How to Promote Employee Wellness Through Office and Lab Design
Employee wellness is more than just providing people with access to health services. It’s an $8 billion industry spanning every aspect of the employee experience from fitness to finances. Most companies rely on their human resources departments to develop and run wellness programs and boost productivity, but employee wellness can start right when they walk through the door with the design of your space.
Make it easy for employees to make healthy choices.
The quickest way for employees to make healthy choices is to give them healthy options to choose from. No matter your budget or space, you can easily design your space to make healthy choices no-brainers.
Keep them hydrated.
Water combats everything from headaches to fatigue. Encourage your employees to ditch the caffeinated and sugary drinks by giving them access to quick hydration with eco-friendly water stations, flavored water machines, or simply filtering tap water through a faucet attachment or pitcher.
Provide them with healthy food options.
Stocking cupboards and refrigerators with healthy snacks is doable for businesses of any size. When designing your kitchen or break room, designate a spot to keep healthy grains, fruits, vegetables, and other healthy options handy. If your company has the resources to build a cafeteria, work with food services to craft healthy meal options and subsidize those costs to make it easier for employees to choose wisely.
Give them opportunities to get moving.
Whether by it’s an on-site fitness center, recurring yoga classes in a designated space, or a walk or run club, you can easily provide employees opportunities to become more physically active. Design your office and laboratory to accommodate a range of activities and allow all employees to find and adopt the new healthy habits that work best for them.
Modern office furnishings are widely available but what’s most visually appealing isn’t always the most comfortable, and the goal should be to make it easy for employees to work in a way that naturally suits them. When it comes to designing to promote wellness, ergonomics need to come before aesthetics.
Ergonomics impact more than one wellness aspect.
Yes, comfort is key, but ergonomics is about more than how good it feels to sit in your chair. It’s a holistic experience. Sitting all day, no matter how great the lumbar support, is terrible for your health. Giving employees sit-stand desks and lab counters promotes overall physical health, mood, energy level, and productivity.
Remember, ergonomic design is not one-size-fits-all. Consider the needs of your employees, particularly those with visible and invisible disabilities. Whether it’s computer monitor size, desk accessibility, or lighting, designing an ergonomic environment that works for all employees is crucial to wellness.
The good news: You don’t have to sacrifice style for ergonomic function.
Once you know what your employees need, you can research different styles boasting the same ergonomic benefits – and you don’t have to do it alone. There are design firms like MacBick that can help you find the right ergonomic design options for your industry needs and particular space.
Design a space for all.
Not every employee values the same type of workspace. Creating a welcoming environment for all employees will create a sense of psychological and physical safety, thereby promoting productivity and engagement. So, how do you design a space to accommodate everyone’s needs?
Create collaborative spaces and private spaces.
Your employees have diverse behavioral and productivity needs, so be sure to honor them. For more introverted employees, or employees whose work requires minimal interruption, private spaces are key to success. You can incorporate closed offices with single desks for employees to focus on heads-down work, or temporary phone-booth style cubes for private calls. More extraverted employees, or those whose work relies on active communication and collaboration, will do well in open spaces like lounge areas or community workshop tables.
Make sure all areas of your lab are accessible.
No matter how many private rooms you offer or how open your floor plan, be sure to make every feature accessible to all your employees. When employees don’t have to worry about their ability to move about the office and lab space, the more they’re able to focus on their work and driving success.
Your employees are your most precious resource.
Remember: Your product is only as good as your people. When you invest in employee wellness, you invest in your company’s success. You can take meaningful action using the examples above to promote employee wellness today and if you’re ready for a more in-depth overhaul, please drop us a line at [email protected].