Why Should Your Business Care About Workplace Wellness?
Wellness is defined as ‘the active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life’. Generally, wellness can be accomplished by a combination of emotional, environmental, mental, physical, social, and spiritual health.
Ultimately, wellness is a state that individuals must commit to in order to achieve – getting enough sleep, eating a good diet and keeping fit will all contribute.
However, there are many socioeconomic factors that can prevent people from making this commitment; for example, having a low income may mean that you prioritise buying the cheapest food – not the healthiest – or that you can’t afford to replace your uncomfortable mattress which wakes you up in the night.
Similarly, your work/life balance is likely to have a profound effect on personal wellness. With the average person spending 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime, your ability to remain well often hinges upon your workplace’s commitment to supporting it.
Workplaces which do not prioritise wellness can cause significant damage to the health of their staff.
Presenteeism (working when unwell) and leaveism (using your leave entitlement to take time off when you are actually too sick to work) are currently seeing an alarming rise – with far-reaching consequences to both mental and physical wellbeing.
In 2018, UK employees lost 13.6% of their working hours due to absence (1.2%), and presenteeism (12.5%). This figure translates into an average loss of 35.6 days of productive time per employee per year.
The latest Health and Safety Executive data also shows 15.4 million days are now lost each year to mental health problems alone, costing UK businesses an estimated £94 billion a year.
So, what can you do to support employees and improve wellness – as well as your bottom line?
It’s critical to remember that workplace wellness benefits both the employer and the employee.
Our expectations of what a workplace should be have changed radically over the past decade. Today’s office is no longer just a desk or cubicle but a space that blends experiences synonymous with home, work and play.
Businesses that recognise the changing needs of workers are looking to workplace design to improve wellbeing in their workplaces, and in doing so, attract and retain the best talent.
It has never been more important for employers to have a robust health and wellbeing strategy to both recruit and retain staff. It has been widely publicised that replacing members of staff costs £30,614 per employee, so preventing long-term illness, as well as high turnover as a result of staff dissatisfaction, is good business strategy.
Implementing a wellbeing programme at work can be a daunting prospect, but careful space planning and clever design principles can go a long way towards achieving wellbeing in the workplace, alongside benefits such as flexible working, gym memberships and entertainment perks.
With a well-designed office, employers can:
- Allow movement – giving this flexibility means employees are not tied to their desk, allowing them to work where they feel comfortable and therefore improve productivity, as well as providing the physical comfort to prevent musculoskeletal health issues.
- Facilitate creativity – providing employees the tools and technologies to encourage the ideation process can help employees to visualise their ideas, produce more innovative work and feel mentally fulfilled by the creative process.
- Improve collaboration – an office designed with collaboration in mind can enable teams to come together to achieve tasks more effectively, efficiently and creatively, as well as preventing the mental health risks associated with isolation.
In all, a well-designed office which supports the wellbeing of the workforce can keep them not only present at work, but working productively, happily and to the best of their ability.
Feeling inspired to improve employee wellness through workplace design?
Given the clear advantages, we’re not surprised!
Whether you’re considering a complete office refurbishment, a redesign of your current space or you’d just like some ideas to spark your research, Axis House can assist you every step of the way.
Download our Office Design Guide to learn more about what you need to consider and the next steps for creating a healthy environment for your employees.