5 EASY WAYS TO PROMOTE WELL-BEING IN YOUR WORKPLACE

BY TAYLOR STUCKY GROSSENKEMPER, PROJECT LEAD

“Is it five o'clock yet?”

“The weekends are never long enough!” 

“Ugh, Monday.” 

Sound familiar? If you’ve heard these rumblings around your office, chances are your employees’ batteries need a recharge. Luckily, it’s not all that hard to do. With just a few simple steps, you can look forward to greater productivity, happier employees, and a better bottom line.

 

1. Create opportunities for movement.

Scooter tracks on each floor in Adidas’ Moscow office reflect the company’s active lifestyle focus and encourage employees to move throughout the space. Photo from Office Snapshots.

Scooter tracks on each floor in Adidas’ Moscow office reflect the company’s active lifestyle focus and encourage employees to move throughout the space. Photo from Office Snapshots.

You’ve heard it before: sitting is the new smoking. And although that sounds a bit dramatic, it’s not too far from the truth. Sitting for 8, 9, 10-plus hours a day can really take its toll on your body. Prolonged sitting can elevate one's risk of cancer, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and obesity, which in turn can lead to more sick days, higher insurance costs, and lower productivity. So, why not give your employees the tools they need to get out of their chair and work healthier? 

  • Implement opportunities to stand while working. But only part time. Studies show that we should stand for about 15 minutes out of every hour. So whether that’s providing a height adjustable desk at each workstation or in central locations that any employee can use throughout the day, getting your employees out of their task chair is a good thing. 
  • Encourage walking meetings. Walking meetings are an easy way to get up and move throughout the day. Provide the flexibility for employees to walk through the office while on a conference call or take a lap around the building for a quick one-on-one meeting if the weather's nice. Working + Fresh Air + Exercise = Winning!
  • Create opportunities for posture change. Be creative! Provide locations around the office where people can work besides their workstation that still support their ergonomic needs. Sprinkle bar-height tables throughout the office or in the café. Create softer seating areas with sofas and lounge chairs. Offer spaces for working outside, like park benches or outdoor meeting areas. Simply changing the way you sit a few times a day can work wonders for your mind and body.

 

2. Boost company morale with team building activities.

Employees at Google’s Cambridge Office in Boston take a yoga break in the company’s fitness center. Photo from Office Snapshots.

Employees at Google’s Cambridge Office in Boston take a yoga break in the company’s fitness center. Photo from Office Snapshots.

Happy employee, happy customer - or so the old adage goes, right? The truth is, a large majority of our population is not engaged, with some actively disengaged. Actively disengaged. Can you think of a behavior you’d like less in an employee? Disengaged employees are showing up to work unwilling, unmotivated, and unhappy to be there – if they show up at all. 

However, it’s hard to be completely checked out if you truly enjoy the people you work with, which is why it’s so important to encourage team members to socialize and build the connections and relationships that are so vital to their well-being. Support activities that allow employees to have social time during or after their work day. Offer perks like group fitness classes, sports activities, or volunteer opportunities. Design spaces that allow for fun interaction, like including game tables in the employee lounge. 

 

3. Offer flexibility.

Scheduling a few "work from the coffee shop days" each month can stimulate creativity, help you meet new people, and even help you focus. 

Scheduling a few "work from the coffee shop days" each month can stimulate creativity, help you meet new people, and even help you focus

All that team building aside, it’s also important that people take time out of the office – whether it’s allowing your employees the flexibility of working from a remote location, like a coffee shop or library, or having flexible hours. Having the opportunity to hit the gym for a favorite Zumba class at 7:30 in the morning can give someone a jolt of energy to get them through the day and can also yield more productivity. Sometimes a change of scenery can really allow for focus and clarity.

 

4. Bring the outdoors in.

Walls of plants are found all throughout Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. Photo from Office Snapshots.

Walls of plants are found all throughout Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. Photo from Office Snapshots.

There’s a reason that many people tend to vacation in scenic locations like the beach or the mountains: it gives a feel of wide open spaces, fresh air, and beautiful views. Having a view of nature is calming. Not all of us can be lucky enough to look out of our office windows and have such a view, so bringing the outdoors in is very important. This can be as simple as having indoor plants throughout the office or allowing employees to have a plant (maybe just one, let’s not get crazy!) at their desk. If you lack a green thumb, how about incorporating the outdoors into the art on your walls? 

 

5. Encourage time off.

Designer Nicolai Czumaj-Bront lounges in the sun on top of Haworth headquarter's green roof in Holland, Michigan.

Designer Nicolai Czumaj-Bront lounges in the sun on top of Haworth headquarter's green roof in Holland, Michigan.

Work hard, play hard. Although it’s not always even keel, it’s all about balance. Not only does vacation increase your happiness and your mental and physical health, but 91 percent of senior business leaders believe that employees return from vacation with a more positive attitude towards work, with higher productivity, and better relationships.

 

What's worked for you? These five quick and easy ways to promote well-being in the workplace are a great starting point, but there are so many more avenues towards creating a happy workplace. Tell us what strategies you've used to improve the productivity and engagement of your employees. What has worked and what hasn't? We at encompas would love to hear your experiences!

 

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Want more tips on workplace design for well-being? Check out this white paper from Haworth, or shoot me an email at taylor@encompas.com.