Today’s businesses are quickly transitioning from promoting health and wellness to actively facilitating it, and that’s because the importance of workplace wellness has never been more evident. A workplace that takes mental and physical wellness seriously is one that maximises productivity in a compelling way.
How do we define wellness in the office, and how can we achieve it through smart office design? Read on to learn more.
Physical & Mental Wellness: What’s the difference?
The spaces we occupy have a measurable impact on both our physical and mental health. What’s more, these two types of wellness are not mutually exclusive. Good physical health promotes and enables good mental health, and vice versa. Exposure to natural light in the workplace, for example, is known to relieve stress and improve attitude and focus, but the vitamin D we gain from sunlight also provides a boost to the body’s immune system.
Similar benefits can be said of clean air, fresh water, appropriate nourishment, ergonomic comfort, office acoustics, and other facets of your office design. Stress can sap a person’s physical energy and disrupt their normal functions, leading to headaches, muscle pains, insomnia, and even heightened vulnerability to cold and flu bugs.
On the flip side, poor physical health, stemming from an unhealthy diet, weakened immune system, or chronic discomfort, can lead to a lack of focus, anxiety, and stress. In other words, in order to focus on either physical or mental wellness, you will need to prioritise both.
Wellness makes perfect business sense
While the wellness of staff should be a top priority for its own sake, wellness also affects a business’ bottom line. In hindsight, this seems fairly apparent, which is why so many New Zealand companies today are investing so heavily in cultivating a healthy and happy workforce. When you consider the hours of labour lost to sick days and doctor visits, the lag in productivity from workers overcoming stress, discomfort, or illness, and the additional workload piled on to staff who must pick up the slack left by absent co-workers, the effect of poor workplace wellness on a business can be immense.
That’s what makes investing in wellness so important. In fact, the International Social Security Association estimates that businesses investing in workplace wellness see more than a 2-to-1 return on investment for those efforts. However, companies that once invested in third-party wellness programs are now seeking to integrate wellness into their office design. So, how does this work?
Pursuing wellness through office design
Ultimately, wellness in office design boils down to value placed on the human senses. Designing for wellness means considering the noise level of a space and controlling acoustics through sound dampening wall fixtures or suspended ceiling panels. It means considering light quality and optimising spatial design to maximise worker exposure to natural light. It means considering comfort and investing in the highest quality ergonomic range of office furniture NZ wide, including standing desks and office chairs.
The help you need to make your wellness dream a reality
As your business grows, so too will your staff, and that means the layout of your office will eventually need to change. Failure to anticipate the need for such changes could lead to you outgrowing your current office space much quicker than you need to. Don’t fill every square meter of your office space with permanent fixtures that will prevent you from growing.