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Are you paying lip service to your team’s well-being?

In a 2017 survey, 43% of workers said their workplace offered a well-being program.1 By 2020, we should surely have one of the healthiest workforces in the world. Yet the latest research estimates that absenteeism is costing the Australian economy $44 billion each year.2 Presumably a lack of physical and mental well-being is substantially behind this. Office fit-out company and workplace well-being advocate, Evoke Projects, has delved into the experts’ advice on this subject, and discovered that CEOs could do a lot more.

All cultural change starts from the top. The three drivers of a workforce becoming healthier are:

  1. A meaningful well-being program
  2. A management team that leads by example
  3. An office fit-out that supports employees in their efforts to be healthier

Meaningful well-being program

A discounted gym membership might seem like a great contribution towards workplace well-being. However, if staff are stressed, working long hours and expected to be answerable to their smartphone pings after hours, will they go to the gym? Similarly, consider an office design that comprises a musty meditation room and an idle treadmill desk shoved into the corner… At the risk of starting an office debate about the sounds (or otherwise) of trees in forests, if a well-being program is not used properly, is it even a well-being program?

Management team should lead by example

We’re not suggesting the CEO moves into the downward dog pose mid-meeting, but management’s attitude does matter. Using the company well-being program shows that they take it seriously and demonstrates that it’s culturally acceptable to invest time in health and well-being, even during the working day. Management is also responsible for implementing changes to the office fit-out and overall office design that will support the well-being activities.

Statistics show the organisational benefits when well-being is taken seriously in the workplace:

* Tom Bosna reports that “Organisations that had physically active leaders (they exercised at least five times a week for over 30 mins at moderate exertion) were more satisfied with their own performance as a team. They worked smarter and had reduced rates of absenteeism compared to the less active teams.”3 Tom also writes that “The CEO’s who are physically active create a ripple effect of influence and it is embedded into the company culture.”

* Stephanie Reuss writes that “People who believe they have good work-life balance exert 21% higher discretionary effort – leading to better end customer satisfaction and higher performance.”4 She also writes about the benefits of well-being to staff retention and productivity.

Office design and office fit-out to support well-being

The work environment is critical to the employee experience and their health and well-being. Even a minor office refurbishment (e.g. a new meeting hub with exercise bike desks) or new facilities (e.g. fresh water drinking stations) can introduce positive change.

Company leaders decide when it’s time to change the office design and update the office fit-out. By adopting a “people centric” office design, management can show that they don’t just pay lip service to well-being but are committed to making change. Evoke Projects has previously written about the benefits to businesses of people centric office design.

Office fit-outs that support health and well-being can also be guided by the principles in the WELL Building Standard(r). (link to https://www.wellcertified.com )
For example, one of the WELL principles is Movement, whereby increased activity and reduced sedentary behaviour can be encouraged through the spaces where we live, learn, work and play. Given how much time we spend in office environments, the place we work has a vital role to play here.

Another focus of the WELL Building Standard is Air. Breathing contaminated air potentially increases the risk of health problems. Good ventilation and filtration will help improve air quality in your office. Buy low emission office furniture and add an enclosed print room with an exhaust hood during your next office fit-out or refurbishment.

WELL’s Water principle aims to increase the rate of adequate hydration in building users and reduce health risks due to contaminated water and excessive moisture within buildings through better awareness and maintenance of water quality and management.

To find out more about office design and office fit-outs that support employee well-being, please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692.

  1. https://www.insidehr.com.au/5-key-ingredients-of-successful-workplace-wellbeing-programs/
  2. https://www.hcamag.com/au/specialisation/mental-health/how-can-hr-create-a-more-supportive-culture/177625
  3. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/3-reasons-why-ceo-should-most-physically-active-company-tom-bosna/
  4. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/saturday-world-health-day-stephanie-reuss/

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