Can ar­chi­tec­tural well­ness slash em­ploy­ers’ costs?

More com­pa­nies are re­defin­ing of­fice space, boost­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity and driv­ing up em­ployee hap­pi­ness

Employee Benefit News - - STRATEGY SESSION - BY AMANDA EISEN­BERG

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.”

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