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Thought Leadership

Why Wellness Matters In The Workplace

When interviewing a candidate for a role in your company, how often are you walking them through the office? I’ve heard time and again the inclusion of a workplace tour during interviews is the new normal. Why? Driven by their consumer experience outside of work, employees have high expectations for their experience via the physical and cultural work environment.

In other words, employees now expect companies and their offices to work for them. Talk about a shift in the workplace. The employee expectation is now that the employer provides a dynamic, relevant office setting to help them be more productive and creative, while supporting their comfort and wellness.

Employers can either step up to the expectation or risk employee turnover because I can guarantee that there is another company out there who will meet your employee’s needs. With the cost to replace a single employee being approximately 20% of that employee’s salary, according to the Center for American Progress, it is worth being intentional around employees’ desires for the space.

After all, according to a study by Gartner Research, employees who are highly satisfied with their workplace are 16% more productive and 18% more likely to stay with their employer.

While it is not possible to suit the individual needs of every employee, it is important to get back to the basics and invest in the core areas that will have the most impact on your employees. It’s time to use your workplace as a tool for attracting and retaining talent. Let’s think of addressing workplace wellness in three tiers:

1. Physical wellness. While many employers have been investing in employee physical wellness efforts for nearly a decade now, the changing expectation of employees is setting a standard for offerings. Today, at a minimum, employees expect onsite fitness, healthy food options in the office, and ergonomic workstations to keep them active and moving throughout the day. Additional physical wellness perks include a walkable location (trails, paths, or urban environments) and group classes provided through the employer.

2. Environmental wellness. From our Employee Workplace Survey, we’re consistently seeing work setting preferences – whether it’s access to natural light or availability of a variety of work settings – to be a top priority for employees. And their employers are noticing the difference these factors have on employee satisfaction. So much so, that employee workplace satisfaction scores are increasing, on average, by 20-30% post-move.

3. Emotional wellness. In research completed by Harvard Business Review, they found that if employees feel the space aligns with their self-image and enhances their sense of belonging — their “place identity” – there is a greater personal connection to the space. Employees were also more engaged and enthusiastic about their work, believed their communication with colleagues and managers was of higher quality, and felt a greater attachment to the organization. But how? We see this being accomplished through intentional communication of the vision for the space prior to the move, leaders’ attitude or enthusiasm for the new space, and encouragement for employees to adapt and use the space to fit their needs. Leadership is most effective when multiple levels of the organization are engaged and “practicing” the active way of using a new work environment.

So, are you ready to get back to the basics of your workplace environment by focusing on these three tiers of workplace wellness?

Start by asking employees what is important to them. In doing so, when it’s time to update your space, you’re investing in the core areas of workplace wellness that will have the most impact.