Fostering employee wellbeing starts with your workplace. As a space where employees will spend thousands of hours, you need to put the work in to ensure it’s as homely as possible. Gone are the days of beige cubicles – we’re entering an employee wellbeing revolution.
There are two major pillars that employee wellbeing rests on at work: environmental factors and mental factors. The first of these is much easier to control, only requiring that you create an aesthetic, balanced, and enjoyable office to work in. The second, the mental factors that contribute to wellness, may take a little bit more experimenting.
In this article, we’ll dive into both the mental and environmental factors that impact employee wellbeing, demonstrating how you can change your office in order to foster a happier workplace.
Let’s dive right in.
Environmental factors that can impact employee wellbeing
Although it may seem strange, the physical environment that we work in actually has a major impact on our overall productivity. While we can’t control the fact that rainy days result in lower productivity, we can focus on the internal office environment and ensure it’s optimized for success.
According to studies carried out by Public Health England, there are a number of environmental factors that can have a direct impact on employee wellbeing:
- Air Quality: One of the most effective ways of improving air quality is to invest in greenery around your office. Incorporating plants has a radical impact on wellness, air quality, and makes a space much more visually appealing.
- Noise Levels: It can take over 23 minutes to regain concentration after you are disrupted. High noise levels in an office can distract employees and reduce their overall satisfaction at work.
- Lighting: Dim or poorly lit spaces make it more difficult to concentrate. Equally, they can actually cause employees to feel sleepy at work, which further decreases their ability to get work done efficiently.
- Private Spaces: Another environmental factor that impacts employee wellbeing is the ability to obtain privacy. If an employee feels like they’re always being watched, they can stay on edge all day, leading to lower productivity rates and a tendency toward feeling stressed.
- Temperature: Temperature in an office can impact productivity rates. For every degree over 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) that the office temperature rises, employees can suffer as much as a 4% decrease in productivity. This effect is even more pronounced in countries that are not as used to hotter temperatures.
In order to keep employee wellbeing at an all-time high, businesses need to be able to create the perfect environment for workers. Across temperature, privacy, light, noise, air quality, and more, environmental factors can significantly impact a workforce’s overall productivity.
Redesigning the office layout to foster employee wellbeing
Based on the environmental factors that influence employee wellbeing, you should endeavor to structure your workplace in the best possible format. Many offices have moved to the Open Office Concept, which is where you place desks near to one another without any dividing cubicles. This structure helps to boost light levels and distribution, as well as helping to foster a sense of community.
Businesses can also bring in a number of office plants and dot them around the office. Lots of plant life in an office can help to improve air quality, boost aesthetics, and increase productivity by around 15%.
However, the open office plan is also notoriously noisy and can lack privacy. In order to combat this negative impact, we suggest that you also provide private spaces around the office in the form of office work pods. Office work phonebooths are single or multi-person pods where users can shut themselves away from the noise of the office.
If you’d like more details on how these pods can radically improve productivity in your office, reach out to MEAVO today.
How To Foster Employee Wellbeing Holistically
Beyond just creating a nice environment to work from, your business should focus on the mental side of employee wellness. To foster better mental health at work, there are a few core areas you can work on.
When looking to foster employee wellbeing, your company should:
- Encourage Flexibility: Flexible working is the future. Allowing employees to come in on some days and work from home on others will ensure they strike a better work-life balance.
- Manage Better: Your managers are one of the leading factors that influence happiness at work. If your employees feel stressed or underappreciated by their managers, you’re likely to see the impacts on employee wellness. Ensure you train your managers properly and only select empathetic people for management roles.
- Compensate Employees: Above all other employee wellness drives, increasing the amount of money you offer to your employees will make the biggest impact. At the end of the day, we’re all looking for a raise that beats inflation.
- Foster Positivity: Spend time highlighting the positive efforts of your employees. Positive feedback can radically increase workplace engagement and lead to higher rates of happiness at work.
Prioritizing happiness at work isn’t just some quirky fad. In fact, the vast majority of workers in the US won’t consider working for a company that doesn’t emphasize their employee wellness. Once your business begins to improve employee wellness, you’ll be able to access an incredible set of benefits.
Better productivity, improved engagement, and reduced churn all follow a boost in employee wellness.
In order to foster employee wellbeing at work, your business should endeavor to create the optimal space for working. By focusing on both the environmental and mental factors which influence employee productivity and happiness, you’re able to foster a better working culture.
Although environmental changes can happen relatively quickly, the mental and cultural shifts will take longer to establish. If you don’t see results straight away, don’t give up. Once you persevere and create a better working culture for all, your employees will be happier, more content, and more productive at work.
Employee wellbeing should be the central focus of your business. If you want to ensure success, look inwards.