Can architectural wellness slash employers’ costs?
More companies are redefining office space, boosting productivity and driving up employee happiness
Companies like Google and Facebook are usually lauded for redefining office space, and other employers have taken notice and are reaping the benefits.
Wellness architecture, the new phenomenon of building workspaces with health and productivity at the forefront, is saving employers money through attraction and retention cost-saving measures, according to the “8 Wellness Trends for 2017 — and Beyond” report, conducted by Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit research and educational resource for the wellness industry.
“Companies are trying to reach an employee audience,” says Burt Rea, managing director for Deloitte Consulting. “We need to create a workspace that can attract the kind of digital, high-tech talent to be competitive.”
Flexible workspaces are a major departure from the standard office cubicles, and workspace experts believe that they are becoming the de facto setting for hybrid workplaces, which are primarily communal spaces with conference and private rooms that employees can access at their choosing.
Rather than being segregated by departments, employers can leverage technology, such as organizational network analysis (ONA), to help employees work amongst their peers and increase productivity, Rea says.
ONA uses analytics to scan employees’ e-mails, instant messages and physical proximity to determine who works with whom, and can then determine teams within the company, according to a recent global human capital 2017 trends report published by Deloitte.
For employers who want to maximize profitability, ONA can suggest to employees where and with whom to work with on any given day, Rea says.
Through ONA, Deloitte has been “able to see which types of interactions absolutely need to be in person and which ones need to be enabled by conference calling,” says Rea. “There’s lots of different ways to enable teams to work together.”
Meanwhile, employers also are making sure they have natural light, which Rea says, is “an enabler of wellness, an enabler of creativity and an enabler of feeling good about the place you work.”
LPL Financial is one company that recently transformed its office building to make it an ideal space for workers.
The nation’s largest independent broker-dealer unveiled its 27-acre Carolinas campus, in Fort Mill, South Carolina, last November. The two U.S. Green Building Council-certified buildings, which offer employees 450,000 square feet of office space, incorporate design features and amenities including glass stairways, a fitness center and on-site health clinic.
Before building the campus, LPL Financial surveyed employees on the location and amenities required for an ideal work-life balance, as well as the level of engagement employees want from their workspace, says Sara Nomellini, senior vice president of corporate real estate at LPL Financial.
The campus sits adjacent to the 2,100-acre Anne Springs Close Greenway nature preserve, where more than 1,400 employees have access to two miles of walking trails and a boardwalk with open air lounge spaces, various seating options and Wi-Fi access.
Outdoor sports courts and community gardens also are on the campus.
“It’s important to let [employees] know that we view them as our most important asset,” says Nomellini. “We’re concerned about your overall wellness. We’ll do everything we can to assist that. We trust you to use your time well and take advantage of these amenities because we understand and care about you. I think it sends a clear message.”