•  

rss
Wellbeing Blog



September 15, 2016

Well by Design: Simple Strategies for a Healthy Workplace

"Corporate wellness" is now a $6 billion industry covering many aspects of health.  While most wellness programs focus heavily on physical health, the more progressive companies take a holistic approach; offering resources supporting employee’s total wellbeing. Fostering positive workplace relationships, financial security, improved physical health and active community involvement will attract exceptional workers who will in turn, provide exceptional contributions.

However, even a company with the most robust resources and programs to support employee wellbeing may fall flat in their efforts without a workplace culture and environment that makes healthy choices easy. The most innovative companies are now reconstructing their physical environment to be supportive of wellbeing by design. This attention to the physical work environment as a part of a comprehensive wellbeing strategy is leading to more energized, productive, thriving employees.

There are simple environmental changes that you can make without the need for a major renovation that can have a huge impact on your workplace culture. Consider the following, as you think about what changes would work for your environment:

Design for Physical Activity:

  • Maximize the appeal of stairwells. Make sure they are well lit. Post inspirational messages or fun facts on each floor and consider changing them periodically to keep it interesting. You can even decorate the stairwells for holidays. Consider signs in elevators that promote the stairs, perhaps mentioning how many calories you can burn per flight of stairs.

  • Encourage walking and standing meetings.

  • Map out walking paths with step counts and distances both indoors and out.

  • Offer adjustable standing desks in individual workspaces or in collaborative conference rooms.

  • Install bike racks to encourage biking to work.

  • Transform an empty office into a fitness resource center with small weights, stability balls, yoga mats, and exercise bands, that employees can use while at work. 

  • Have managers send out “office recess” emails encouraging everyone to stand and stretch throughout the day.

For any of these strategies you may use, it is essential that company leadership and front-line managers promote and support the message and lead by example.

Encourage Nutritious Food Choices:

  • Provide a fruit basket with free fruit.

  • Host healthy pot –luck lunches where food and recipes are shared by employees.

  • Replace soda cans with water bottles in your meeting and breakrooms.

  • Provide a clean and inviting space for employees to prepare lunch and connect socially with friends and colleagues.

  • Create a list of nearby healthy restaurant and catering options and make it visible.

  • Access to a refrigerator and microwave will at a minimum allow employees to prepare meals at home verses grabbing fast food during the work day.

  • Evaluate your vending choices and replace unhealthy snacks with healthier options.

  • Reduce surgery drinks and offer access to free filtered water.

  • Consider partnering with a local CSA or farmer’s market that can provide fresh fruits and vegetable delivery to employees each week.

Be Engaging by Design:

Organizational policies which endorse the importance of work-life integration are a crucial starting point for a people-positive workplace. Because the office is where we spend a large chunk of our waking hours, it is important that we make it comfortable and inviting. Here are some small touches that can make a big differences:

  • Abundance of natural light

  • Good air quality

  • Live plants

  • Artwork

  • Acoustics that absorb distracting noises like ringing telephones and churning printers or installing white noise

  • Allow employees to add personal touches to their workspace such as pictures of family and friends, children’s artwork, etc. 

  • Provide ergonomic assessments for employee workstations to minimize physical discomfort.

Though these strategies may seem trivial, when taken as a whole they can help create a physical environment that promotes comprehensive wellbeing for all.

Your unique culture and industry will help determine what changes will work best for your organization. For example, open workspaces can encourage greater collaboration and teamwork, but can create privacy concerns and distractions for some organizations and people. Before making design or structural changes, seek the help of experts and always solicit employee feedback.  What will work for one company doesn’t always work for another. 

What is one small step can you implement today?

 


blog comments powered by Disqus



Live Blog Widget

Recent Posts

  • Optimize Your Wellbeing Dollars to Take Care of Employees Posted last month
    In partnership with their clients, medical carriers often allocate funds or credits specifically for wellbeing initiatives and health communications that employers spend over the course of each year. Rules vary from carrier to carrier, but normally there is a pre-approval process for use of the money and a requirement to spend down the funds before the end of the plan year. Due to the pandemic, employers may need to rethink how and when to utilize their wellbeing dollars in 2020, as well as inquire about potential contingency plans in the event you cannot spend the money before the offer expires. Employers typically utilize their wellbeing funds for activities such as onsite classes, wellbeing challenges, screenings and health fairs. Another common use of such funds is to provide employees with incentives for participating in wellbeing program activities; rewards range from fitness tracking devices to gift cards to premium discounts. During this unique time, however, seize the opportunity to think outside the box in order to optimize wellbeing dollars to support employees’ wellbeing and reduce stress. This may include adjusting or eliminating the ...
  • Next Practices in Workplace Wellbeing Consulting Posted 8 months ago
      We are excited to announce the next evolution of our wellbeing practice!  We have re-branded CBIZ Wellbeing Solutions to CBIZ Engagement & Wellbeing Consulting. This change reflects the importance of the broader impact of workplace culture on employee health. We believe our knowledge and expanded services in this area will help clients’ assess and improve both organizational health and employee wellbeing. A thriving workplace culture is essential to employee health and positive organizational outcomes.  National Practice Director, Emily Noll, shares that “research affirms that no wellbeing program, however well-designed, will work in a fragile or resistant workplace culture with low employee engagement.”   The link between employee engagement and wellbeing is clear.  For example:  Employees with strong overall wellbeing are 6 times more likely to be more engaged compared to those with low wellbeing, and 32% more likely to stay with a company (Gallup). Teams who score in the top 20% in engagement realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 59% less turnover (Gallup), while disengaged employees costs U.S. Business up to $550 billion a year (The Engagement Institute). In organizations where employees ...
  • Health Fair Planning 101: Host an event employees will love Posted 9 months ago
    Health fairs have been a staple of many benefits and wellbeing programs for years. They offer employees the opportunity to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the resources available to them through their employer and community. However, coordinating a fair can be labor intensive and planners are often surprised and understandably disappointed with low employee turnout. To make your efforts worthwhile and host an event your employees will show up to and truly enjoy attending, we’ve put together a list of our favorite strategies: Stay on Target As with any event, it’s important to have a goal or objective when organizing a health fair. What is it that you want to achieve and, most importantly, what type of experience do you want to create? Having a clear vision for what you want the experience to be will allow you to filter and prioritize your ideas as you begin planning. Here are some examples: To create a forum where employees get excited and have fun while engaging with their co-workers and community partners. To launch a new program/initiative/strategic design in a ...
  • 8 Ways to Celebrate International Week of Happiness at Work Posted 9 months ago
    There are countless benefits to building a culture at work that focuses on workplace happiness.  Research shows that being happier at work is tied to better health, more creative and effective problem solving, employees who are more willing to contribute beyond their job description, lower absenteeism, less turnover, fewer mistakes, and higher customer loyalty and retention.  It was these proven benefits that inspired Dutch company, Happy Office to create and launch International Week of Happiness at Work.    Their goal is to inspire people as well as entire organizations to bring happiness into the work place as the norm, not the exception.  Their manifesto states “happiness at work is about meaningful work, healthy relationships, development and having fun. Let’s create a workplace to stimulate fun, appreciation, positive feedback, awesome challenges, trust, meaningful results and own responsibilities. Let us, as employees, employers, entrepreneurs, organizations and especially as human beings work together to make happiness at work the norm and not the exception.” International Week of Happiness at Work is September 23 – 27 and is currently celebrated in more than 30 countries ...
  • The Value of Happiness in the Workplace: Why employers should start with happy before healthy when crafting wellbeing strategies Posted 10 months ago
      It’s common for employers to begin addressing wellbeing due to concerns over healthcare costs or unhealthy behaviors amongst their employees. However, if we dig a little deeper we may find that many of these behaviors are not the root cause of an un-well employee, but rather, a symptom of something deeper going on. One of the many underlying factors that often contributes to unhealthy behaviors is happiness. According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, happiness isn’t just effecting physical health, it's impacting business objectives. The report states that happy employees are more driven to contribute to the goals of the organization and are more compelled to apply discretionary effort than their unhappy counterparts. We can surmise then that happiness increases productivity because happy people are more engaged and present in the workplace. They pay more attention to the needs of customers and are more in tune with the organization’s processes and systems. All of these factors come together to bring organizations increased productivity and profitability. On the flip side, unhappy people make for disengaged employees, limiting their potential to positively influence your organization. Interacting ...
Read More »