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  • Writer's pictureMaria Mander

How the Working Environment Can Boost Wellbeing



The working environment can have a profound effect on our overall wellbeing. Beyond just a space to get work done, the office has the potential to be a place that nurtures our physical, mental and emotional health. Amenities and technology design can also boost productivity. From ergonomic and biophilic design to fostering a supportive culture, here's how the working environment can positively impact our wellbeing:


1. Physical Health


Ergonomic design

A well-designed workspace that prioritises ergonomics can significantly reduce the risk of physical discomfort and injuries such as back pain, neck strain, and repetitive strain injuries. Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment, ensuring compliance with legislation.  Adjustable desks, supportive chairs and well-placed computer monitors are essential elements of an ergonomic office setup, thus making people more comfortable at work. Ergonomics leads to healthy and pain-free workers who are more likely to be engaged and productive. 


Active workspaces

Encouraging movement throughout the workday can boost energy levels and reduce the negative health effects of prolonged sitting. Incorporating standing desks, walking meetings, use of stairwells instead of taking the lift, and designated areas for exercising, can promote physical activity and combat sedentary behaviour.


2. Mental Wellbeing


Connection and collaboration

Connection is key to supporting mental health.  With many employees working in a hybrid format, the office environment must have the physical space to facilitate collaboration and foster connections with colleagues for working days in the office. Shared spaces like lounges, kitchen areas, or recreational areas can facilitate informal conversations and build social connections. The benefits of having collaborative spaces in offices include improved teamwork and a stronger company culture. Organising team building activities, social events and wellness initiatives can strengthen relationships, boost morale and create a sense of community within the workplace. Creating spaces for quiet reflection and relaxation is also important to help employees manage stress and recharge during the workday.


Biophilic design

Biophilic design is the practice of connecting people to nature within the office environment and has a positive impact on wellbeing.  Exposure to natural light and greenery has been shown to improve mood, productivity and cognitive function. Incorporating elements of biophilic design, such as indoor plants, natural materials, the use of colour and textures, can create a more calming and inspiring work environment.


3. Emotional Health


Supportive culture

A positive and supportive workplace culture can foster a sense of belonging and emotional support among employees. Providing a psychologically safe environment, encouraging open communication, a place where employees have a voice, can contribute to a healthier and happier work environment. Managers are also key in driving positive behaviours, leading by example and with empathy.


Flexibility and Autonomy

Offering flexibility in work hours, remote work options and autonomy in decision-making can empower employees to better manage their workload and personal responsibilities. Flexibility promotes a sense of control and reduces feelings of burnout and stress.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the working environment plays a pivotal role in shaping the engagement, wellbeing and happiness of employees. By prioritising elements such as ergonomic design, mental health support, positive culture, and social connection, employers can create thriving workplaces that not only enhance productivity, but also promote holistic wellbeing. Investing in the wellbeing of employees is not just beneficial for individuals, but also for the success and sustainability of organisations in the long run. It is the best investment you will make as your people are your business.

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