The year of wellness

Welcome to 2019, LPM readers. Breathe in that 2019 air! Are you ready for the year ahead? It’s #2019theyearofwellness.

“What?” I hear you cry. “I haven’t seen that hashtag yet!” Well, let me tell you, it’s a wonderful movement centred around the quality of life for team members within the working space. 

We constantly hear about big tech firms with their snooze pods, fun slides and 100 breakfast cereals – a mere dream to those of us outside that sector. But here comes something better – the wellness movement. A long-term client of ADDS invited me in as they were refurbishing three of their office spaces. They wanted to discuss moving all files offsite, and needed help with the rollout of a new policy which only permitted scan-on-demand files back for retrieval – no hardcopy files would ever be recalled from the archive. When I asked why they had finally made this leap, they stated: “working environment wellbeing.”

Now in all my years of being onsite with clients, none had ever singled out ‘wellbeing’ as the reason for going paper light, so I had to investigate further. I asked the client for more information and they directed me to www.

So I went into research mode. This new movement is all about promoting health and wellbeing at work. This makes total sense: an environment centred around the wellbeing of your team makes people feel happy and nurtured – they’ll want to spend time at work, leading to increased productivity, happiness and dedication. Why wouldn’t you want to create a working environment like this? Now the certificate is amazing, but some of us are stuck with the building we are in and with small budgets assigned to environmental changes. However, there is more … 

When I examined the standard, I found that there were seven elements in total: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. The more I read, the more it made sense. 

When it comes to quality of air, many of us work in large cities or near main roads which can have poor air quality. This impacts individual health and can also cause SBS (sick building syndrome). You cannot pick up your office and move it, but there are solutions, such as filtered air conditioning systems and purifying fans. 

The ‘water’ element is about easy access to clean drinking water, so providing your team with water filter taps or water coolers. Make sure that people don’t have to go up four floors to fill their bottle. Good hydration equals productivity.

The ‘nourishment’ element (yummy!). Longer working days, high periods of inactivity and busy lives lead to poor diets. We have all skipped lunch or inhaled a horrible sandwich to keep us going when deadlines loom. Why not splash out a bit of money each week on a fruit crate for the team? All those powerful vitamins will fight germs! Ask the managing partner for a monthly nourishment budget so that you can have a weekly stock of healthy food and snacks in the office.

Read my next column for a breakdown of the other elements.

This article appeared in LPM February 2019 - Innovation nation

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