Those of us lucky enough to grow up in West Yorkshire know the stories passed down through the generations about how our forefathers would leave their homes before dawn to start a long day of hard work in the mines and mills. The concept of both health and wellbeing were brushed aside. Working conditions were harsh, often dangerous and many workers consequently suffered.
Fast forward to today and those mines and mills have long since disappeared with the era of health and wellbeing ushered in. No longer can business owners turn a blind eye to the wellbeing of their workforce and quite the opposite effect has happened; a focus on workforce health has been linked to productivity and growth.
This year the importance of wellbeing and health has been highlighted more than ever by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Although there are many things about 2020 that we have had very little control over, prioritising and taking control of your health and wellbeing has never been more critical than it is now.
The workplace is where we spend a good percentage of our lives, so as an employer it’s in your business’ best interests to support your staff’s wellbeing by providing a healthy working environment. Mind reports that 1 in 6 employees live with a mental health problem and these problems are only aggravated by unhealthy working environments.
The choice of selecting an appropriate place for your employees to work from, that has the right atmosphere and facilities to put their health and wellbeing first, is crucial. The right choice can limit the risk of mental illness, and this can result in improved employee productivity, increased morale, fewer sick days, staff retention and talent attraction.
In this post we explain 7 ways a business lifestyle centre such as ours at HUB26, can help keep your employees healthy, happy, and importantly, productive.
Most of your working day will be spent in the office, so we’ll start by explaining how a well-designed office space can contribute to your workforce’s health and wellbeing.
On average an individual will spend one third of their adult life working, so the space in which we work has a significant impact on our well-being and mental health. A quality workspace design leads to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere, so you must take the physical work environment of your employees into consideration. To produce the best standard of work, your employees need to feel both calm and comfortable in their work settings, so the layout of your working environment should reflect this.
At HUB26 we understand that the design of an office has a huge impact upon the health, wellbeing and productivity of its occupants and that’s why we provide all of our residents with luxury office spaces to work from. Over the course of our opening 3 years, we’ve also created bespoke spaces specifically for our residents’ wants and needs. We understand businesses are different and often the space they operate from needs to reflect that. Strong office design can help employees feel up to 33% happier at work, and so it’s paramount to find an office that makes your employees feel both productive and positive whilst at work.
Even though the weather up North is known for being grim during the winter months, all of our offices are exposed to natural daylight because studies have shown that natural light improves employee satisfaction and productivity. Daylight has also been proven to improve overall mood, energy levels, motivation, positivity and can help to reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
In comparison, dingy and bad lighting is associated with eye strain, headaches, fatigue and stress. Studies have found companies that work in spaces with no windows experience 6.5% more cases of sick leave.
We also recognise that modern-day workers want their job to reflect their personality and so all of our offices are luxurious and perfectly designed for your employees to feel at home and happy. With all offices spacious enough to encourage movement and collaboration between colleagues.
Many people associate the office working environment with employees sitting around at desks all day typing away on their computers. However, we believe in a different approach to the traditional office working environment. We realise that exercise is a key element of a healthy lifestyle and this can positively impact workplace wellbeing.
Now we’re spoiled at HUB26 with our state-of-art onsite gym: FIT26, making it possible for your business to integrate physical activity into the structure of your working day with a range of classes and specialist yoga & spin facilities. Only a third of workers manage to exercise once or twice a week, struggling to find the time to exercise and 24% admit they don’t exercise at all!
The chance for your employees to exercise before work, have a quick lunchtime workout or to blow off some steam after work is hugely beneficial to their health and work ethic. 81.5% of employees state that regular exercise helps them to stay focused at work, and research shows that exercise can positively affect your mood, relieving your tension, anxiety, anger and stress. This also has knock on benefits for the business, as happier employees are 12% more productive.
As humans, we’re social creatures and a lot of our social interactions are key to our wellbeing and health. The office is a place where employees make some of their closest friends. These strong social connections make employees happier and physically healthier, which can positively affect work performance.
When working from home, many employees can feel isolated without the social aspect of the workplace. Social isolation has been seen to be as damaging to an employee’s health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day, and can also increase the risk of cognitive decline and depression.
In contrast, a strong network and community feel established in an office can improve your employees’ emotional and physical health. A business lifestyle centre such as our own at HUB26 has a strong community feel. Many of our residents see our West Yorkshire based office complex as a home away from home, due to the opportunity to interact with other like-minded individuals, swap ideas and generate valuable contacts.
When working from an office, there’s already a clear structure in place for each working day, from set office hours to break and lunchtimes. This ensures that employees take the proper breaks that they need and are entitled to, instead of eating a sandwich over their laptop when working from home.
Breaks are important as they contribute to helping employees de-stress and re-charge and they can help improve wellbeing. Office complexes generally have a canteen where employees are able to get away from their desk, socialise, eat and relax to lift their mood and improve your workplace wellbeing.
Our members-only lounge, CLUB26 is like no other; whether you’re meeting for an informal coffee, want a five-minute timeout from working or want to have lunch with your co-workers, our team will make you feel at home.
We should also try to eat a healthy diet when breaking, as this benefits both physical and mental health. Many employees may find it difficult to maintain a nutritious diet at work, but a healthy diet is on your doorstep in any good business lifestyle centre. At HUB26 our in-house menu boasts healthy, balanced lunches to boost your energy for the rest of the working day. Don’t worry we won’t judge you for over-indulging in your Yorkshire Puddings on the weekend, as long as you’re eating your CLUB26 magical salads during the week!
Having a positive work-life balance is an important part of your health and mental wellbeing. The key to maintaining this is to separate personal and professional life, without neglecting either.
Technology has resulted in difficulty separating work from our personal lives – many people answer work emails and calls on nights, weekends and even holidays. Over 40% of employees work over their assigned hours when working from home, and most claim that the reason for this is: they struggle to ‘switch off’ from work. This can cause employees to become increasingly stressed and worried about job-related issues and not take the time to drop work-related worries and focus on their personal lives.
Working from an office or business centre establishes a strong structure to the day and a clear ‘place of work’ where your employees can physically leave their work and go home to let their mind rest, relax and recuperate. The structure of the working day in the physical office environment ensures that there is time for your employees to take dedicated short interval breaks, to prevent physical and mental fatigue and of course, burnout.
Research has highlighted that employees who have a positive work-life balance perform better at work, so promoting this balance in the workplace will always be beneficial to your business.
Like every business, yours will have its own workplace culture. This relates to the shared values, beliefs and set of assumptions that your team shares.
An engaging workplace culture can create a positive working environment, keeping employees productive and reducing their stress levels. Deloitte found that employee happiness and satisfaction are strongly linked to strong workplace culture. Happiness and satisfaction encourage employee retention, as happy workers are more likely to stick around.
It’s much easier to build up and establish workplace culture in a physical office environment than when you’re operating as a remote team.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, as an employer, you have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of your employees. Therefore, you must ensure good working conditions for staff. You must consider issues such as space, cleanliness, space to eat, lighting, toilet facilities and much more when selecting an appropriate place to work from.
Under this law, you also have the obligation to ensure staff are working safely, with the right equipment from home. Given the current Covid-19 pandemic circumstances, the size of your company and the practical difficulties surrounding entering into the home of employees, it’s sometimes not feasible and difficult for employers to carry out a risk assessment of an employee’s home working space.
To ensure a good working environment for your staff, it’s far easier to set up in an office complex where a whole risk assessment can be carried out, hazards are highlighted, and facilities are already in place to ensure your employees can work in the safest possible way.
Health and wellbeing are not only important for your employees personally, but also crucial to form a motivated, engaged and high performing workforce.
Working at a business lifestyle centre, like us at HUB26, can help you to keep your employees happy and healthy, and result in numerous benefits for your business.