Workplace Wellness is one of the most important issues shaping the future of corporate culture and the spaces in which we work. With our market places becoming more global, organisations are adapting to changing demands whilst industry leaders are, very intentionally, redefining standards and benchmarks in an effort to stand differentiated.
Advances in medical science and technology provide the framework for developments in workplace wellness. The real driving pressure, however comes from the need to shape a positive perception of how companies look after their people. To build a successful brand today, companies need to show a real commitment to the wellbeing of their talent. It is no surprise, therefore that the leaders in workplace wellness and agility are also the most respected and admired brands of our time.
In this white paper, Merx examines the ways in which workplace wellness is manifesting itself in the corporate workplaces of today’s leading brands. It also serves as a measure to help employees and organisations understand how their workplaces measure up to current standards and benchmarks.
Merx was founded in 2001 with a very clear intention to ‘facilitate space’, or in other words, ensure clients achieve project management results that uphold the values of the brand. It is this experience and insight that drives our interest in Workplace Wellness and Agility as a growing and important topic.
Note: all photographs in this white paper are of Merx projects.
HAPPINESS AT WORK
WHY, WHAT, HOW?
It is hard to imagine any successful business or organisation today that is not concerned about the wellness of its people. It would even be fair to say that success is in fact somewhat dependant on the effectiveness of workplace wellness and agility programs. So companies of different sizes are often faced with the challenge of defining an ideal mix that is right for the size of their teams, the types of skill sets they employ, the hours they operate and, of course, the available budget.
DETERMINE THE NEEDS OF YOUR EMPLOYEES
What do your employees need, and what impact could this have on business performance? Sometimes the answers are as simple as flexible hours or healthier food options, although a structured assessment or survey could provide more useful insight into the mindset of employees and the challenges they face.
DEVELOPMENT OF A STRUCTURED ACTION PLAN
Analysing data and survey results will help in the development of a structured plan that works within the current culture. Ideally, this should cover the general wellbeing and flexibility as well as more unique initiatives specific to the nature of the organisation.
MEASURE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROGRAM
Implementing measurement tools are essential in understand the effectiveness of any wellness or agility program. These should cover the basics in terms of performance and engagement as well as providing an understanding of physical, psychological and sociological well being of employees.
As a reference point, many are looking towards WELL certification as a guideline in integrating and supporting health and wellbeing in workplaces. According to WELL, wellness programs should be guided by 6 key principles: equitable, global, evidence based, technically robust, customer focused, and resilient.
WELLNESS AND AGILITY AT WORK
Workplace wellness and agility programs can come in different shapes and sizes depending on the organisation and the specific needs of its employees. Here are a few of the more common examples:
Nutrition & General Health
- Simple – healthy alternatives for office snacks. Fruits, nuts, energy bars and even organic chocolates.
- Comprehensive – a full canteen or catering service can provide a complete range of nutritional meals and snacks.
- From simple breakout areas that enable interaction and collaboration to a fully designed working environment with ergonomic workstations, informal meeting areas, brainstorming areas and social spaces.
- Simple – provide access to local gym or weekly in house pilates/yoga classes.
- Comprehensive – full in house gym with tailored fitness progress for each employee.
- From flexibility in working hours to complete remote working setups that enable employees to perform their roles from home or even whilst travelling.
Ergonomic Desk Set-up
- A healthy and comfortable work desk is an important requirement for the modern workplace. The positive impact is obvious – if workers are comfortable, they will be more productive at work for longer. We have seen access to sit/stand desks increase exponentially.
- Today’s work environments can be very stressful places.
- Providing a variety of areas to decompress can have a marked impact on both individual and company performance.
EXISTS TO HELP EMPLOYEES
Workplace wellness is a product of our modern day workplaces. Its benefits stem far beyond functional workstations that improve productivity – wellness is a commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of an organisation’s most important asset. For large companies, this should mean a considered and well-planned programme aimed at delivering broader and holistic benefits to its people. And where smaller companies might be constrained by budget, their flexibility and creative thinking should contribute to healthy and dynamic workplaces delivering similar outcomes for its employees.
Work life balance is acknowledged but there is a significant opportunity to do more in this area based on respondents views.
Flexible working is clearly the way of the future. Both in terms of access to a variety of settings combined with a more informed view towards working hours and location.
It is not just physical wellbeing and that is important but also mental health. Organisations need to be in tune with the pressures and stresses affecting their employees both work related and personal.
Organisations that struggle to retain talent will find it harder to remain competitive in the future. Effective wellness programs will become increasingly more important in retaining top talent.
Merx interacts with corporate stakeholders to facilitate design briefing and to define project intent at the start. This leads to innovative space aligned with the cultural aspirations and needs of the business.
Great design firms are continually advancing in ways of incorporating designs that truly facilitate wellness. This is a trend that is only increasing and is expected from clients.
Through control of the timeframe, accurate briefing, and a targeted budget provided by Merx, companies are experiencing a step change in the way we function and the way staff feel supported.
For information on the services that Merx provides or to discuss your office requirements please contact: