Posted In // Healthcare
Reports on health benefits & impactWorkplace health is critically important to the success of businesses, as indicated by employee responses when wellness initiatives are adopted by their companies. According to a 2013 survey of workers at 1300 companies, benefits include:
• Reduction in chronic symptoms – 29%
• Fewer sick days – 22%
• Healthcare savings – 19%.
Meanwhile, business leaders are able to reduce their costs.
Beyond looking at how employees benefit from organizational concern with wellness, another way to engage the importance of health in the workplace is to look at its influence on productivity. That’s clear in terms of two metrics: number of days absent and number of days unable to work at one’s full capacity. Averages for American workers from a 2011 Population Health Management study are:
• Lost workdays – 1.99
• Limited workdays – 9.04.
As you can see, health is essential in the workplace, so what can you do to improve it? Here are a few ways to use design in the promotion of wellness.
Tip #1. Build your office to make walking a necessity.One simple way to get people healthier is to design the office for movement rather than just immediate convenience. “Having a single, centralized and networked printer … will force people to stand up from their desks and walk to collect their printouts,” notes architect Ruth Newman. “Similarly, the locations of bathrooms and kitchen facilities can encourage movement throughout the day.”
Tip #2. Incorporate healthier furniture.One of the best ways to improve health systematically is by considering biomechanics by way of office ergonomics. Since a recent study found that sitting for eight hours a day can take years off your life, more offices are investing in sit-to-stand desks.
Also look at the materials that make up your furniture. You want chairs and desks that don’t emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to cancer and other diseases.
Tip #3. Make conference rooms active.A standard office meeting area design is a large table surrounded by chairs. However, group settings are a great place to stand as well. You can have a tall, less dominant table available for note-taking. By reducing the size of the table, you also clear space for yoga sessions or other wellness activities.
Tip #4. Bring in plants.Researchers in Norway concluded that plants are extremely helpful in improving workplace health:
• 30% lower incidence of exhaustion
• 24% lower mucous membrane complaints (such as coughing and runny noses)
• 23% lower reports of dry skin.