Workplace wellbeing has become a HR and office priority. Work is one of the biggest causes for mental health issues. Therefore it’s only right that action is taken to help tackle this and remove the stigma of mental health. Offices can help promote healthy behaviours. Well-being has evolved from a buzzword to a powerful engagement tool.
Presenteeism is the practice of going to work ill. People feel an unnecessary pressure to ‘show their faces’ to demonstrate commitment. Yet it results in unproductive work. Presenteeism is worse for the bottom line than absenteeism.
According to the Health and Well-being at Work survey, ‘presenteeism’, or people coming into work when they are ill, has more than tripled since 2010, according to the latest CIPD.
According to other research, employers loose an average of 27.5 days of productive time per employee each year. Staff take time off sick and also under perform in the workplace as a result of ill-health. Employers need to manage wellbeing. Employee depression and stress is a major issue. Especially the stigma attached to it.
Organisations need to offer more than free gym subscriptions. Companies are moving on from a narrow focus on physical wellbeing to a 21st-century psychological perspective. Wellbeing at work is also about mental health and stress. Research shows mental health is a bigger issue than physical illness among employees. Companies can use design to offer solutions to these challenges. By caring for their employees, businesses can boost productivity. Employee well-being is surpassing employee engagement – becoming the new total reward. We predict deep changes to organisational culture and physical workspaces.
This includes designing the workplace to promote healthy behaviour. The following are essential; make quiet rooms available, introduce a variety of workspaces, control noise levels, boast biophilic features, design informal work areas, regulate air quality and room temperature and promote natural lighting. Offices are introducing ‘safe places’ for employees. This will attract and retain new talent. However, it is important to consult teams before making changes. The most engaged workers are those who have autonomy over where they work to suit their needs as it leads to more satisfaction.
Being open about mental health and other delicate topics will encourage trust. By being honest about the real reason you can’t face the office today and encouraging transparent conversations will improve stress levels and well-being.
Workplace diversity is affected by remote workers, more female workers, increasing freelance contractors and multiple generations being under one dynamic roof. Diversity and inclusion have become a comprehensive strategy to enhance employee engagement, improve brand perceptions and drive performance through talent pools. This also encourages that all important, ‘diversity of thought’.
Most companies have no well-being strategy. Companies need to cater for all variations of personalities, moods and working preferences. This includes workplaces designed to facilitate healthy behaviour such as breakout spots and quiet pods. On-site relaxation or recreation areas can make all the difference to employee’s mental health and dealing with stress.
Make your employees feel replenished. This includes food, water, natural light, an engaging office and comfort. This means designing offices to be functional over basic style. Adjustable to each individual.
Hotdesking helps removes hierarchical structures. However, this new trend along with home working are only effective if managed effectively. Many people enjoy consistency and personalising their office space. This can be important for people’s emotional security and creates anxiety if not handled appropriately. It can remove people’s sense of control and comfort. Remote working can also lead people to miss out on social and team building opportunities. This can negatively affect team culture.
Make it a rule that no-one is allowed to eat at their desks. This encourages everyone to take breaks from their work to replenish and socialise. Businesses are boosting social health by encouraging people to have lunch together. Social health is an indicator of high engagement which hugely impacts emotional well-being. It is important for individuals to build and sustain relationships in the workplace.