Key to work­place well­ness

Make your work­place work for you

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

THE STATS

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. ”

THE SO­LU­TIONS

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”.

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