Employee health and wellbeing is critical to your business. But where corporate wellness initiatives began with efforts such as quitting smoking or weight loss, they've since shifted to something that affects all employees: the environment that they work in.
A well-designed workplace environment promotes calm, well-being and positivity. The result is a win-win for all. Employees who are less stressed are more productive and more engaged. Employers are better able to hire and retain staff. And property owners and managers benefit from a quality space.
So, what does wellness in the workplace look like in 2018?
Bringing the Outside In
Reconnecting with nature is a ubiquitous trend in workplace wellness design. Potted plants, ferns and succulents help bring in the calm of the great outdoors. Some organizations are installing green walls or green walkways brimming with plants and flowers, while many more are adding garden-inspired balconies and rooftop gardens to their workspaces. These are designed to be enjoyed and accessed by all, giving workers a much-needed reprieve from fluorescent lighting and cubicle seating. The benefits? Improved air circulation, reduced spread of germs and contaminants, and increased morale.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Organizations are rethinking their approach to wellness. Complex wellness programs are being phased out in favor of simpler, more manageable goals and deliverables. The aim of this is to improve participation. We're also seeing a new wave of AI starting to gather momentum in the workplace wellness space. This technology will be used to collect information to predict future trends - and allow organizations to respond flexibly and adaptively. Online wellness portals and non-traditional paid time off options are also part of the new movement.
Sitting is the New Smoking
It turns out you can't exercise away the problems associated with being sedentary for most of the day. Constant sitting is associated with health risks, and companies are working to mix up their seating arrangements. Moving more - getting up at least every 30 minutes - is being combined with options like standing desks. It's a movement that has the potential to reshuffle everything we expect from workplace design and norms. Increased circulation and the need for new seating arrangements are changing up how workplaces function. Think multi-use areas, "hot desking" and opportunities to interact with colleagues within and across floors.
Wellness Rooms in Coworking Spaces
Dedicated wellness rooms are another trend seen in people-first, wellness-oriented organizations. Tech giants and coworking spaces are just a couple of places where these appear. Massages, nap areas and tech-free fit outs are the most common characteristics of these rooms, although some include games and bike storage. Such rooms allow employees an opportunity to switch off, reset and rebalance. Again, wellness rooms are part of a larger trend: flexibility, mobility and balance.
Healthy workers are good for business. Organizations that put wellness front and center promote happy, engaged employees who work better, take less leave and stick around longer.
Need help reviewing your workplace wellness approach? Get in touch!