The era of grey cubicles and uniform desk spaces is over. The workplaces now try to combine health, leisure, hospitality and productivity to create workplaces where people feel happy and engaged. Do you consider your workplace to be employee friendly? Here is a checklist to help you answer this question:
Does your office have a gym, meditation room or yoga classes? Employee health is major global concern. Various researches have shown that desk jobs are making people overweight and even obese. Therefore, wellness zones can assure a healthy break that employees can have during, before or after the work day.
Mental Health Support
Looking after the physical health of the employees is important but mental health requires no less attention. Many employees are challenged by separating their professional and private life, as a result suffering from burnouts and high stress levels. Therefore, it is necessary to acknowledge this issue and provide mental health support. It can be in the form of mentoring service or offering employees benefits to cover mental health services such as free visits to physiologist or subscription to meditation app Headspace.
Optimal lightening can have a positive impact on the mood and increase productivity. The access to natural light is also quite important. Recent study in Cornell University has shown that “workers in daylit office environments reported an 84 percent drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision symptoms, which can detract from productivity.” Therefore, natural light brings many health benefits, increase in productivity and alertness.
Healthy food and snacks
Balanced food options for lunch and breakfast, healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables, smoothies and juice bars should be replacing the unhealthy office diet of black coffee and candy. However, as coffee became almost an integral part of the office life and it’s not always easy to give up on unhealth snacks, discouraging employees from consuming them can be the first step. For example, as part of the well-being program Accenture in vested partnership with ISS made some changes to the food options at their offices, and made all the salad bars free, increased the prices for fat foods and snacks and decreased their accessibility. By that discouraging their employees to make unhealthy food choices
Greenery & Access to Nature
Indoor plants provide a stress relief, clean the air and can boost creativity. Having access to nature can also boost staff wellbeing. Various studies have shown that employees feel happier and inspired entering offices with natural environment, moreover access and visibility of nature can increase the perception of well-being by up to 15%. Creating an oasis for the employees consisting of greenery can lead to positive changes in your office.
Have you heard of the magic formula of productivity? It states that every 52 min of focus require 17 min of break. Though that might be unrealistic to execute in real life, break time is important and requires suitable break zones. Well-designed break-zones can also improve the collaboration through creating a possibility for coincidental and informal meetings.
Open office plans have bought many benefits including better collaboration and more engaged employees. However, at times when it gets busy employees can find it harder to concentrate in an open office environment. Therefore, quiet zones can provide concentration hubs for the employees when they need some time on their own.
Ergonomic furniture and standing desks
The simple rule about office ergonomics, is requirement for adjustability. The life in the office and “sitting lifestyle” have brought many health problems to people and the key in solving them is movement. It is important that employees in your office are not sitting all day long and can stand up and stretch and adjust their desk, screens and chairs to their preference.
If you can tick off everything on this list you can consider your workplace employee friendly and well-designed space. Otherwise you now have some food for thought and opportunities to improve.