“The single overriding objective in wellness is creating constant personal renewal where we recognize and act on the truth that each day is a miraculous gift, and our job is to untie the ribbons. That’s the Law of Esprit: living life with joy.” Greg Anderson
As a small business owner who constantly juggles work and family pressure, I was challenged when resuming outside meetings in clients’ offices, which are often messy and cluttered. That made me reflect that many employees returning from their comfort pandemic shell would feel easy and comfortable adapting to their workspace and routines and not finding every reason to be stressed, unproductive, distracted and return to the haven of their home.
It is vital to take care of your employees how you care for our customers and look into different ways to create that wellness sanctuary and discover an oasis for creativity and resourcefulness.
I remember that my corporate offices rarely reflected a space of mindfulness and productivity. Usually, they were squeezed into a utilized corner in the basement or back of house areas with no light and fresh air.
Being affected by not having the power to “ get into my zone” at my workspace, I like to draw your attention to the following tips on how to design a healthy wellness office that boosts the productivity and brain work of your employees with little or no budget.
Number one: Use minimalistic design
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Albert Einstein.
When designing or setting up your office arena, allow spaces for improved mobility by introducing minimalistic design. Configure your office space without many distractions that will encourage your personnel to get up and move to accomplish tasks. That enhances the well-being by bringing more oxygen to the brain. Researchers at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) found that the foot’s impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and can increase blood supply to the brain. Activities such as pedalling, walking and running may optimize the brain’s function and process the overall sense of well-being during the exercise.
Investing in standing desks is another excellent tip to create a dynamic environment. That is a workplace wonder for your employees! If you don’t have the budget, introduce one or two standing desks where your employees go and accomplish tasks while standing.
Number two: Introduce natural light where possible
Let the sunshine in! “Light attracts light.” Warsan Shire
Working in a windowless environment harms human health; unfortunately, it is a universal phenomenon today. A new study titled “Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life” concludes a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and employees’ sleep, activity and quality of life. The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal SLEEP.
“Day-shift office workers’ quality of life and sleep may be improved via emphasis on light exposure and lighting levels in current offices as well as in the design of future offices,” said Cheung, study co-author and a doctoral candidate in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago. Compared to workers in offices without windows, those with windows received 173 per cent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night.
Another study shows that exposure to light turns the genes that control an organism’s internal clocks “on” and “off.” Your circadian rhythms dictate your sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature and other critical bodily functions.
Introducing more light into your offices and task light on each desk in each lounging and sitting area will enhance performance and concentration abilities. Wherever natural light is not possible, use glass dividers between desks to amplify the light travelling from outside to create a brighter indoor space.
Remove or minimize the fluorescent light and use LED tubes, bulbs, and halogen or ceramic metal halogen (CMH) lighting that are proven to be less energy consuming, last longer and have a better impact on human health.
The essential tool to improve productivity, stay focused and not have your eyes feel strained in the office is to have a desk lamp that provides high-quality, warm LED light to create the perfect environment to concentrate and zoom in.
Number three: Create a biophilic design
“Study nature, love nature, and stay close to nature; it will never fail you.” Frank Lloyd Wright
Biophilic design incorporates elements from nature, such as plants, water features and anything that mimics the natural environment in the workplace. Although this approach is still new, many experts believe it will soon become mainstream, delivering immense benefits to many businesses.
Placing natural plants at the workplace will improve the air quality significantly as the greenery absorbs pollutants, toxins and airborne microbes and bacteria.
Research by Norway’s Agricultural University in Oslo indicates that plants remove harmful volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde and benzene, in most buildings’ paint, carpet and furniture. Plants will help remove the toxins produced by printers, photocopiers, and other office equipment and add moisture to the air, which is naturally dry inside offices. Incorporating other natural elements, such as an indoor water feature and wooden furniture or paintings with a beautiful landscape, can help to create a more positive and joyful workplace ambience.
More greenery in your office will create a sense of connection to nature. Perhaps place an aquarium or a beautiful flower art, designing a “mindfulness zone” to reduce stress and enhance concentration.
According to the Human Spaces Report, 2015, which studied over 7,600 office workers in 16 countries, nearly two-thirds (58%) of workers have no live plants. Those whose environments incorporated natural elements reported a 15% higher well-being score and a 6% higher productivity score than employees whose offices didn’t include such elements.
Number five: Be creative and use colours in your office
“Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul differently. ” Oscar Wilde
The brain remembers information better when it’s presented in colour. Science has proven that images are most memorable when presented in a palette of colours derived from the natural world. The brain can transfer the visual image to memory when stimulated by colour. When scenes are presented in colour, it helps the brain to organize, compare and recall information more efficiently than black-and-white scenes. Colour science is now used widely in visual arts to create a specific effect on the viewer. The idea of using colours to elicit particular emotions and moods goes beyond art and can be easily implemented at your business to influence the behaviour of your employees strategically.
How do different colours influence the nature of the brain, and which are the top ones to improve mental capacity?
Red colour: Red shades are used to catch people’s attention. An experiment performed on students showed they scored higher on memory tasks when completing them on a red background. But it depends on where you live and work. In North America, for example, red is aligned with danger or stop, which increases the natural response of fight or flight that can cause the contrary effect at work.
Blue colour: Blue is proven to increase calmness and boost productivity. It is well-known as a calming colour that can slow breathing and lower blood pressure.
Yellow Color: This tone will quickly get people energized, joyful and collaborative. Yellow is possibly the most inviting and uplifting colour in the rainbow. No matter what shade it is, yellow reflects vibrancy and excitement.
Green Color: The shade of green brings people to a very calm and relaxed state of mind at work. Colour specialists and psychologists note that green is found frequently in nature, promoting welfare, peace of mind and happiness.
Orange: The tone of orange is used to raise your employees’ activity and productivity levels. Some research suggests orange may be the best colour to use around the office to boost productivity as it originates from mixing the shades of red and yellow. Orange conveys enthusiasm and endurance.
Number six: Convert unused spaces into a wellness room
“Please leave your shoes, stress, anxiety, worries, gossip, and cares at the door. Namaste” Unknown
Walk around your building and identify any unused space, such as a rooftop, a balcony or a meeting ground that can be a wellness zone. Place some yoga mats and perhaps a massage chair for stress relief, stretching and meditation. If you don’t have the budget for a fitness trainer, let the employees chip in and deliver 30 minutes to one hour of their favourite exercise every week. The exercise’s excellent team spirit and positive mental health effects will keep your employee’s wellness at the maximum levels in their private life and businesses.
A wellness room is a designated quiet area where employees can escape when feeling the pressure of a fast-paced work environment take some quiet time when they’re not feeling well as well as could be adapted to serve both purposes of a wellness and prayer room.
Wellness rooms can serve numerous functions and should be customized to meet employees’ unique needs. For example, a company’s wellness space might provide a private area for aroma, sound and light therapy (using different methods as natural light boxes, soothing music and rejuvenating essential oil infusions to ease depression, relieve stress and uplift spirits).
Number seven: Grow a community by introducing a workplace wellness committee
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa
As we grow older, we recognize the importance of having a good community and authentic, genuine people with whom we share our values and feel respected and supported.
A wellness committee at your work will generate a strong sense of community. You can set up an internal wellness committee for your employees and assign tasks to produce a monthly calendar of visits of recognized experts, artists, healers, and coaches delivering various creative workshops. That will give them exposure and provide valuable content to your employees. This can be set on a complimentary or minimum fee basis and linked to the company perks.
Here, employee satisfaction and engagement ensure the success of the program. In their turn, the employees will ensure programs are always well visited and promoted and guarantee the initiative’s success in the future. The key here is to remain humble and open to feedback, constantly engage with the employees, and ask for their opinions on what will make sense to them.
Another critical factor is the representation from all the departments and positions in your company, so the wellness committee acts as the chair of a wellness program and provides from their respective areas on wellness objectives and initiatives.
The main objective of a wellness committee would be:
· Create a healthy worksite culture
· Foster collaboration between employees
· Provides a communication link between employees and management
Organizations and businesses that create wellness environments and workplace wellness initiatives benefit significantly in several ways. The wellness environments are helping with the following:
· Employee productivity: The energy-promoting office space will correlate to increased productivity
· Less office stress: By becoming a healthy workplace, you reduce the probably of an employee coming back home stressed and the chances of him/her being in a better mental and physical shape the next day when reporting back to work
· Less illnesses, better health: healthy practices introduced at the office will encourage more employees to take part, therefore boosting immunity and reducing absenteeism and sickness
· Happier employees: Offering wellness sanctuary to work and create will promote and encourage a positive work environment
· Reshape the company’s culture to promote healthy living
Creating a peaceful, refreshing and inspiring place to walk into every day allows creative and inspired employees to deliver their fruits of innovation and inspiration.