Key to workplace wellness
Make your workplace work for you
Hammocks to nap in, healthy food buffets, and yoga classes – sounds like a relaxing holiday. But in fact, it’s all part of a holistic plan in some offices to improve workplace wellness. Workplace wellness is a significant consideration for many multinational companies, such as Google (inset), but is only a fairly recent development for firms in the Middle East.
The top two killers in the UAE are both preventable – cardiovascular disease and diabetes – and these make a strong case for investing in employee health.
Not only does an improvement in employee health reduce insurance premiums and reduce sick days, it also can boost productivity.
A recent study commissioned by architecture firm Perkins+Will found improving workspaces could increase productivity by 22 per cent.
The study also found not only does an improvement in air quality help improve work productivity by about 11 per cent, decluttering our work environment can improve our
concentration by up to 150 per cent.
Diane Thorsenrincipal, design director at Perkin+Will, says though she has seen the value of improving workspaces, she was even surprised at the statistics. “They’re not just small increments,” explains Diane.
“These are massive percentages.”
She says from the officeinception, through to the employee’s dayto-day activities, there are big changes.
“There’s a huge drive to work to openplan, but 99 per cent of people are distracted by noise in a work environment. So simply improving the acoustics of an office you can improve performance. It also goes as far as people taking naps – the research shows 26 minutes of sleep can improve productivity by 34 per cent. ”
At a recent workplace wellness summit, hosted by health service company, Cigna, professionals outlined why the UAE in particular, needs a workplace revolution.
Tommy Hutchinson, co-founder of the Global Centre for Healthy Workspaces, says it’s not only up to employees, it’s also up to management to implement a suitable workplace wellness tactic.
He said: “Good health equals good business. This is not something just within the remit of philanthropy, it’s actually very important for running a strong, high-performing organisation.”
Companies in the UAE – including Nokia, JP Morgan and LinkedIn – have all made steps to improve employees’ quality of life, with yoga sessions, flexible hours, improved office layouts, and free health check-ups. Companies are increasingly encouraging employees to sign up for active endeavors and eat healthier.
Even if your company does not offer a wellness programme, there are changes you can make to help improve your work conditions and environment. Diane explains: “Decluttering your workspace improves productivity and moving around the office every 20 minutes are ways you can implement a healthier working life”.