An Active Workplace Fit For Your Wellbeing
In my previous workplace, I had a variety of work spaces within my reach. In the resource library where I worked, there was a counter height work space behind me, a desk with an adjustable keyboard tray, and a communal table a couple of steps away. A typical day for me was active. I adjusted my keyboard tray when I wanted to stand while keeping my fingers typing away, or continued my work somewhere else. The library was central to everyone. And anyone who needed to reach it had to either take the stairs, or walk around the atrium. As a whole it was a very active office and every inch of it got used.
An active workplace is part of the workplace wellbeing and it starts at the place where one sits the most of the day – your workstation. Long periods of inactivity like sitting at your desk or even standing, poses a risk to your overall health. Steelcase released a white paper noting “that movement during the day while sitting, walking or standing, is critical to maintaining wellness—through everything from fewer repetitive motion injuries to reduced weight gain—fostering greater concentration and engagement and boosting productivity”
I have seen or heard of companies having gyms at their office as part of their program to get active, or a place to release some steam. But while the thought of having this amenity to burn calories sounds very attractive, some of us may not be quite as lucky as they are. So what can we do to keep our employees active?
Movement is key.
1. Besides the support from ergonomic chairs, keyboard trays and adjustable monitor arms, provide the worker desks that adjust to standing height position while keeping them engaged with their tasks just like Steelcase Airtouch desk. Standing for an hour or so can increase blood flow and reduces the static load from sitting. Having a comfortable and adaptable workstation equates to higher productivity and well being. It's adjustable feature supports the need to switch to different postures while keeping up with tasks throughout the day. Turnstone's Campfire Big Table shown below comes in 2 heights which is good to have to create a variety of work spaces.
2. Encourage your workers to move and be active. Meet your team at break room areas or spaces where one can have an option to sit and stand. Typically, break rooms offer counter height tables and is partnered with counter height stools. I used these areas to get away from my desk and continue my work just to stretch out and socialize from time to time.
3. Create a variety of areas where individuals can re energize or teams can regroup and brainstorm. Add fun equipment like basketball hoops to let loose while sharing ideas. Create avenues or use main circulation areas that lead to spaces for collaboration. Not only that it encourages you to move, it also promotes unplanned collaboration like in Pixar’s campus.
The importance of well being goes beyond the workstations. In a whitepaper released by Steelcase it notes that “Every person’s wellbeing is critical to achieving an organization’s goals and fulfilling its mission,” say Gallup researchers and authors Tom Rath and Jim Harter. “Every day in your organization, people don’t show up, don’t give their best effort, erode your productivity, and cost you millions of dollars because of poor mental and physical health.”
1. In the article about branding, it points out the importance of living your brand to keep your workers engaged and attract good talent. Modernized and vibrant interior design, fun environment and up to date technology boost workers’ confidence that they are part of a dynamic and progressive culture.
2. Social gatherings like employee appreciation day in addition to receiving raises and benefits are a few examples to show you are valued and appreciated.
3. Mentorship and training to show a bright future in the office and a sense of purpose.
4. Advocating sustainable practices through supporting locally made products and furniture. Actively volunteering for non-profit groups also gives an opportunity to give back and build relationships. Reduce your carbon footprint by supporting a bicycle culture in the workplace. It also promotes an overall healthy lifestyle.
A holistic approach to workplace well being keeps the employees happy and on their A game.