Four ways to inject wellness into your workplace

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Twenty-first century health problems, from depression to obesity, are expected to rise at an alarming rate. Here are four simple ways to create a healthier and more productive workplace for your staff.

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Four ways to inject wellness into your workplace

By 2030, almost a half the UK’s workforce is likely to face at least one long-term health problem. Forward-thinking businesses are realising the benefits that a healthy office can bring: whether it’s reducing sickness, boosting job performance, or helping to keep and attract talent. Here are four ways you can make your workspace healthier that’ll bring obvious gains to your company’s bottom line.

1. Encourage physical activity
Various studies have linked regular exercise to lower sickness rates and increased job performance, so creating an exercise-friendly workplace is an obvious first step. This could be as simple as using clever design to encourage stair use, for example at PwC’s One Embankment Place, where the stairs look good and are genuinely enjoyable to use.

2. Invest in some greenery
Research suggests that having plants in your workspace can improve productivity, increase concentration and reduce stress. HOK London has gone one step further, creating an indoor lawn for staff to relax on. And where it’s difficult to bring in real nature, “virtual nature can work just as well,” says Sue Thomas, author of the book Technobiophilia. This concept uses digital reality to bring the suggestion of the natural world to artificial environments.

3. Get the temperature right – and bring in fresh air
Air quality and temperature have a significant impact on workplace satisfaction; temperature in particular is a common cause of complaints among office workers. A well-ventilated office can significantly improve cognitive function and reduce illness – in fact, productivity improvements of 8 – 11% are not uncommon. Choosing safe paints and materials, checking ventilation, and acting on staff complaints are all really important. New technologies are helping by revolutionising the way buildings function . For example, JLL has installed wireless sensors in several of our offices to track changes in occupancy, temperature and humidity. Before long, our buildings will be able to automatically anticipate and adapt to a range of environmental cues.

4. Let in some daylight
Maximising daylight and providing access to naturally lit common areas is known to give a powerful boost to employees’ mood and general mental health. The WWF HQ in Woking is a prime example of daylight being incorporated effectively throughout the building.
Modern LED systems also enable you to adjust light intensity and colour throughout the day, to make it easier on the eyes and enhance mood.

The future looks healthy
Looking forward, emerging technologies and further advances in air quality sensors, fitness trackers and virtual nature applications will make it easier for even the smallest of office-spaces to be healthier. And as the war on talent intensifies and the business benefits of a healthy workplace become clearer, more companies will start catering to a new breed of health-conscious workers. Isn’t it time you leapt into action?

Article written by Beth Ambrose in JLL’s Upstream Sustainability team. The article was first published in People Management.

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