July 6, 2020
Culture has become a buzzword in the corporate world. An increasing number of business publications, executives, coaches, and experts have zeroed in the importance of creating a positive office culture.
Creating a positive workplace culture is all about creating an environment that increases employee happiness and boosts overall job satisfaction. Most people will spend one-third of their life at their job, and more employees want that time to be enjoyable. They also want to feel that their employers care about their wellbeing.
However, developing a positive office culture isn’t straightforward. It requires a deep understanding of what workers want and need to feel satisfied.
According to recent research, 87% of employees would like healthier workspace benefits. Moreover, 93% of workers in the tech industry say that they would stay at companies longer if they offered healthier workspace benefits.
What are these healthy workspace benefits, and how do they impact culture?
What is a Healthy Workspace Benefit?
When it comes to creating a healthy workspace, it starts with benefits. Health insurance used to be the gold standard in employee health benefits, but employees today want more. They’re looking for benefits like:
When combined, these benefits create a culture that prioritizes health. Beyond benefits, companies around the world are taking other measures to create a healthier workspace.
Creating Safe Buildings
The International WELL Building Institute is making waves for creating premier standards for buildings and interior spaces. They discovered several vital areas that contribute to the overall health of employees, and they offer certification programs for companies to become WELL certified.
However, you don’t have to get a certification to know what those areas are. According to The International WELL Building Institute, The key areas that contribute to the overall health of workers are:
Some areas are less complicated than others, but let’s dive into a few of them that have straightforward fixes and immediate benefits.
We all need air to breathe, but the quality of air in a workspace can impact health and, in turn, boost productivity. In fact, the World Green Building Council found that productivity increased by 11% when workers had a reduction of pollutants and increased access to fresh air.
How can you incorporate higher air quality into your workspace? Start by weatherproofing windows and doors to keep harmful pollutants out of the building. Add an air filtration system, use green cleaning products, add plants, enact a non-smoking policy, and more.
According to one study, exposure to natural sunlight can increase productivity, boost moods, and reduce rates of anxiety and depression. Also, poor lighting can increase eye strain and irritation. So, having plenty of natural light and ensuring all your lights work correctly can dramatically improve the health and output of your workers.
Building acoustics, annoying noises, and a lack of privacy are all nuisances for employees. And over time, they can negatively impact overall wellbeing. Since wide-open concepts became popular, employees now struggle with a lack of privacy and the inability to focus. Some companies are combating this by adding private, quiet spaces or acoustic ceiling or wall systems, which allow their employees to get some peace and focus.
It’s no secret that hazardous building and office materials can have negative impacts on employee health. (Does anyone remember asbestos?) One simple way to contribute to overall employee health is by choosing non-hazardous building and office materials, and switch out any problematic materials with non-problematic ones. For instance, swap those cheap plastic desks and counters to solid countertops. You might have to pay more for safe materials, but your employees will thank you for it, and it will ultimately play into boosting overall company culture.
Why Creating a Healthy Workspace Matters
These are just some of the more straightforward areas that contribute to healthy workspaces. However, there are many more factors that come into play. One of the most influential components of culture and health revolves around stress. Creating a healthy environment often means finding ways to decrease employee stress and increase employee happiness. Those sorts of things are a bit harder to nail down.
The one thing that clearly resonates is that employees want to feel safe at work. They want to see that their bosses care about them. Doing things like adding health benefits, working to reduce stress, and making small changes to make your building safer all contribute to an environment and a culture that values its employees.
The benefits, aside from healthier and happier employees, are improved productivity, reduced turnover, and boosted outputs. Ultimately, improving culture is fundamental to increasing profits, and the first step towards improving culture lies in prioritizing healthy workspaces.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property