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Only 1 in 4 U.S. Workers Are In Peak Performance Environments

5 Tips from Experts To Create a Healthy Workplace Environment
By: Amanda McDonald
August 24th, 2017

There’s more to workplace environments than just desks, chairs, and computers in cubicles.

In fact, workplace environments these days are quite complex. Employers need to consider everything from providing employees workspace options and building positive workplace relationships to the actual layout of office space to create the best place to work.

Currently, only 1 in 4 workers in the U.S. are in optimal workplace environments.1 The other three-fourths are struggling to work efficiently.

The result? Losses in productivity, innovation, and worker engagement.1

When we stop and examine workplace environments today, we find all kinds of research on how to create the perfect place that helps employees thrive.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And yes, workplace environments are complex, but taking steps to create a workplace environment that is right for your organization and your people isn’t as daunting as it seems.

Here’s how you can begin creating an optimal workplace environment that’s right for your organization

Find out what your employees’ preferences are when it comes to workspaces.

Some people prefer to work in co-workspaces, some prefer to work in silence, and others want to work from outside a traditional office setting. One easy way to find out what will work best for your employees is to survey them.

If you’re planning to revamp your workplace environment – making big or small changes, opening a survey for your employees is a great way to avoid making changes that could potentially hurt their productivity.

Look into tools that will aid you in determining the right changes to make to your workspace.

Culture Amp and TINYpulse both offer digital tools that can help collect anonymous feedback to gauge employees’ happiness.

In addition to creating a workplace environment employees will enjoy, surveying them to get their input can also make them feel connected to the organization and respected.

 

Create a positive environment through laughter.

Encouraging laughter in the workplace has numerous social benefits. Relating to one another over a little humor strengthens relationships, enhances teamwork, diffuses conflict, and promotes group bonding – all helpful strategies for boosting business performance.1

Experts like Paul Osincup say,

“We’re living in a world where interacting with other people is becoming optional, and people are pining for leaders and mentors who are relatable, imperfect, and [even] silly sometimes.”

Encouraging laughter in the workplace can increase stress hormones, decrease pain, relax muscles, prevent heart disease, boost immunity, ease anxiety and fear, relieves stress, improves mood, and enhances resilience.

 

Incorporate elements of nature

Research has found workers with views of nature feel less stressed and show higher levels of job satisfaction than those without them.

Investing in plant life and elements of nature can be anything from installing a plant wall to simply adding high-quality fake plants around your workplace. Interestingly, artificial plants have a similar psychological effect on workers as real plant life.

Another way to add natural elements is placing images of nature throughout your workplace. Adding pictures instead of plants is an excellent alternative to plants if your office has space limitations or policies against real plants.

If you’re not able to immediately incorporate these kinds of elements, start improving your workplace by promoting outdoor breaks. Employees will be thankful for your support and will likely be excited to get up and move around outside.

 

Offer choice and flexibility when it comes to workspaces

Without a doubt, allowing employees to choose where they work from within a workplace will increase productivity.

Innovative companies are 5X more likely to have workplaces that prioritize both individual and group workspace.2

Most businesses already have meeting rooms. Why not utilize the space you already have!

Flipping a traditional meeting room into a designated co-working space is one way to keep costs low while still giving your employees an option to work in an environment that helps them be more productive.

 

Invest in ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of designing the workplace to ensure people can effectively, efficiently, and safely get things done. Ergonomists study human capabilities in relationship to work demands. Even though investing in ergonomics might seem costly upfront, the return is worth the investment.

For example, research has shown a 46% increase in workplace productivity with use of standing desks.3

That’s a significant increase! In addition to improving productivity, there are a number of other health benefits associated with less sedentary behavior.

But beyond standing desks, you can also help your employees be more productive by ensuring they have everything they need within their reach.

Think about it this way, if employees are spending valuable work time searching for things they need to do their job or even just opening and closing drawers to get at files, they aren’t utilizing their time getting things done. Remember there is a difference in between being busy and being productive.

In short, ergonomics can save you money and time in the end.

 

To conclude, creating a healthy workplace environment for your employees should be tailored to their needs and the needs of your organization.

Using resources you already have and identifying low-cost ways to improve your current workspace is the place to start building an optimal workplace environment!

  1. Stringer, Leigh. (2016). The Healthy Workplace. American Management Association: New York City.
  2. Gensler. (2016). U.S. workplace survey 2016. Gensler Research. Retrieved from https://www.gensler.com/uploads/document/442/file/GenslerResearch_USWorkplaceSurvey2016_lores_2016.pdf
  3. Garrett, G., Benden, M., and Mehta, R, et al. (2015). Call center productivity over 6 months following a standing desk intervention. Journal IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/figure/10.1080/21577323.2016.1183534?scroll=top&needAccess=true
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