Yesterday, some of our team participated in a workshop hosted by Steelcase and the New York City Chapter of CoreNet Global. The discussion, centering around wellbeing in the workplace, focused on the science behind the evolving designs and trends in our corporate workplaces. The stats and ideas introduced to the audience opened the eyes of many, initiating an open conversation on how the modern workplace can affect personal wellbeing.
Wellness Costs & Spending
Leading off the talk was one of the most surprising segments of the discussion, involving the figures surrounding the amount we are spending on healthcare and wellbeing initiatives.
Wellness In The Workplace
After discussing healthcare and wellness costs, the conversation moved towards the workplace and how design can change the way people work and the levels at which they are engaged. It provided an interesting look at what can be done to keep productivity up, while providing an environment that keeps employees healthy and happy. It was found that we spend at least 36% of our time working, the most percentage of time spent on just one aspect of our lives. With that in mind, what can be done to ensure wellness in the workplace?
Observations & Solutions For Wellness Improvement
Our presenter for the event, James Brewer of Steelcase, reviewed some factors that can be of detriment or distraction in the workplace. With each of these factors, he offered a solution that could dramatically improve wellbeing.
Issue: With different work activities occurring on a daily basis, spaces are often inflexible to the specialized needs of each task. This can cause “work arounds”, tension and stress between groups of associates – directly affecting their wellbeing.
Solution: “Palette of Place”: Companies need to offer a variety of areas that can be used for the different tasks and needs of their associates. Having café areas and small conference rooms can help for groups who need to collaborate, without distracting those that may need more focus on their task at hand. It is beneficial to offer library areas and hoteling stations for the quieter needs of workers.
Issue: People often work in unhealthy ways, without knowing the implications of the bad habits. In a stress-filled, busy world, our health and physical activity is often the first thing to take the backseat.
Solution: “Palette of Posture”: Having the ability to change the posture and positioning of oneself throughout the day is extremely important to an individuals’ wellbeing. With options to stand at high top tables, move throughout the office with wheeling workstations, and change the height of tables and chairs can make the world of a difference to the workers health.
Issue: Workers have emotional needs that need to be fulfilled in the office. It goes beyond simply feeling connected to other associates, but also that they are part of the workplace and its culture. This is particularly heightened but when companies have various office locations, making it more challenging for associates to feel connected to one another.
Solution: “Palette of Presence”: Although technology has greatly improved the ease of collaborative experiences, there are often times where real-time interaction is key. Companies are implementing video conferencing rooms, where teams across various locations can work on projects with a live video feed of the room. Rather than picking up the phone or sending an email if they have a question, they can simply speak to the person on camera in real-time.
Overall the workshop was a great tool to learn some more about the importance of sound design in the workplace. Thank you to James, as well as Steelcase & CoreNet for hosting the event! (All of the information above was provided by the Steelcase team).