While employee wellness is something that so many people are now taking seriously, there are a number of employers that just aren’t sure about the best ways to promote the wellness of their employees.
Whether you choose to offer free fruit, give dedicated break times in the afternoon or you’re a radical workplace in San Francisco making sure that everything has the opportunity to use a sleep pod, making sure that your employees are well looked after and feel their best is important.
The trouble is that it can be hard to know what the right way to do that really is. Is it to purchase sleep pods? Or is that too far? Should you just check up on people regularly or is that not enough? Finding the right activity for you, your business, and your employees is the key to balancing your efforts and getting the best return. We think that a great way to help you promote employee wellness is to update the old, tired office and make sure that your employees have an environment that they love to work in. So, whether you’re moving into a new office or you’re just wanting to refurbish your current space, the right office design company will be able to promote employee wellness through their designs and installations of your new office.
Office Design and Employee Wellness
So, you’ve decided you’d like to update your office, or maybe you’re just interested in the benefits and haven’t quite made the decision just yet. While it’s a step in the right direction, it’s a big step and you need to be sure, we understand that. Take a look at a few of the points below and find out why an office refurbishment might be the right thing to do.
- Sit/Stand Culture
Although we all think of sitting at a desk and typing away when we think of an office, it doesn’t have to be like that. So many businesses have started to adopt the sit/stand culture which is perfect for their employees. Some people find that they’re more comfortable and productive when they’re sitting while others find it better to stand. The facilitation for this comes through the addition of sit/stand desks. This all goes hand in hand with the fact that a sit/stand desk can improve posture and have huge benefits for your body. By standing for only 30 minutes a day while you work, you’re able to lower blood pressure, your cholesterol and some say stress levels too. Studies have found that you can also burn more calories when standing as opposed to sitting.
So, from tall workbenches to sit/stand desks and even extra padding for the carpet to support your feet, office designers should be able to take all of this into consideration.
- Natural Light
Natural light is such a big part of our lives and we often take it for granted without even knowing it. Most commercial interior designers will tell you that you want as much natural light flooding through your windows as possible. This is because exposure to natural light has been found to have a significant positive impact on health outcomes such as sleep, depression, agitation and much more. So, having natural light come through your office windows and letting your employees soak in the rays can be a really good thing for everyone.
- Nature and Plants
Bringing nature into the workplace is another great way to promote employee wellness. In doing so, you’re able to have an impact on both the physical and mental health too which is ideal. Introducing plants into the working environment will help to improve the overall air quality. Plants take in CO2 and push out oxygen in its place which is why nature in the office can be really beneficial. The less CO2 that’s in the air the better quality it’ll be which is great for the people within the space.
There are some plants that work better than others and you should definitely think about the people with hayfever…
- Activity and Fitness
Without even knowing it, office design can help to improve the level of activity and fitness not only around the office but outside of the workplace too. For example, the inclusion of shower facilities can benefit everyone. It means that your employees can go to the gym before work or even cycle to the office if they want to. All of this points to more activity and promotes fitness within the office which is great. Studies have found those who are physically active are overall happier, sleep better and are therefore more productive too.
You may also want to introduce things like corporate gym memberships or even build out your own gym in the office building.
- Air Quality
Overall air quality is a really important part of building a good working environment. Being able to provide good quality air is going to keep people happy and healthy. With that in mind, good air conditioning systems will help to improve air quality and will keep people happy during the cold weather in winter and the hot summers.
An air conditioning system will filter out pollution and contaminants in the air so that whatever air you’re pushing into the workplace will be clean.
- Soft Seating/Relax Areas
Soft seating refers to finishes like sofas/couches, armchairs, and anything else that wouldn’t usually be used for working in. This kind of furniture will be situated in breakout rooms and areas. But by providing these kinds of space, you’re able to let your employees have a bit of a rest, get comfortable and relax until they need to go back to work. Taking these kinds of breaks is a great way to rest for the work you have ahead, it gives you time to de-stress and collect your thoughts.
Having separate areas for this means that you’re able to properly separate your time and even headspace. We all know that working from home makes it hard to have a healthy work/life balance and this is similar in a way, just not at the same scale.
- Sleep Pods
Sleep pods are an interesting idea that became popular in the Silicon Valley area. Some people think that they’re a bit of a gimmick and a PR stunt put together by the big companies to show that they care about their employees and get into the press. If it was, it worked! However, giving employees the option to nap during the day could have its benefits. Some workplaces have recorded an increase in productivity, especially at the end of the working day which could evidence their usefulness. Taking advantage of a sleep pod for 20 minutes could give employees the much-needed rest that pushes them to work more effectively in the last few hours of the day.
There has been a lot of research into whether sleep pads are a good idea and it’s said that a nap of about 20 minutes a day in the afternoon can improve vigilance, mood, and alertness.
- Collaboration/Isolation Spaces
Although collaboration is often a necessity within the workplace, some people like to work on their own with a limited number of distractions. With that in mind, having dedicated areas within your office for isolation and collaboration can help to keep people on the right track. Some find it annoying when they’re trying to work but other people are talking, whether it’s about work or not. This means that their working environment isn’t a happy, productive place for them which can lead to being unhappy at work.
With what seems to be a somewhat global change toward hot-desking, we’re able to cater to everyone’s needs. More and more people are taking on the hybrid model in which they work from home and come into the office when they need to or on a rota. With hot-desking, employees don’t have an assigned desk; they just turn up to the office and choose a desk to work at for that day. This promotes an agile working environment, but it can also help to keep people happy. If you have a lot of work to do one day, you may want to join the ‘quiet’/’isolated’ area so that you’re not distracted. But if you need to collaborate or you’re happy to talk while you work on another day, you can sit in the collaboration area.
So, there are several ways in which you’re able to utilise the design of your office to ensure that your workplace is doing all it can to keep people safe and happy. Employee wellness is on the rise, more and more business owners and managers are paying attention to it and pioneering the change towards caring for their employees rather than trying to get them to work as hard as they can for as long as they can.
With that in mind, there are a few ways that employers can look after the people that they have working for them. From extravagant ideas to the smaller, often more meaningful gestures. It’s important to look for those who make you successful because it’s a sort of investment, and it will pay off for the most part.
Richard Yeo, Director at Advanced Commerical Interiors
Richard has been working in the commercial interiors industry for years now, his passion lies with creating innovative spaces that look amazing and function perfectly. They take pride in the work that they do and have their own office act as their showroom. A gorgeous old mill converted into a state of the art office space full of fantastic features.