Physical health is an important consideration that directly affects employee engagement, but achieving a healthy workplace can be quite a challenge. It requires a strong sense of design and deep understanding of staff behavior, as well as involved leadership members who can encourage values of self-care and wellness in the workplace. Creating a healthy workplace can improve productivity and signal to staff that their wellness is valued in company culture. Here are some key features that can help facility managers create a healthier environment for their staff.
Research continues to show that large periods of sitting down are bad for a person's health and tightly linked to health problems like obesity. That being said, standing for long periods of time also has a negative effect on physical health. Introducing adjustable furniture into the workspace helps create a middle ground by leaving the choice in the hands of the staff. Furniture with adjustable heights and positions improves the ergonomics of a space and allows the team to reduce issues like muscle aches and poor posture.
Healthy food choices
Nutrition is a difficult matter to address—staff in the workplace may make poor food choices because of convenience or a lack of healthy options. Workplaces that provide healthy food options help to reduce the effort required by employees to practice good nutrition during a busy work week. Timberland, for example, provides their employees with fresh fruit and veggies in its café that are grown directly from their own community garden. Even small steps like having a staff fruit bowl or reminding employees to stay hydrated can help improve the overall health of the workplace while reflecting core company values to clients and visitors that may contribute to positive impressions of your business.
Visually pleasing views like cityscapes and parks are found to have an impact on employee wellness. Managers should take advantage of window space in the office to maximize a sense of natural light and depth. Situating communal spaces near windows and other well-lit areas can help make sure the entire team benefits from these features. It also has the added benefit of encouraging staff to move throughout the office and interact with people they may not regularly see. Managers should take the time to learn how their office lighting can promote healthy corporate culture and look for opportunities to optimize their space accordingly.
Another way FMs can help create wellness in the workplace is by designing spaces that promote sensory change. When a workplace includes areas that differ in terms of color, texture, isolation, brightness and overall space, employees are less likely to feel bored or exhausted by their surroundings.
As facility manager, you should take a look at your office space and figure out how the design can inspire and engage employees.
Unexpected office features can go a long way towards keeping your staff creative, happy and alert at work.
An active space
Active spaces like gyms and yoga rooms are a great way to immediately help staff improve their physical health. Many companies like Google and Asana have on-site gyms and in-house yoga to keep their teams healthy. Though not all managers will have enough space to implement large active areas, there are other ways to promote an active lifestyle to your staff. Teams located in confined urban areas could still benefit from complimentary fitness passes or you could bring in fitness instructors to host morning classes directly in the office. Creating reasonable access to health and fitness spaces helps signal to your employees that you care about more than their work output.
There is no single office feature that can guarantee the good health of a team. Managers should instead focus on creating a health-oriented culture that encourages and enables employees to make beneficial choices. Providing access to flexible work arrangements, natural lighting, healthy food and physical activity can help to keep your staff healthy, which translates to higher overall productivity and minimizes time away from work.
Article by Darin Herle, OfficeSpace