We keep hearing about work-life balance – the idea that we need to make sure we’re able to recharge from the stress and burdens work environments place on us. If you work a typical 40 hour week, plus add in commute time, you can see how difficult it can be to make that trip to the gym after work or do something for yourself amongst your other obligations.
This is why workplace wellbeing is so important. Let’s face it, the workplace is our second home, and how are we supposed to feel “balanced” if one of two places we spend most our time is a countering our ability to feel well? It makes the time spent outside of work feel like we’re always recuperating until Monday morning. Wouldn’t it be nice to leave work with the mental and physical energy to pursue other interests? Not just recover?
Your business has the power to create a better, healthier life for employees. Workplace wellness also ties in well with other company goals, like retention, engagement, and knocking sales goals out of the park. How employees feel at work affects their interaction with customers, ability to solve problems, interpersonal relationships, and the list goes on.
So let’s start making workplace wellbeing more than a half-hearted goal, and something to really focus on. Workplace wellness efforts don’t have to be the same for each company, but here are a few tips that any company can try.
Help Employees Get the right kind of “Fuel”
Depending on the size and resources of your organization, this could be anything from cafeteria choices, vending machine contents, or what you put in the snack bowl at work. Having snacks on hand for those days when someone’s lunch was left behind on their kitchen counter (or when they skipped breakfast) can really help.
With wellness in the workplace on the rise, companies like Snack Nation (a healthy office snack delivery service) are popping up. It’s getting a lot easier for business owners to say “thank you” to their team.
Creating a space where employees can also eat a decent meal is also important. If you don’t have a sink and counter, you should at least provide a refrigerator, coffee station, or microwave/toaster oven.
Improve your workplace design
Your office design has a profound effect on the wellness of your workers. Is it cramped, stuffy, with poor lighting? Do you have sufficient storage, or do employees have to work amongst piles of files, or office equipment that is rarely used? Does your work environment express the values and culture of your company? The more up-to-date and inspiring your office, the better your employees will feel working there.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to office design (we’ve even written whole articles about it), but some things to think about include:
- Light colors with energizing accent walls
- A break room or place to unwind
- Outdoor views and/or indoor plants
- Natural light
- Freedom to switch workstations if space allows
Do some group brainstorming
You want to improve things for your employees, but you aren’t exactly sure how. Chances are, your employees will have a couple ideas that would make their time at work more enjoyable. Try asking them and you might get a lot of feedback, such as:
- Improvements to the breakroom: This could be anything from adding more comfortable seating, to adding a door for privacy.
- The ability to choose what kind of music they listen to
- Flexible hours (maybe coming in off the normal schedule would decrease traffic during their commute)
- Fun days, pet days, group lunch days, casual days, etc
- More comfortable seating
- The ability to personalize their workspace
- Less isolation where they work
- More privacy where they work
Work on your culture
The relationship employees have with their bosses and coworkers is critical to job satisfaction and feeling at east at work. Communication should be open, no one should feel like their voice doesn’t matter. Working on ways to reduce stress is another way you can create a more positive and productive environment.
You should work on creating a culture that is supportive, doesn’t ignore or overburden new employees, and motivates each other. You can strengthen the relationships between your coworkers with fun team building exercises or an acknowledgement system. There are lots of performance-based points systems being created that allow employees to hand out points to each other and redeem rewards. One such program is called terryberry.
By making your workplace one where employee wellbeing is high on the list of priorities, you not only reach your company goals, but you’ll play an important part in making the world a healthier place. This is part of the reason we love creating incredible workspaces – because we know how much design enhances wellbeing at work.