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The Best Workplace On Earth Has These 5 Things

Create a strong organizational culture by focusing on your workplace environment
By: Amanda McDonald
July 18th, 2017

One-third of our day is spent in our workplace

Since we spend a majority of our day at work, we should be creating places employees actually want to be. Workplaces should also be places that support healthy lifestyles and both physical and emotional health. Studies show employees need a consistent health plan to keep them fully charged and capable of increasing an organization’s financial performance.1 Waiting until the weekend isn’t the solution.

As workplaces have evolved, sedentary behaviors have increased, putting employees at higher risk for chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even vein thrombosis. In addition, cubical life has created environments that reduce employee satisfaction and productivity. One study revealed that employee satisfaction and productivity are negatively affected due to workplace distractions caused by cubicle setups.2

Shouldn’t we have realized this long ago when comics started mocking the cubicle workspace?

Redesigning workplaces to address employee health and performance

One of the five areas high-performing organizations focus on to increase employee engagement and drive performance is ‘Place’ – the workplace. From the physical layout to the colors on the wall, organizations can create collaborative environments that foster employee engagement. Studies show that employee productivity suffers when there is lack of strategic workplace design.2

The physical layout of a workplace profoundly influences the way employees engage with each other. Researchers have assessed many aspects of the entire layout of workplaces including desk placement, inspiring artwork and colors, mobile workstations, and flexibility to move from place to place to work.

Rather than focusing on saving money by cramming people into cubicles that don’t support employees’ productivity and morale, businesses should be considering the best ways to foster collaboration and workplaces that inspire creativity. There are many ways this can be done from inexpensive to a total redesign.

5 initial things to consider to create a healthy workplace

  1. Provide space to move around: Healthy workplaces have space to get up and move around. In addition to the health benefits of standing up and moving, walking actually helps increase creativity3 and short-term recall. Businesses lacking creativity and innovation won’t last long in today’s rapidly evolving world.
  2. Support inclusion: As the workforce evolves, becoming heavily multi-generational, it’s even more crucial for workplaces to support inclusion and the expansion of social networks. Most workplaces already have a break room. Simple things like hosting a once a month ‘happy hour’ with healthy snacks and refreshing drinks bring people together and provide an opportunity for positive workplace interactions.
  3. Plants add life: Green space and natural surfaces have a therapeutic psychological effect. Plants are an inexpensive way to increase employee spirits and reduce anxiety, stress, even depression.
  4. Support new moms: Well thought out workplaces include areas like lactation rooms, which reduce absenteeism and increase loyalty. If you aren’t able to dedicate a room specifically for this purpose, a meeting room with closeable blinds can be an option.
  5. Lighting can change moods: Well-lit workplaces reduce fatigue, eyestrain, and headaches. Keep windows clean and allow for as much natural light as possible. You can minimize distraction by ensuring workspaces don’t have too many shadows or glare. By doing this, you’re allowing workers to focus on their tasks.

Although these are only a few of the ways to improve workplaces, they may seem overwhelming to some. Where do you start and how do know what will have the most significant impact on your organization? Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Do employees have frequent job rotations, employees from different shifts or departments sharing a work area?
  2. Will employees work in teams or on their own?
  3. What equipment does the workstation need to include; e.g., computer equipment, additional lighting or storage space?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can map out what steps to take to make the initial improvements. Remember these changes are to increase employee productivity and support their health, ultimately improving your bottom line of becoming a high performing organization.

Tell us about your inspiring workplace on Twitter. Mention @P5PerformnceDMF so we can tell your story in an upcoming blog post!

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  1. Stringer, Leigh. (2016). The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-being of Your Employees--and Boost Your Company's Bottom Line. American Management Association
  2. Cone, E. & Gregory, A. (2017). When the walls come down: How smart companies are rewriting the rules of the open workplace. Oxford Economics.
  3. Craig, A. Tropy, F. Dr., Brennan J., et al. (2010). The Positive Effects of Office Plants. Nursery Papers Technical. Retrieved from https://www.ngia.com.au/Attachment?Action=Download&Attachment_id=1430
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