How businesses can boost physical and mental health in the office
We all know the benefits that exercise can have on us as individuals, from improving joints and bones to benefiting our mental health. But how does staying healthy impact other areas? And can the office benefit from promoting a healthy lifestyle?
Today’s workers face many productivity challenges, whether it’s distractions, lack of sleep, or the notorious post-lunch slump. Yet exercising on workdays can boost time management skills and daily completed workload by an impressive 72%. And studies show creativity skyrockets for most people when they ditch the office chair and get moving.
But it’s not just regular exercise that can support a healthy mindset at work. Mental wellbeing at work is just as important. And considering that remote working has negatively impacted 30% of employees’ mental health, there’s a risk this will only get worse as businesses transition to hybrid working – unless action is taken to prevent it.
Creating a supportive workplace
The decisions companies make on mental health need to be backed up by data and research. Mental health is not an easily navigated topic, as no two people are alike. But there is an abundance of information out there to be utilised. Prioritising physical and mental health not only benefits employees, but business too. In fact, employers who create a culture of health see on average an 11% lower turnover than those who don’t.
It’s more important than ever that today’s workspace supports its users, encouraging activity, mindfulness, and all-round wellbeing. And office design has a key role to play in designing an environment that encourages positive physical and mental wellbeing. So, what should this look like?
Supporting physical health
The office provides many options for getting people to be more active.
Supporting an active commute is a great yet simple way of encouraging employees to reap the benefits of exercise. The British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2019 found that morning exercise improves decision-making, attention, and visual learning. Providing bicycle storage and end-of-trip facilities such as showers demonstrates that cycling or jogging to work doesn’t have to be any more hassle than driving or using public transport.
Nivy Tower offers bike-sharing, bike parking in the garage, and a special bike lift to accommodate and encourage a healthy commute.
Providing education about leading an active life is another way of encouraging health and wellbeing. Keeping people hydrated is important, as even a mild dehydration of 1-3% fluid loss can impair energy levels, mood, and cause major reductions in memory and brain performance. Having regular water stations ensure people don’t have to go far to refresh themselves and stay hydrated throughout the day.
Our office in Bratislava provides colleagues with reusable water bottles and water points no further than 30m from our desks. We also offer daily free fruit and vegetables.
Visiting the gym during work hours is proven to increase productivity and enhance time management. There’s a real benefit in creating a space that encourages people to exercise regularly, making fitness part of the workday. This can be done through onsite gyms and regular exercise classes that introduce health and wellbeing at work. Designing the office in a way that encourages people to use the stairs over the lift can help, too.
At Bloom, the app allows you to book wellness classes and the gym. The Nivy zone has its amenities all within a walkable distance, encouraging people to be active during their workday.
What can office design do for mental health?
Nearly a third of employees say a lack of connection in their professional lives negatively impacts their mood outside work. So, creating a sense of community is essential to supporting wellbeing and mental health. Designing areas for people to interact and relax creates the social space that is needed to bond and destress.
Bloom has 15,400 sq. ft of terrace space where people can relax and connect, and our Bratislava office even has a slide to inject some fun into people’s day.
Not everyone works and copes in the same way. Even for those who thrive in a bustling office environment, stress and anxiety can leave people needing their own space. Workplace mental health is a pressing issue. In 2020/21 in the UK, work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health.
Creating dedicated quiet areas such as phone booths, focus rooms, and calming surroundings works toward destressing people and creating an environment that can support their mental health.
Nivy Tower offers private phone booths and DSTRCT.Berlin has three green inner courtyards that provide relaxing and calming surroundings.
Employee comfort directly impacts wellbeing. Providing ergonomic furniture that can support employees’ bodies lessens the mental distraction discomfort can have. Looking to the environmental elements can also improve wellbeing. Designing the office to include more natural lighting can lead to a 84% drop in eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision symptoms.
In Bratislava, at least 75% of our office space is within 7.5 metres of view windows, ensuring that natural light spreads throughout.
A space that supports your employees
Ensuring the mental and physical health of your employees is taken care of is vital to not only boosting productivity but also looking after your people and making sure they feel the best they can at work. Our workspace experts can use data-driven insights to create a space that fits your employees’ physical and mental health needs, ensuring no one is left behind.
Get in touch to discuss how your office can become a workspace that promotes health and wellbeing.
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