Can you put wellness back into the workplace?

By Greg Bell

Standing desks are somewhat of a trendy workplace accessory – but there's more to them than keeping up with the cool kids.

Wellness is becoming a growing focus across Australia. We're becoming more concerned with healthy diets, reducing carbon emissions and finding sustainable alternatives. In fact, Nielsen found that Asia-Pacific countries seek out sustainably sourced ingredients more than any other region. 

There's also an increasing awareness of the benefits of wellness-promoting activities and design in the workplace. Healthy  initiatives have benefits to both staff and employers – so it's important that you know what kind of features you can fit into your workplace to maximise satisfaction. 

The benefits of workplace wellness

Wellness in the workplace leads to improvements in both physical and emotional health for workers – which in turn has the potential to improve business productivity. Healthier Work, a government service, outlines the following as possible benefits:

  • Increased productivity,
  • Better staff acquisition and retention,
  • Reduced sick leave and absenteeism,
  • Lower risk of worker accidents and compensation claims,
  • Improved corporate image,
  • Higher returns on training and development investment.

Employees can expect to see benefits in the form of higher morale, job satisfaction and motivation, as well as lower levels of stress and emotional injury.

How can workplace wellness be improved?

Health and happiness in the workplace can be improved through the implementation of specially designed programs. There are a number of outsourced workplace wellness companies that can equip your business with comprehensive strategies.

That said, some degree of wellness is also associated with workplace environment. This is where the assistance of a commercial real estate agent comes in. Finding an office space that is both suitable to your business needs and promotes wellness can be challenging, but working with a real estate professional can make for a smoother journey.

Here are some of the features you should look for to boost wellness in your workplace:

Relaxation spaces

A healthy commercial space should have spaces that are separated from working desks and meeting rooms in order to allow workers to disconnected and relax during breaks. Aim for a physically isolated area – otherwise, those taking breaks can distract those working and vice versa. Workers need to be able to switch off and unwind on their breaks. Avoid clutter and harsh environments too. Break rooms should comfortably furnished and provide opportunities for social engagement.

Stimulating colours

Creating colourful spaces can improve mental stimulation and mood. Carefully choosing colours to encourage creativity and calm in the workplace can help workers to moderate temperaments. In particular blue-green office spaces contribute best to happiness, a study by the University of Texas shows. The study compared a blue-green space to one red and one white. Workers in the red office experienced greater confusion and tension, and less vigor than those in the blue-green one. Meanwhile, workers in the white space showed higher instances of anger, depression and fatigue.

Connection to the outdoors

Exterior spaces can improve air quality, vitamin D uptake and encourage staff to leave their desks. Look for unique properties with courtyard space, gardens or balconies and arrange provisions to allow employees to work outdoors.

Failing that, you can connect your staff to the outdoors by finding a space that looks out to water or greenery. Acquire indoor plants to both improve air quality and calm workers, and ensure your workplace will receive plenty of natural light. A study on the effects of natural light found that workers in places with windows received an average 43 minutes more of sleep per night and experienced less daytime dysfunction. If finding natural light is proving to be a challenge, you can also install lights that simulate circadian rhythms.

The space you select for your business can have a major impact on overall productivity and job satisfaction, so it's important you choose carefully. To work with an informed professional, talk to Ray White Commercial Gold Coast today.

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