Ways to design your workplace for fitness and enhanced employee productivity
We spend a whopping amount of time within an artificial static environment. This manmade setting makes an overwhelming impact on our wellbeing. Stress, depression, anxiety and obesity are concerns that haunt the workforce today.
As per a research presented at the CoreNet Global Summit, more than half of the surveyed companies have started programs to address workforce health and most of them are going to focus on workforce well-being.
Many are turning to active design guidelines to enhance workplace health index.
Active design is a philosophy that was originally developed with an idea to improve public health by building and modifying city infrastructures to encourage more activity. This is now becoming a global phenomenon and it is also driving the design of the modern workplace.
Why are companies investing in active design for the workplace?
According to a research by the non-profit centre for Active Design, workers on an average spend 1700 hours at their workplace every year. Needless to say, the workspace is bound to make a considerable impact on the employees.
One spends 1/4th of their time commuting and rest of the time is spent working at their desks. This prolonged seating arrangement results in lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes. Not only does it reduce the quality of life, but it also costs the employer in terms of productivity and increased rate of absenteeism, driving more and more employers to opt for an active workplace and enhance the overall wellbeing of their employees.
Facilitating fitness in the office
To encourage fitness in the office and beyond, here are some ways to facilitate a healthy lifestyle:
Create a conducive work environment
- Equip your office with comfortable with comfortable and ergonomic furniture.
- Declutter the workplace.
- Introduce standing desks and cycle chairs.
- Replace regular chairs with exercise-ball chairs which allow flexibility and movement.
Standing desks encourage people to work and discuss events while standing. This helps in correcting body posture which usually gets distorted with long hours of slouching in the chair. Relaxation rooms would allow employees to take short breaks from their busy work schedules and unwind in a secluded environment.
Incorporate office layout that promotes activity
This active design strategy encourages employees to walk around the workplace. To incorporate this, place the shared spaced such as canteen, printer/copier rooms or team collaboration lounges within a short walking distance from the workstation. This will encourage continuous movement and activity.
You can transform your office by designing a grand, open staircase. It looks chic and is highly visible and accessible. It can be centrally located to encourage workers to use them instead of using elevators.
Additionally, you can use skip-stop elevators that stop at a designated floor. Workers can use the centrally located staircase for adjacent floors. However, care must be taken to make the space suitable for mobility challenged employees.
Include dedicated & convertible exercise spaces
Let your employees enjoy an exercise break at any point in the day or to combat post-lunch energy slump. A workout area with gym facilities is a bare minimum. You could also opt for dedicated exercise space like running tracks, swimming pools, indoor games or yoga rooms.
For example, a simple ping pong table can act as an energizer that helps in team bonding, reducing stress and, enhancing the stamina and flexibility. If you have a large office campus, you can incorporate bike and pedestrian paths.
You could encourage employees to cycle to work by providing bike racks in the office parking area. A well-designed shower room would encourage employees to run or cycle to the workplace.
Promote mental wellbeing
- Create a well-ventilated workspace for more natural lighting and better air quality.
- Create relaxation/meditation rooms.
Health is closely associated with your mental wellbeing. Little changes go a long way here. For instance, plants like Garden Mum, Bamboo, Ficus or even Basil can improve the air quality and can provide psychological benefits as well.
Additionally, you can use colour therapy to your advantage. Colours like orange are said to stimulate the brain for inventive outputs. You can use it for rooms where you conduct brainstorming sessions. Similarly, for coders and writers, the colour blue or white will aid in concentration and tranquillity.
Apart from this ensure that your office is well ventilated and has access to natural light. You can make creative alterations in the office space for better flow of air and light.
Once you know what you need to do to incorporate active workspace, you can begin the remodelling by analysing the utilization pattern. Learn how your employees use your premises and make changes accordingly. When you do so much hard work, don’t shy away from promoting it. Include posters that motivate employees to take the staircase or ones that remind them of the importance of health.
Workspaces don’t have to wreak havoc on your health. With little changes, you can transform your workstation. So, keep working smarter, not harder!