The American Society of Interior Design (ASID) recently confirmed in their 2015/2016 Outlook and State of the Industry report that the demand for incorporating wellness into work space design continues to grow. More and more employers are working to design an environment that encourages healthy behaviors and wellness with the intention of improving health outcomes, productivity, and morale. Google and Zappos are two famous examples of companies who have lead the movement in changing the way we think about workplace design and culture. Doing so has inspired many other companies to take a closer look at their environment as part of workplace benefits.
Building a Healthy Work Environment
Access to sit/stand workstations and fitness facilities or fitness memberships are just a few of the increasingly popular resources companies of all sizes are using to promote physical wellness and exercise in the workplace. The Center for Disease Control recommends other ways for encouraging physical activity such as installing safe walking trails and promoting stairwell use. At Marathon Health, we work with many of our customers to develop programs, challenges, and learning opportunities which further enhance the outcomes of wellness initiatives. Such programs have generated many success stories by participants which are often shared as part of our Healthy Like Me campaign.
Simple design elements involving light and air circulation may also have an effect on how employees feel and perform. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, indicated that professionals had optimal cognitive function “when the amount of outdoor air entering the office space was about double the standard ventilation rate.” Optimizing natural light and air flow in the office can help employees to feel more comfortable and focused than in a dark or closed off space.
The style of workplace environment and wellness programs may be different for every company based on culture and industry, but the value of these benefits can make a positive impact on employee health and retention. Gallop reports that 41% employees who participated in work-place wellness and physical activity programs had fewer unhealthy days, and 81% were less likely to search for a new job. As a result, companies who invest carefully in a positive office environment, both physically and in health, are likely to have greater success driven by happy, healthy employees.