Why we invest in… wellness: OSiT wellness survey reveals top tips to improving workplace wellbeing and beating the Blue Monday blues
Today (January 21st) is known as Blue Monday, said to be the most depressing day of the year - as the cold weather, shorter days and dark nights cloud the minds of UK workers.
As we continue through the cold winter months – putting workplace wellbeing in focus should be high on the agenda for all employers.
At Office Space in Town (OSiT) we encourage workplace wellbeing across all our offices – for both our clients, and our own employees. A huge part of being able to tackle issues relating to workplace happiness and mental well-being is in knowing what people want – what makes them feel good, and importantly what is affecting their mental state in the workplace.
We recently conducted a workplace wellness survey in the UK, to find out exactly that, and to offer a few helpful tips to fellow employers on how to cultivate a happier, healthier workplace.
Square eyes: 85% of workers spend six or more hours per day staring at a screen
So sedentary: 71% don’t take more than occasional breaks
Saintly snacks: 97% of respondents stated that they would eat healthy snacks if they were provided with them
Sporting chance: 67% would be interested in onsite group fitness activities e.g. yoga
Stand up: 50% of staff would like a standing desk option
With over 70% of individuals not taking more than the occasional break, it is unsurprising that a sedentary epidemic is occurring. James Levine, an obesity specialist at Mayo Clinic, has even gone as far as labelling sitting as the ‘disease of our time’. According to Levine, any extended sitting – such as at a desk – can be harmful and contribute to anxiety and depression and high blood pressure, all of which are fatal to productivity.
Physical activity has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilise mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Employers should encourage staff to move around in the office and take part in exercise routines which can be done in the office. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate stress relief effects.
Diet and nutrition choices can make your stress levels go up or down. Compounds found in dark leafy vegetables and lean proteins are great for combating the side effects that stress has on our bodies. With 97% of respondents stating that they would eat healthy snacks if they were provided with them, employers should do what they can to provide access to healthy foods. Strategically placed fruit bowls, for example, will help employees choose the right 4pm snack.
Take a break
No matter how up-to-date your technology is it is still important to take breaks. Staring at a computer all day is likely to end in a headache, sore eyes and other aches and pains. To avoid this, employers should encourage employees to take time out of their day to focus on their wellbeing.
Promoting wellbeing at work, through meditation, for example, has proven to increase productivity. Being relaxed and stress-free, helps the mind work more effectively. The right side of the brain, responsible for creating new ideas, will work actively when people meditate regularly and allow time for reflection. As a result, everyone is more capable of producing new and creative ideas to solve commercial problems and develop new opportunities.
Cater to your audience
Businesses need to understand what is and isn’t working for employees in the office environment. The most productive workplaces are ones that accommodate all office personality types and include a large variety of work spaces for employees to choose from depending on their mood and type of work such as seating and standing desk options, creative breakout spaces and yoga and meditation rooms.
Design for happiness
Workplace design is often overlooked when it comes to analysing the causes of negative feelings in the workplace. However, a well-planned bright and colourful workplace goes a long way in uplifting the mood in the office. What’s more, a well-designed workspace can make it easier for people to complete tasks more quickly and effectively, work together more collaboratively and creatively, and have a positive effect on their mental health, wellbeing, and engagement.
At the absolute core of creating happy employees who look forward to coming into work is cultivating a community within the workspace. Research from Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, found that social connection is one of the greatest predictors of happiness and reduced stress. Creating an environment where your workforce can foster meaningful relationships, through wellness initiatives, retreats, regular social events and workspace designs that encourage collaboration and communication, will enhance the wellbeing of your staff.
At Office Space in Town, we put all of these into practise on an everyday basis. By playing close attention to the needs of our clients, we aim to cultivate an environment where our clients feel happy, equipped and healthy in their workplace. We offer regular wellness initiatives across our centres such as group yoga, meditation and massage treatments – to give our clients the well-needed break and leisure time they need to break up their often highly stressful and busy days. We also know the importance of having workplace community. Through regular social events throughout the year, from karaoke, to pub quizzes and even open mic nights, - we also provide our OSiT family with a sense of belonging - making coming into the office every day much less of a chore. We are also holding a Wellness Festival at our Liverpool Street centre on February 6th open to our clients and their guests where they can find top tips on everything from diet to exercise and even how the right plants in the office can lift those January blues!