Have you thought how much time the average UK employee spends in the office? According to AccountancyAge, the average UK worker will spend about 3,515 full days at work over the course of their lifetime. That’s a lot of time spent working inside at a desk.
In an effort to improve employees’ lives and enhance their wellbeing, some businesses are looking to bring change to their office environments. Not only does this help employees feel more satisfaction with their work, this is also a great way to attract top talent and lower employee turnover.
Employee wellbeing is increasingly seen as the new frontier in workspace design. This can include improvements to indoor quality, lighting, temperature and more. A healthier environment doesn’t have to break the budget, either. Here are some cost-effective ways to bring a healthier environment to your company workplace.
1). Fresh air and easier breathing: according to a 2016 survey by BESA (Build Engineering Services Association), 70% of office workers believed poor air quality in their workplace was having a negative impact on their productivity and overall wellbeing. Poor air quality has been found to be responsible for employees being overly tired, not having focus, and suffering poor health that includes respiratory issues.
In a report by the World Green Building Council, they reported that improving indoor air quality brought an 8% to 11% increase in productivity. This was done by cutting pollutants and increasing fresh air in workplaces.
Methods that can be used to improve indoor air quality include air purifiers that work to remove impurities and pollutants from the air. Another method is to use air filtration systems that also clean indoor air and improve air circulation.
Additional ways to improve indoor air include the addition of indoor plants, along with using furnishings and décor that made from green materials that do not include harmful chemicals.
These changes can bring about increased productivity and cut down on absenteeism. In addition, everyone just feels better overall.
2). Keep temperatures comfortable: another major problem with the workplace is keeping everyone at a comfortable temperature. This can be tricky, as some people prefer to feel warmer, while those next to them may feel more comfortable at cooler temperatures.
Studies have shown that if the workplace becomes too warm, the overall wellbeing of all employees is affected. Employees who are too warm may become tired and lethargic. This causes a loss of focus and cuts down on productivity. And in some workplaces, uncomfortable temperatures can lead to accidents. Most people find it too difficult to work when it’s too warm.
However, with the use of smart climate control tech, workplace temperatures can be kept at a comfortable level throughout an entire building. Whether it’s heating or cooling, the smart tech makes it much easier to maintain the most comfortable temperature, thus increasing employee comfort and wellbeing.
In some instances, the smart climate technology can even be controlled right from an app. This option makes it even easier to keep certain areas cooler or warmer as needed.
3). Natural light: lighting is an especially difficult area in the workplace. Nothing affects wellbeing more than lighting. The wrong type of light or insufficient lighting can create health problems for employees.
When it comes to lighting, studies have shown that natural lighting is best in the workplace. Natural light, for most people, makes the work area more comfortable, reducing headaches and migraines caused by fluorescent and other types of lighting.
Even so, the amount of light does change throughout the day and even as the seasons change. For this reason, smart lighting technology can be a huge benefit in the workplace. There are lighting systems that mimic circadian rhythm and the light from the sun. Other solutions include using automatic tinting, electrochromic windows and more to keep the sun’s light under control.
The efforts made to keep the lighting in the workplace natural (as much as possible) and comfortable has been shown to improve employee health, wellbeing and productivity.
4). Noise reduction: with more open workspaces, the problem of a noisy work environment has become a problem for many workers. Not only is the noise distracting, but in some cases, some individuals are quite sensitive to sound. If these employees feel overwhelmed and overexposed to too much noise, they can become stressed and lose focus. This has a direct impact on the quality of work, as well as a decrease in productivity.
Sound proofing can be accomplished with the installation of sound insulation in walls, acoustic panels and boards to absorb sound (these can also add a decorative touch to walls), and by adding sound insulation to ceilings.
Additional sound proofing methods make use of acoustic coatings such as mass loaded vinyl, which is a rubberised material that can be used as a sound barrier in many ways. There are also acoustic fabrics that are heavier and thicker than other types of fabrics.
While the open office design offers an amazing way for employees to collaborate, providing them with quiet zones or private “phone” booths are also great ways to keep noise to a minimum in the workplace.
5). Bring healthy amenities into the workplace: another area that’s gaining ground in improving workplace wellbeing is the addition of healthy amenities. With so many hours spent at work, and the cost of gym memberships skyrocketing, providing an onsite gym and showers is a great way to help employees improve their health and wellbeing.
Other options include fully stocked kitchens, which provide healthy choices for employees. In addition, encouraging preventative care is another win-win for the business and employees. Here, the emphasis is placed on ways to help employees change unhealthy behaviours such as smoking. Some businesses are even including counselling services to help improve mental health, and much more.
Adding healthy options for employees onsite encourages employees to come to work. It’s a great way to help employees stay healthy and make healthy options. Healthy, happy employees will be more satisfied and more productive on the job.
These are all effective ways to increase employee wellbeing, and make the workplace a lot healthier overall, without having to spend a large portion of the budget.