophilic design have seen a 13% higher level of well-being and an 8% increase in productivity.
Wellness programs include a number of activities and benefits that encourage health and well-being in the workplace. Some companies may have an on-site gym where employees can exercise at after the work day. Smaller companies may encourage employees to form fitness groups or reward the most active employees by using wearable tracking. Social activities can also be apart of a wellness program, as mental health is just as important as physical health.
Healthy eating options
This one can be a bit tricky since not everyone has the same tastes in food. However, giving people options to choose is the important part. Providing healthy food choices at work can be appreciated by some, but it is important not to eliminate other options. Some companies provide a healthy meal at meetings, parties, and events. Other companies provide weekly lunches free of charge. Another option would be to replace some of the snacks in the vending machines with healthier options. You can't force your employees to eat healthy. The choice is ultimately up to them, but it can definitely be encouraged.
More physical activity through out the day
The last tip is promoting more physical activity throughout the day. This can technically fall under the wellness program. Again, you can't force people to get up out of their chairs and run around the office but you can give them the option so that it is available to them. These can include standing meetings, sit-to-stand desks, lunchtime walks, cycle to work days where employees can ride their bikes to work, or even a five minute stretching session next to an employees desk can help unwind.
A healthy office is a happy office; emotionally and physically. It is important to take care of your employees. There are many cost-effective way to improve the overall well-being of your work culture. Developing and promoting healthy options will increase productivity and morale around the office.