February 12, 2019

Well Being in the Workplace.

You’ve heard it before: wellbeing in the workplace. It’s become a highly sought-after corporate strategy, but what does it all mean?

A human being’s wellbeing is purely about health and happiness in life, work, and love. Humans are complex creatures, which is why a holistic approach is required when evaluating someone’s wellbeing. You have to consider a person’s physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, occupational, and environmental health to really gauge their overall happiness.

Because we spend most of our adult life at work or working, companies are tapping into their organization and its culture to make work a positive and healthy experience. When companies put their people’s health and happiness as a top priority, not only are people happy at work, but they are more productive, engaged, and willing to go that extra mile. Smart companies have realized the benefit of investing in employee wellbeing and are reaping the ROI. These types of companies and the A+D community are pushing for building certifications like LEED and WELL as a professional wellness evaluation of an interior environment that can, in turn, be used as a marketing tool. We took a pulse on your thoughts about workplace wellbeing. Here’s what you had to say.

What efforts is your organization taking toward your wellbeing at work?

While good health insurance, office gyms, great workplace design, and height-adjustable desks are expectedly top contenders, providing access to natural light and biophilia is an influential way to tap into one’s spiritual, mental, and emotional health at work. We found that companies are investing in physical health through free Fitbits, paid gym memberships, healthy food options, on-site doctors, massages, and fitness challenges to keep employees healthy. Organizations are also arranging monthly happy hours as fun, social events outside of work.

In what ways do you wish your organization contributed to your wellbeing at work?

The top workplace wellbeing recommendations fall under the environmental, physical, and social categories. People wished their work environment had warmer and inviting spaces to work in, sound control, better artificial lighting, and a variety of spaces that support work modes for focus, team, sharing, social, and personal relaxation. Employees also wish their organization offered healthier food and snack options, on-site workout sessions, social walking breaks, and ergonomic furniture like height-adjustable desks to support their physical health. Other ways employees wished their company contributed to their wellbeing is emotionally and mentally through on-site counseling and by bringing awareness and education about wellbeing in the workplace.

What do you enjoy most about your workplace environment?

People and culture was the biggest trend in the data results. Those who took the survey mentioned how infectious it is to be around such talented, creative, passionate, hardworking, and driven people. These qualities lead to an innovative, fun work atmosphere. The next popular trends were design and furniture, and natural light and scented aromas. What people enjoyed most about design and furniture were the open office layouts, a variety of spaces, and height-adjustable desks. Other overall enjoyments in the workplace were office cleanliness and company benefits like great health benefits and work-life balance.

What efforts is your organization taking toward your wellbeing at work?

While good health insurance, office gyms, great workplace design, and height-adjustable desks are expectedly top contenders, providing access to natural light and biophilia is an influential way to tap into one’s spiritual, mental, and emotional health at work. We found that companies are investing in physical health through free Fitbits, paid gym memberships, healthy food options, on-site doctors, massages, and fitness challenges to keep employees healthy. Organizations are also arranging monthly happy hours as fun, social events outside of work.

How does the furniture play a key role in your workplace culture?

The biggest categories discovered where furniture influences culture was its impact on employee productivity and how furniture fosters open communication and collaboration. The biggest complaint was when a chair you sit in most the day is uncomfortable, it decreases your productivity and distracts you from meeting your goals for the day. People conveyed how collaboration and communication increased because of their low panels in an open office layout and because of more hospitality-quality informal meeting spaces. Furniture also plays a role in creating a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere and bringing a space to life.

There are many ways an organization can contribute to their employees’ wellbeing. In today’s business world, it no longer means just a great health benefits package. New workplace design and furniture are working together to impact people’s behaviors, enhance communication and collaboration, and create a great work experience and culture. When an organization can think about employee wellbeing holistically and touch on a person’s physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, occupational, and environmental health, that is when employees will be happiest and commit their loyalty to a company.

Chelsea Connolly | SKG Workplace Strategist | IIDA Associate, IIDA Austin City Center Sustainability Chair, WELL AP

SKG is a Knoll furniture dealer in Austin, Texas and San Antonio. We specialize in workplace design and furniture. Chelsea Connolly, our Workplace Strategist, sends out monthly surveys to our clients, design firms, followers, and the community to gauge current perspectives on workplace design. Each month has a different theme. After gathering data, we summarize our findings and share it out on social media. Please enjoy our first article in our 2018 ‘Survey & Summary’ series. If you’d like to be a part of these monthly surveys, please email Chelsea at cconnolly@skgtexas.com. All graphics provided by Danielle Zayas.

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