Whilst it may be a popular buzz word among interior designers, it’s important to first fully understand what wellness in the workplace really means.
Wellness aims to optimise wellbeing, therefore improving a person’s emotional, physical, intellectual and social welfare. Wellness in the workplace is where businesses implement initiatives designed to support healthy behaviour that improves health outcomes. Often included as employee benefits (such as counselling or cycle to work schemes), businesses are now looking at alternative ways to promote wellness in the workplace.
An article by The Guardian states that around 137 million working days were lost from illness and injury in 2016. Preventative measures that increase wellness will not only help counterbalance lost productivity but will further increase ROI (return of investment) by creating happier, healthier employees that enjoy coming to work.
Creatif believes that people deserve the best environments for wellness, productivity and interaction at work. If you’re looking to significantly improve employee wellbeing, here are 5 ways to promote wellness in the workplace:
1. Effective interior design:
Design the office with mental and physical health in mind. When wellness initiatives are part of a person’s daily routine, it soon becomes the norm. This in turn will inevitably filter through to people’s home lives, thereby creating a wellness ripple effect. Create a calm space. Being mindful of people’s mental health demonstrates that your company cares about its employees.
Quiet areas encourage staff to take short breaks to recharge. Millions of Brits suffer from anxiety; research from Anxiety UK confirmed that 6 million people in the UK are suffering from anxiety or depression. Creatif’s considered furniture provides flexible division in the workplace, meaning secluded safe spaces can be created in any environment. Acoustic ceiling panels, booths, moving panels and folding walls from the Acoustif range enable multifunctional yet peaceful areas.
2. Encourage activity:
Flexible spaces provide agile working seating solutions, meaning people can physically move around and select the area that’s most conducive to their productivity. A sedentary lifestyle can be extremely damaging – a recent BBC report found that 20 million Brits are ‘physically inactive’ - so communal activities are a way to break the stagnant cycle. Ryan Holmes, CEO of social media platform HootSuite has noticed how exercise has improved wellness within the organisation. “I see employees return from workouts refreshed and better focused on their jobs. Time lost on exercise is made back and more in terms of improved productivity.” Holmes accredits his company’s success to exercising during the day, as it helped him “maintain composure and focus in the midst of chaos.”
A walk round the block with colleagues at lunch with boost blood flow, as will morning yoga classes before work. If the environment limits where employees can walk, office massage therapy is a great way to improve wellness, bringing the mood boosting endorphins to you.
3. Feel good fuel:
Wellness should be a holistic approach, incorporating physical and emotional aspects wherever possible. Where possible, provide employees with healthy food such as fruit or protein bars. Vending machines traditionally offer crisps and chocolate bars, high in sugar and salt, which are causing prolific obesity and diabetes. Snacking is often due to boredom. When people have nutritious fuel available, they are less likely to get sugar cravings that lead to eating unhealthy food.
4. Fortify connections:
A wellness office should be designed to encourage inter-departmental conversations. Any universal spaces such as the office kitchen or the breakout area should enable people to comfortably relax and communicate freely with a colleague. Using products from Creatif’s Resound range you can manage noise pollution that prevents disrupting your colleagues still working. As discussed in the 9 facts the workplace can learn from bees, communication is key to success; bees conduct a figure-of-eight ‘waggle dance’ that provides insight as to where the best resources lie. Strong relationships at work can make people feel happier, and when people are happier companies notice higher employee retention rates, improved teamwork and morale.
5. Natural elements:
Biophilic design offers a plethora of benefits, with evidence including lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and improving job satisfaction. The acoustic benefits of biophilia in the workplace are an often under-utilised advantage that is slowly gaining momentum as offices are struggling with the epidemic of overwhelm. But the true value of biophilia is in the myriad of ways we can bring the outside in. As animals within the wild, we still innately crave natural elements such as daylight, woods, neutral colours and smells found on the earth (sea, cut grass or spring meadow).
Provide people with access to the outdoors where possible in the form of a patio or balcony, or where this isn’t possible install imagery that evokes wellness with scenes of nature, such as Creatif’s bespoke illuminated lightboxes. What’s more, office workers report a 15% higher level of wellbeing, 15% increase in creativity and 6% increase in productivity when they have access to natural elements.
For more information on how to promote wellness within the workplace, get in touch with Creatif or visit our showroom in 79 Clerkenwell Road, London.