10 Tips For Workplace Wellbeing & Productivity28th June 2016
According to a new report by office furniture manufacturer Steelcase, office workers in the UK do not value their company culture as much as workers in other countries.
It’s a valid observation when you consider the growth of remote working and rising numbers of people working independently with a variety of companies on a freelance or consultant basis.
So how can companies engage with and get the best out of their full-time staff and freelancers? Being a valued member of staff and implementing wellbeing initiatives appears to be the answer. Although workplace wellbeing is subjective to the type of organisation, its current culture and what’s already in place, people do feel more engaged and loyal when they are valued.
With that in mind, here are our top ten workplace wellbeing initiates that when implemented gradually can enhance any organisations culture, it’s environment and the happiness and longevity of your staff.
1. Utilising the senses
By introducing scent, colour and plant life into the workspace environment, you can make the workplace a more positive place to work. Dr Chris Knight and his fellow psychologists at Exeter University concluded that employees were 15% more productive when workspaces are filled with a few houseplants. So go ahead, and encourage nature into the workspace, like flowers on reception or how about a living wall in the office like those from Biotecture?
Music can increase dopamine in the brain increasing productivity. Although music isn’t for everyone and can distract those working on trickier financials in the workspace, others do find certain genres of music useful for increasing their creativity. By encouraging those who work better with music to listen via headphones or introducing music into areas like the reception you can improve the mood of your staff and visitors.
Beyond music, sound also has an impact on staff productivity. As more offices become open plan spaces, privacy can become an issue, especially when colleagues sit very close together to utilise space. With that in mind, consider installing a white noise machine to ensure sound privacy in breakout areas or conference rooms. Although these machines still generate noise, it’s less distracting than hearing co-workers chatting or having a meeting next to you.
Scientific studies have shown that colours don’t just change our moods, they can affect our productivity.
In a study by the University of Texas, they found that grey, beige and white offices’ induced feelings of sadness and depression, especially in women. Men, however, experienced gloomy feelings in purple and orange workspaces.
Restful shades of green and blue can improve efficiency and focus. They also lend an overall sense of well-being.
Red, is and active and intense colour and increases the heart rate and blood flow upon sight. While mellow yellow, often viewed by psychologists as the shade of optimism, is energetic and fresh. It is believed it can trigger innovation and works well in environments where artists, writers, designers, developers and other creative professionals work.
Decorate your workplace with a vibrant medley of stimulating hues that increase output and spark creativity.
3. Celebrate Failure
You heard right! Accounting software company Intuit gives a special award for the Best Failure and holds “failure parties”. “At Intuit we celebrate failure”, explains co-founder, Scott Cook, “because every failure teaches something important that can be the seed for the next great idea.”
When people fear failure, they’re less likely to creative, innovative ideas or projects.
Furniture that looks great but is ergonomically designed to aid posture and overall health and wellbeing play an important role in productivity. Equally, sitting down all day is incredibly bad for your staff and their health, so encouraging your employees to move about regularly and placing printer points in an area they will have to walk to, for example, can ensure they’re not causing long-term damage to their health.
Rapport’ source furniture through well-established furniture suppliers during a workspace redesign, relocation or on a stand-alone basis taking into consideration the health, wellbeing and needs of the organisation.
Natural light has a profound effect on productivity and work well-being. In a number of studies reduced air control and lighting has been shown to increase sickness levels of staff. So, it’s important to consider lighting aesthetics within your current space, in a future design or office space to maximise the environment.
Sensor technology – according to new research by US furniture giant Haworth sophisticated sensors in the workplace can deliver healthier and happier employees. Sensors can enable workspaces to shape-shift for maximum efficiency, alter temperature and lighting levels, and make adjustments when workers are getting bored or frustrated, thus increasing productivity the report finds.
6. Friendships – mentoring and induction
According to the Trade Journal, Millennials, who do not feel an emotional connection to people within their organisation will look elsewhere until they find it. 98% of Millennials in the UK say that developing close ties with co-workers is important to them.
If fact, having friends and close colleagues is so important it relates strongly to how committed to Millennial feels about business. Many also feel more connected to their organisation if it were not for the teams they were with.
Therefore, encouraging social activities, mentoring programs and even inviting new staff in to meet with their teams and boss before beginning a new job can make them feel part of a team from day one.
Not all businesses can offer homeworking. It’s often subjective to the organisation and role needs. However, those that are in the position to do so should consider this as an opportunity to staff. Cutting down travel time and busy commute for staff once or twice a week for staff can help break up the week. Some, especially those who value concentration for specific tasks find this a great solution to being interrupted at their desks.
Homeworking isn’ for everyone, and there’s a level of trust involved, but for those who feel they’ll value from the work-life balance will enjoy this perk to increase their productivity.
Regular exercise is hugely important to those who are desk-bound Monday to Friday. Although an office gym is not an option for many organisations, how about a subsidised gym membership with a gym close to the office that people can utilise at lunchtime, before or after work? Equally, encouraging people to get out of the office at lunchtime can increase oxygen to the brain and make them much more productive in the afternoon.
You will also find that many yoga and Pilates teachers will offer classes in the workplace.
The bike to work scheme is also an option you might want to consider.
Not in the traditional sense, but rewarding staff for their achievements can encourage better productivity. Friday night drinks or having a summer BBQ, as well as a Christmas party, can also help people to socialise, make friends and enjoy their working environment away from the day to day work.
Budgets permitting, monthly massages and fruit or lunch delivered once a week can offer some additional incentives to staff wellbeing.
10. Personal development
Of course, if an organisations’ work/life balance is not addressed then most of the above becomes redundant. We believe that organisations should provide a balanced environment; that encourages staff to ‘achieve’ with personal development strategies to delivers a culture that will make Monday mornings just that little more bearable for all.
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