With well-being making headlines everywhere, companies are waking up to the fact that supporting the emotional, physical and cognitive health of their employees makes sense and impacts their bottom line.
Earlier this year, Steelcase researchers published new statistics about the six dimensions of well-being that underscore the impact its having on individuals, teams, businesses and society at large. Caring for workers by providing them with a healthy work environment is not only the ethical thing to do its good business. Studies show that global stress associated with disengaged workers and poor conditions comes at a price: $300 billion, to be specific. The cost of doing nothing is catching up with us, and its time to take action.
Also see: 4 ways to combat stress
So what can you do today to impact well-being in your workplace tomorrow? The answer lies in the six dimensions of well-being:
Authenticity: Todays professionals want to cut through the static to what really matters. They want to be themselves, enjoy the freedom of self-expression and create meaningful relationships at work. Thats what authenticity is all about. I work at a Steelcase brand called turnstone, where we have team members
who ride their bikes to work, bring in family photos, plants, books theyve enjoyed and even disco balls to put their unique personalities on display. All of these combined add warmth and personality to our space.
Belonging: Companies can foster belonging by providing spaces that encourage professional and personal connections. Award-winning young companies like Parking Panda of Baltimore and Thanx Media of Illinois inject belonging into their spaces by hosting afternoon tea times, Friday afternoon happy hours and weekend movie nights to help teammates move beyond job titles and build real camaraderie. And dont forget your remote workers leverage technology to include those who cant be physically present.
Meaning: Workers want to feel that theyre part of something bigger than themselves; they want to know that what theyre doing really matters. Underscore your vision for the team and the company by putting shared goals on display rather than keeping them hidden in a corporate binder. Chalkfly, an office supply company that gives a portion of its profits to teachers, has found a way to do good in the world and in their workplace. Their mission statement is displayed throughout their headquarters.
Mindfulness: Being fully engaged in your work and with your team is not always easy. Take steps to minimize distractions and increase mindfulness by intentionally planning spaces that allow workers to concentrate on high-level thinking tasks. Create areas reserved for quiet, individual work and keep them separate from places like the café and ping pong table. Chalkfly offers its team multiple workplaces with varying environments so that employees can find just the right fit for the work they have to accomplish.
Optimism: This part of well-being is all about creative possibilities. Employees feel encouraged to be innovative, to try new things and use their imagination and their employers are cheering them on. Physical places that can be easily modified for group projects and impromptu meetings are key in promoting optimism. Parking Panda makes it happen by offering standing-height desks and a variety of chairs to their team. Turnstone has the benefit of the entire Steelcase campus to find just the right space to spark creativity and support innovation.
Vitality: Designing spaces that encourage movement for sharp thinking and good physical health is critical to vitality. At Steelcase, we talk about offering team members choice and control over their work environment by providing a palette of places that support a palette of postures. To encourage vitality outside the office, Thanx Media offers local gym memberships to its employees, encouraging them to work out during lunch. And this year, each Parking Panda employee got a fitness tracker for the holidays. They, and others like Chalkfly, also host regular bike rides, ice skating outings, company workouts and group spin classes.
Making small changes to promote the six dimensions of well-being in your workplace can have a big impact. And when it comes to retaining talented employees who are free to think creatively and innovate for your team, we think those small changes are well worth the investment.
Brian Shapland is the general manager of office furniture supplier turnstone, a Steelcase brand.
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