Wellbeing has without doubt taken center stage in the workplace discussion in recent years. Whether companies are offering Pilates, providing gym memberships or bringing out a new healthier menu at the canteen; these types of offerings only scratch the surface though, in terms of the impact the workplace can have on employee health and wellbeing.
The focus on treating the symptoms of unhealthy lifestyles and the negative effects of office life is stopping us exploring how best to go about preventing such ailments. If we look at building wellness into our actual workplaces, not just having it as an add-on, we have the opportunity to create happier, healthier employees from the get-go.
Wellness issues are becoming increasingly more visible in day-to-day life, and no more so, than in the workplace. It should come as no surprise that happy employees will engage better and provide better results, both for the business and for team morale. Unfortunately, employers can often be reluctant to invest in wellbeing, as many struggle to see how they will get direct results back from the initial costs such efforts can incur.
A successful workspace is one that works for its employees. At Staverton, we firmly believe that a good office offers variety, and supports agility and collaboration. Sit-stand desks, private working dens and clustered desk grouping all enable a key factor in productive and effective working - choice. Sedentary lifestyles are fast becoming a significant disrupter to office workers and we’re all familiar with the claims that “sitting is the new smoking”. These types of headlines may indeed be media fabrications, lacking hardcore scientific evidence, but the discussions surrounding them are certainly becoming increasingly relevant.
Employees need choice and variety in their daily lives. Being sat in one chair at one desk for eight to nine hours a day brings countless issues with it which can greatly impact on productivity levels, which in turn affect our employee’s overall wellbeing. By offering an array of working areas you can provide opportunities for your employees to keep moving throughout the day. Standing up, changing desks and just walking around the office or going for a quick walk can all help to boost energy and productivity levels.
The inclusion of both clustered and hot desking
Desks that are positioned in clusters enable sub-teams to work together with ease, allowing for open discussion and collaborative processes without having to break away from your work station.
Hot desking is becoming increasingly popular in more fluid workplaces and larger corporate offices. Take for example, J.P. Morgan, who have just completed a £25m+ refurbishment on their Bournemouth offices, they’ve opted for an almost entirely hot-desk-based space. Allowing employees to meet new people, share ideas and work in new settings every day.
Sit stand desks
Flexible furniture, such as sit stand desks provide the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs and battle the sluggish post-lunch or end of the day feeling that we all suffer from. Electronically adjustable, these effective and popular workstations are available in numerous designs and are becoming a real staple in today’s workplaces. Sit stands that are also mobile mean not only can you stand up to complete tasks, but change the physical location you’re work in.
Collaborative spaces and breakout areas are the ideal option for offices that require regular one-on-ones, informal team meetings or semi-private phone calls. Enclosed ‘dens’ or ‘booths’ are an acoustically treated option that can be fitted out with lighting and monitor screens and provide another area where employees can either work privately or catch up with fellow colleagues.
Be imaginative with how you utilise and break up your space. By using portable partition walls or storage, you can change how the space is divided as and when you require. The option is there to be creative with it too – to make it more visually appealing and versatile you can decorate the partitions using biophilic design, team photos, or infographics with skills and team bulletins on.
A well designed and well thought out workplace can provide countless benefits for employers, employees and all that interact with the space, and is crucial to office effectiveness. A recent report Leesman, the world’s leading assessors of workplace effectiveness, found that almost half of all UK workplaces are not actually fit for purpose. The full global survey of over quarter of a million employees found that only 57 per cent of people believe their workplace enables them to work productively. There is clearly a considerable amount of work to be done in this area, but employers should be starting at the source, the physical features, first and foremost.
The world of work is constantly changing and wellbeing is becoming crucially more important on the agenda. People are working longer, and arguably harder, than ever before. With sick pay from mental and physical ill-health costing billions year on year, it’s time that employers face up to the importance of workplace wellbeing and invest in appropriate spaces, as well as important initiatives.
There are countless options available to businesses, enabling them to create more effective, happy, and consequently productive spaces for their employees to work in. From partitions and breakout zones, to hot desks and sit-stands, the possibilities are endless and employers should try to push the boundaries of what is possible in their workspaces, to get the best out of their employees and ultimately, provide the best results for their businesses.
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