4 Surprising Ways Your Workplace Can Improve Employee Health
Workplace stress is a public health epidemic costing U.S. businesses an estimated $30 billion per year in absenteeism and as much as $300 billion in lost productivity. Choosing a workplace that is intentionally designed for wellness can lower stress and improve the health of your employees in surprising ways, even without a formal corporate program. Here’s how:
1. Let Employees Choose
It’s the classic formula for stress: lots of demands, little control. Workplaces with multiple options for quiet concentration and team collaboration can change this equation. When employees are empowered to choose when, where and how to work, they can better regulate their exposure to stimuli like light, sound and social interaction. This increases an employee’s perceived level of control over his or her environment, lowering stress levels and boosting creativity, engagement, and productivity.
2. Take 10-Minute Breaks Outside
Spending time outdoors during the workday is positively correlated with lower stress levels and fewer employee health issues, even if these outdoor breaks are as brief as ten minutes. Choice matters. Diverse, separate outdoor spaces dedicated to working, dining, meeting, and relaxing give employees multiple options.
3. Offer Space for Quiet Reflection
Meditation is one of the easiest, most cost-effective methods for interrupting stress build-up and resetting the mind. Wellness enabled-design integrates quiet, peaceful locations with focal points, like a calming water feature, to help employees achieve clarity of thought. As a bonus, meditation also improves objectivity, decision-making and the emotional intelligence required for leadership success.
4. Create a Culture of Wellness
Offering a wellness-infused environment makes a bold statement to your workforce that their health matters. When you give employees permission to care about their health, they are far more likely to make positive choices, like taking a meeting on the move or stepping away from their desk for a brief outdoor break. Precedent is key: when executive leadership takes a break outside, employees will feel more comfortable doing the same.
Since every employee responds to stress differently, there is no single “magic bullet” for workplace stress. Optionality is key. A workplace intentionally designed for wellness will provide employees with a variety of options, including different workspaces and outdoor access, empowering employees to choose what’s right for them when they need it.