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Emerging Trend for 2016: Workplace Wellness

Mini swimming pools, free gourmet meals and massive libraries – the images showing life inside Google offices around the world do incite some serious envy.

Accordingly, companies today have now incorporated cool and creative approaches – think gyms, open layout, indoor waterfalls – to their workplace design to promote corporate wellness and set the right work mood.

According to Summertown Interiors, a fit-out contractor in the UAE that specialises in green interiors, sustainability and employee engagement will be a big trend for 2016.

With the UAE as one of the signatories of the Paris Climate Agreement and Dubai’s commitment to the Clean Energy Strategy 2050, Summertown says environmental practices like green building and sustainable interiors should be priority of the fit-out industry.

They say “investing in workspace is no longer considered an extra cost, but a productivity investment that enhances an organisation’s overall success”.

Rob Donker, general manager of Beyond Wellness, which provides wellness programmes and team building for a healthy workforce, notes that today UAE employees are not just looking for a big pay day when looking for a job, rather they are more aware of the importance of work-life balance.

“Creating an environment which feels less corporate and more pleasurable can give staff a sense of wellbeing which reflects in their work. It’s common knowledge now that filament lighting and reconditioned air can have a negative effect on people so any steps to create a more natural, energising environment is going to have benefits.”

Rob suggests going back to a more natural design with soft natural light and fresh air. Another important factor is preventing sedentary behaviour – there are many companies now which have design seating which engages the person and even seats which is more similar to a standing prop,” he says.

One HR manager for an F&B company,who asked not to be named, observes that staff respond positively to healthy surroundings.

“If the staff believe a company is putting their wellbeing first by investing in the office space it’s proven they take less sick days, work longer hours, and have better health due to reduced stress-related matters. This can include investing in collaborative areas within the office such as coffee rooms, break zones, as well as offering quiet private areas where people are able to work in peace. So investing in the correct lighting, desk design, chair ergonomics and general office layout and activities would be a way of improving wellness.”

She explains that a “conducive and great working environment is inviting and encourages staff to go beyond the expected level by removing the boundaries that a boring, dull, mundane work environment creates”.

Summertown Interiors adds that designers are now rethinking the open-plan office layout lacks privacy can negatively affects concentration levels, productivity and creativity.

They say the “focus is shifting towards building a space that offers the perfect balance between collaboration and privacy. And from an area with computer games to top-of-the-range video conferencing, technology brings with it an innovating and forward-thinking element to the workspace.”

Article via: 7 Days

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