In theory, an office should be an environment in which staff can perform at their best, day after day, without a detrimental affect on their health. Not only should we not expect staff to trade their health for a salary, but we now know that there is an undeniable correlation between staff health and performance.
Therefore, creating the right environment and providing the necessary facilities for staff is key to long-term health and performance. So, what office features are conducive to health and how many do you already have at your workspace?
1. Stand/sit desks
The option to vary between standing and sitting is vital for the musculoskeletal health of staff, with back pain being a major contributor to absenteeism and presenteeism. It also has an effect on energy levels, blood flow and body composition.
These factors all contribute to staff having more sustained energy and a better overall health profile with potentially fewer sickness-absence days. From fully electric variable height desks to desktop modifiers; the means to introduce this into offices are increasing in number with many companies now offering such workstation options to buy or lease.
2. Quiet spaces
Host desking and open plan offices are becoming progressively more common. They can be an effective way to utilise space but often come accompanied by the downside of distractions in the form of background noise and interruptions. Not only do these reduce productivity and efficiency but they can also directly and indirectly contribute to stress.
Having designated quiet areas of the office where staff can go and sit to work undisturbed can be hugely beneficial. Working undistracted can greatly reduce stress and allows staff to be more efficient, reducing the likelihood of working unnecessarily long hours, losing sleep and having a poor work/life balance. Our associates at Love Your Workspace have some great ideas that can be added to open plan offices.
3. Space for fitness
As addressed in our previous article, The three pillars of staff wellness – Part 1: Physical Health, physically active and healthy staff are likely to be higher-performing. The health benefits of regular exercise have a great carryover into working life.
Having an on-site gym would be ideal in every office, but this is not always practical for reasons of finance or space. This doesn’t mean that having an area that can be used for staff physical fitness is just for those with an abundance of cash flow or space. You can create multi-use spaces out of meeting rooms, or even open plan areas. Collapsible boardroom tables and a few yoga mats can be all that is required on site to run a variety of classes.
On-site showers area a key feature to consider when moving to a new office or renovating your current one. They allow for a greater variety of on-site fitness options and increase the likelihood of staff walking, running or cycling to work.
This can massively increase the efficacy of health and wellness initiatives such as cycle to work schemes, run-clubs and even simple ideas such as the 10,000 steps per day challenge.
5. Healthy Canteens
With all that we know about nutrition and its effect on performance, I am always surprised to see the menus on offer in company canteens. As we have discussed in several previous articles, the nutritional health of staff will directly affect their physical and mental performance, their body composition and even their sleep. These in turn will impact presenteeism and absenteeism.
A canteen that stocks predominantly healthy food will enable staff to make health-promoting choices compared to one that has a “healthy section”.
So, how many of the 5 features above does your workspace provide? Get in touch with us here, to find out how we can work with you to develop a cost-effective strategy for improve staff health and performance.