There has been a lot in the media recently about wellbeing in the workplace. Everyone seems to be talking about it. Is workplace wellbeing really all that important? In a word, yes.
These days our lives are more stressful than ever, with a never ending list of things we should or could be doing. Stress and insomnia are on the rise, and if you think trends like that won’t affect your business, you are wrong.
While we can’t do much to address the stressors on our employees outside of work, we can do our bit, not only to make work a nicer place to be but also to provide assistance with wellbeing. Why? Because a happy workforce is a productive workforce. And because we’re all human. Nobody likes to see another person suffer, and if there is something we can do to help with that then we absolutely should.
Here are 8 tips for improving wellbeing in your workplace:
- Cultivate a friendly working environment.
Whether you have people working in your office or scattered around the country, a friendly working environment where people feel comfortable and safe will go a long way to ensuring workplace wellbeing. Smile at people; ask how they are and listen to the answer. Take an interest in your team members and how they are doing. If someone has something stressful going on at home, is there anything you can do to make their working life a little easier?
- Make the office a lighter space.
Nobody wants to sit in a dark, dingy office with fluorescent lighting and no air! Did you know that workers who have a view of the world outside are 25% more productive? Exposure to natural light can boost productivity by 18%. If you can’t make that work, just getting better lighting can improve work and wellbeing rates.
- Look at the air quality in your office too.
Good air quality can make a big difference to how you all feel in the office. After all, at least some of your staff will be spending a good seven hours a day there so if it is stuffy and airless it will make people lethargic and unproductive. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on air conditioning though! Something as simple as keeping windows open a little to keep air flowing can make a big difference. If this is not feasible, invest in some plants for the office (and nominate someone to be in charge of watering them!) Plants can help to freshen the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen – plus they brighten the place up a little and make it feel less clinical and “office-y”
If you can decorate your office space, look into which colours will work best for you. Green is known to reduce stress, and blue promotes focus – hence why we chose these colours for the Stress Less and Focus balms at Scentered. You don’t need to paint entire walls bright blue; adding accessories here and there can help to improve the look and feel of your office.
- Give employees space to chill out
I get it; office space is at a premium and very few people have the money to pay for space that won’t be used. But there is a lot to be said for having a break area or even a small outside area where people can go – not just to smoke on their breaks! Getting some fresh air and getting away from one’s desk can have a big impact on how we feel. This is especially important if you’re asking your staff to be creative in any way – they need to take that time out to recharge their batteries. If you don’t have an outdoor space, make suggestions of local parks people could go to on their breaks.
- Don’t sit in meeting rooms.
During my days at Pacific Direct, I grew so tired of endless meetings in board (bored!) rooms where we all just slumped over our coffees and tried to stay awake. Instead, I had everyone bring trainers into work, and we had walking meetings whenever possible. Obviously if you’ve a team of fifty who all need to take part, a walking meeting is a bad idea. But if you need to mull over an idea with a couple of people, get outside to the nearest park and discuss it there. You’ll feel better; your fellow meeting attendees will feel better; the people you work with will appreciate your collective improved moods.
- Encourage movement.
When you’re dedicated to your work and there’s plenty to do, it can be tempting to just sit in front of a screen for seven or eight hours every day. That’s great if you have an urgent deadline to hit, but doing this all day, every day will eventually lead to lower productivity as well as aches and pains and generally feeling a bit rubbish. Encourage your team to get up and move about every hour or so – whether that’s taking it in turns to do a coffee run or walking to a different office to talk to someone rather than picking up the phone. You could even invest in standing desks to keep people moving!
- Work smarter.
A previous blog post was about the gig economy and remote workers; I really believe that having an office is often a luxury most of us can do without. Would your workforce be happier if they were able to work remotely, at the time best suited to them? If you can be flexible, do. Don’t drag people into the office just to fill space; get rid of it and hire a meeting room once a week or even month for a catch-up.
As time goes on, workplace wellbeing is becoming more and more important. If you want your staff to be happy and resilient, you need to look after them and make sure they are feeling good.