Designing a Healthier Workplace
By Megan Morrow
Published July 16, 2019
The average person spends more than 90,000 hours in their lifetime working, so it only makes sense to focus on creating a positive, healthy work environment. Fortunately, more companies are understanding that happy employees are productive employees, investing in wellness programs, providing greater flexibility, and developing strategies that support physical and mental fitness as well as on-the-job performance.
If your work environment could use a refresh, the following options can all support a healthier workplace:
- Ensure flexibility in schedules: While some people – healthcare professionals, for example – need to work very specific hours and schedules, many professions now allow for greater flexibility in work options. More than two-thirds of small businesses allow for flexibility to support families and work-life balance. This can be as simple as shorter days on Fridays in the summer, alternative schedules such as 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as well as work-from-home options.
- Let the light in: While not everyone can sit next to a large window overlooking a lovely garden, exposure to natural daylight can support an employee’s well-being; air quality, good ventilation and lighting can also affect productivity and brain function – or contribute to headaches, fatigue and stress. Consider ways to let more natural light in or allow employees to get out, during walking meetings, for instance.
- Create comfort: Standing desks, adjustable chairs and technology (laptops and mobile devices and flexible work stations) that allow for movement can make employees more comfortable and prevent some of the issues that come from sitting too long, including back and neck pain, eye strain and headaches. Investing in flexible work places makes it easier for employees to succeed.
- Support creativity: Employees who are encouraged to flex their creative muscles are more energized and inspiring, according to a recent study. Even accountants and attorneys can be creative through collaborative meetings, workshops on topics like communication and wellness, and overall support for creativity within the work environment.
- Incentivize movement. This can be as simple as letting employees know how many calories they burn or how much time they can save by taking the stairs (which should be easy to find and safe to climb). Workplaces can also incorporate competitions or programs around healthy habits that support long-term adoption. Many businesses are also reducing healthcare premiums based on completing health assessments or wellness programs, such as stress reduction, a focus on better sleep, or improving the diet by adding more fruits and vegetables.
Naturally, a healthy work environment will look and feel different to everyone, but creating the conditions for flexibility, movement and employee support will help everyone feel included and valued, while encouraging employees to maintain positive habits and reduce turnover.
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The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor. The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.