Bringing a sense of community to the workplace
Within every business, there is a work community with its own social networks and norms. By supporting this community, employers can promote healthy practices that will improve job satisfaction, well-being and motivation.
Office designs and workplace programs that help people thrive are part of the WELL Building Standard® v2. Evoke Projects examines the recommendations for “Community” under WELL v2 with recommendations for your next office fit-out or office refurbishment.
Involve employees in office fit-out or refurbishment decision making
The WELL Building Standard requires projects to facilitate a collaborative design and development process from commencement to completion of WELL Certification. At Evoke Projects, we recommend you also involve people in any office fit-out or refurbishment planning that will impact their working lives. Engaging staff in the decision-making process not only generates practical ideas, but also achieves buy-in from stakeholders.
Of course, you can’t keep everybody happy all the time, but if team members feel listened to, the community will be happier with the office fit-out or refurbishment outcome.
Provide public spaces and amenities for community members to gather, socialise and collaborate
At Evoke Projects, we regularly work with clients who have seen the benefits of breakout spaces within their office design and fit-out. These spaces encourage collaboration outside formal ‘meeting’ times.
The WELL Building Standard goes one step further and encourages businesses to create a public space not just for employees but also for non-work community members. WELL advises that these spaces will encourage shared experiences and social interactions, and increase social cohesion, economic development and civic engagement.
At Evoke Projects, we recommend that if it’s not possible to create a public space, organising public events or fundraising in the community can produce a similar benefit.
Provide relevant health information
This will obviously vary according to business type. Companies with workshops or manual operations will have more health information to convey than a service business.
Flu season news is relevant for all businesses, with some employers opting to provide workplace vaccine programs. This year saw an increase in vaccines being given, with confirmed flu cases reduced from 101,000 to 15,000 in NSW alone between January and October 2018. Think of the reduction in lost work days if everybody takes up the vaccine in 2019!
Workplace health programs can impact tobacco use, alcohol use, seat belt non-use, dietary fat intake, blood pressure, cholesterol, absenteeism and healthcare services use. Successful programs can improve job satisfaction, sense of well-being, self-esteem and overall health status, and reduce stress and health risks.
Other “Community” recommendations under the WELL Building Standard include:
- Collect feedback from building users on their health and well-being and on topics related to WELL both before and during occupancy (i.e. both before and after an office fit-out or refurbishment).
- Provide access to essential health services, screenings and assessments and offer on-demand health services (bear in mind that WELL is a worldwide program, with many countries not having the luxury of our Medicare system).
- Provide support systems for caregivers—such as adequate paid parental leave, breastfeeding support and policies to support care for aged parents.
- Participate in third-party certification programs that evaluate an organisation’s adherence to principles of equity and inclusion.
- Go beyond building codes by incorporating accessible and universal designs within your next office fit-out or office refurbishment project to enable people of all abilities to effectively and easily access, utilise and engage with a space.
- Ensure your office design has adequate bathroom facilities for users with diverse needs.
- Have an emergency management plan in place and supportive resources for responding to an emergency.
Office designs for wellness
The WELL Building Standard has more detail about office design best practice. Version 2 builds upon WELL v1, offering choice to building and office designers. Please visit their website for more information or talk to the team at Evoke Projects.
A new office fit-out is a great opportunity to provide a better sense of community within the workplace. Please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to find out about office designs that focus on wellness.