I read a couple of thoughtful articles this week that I’d like to share with you on the topic of healthy workplaces. Yep, that is one of those vague statements most organisations believe they have, or say they are striving for, but holistic efforts to actually address the full health of employees in the context of working is difficult to achieve. There are small nibbles around the edges: paying for gym memberships, ergonomic chairs, and sometimes healthy snacks.
In his article “Mindshift sets sights on understanding well-being in the workplace”, Bob Fox, publisher of Work Design Magazine, and the founder and CEO of the Washington, DC-area design firm FOX Architects, states:
“We are realizing that the way we work today is the root cause of a tremendous amount of sickness, disease, and other health-related issues, that, beyond affecting an employee’s personally, also reduce productivity, create performance issues, and are ultimately a significant cost to businesses today. And sometimes, the workplace is working against these employees. What we are realizing is that our increasing focus on attracting top talent; people and their performance are going beyond wellness, engagement, creativity and general productivity issues have more to do with our entire well-being. Our mental, physical, emotional, and social state is critical to our ability to perform well consistently; and the spaces where we work are influential in our success.”
There is finally a recognition that every person at work needs to be emotionally as well as physically healthy in order to do their work effectively and in a sustainable way. This clearly affects any organisation’s bottom line, from their ability to sustain product innovation to reducing staff absenteeism and turnover.
Not only do workplace practices and values (such as trust) help support the positive health of employees, the physical workspaces within organisations can also be aligned to improve well-being. In a separate article in Work Design magazine, Bryan Croeni, AIA, MA, LEED AP, director of B+H Architects’ Seattle office and cofounder of B+H Advance Strategy, describes the goal of creating office space, “that advances the social and cultural infrastructure necessary to create a sense of belonging and shared community”.
Given the decline of community in general in society, as well as the younger generation of workers showing a strong dedication to community and service, Croeni proposes that perhaps our offices can help move us towards reestablishing a sense of community in our lives. The article goes on to suggest that designers look at workplaces as the new village, with main street, marketplace, meeting halls, schools for learning, pubs for relaxing, and so forth.
These articles provide intriguing and positive perspectives that you might want to consider and attempt in your own workplaces. As always, if you want help or additional direction, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Links to the articles
Bob Fox Article:
Bryan Croeni Article
Fun Friday Workplaces
As always, get in touch if you have any questions about any of the content here, or want to talk more about how I can help you with you brilliant organisation.