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Employee wellness is a top priority for most business owners, especially given the implications a poor working environment can bring. It’s no secret that people who enjoy where they work are far more productive and less prone to sick days than those that don’t. Plus, employers who genuinely care about staff wellbeing are seen in a far better light than those that don’t. This leads to improved retention levels and an all round positive working environment.

Wellness in the workplace is nothing new, but the way it can be incorporated into the office is constantly changing. New technology and working trends mean that employers have to adapt to meet the needs of their staff and offering employee benefits isn’t always enough. So, to help, here are 3 key tips for creating a healthier workplace with your office fit-out.

Incorporate Standing Desks

You’ve no doubt read about the health risks related to sedentary lifestyles, something that has been dubbed ‘the new smoking’ over recent years. Although many jobs require employees to sit whilst working, doing so for prolonged periods of time can have a serious effect on their health.
Back in 2012, the NHS reported that those who sit for prolonged periods of time have a 112% increase in the risk of contracting diabetes and a 90% increase in their chances of suffering from a cardiovascular related issue. Shocking stuff, right?

So, what’s the solution? Over the past few years, we’ve seen a clear increase in the number of businesses investing in standing desks as their office furniture solution of choice. By installing them in them workplace, they provide their staff with the option to stand whilst working and help to encourage them to take a new, more active approach to desk work.

There are plenty of health benefits associated with standing including weight loss and increased physical fitness. In fact, studies have shown that an afternoon spent standing can burn as much as 170 additional calories – which really adds up over the week.

Standing desks don’t just offer physical benefits, they have also been found to positively impact performance. In a study by published by The Environmental Research and Public Health Journal, participants ‘exhibited greater task engagement whilst standing.’ Therefore, by encouraging your team to stand, even for short periods of time, you’ll help to boost productivity.

If you’re not ready to invest in standing desks just yet, there are plenty of other ways to encourage staff to move around and resist sitting in a chair for the entire day. Why not introduce walking meetings, step tracking challenges or a lunchtime running club?

However, if you do not want to incorporate standing desks into your workspace, it may be an idea to encourage a bit more flexible working so your employees can visit a gym! We all know that keeping fit is a priority for a lot of people, so it is worth ensuring that your employees can do that.

Ensure You’re More People Centric

According to a recent WorkplaceTrends survey, one in five people work an additional 20 hours each week during their personal time. Employees are no longer working up until ‘clock out time’ and are amassing far more additional hours in the office. Traditional work life balance is therefore changing and employers are having to adapt.

Joyce Bromberg, VP of Innovation + Foresight at Convene said that “Human-centered design is a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs.” Therefore, creating a successful office design has to start with the staff. What do they need to be productive? What choices can you offer them to enhance productivity? Can you make them feel more at home when working late?

By taking into account the way your staff work and how you can adapt using modern technologies, you’ll create an environment where your team enjoy spending time. Think about they types of spaces you could offer to suit different needs. For example, quiet zones to help those with deadlines and collaborative spaces for less formal meetings.

If you keep your staff in mind at all times when designing a new space, you’ll be sure to create a more productive workplace. Plus, the positive environment will enhance wellness.

Img 4583 from aci
The ACI team celebrate after a job well done!

Biophillic Design

Yes, biophilia – otherwise known as ‘bringing the outdoors indoors.’ We’re not just talking about the odd desk plant. It’s all about incorporating the natural environment into the office space and covers everything from textiles to acoustics and lighting.

Whether it’s incorporated in a real way, through plants, or in a mimicked way by decorating with earthy tones, biophilia has been proven to reduce stress levels. Not only that, but employers have also reported a reduction in staff absence and increased productivity levels.

So how can you incorporate it into your office? Whilst you may not have the budget for a ‘living wall’ there are plenty of ways you can introduce nature:

  • Let there be light: Natural light is important so break down any divides or walls that are blocking it. You’d be surprised at the difference this can make.
  • Introduce plants: There are plenty of ways to do this, just weigh up what will work best in your space. Focus on using them to brighten up communal spaces and spacious work areas.
  • Natural colour schemes: It’s all about incorporating warm natural tones within the decor and furniture. Here’s some inspiration to help.
  • Staying healthy at work is a priority for a lot of employees and employers alike nowadays, and it has shown that incorporating biophillic design into the workspace can help to achieve this.

Etsy took this to a new level when they created their New York offices!

Unusual offices etsy 1 from aci
Etsy Offices in New York – Photography: Garrett Rowland, courtesy of Gensler

So, What Should You Do Next?

Creating a healthier workplace is a key factor in the productivity of your staff and overall success of your business. Happy and healthy staff are far more likely to apply themselves and help to achieve business goals. Remember that you don’t have to max out your budget when adapting your space. It’s surprising what you can achieve even with a relatively small amount.

If you’d like some more advice on how to create a healthy workspace, we’d be happy to help. Give us a call on 0115 939 7572, or drop [email protected] an email. We cover Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and surrounding areas!