The idea that the physical workspace has an effect on employee engagement is not a new one; generation Y (those born from the early 1980s through to 2000s) are telling us that they prefer much more free-flowing places and the idea of hanging about anywhere with your laptop and various other mobile devices not necessarily on an ergonomically designed chair is what appeals to those joining the workforce. The Daily Telegraph recently reported: “A good social space in an office can make as much as a 20% improvement in employee satisfaction”, according to workplace effectiveness measurement experts Leesman.
In a survey, Leesman found that the difference between firms with high and average employee satisfaction was a space where people could collaborate. However, whilst this may work for the likes of Google with its slides, games areas and cutting edge chill out zones, it’s a different story for many in the education and hospitality fields where workspaces are often dictated by the end user, are sometimes listed buildings and designed more for practicality and less to increase levels of employee engagement. So, what does this mean for employers? Simply, that if we can’t impact the physical spaces that we occupy then it’s about ensuring that the emotional wellbeing of your people is at the top of the agenda to compensate. Here are some of our low/no cost ways of creating a wellbeing culture:
Provide a pleasant working environment
Get creative and ask people what they’d like to see in shared employee spaces; company information? Competition winners such as ‘star of the month’? A noticeboard for people to buy and sell goods? An ideas box? Making it personal and belonging to your people not only shows them you value their opinion but also ensures they take care of common spaces and treat them with pride.
Is it possible to have an area where people can take breaks in peace? Or have somewhere to go and think about a challenge? Having a time out area encourages people to move out of their normal space and can enhance creativity, in the same vein, are their areas that can be assigned as break rooms for socialising.
Encourage exercise and taking regular breaks
Getting up from a desk or a static place of work and simply taking a walk can make all the difference when it comes to employee wellbeing. The centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking short breaks to ”help increase concentration, alertness, and work speed. They can help lower stress and your risk for on-the-job accidents, soreness, musculoskeletal disorders, and eyestrain”.
Introduce workplace assessments and/or in-chair massages
eBay UK use this to keep their people both happy and healthy: “We introduced on-site chair massage as a new employee benefit to help improve employee wellbeing. Everyone at eBay works hard and spends most of their time at a computer. At eBay the service has made an excellent impact on reducing workplace stress and keeping morale and motivation high. Staff love it!”
Workplace assessments give practical advice about the best way to optimise the way people work for maximum health benefits; be that raising a computer screen, wearing the right shoes or standing/sitting correctly.
Buddies and/or employee counsellors
Having a person to share challenges with, listen and talk about non-work related issues can really make a difference to engagement. Introduce a scheme where new starters are allocated a buddy before they begin to meet with them for a coffee. It takes away the stress of having to walk into the workplace for the first time on your own, they have someone to ask the questions they wouldn’t want to bother their manager with and also embeds them into the organisation before they’ve even walk through the door.
Purple Cubed are experts in improving people engagement, company performance and profit. By influencing and transforming business strategy, we enable you to become a great place to work. For more information watch our video at www.purplecubed.com, tweet us @PurpleCubed or buy Purple Your People from www.janesunley.com