We spend a third of our waking hours at work as an adult. This is likely to be more if you are running your own business or are in a high-profile position. Most of us spend more time in the office than we do in bed. Sometimes the work is hard. Work can be physically, emotionally and mentally draining. This type of stress reduces our happiness, job satisfaction and productivity. Even before Covid hit The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 15% of hours lost were as a result of illness, injury or sick leave.
Workplace wellbeing and workplace wellness programs are at the forefront of business owners’ minds, particularly at the moment, but many do not know where to start. Employee wellness programs can be created by you for your staff, or for yourself if you work alone, by focussing on three key areas; physical, mental and social.
1. Move That Body
Having access to a gym or exercise room provides you and your staff the opportunity to strengthen your body and create movement in your day. This is vital after being laser focussed at your desk for hours. Superhero abs are not the goal here, but if you want to go for it, we are right behind you. Having a healthy body has been proven to improve concentration and focus due to improved blood flow to the brain. Exercise creates endorphins in the body, which aid happiness, and reduces stress hormones such as cortisol. An on-site fitness centre takes all the hard work out of turning up too.
Structured employee wellness programs should include physical activity. The World Health Organisation recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week.
2. Sit Straight
Workplace wellbeing starts with the small things and now that you’ve got your post workout glow the last thing you need is turn yourself into a human pretzel with a poorly set up desk and chair. Current recommendations are for the top of your screen to be at eye level, forearms on the table and feet flat on the floor. Having adjustable ergonomic furniture is preferred but you can set this up quite easily yourself. We all know sitting at your desk all day can cause you to slauch. Sitting too long can make you feel tired. Regularly standing up, even if it is just for 10 minutes, improves your posture and helps you stay alert. A flexible office space at United Co. comes with certified ergonomic chairs and electric sit to stand desks ensuring a healthy work environment for you and your team.
3. Stay Nourished
Feeling good is more about what you do with your body. What goes in your body is equally important. Employee wellness programs should include elements of diet and nutrition. When working alone you should try to have healthy snacks available to avoid raiding the lolly jar when your blood sugar levels dip (but it is ok to treat yourself once in a while). At Eight Grains, United Co’s in-house licenced cafÃ©, local fresh ingredients are combined to create delicious healthy meals for take away and dine in.
4. Boost Engagement and Productivity with Flexible Work Arrangements
Avoiding the stresses of a crowded commute is not the only benefit of flexible working arrangements. Staff who can manage their own workloads and balance priorities have been shown to have higher levels of engagement and productivity. Being able to balance work with family commitments and social engagements allows staff, and you, stay connected to the world outside of the office and bring fresh ideas back to the job.
Workplace wellness programs can highlight balance for employees and owners. Combining being available for clients when they need you and providing time for concentrated quiet time is an ideal mix. 9-5 office hours are no longer relevant to a modern workforce, providing remote working opportunities and 24/7 secure office access is expected by most new hires.
5. Combat Stress by Practising Mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation and yoga are often viewed with suspicion by the uninitiated. A little bit woo-woo maybe. Having a busy mind can be overwhelming and these are the perfect workplace wellbeing tools for the job. Mindfulness meditation, usually in the form of a guided meditation, can help to train the mind to recognise stress before it happens. After regular use of free apps such as Calm and Headspace users have shown the ability to focus better by spotting when their mind wanders down a mental rabbit hole.
Yoga on the other hand has been used for centuries, millennia even. Sitting in a loincloth in the lotus position however is for the pros only though. Many basic yoga practices aid flexibility, strength and posture and include their own elements of mindfulness and stress reduction superpowers.
United Co’s Melbourne business centre offers members access to the wellness studio and a quiet room for meditation, prayer or a nap. Members have the options to participate in regular wellness focussed community event such as yoga classes or meditation sessions.
6. Foster Workplace Connections
No Man Is An Island. Working alone can seem like a great idea, plenty of time to focus and concentrate without being dragged into conversations about last night’s episode of Australia’s Got Talent. Working alone can have a dark side though, loneliness can creep in leading to feelings of isolation, self-doubt and depression.
Workplace wellness programs can help bring people together foster connection between like-minded people and create a sense of community. Simple methods can be employed to combat these feelings. Methods such as structuring your day to include focussed person to person time, joining a group or organising a lunch with a colleague. Conversation often leads to fresh perspectives on how you feel inside or the project you are working on.
Having a ready-made community can take stress out of, well, avoiding stress. End of month drinks, seminars, workshops, fundraisers and more. A buffet of events is available to all United Co. members to help them build valuable connections within the community.
Bringing It All Together
Employee wellness programs are a key part of the employment package for any business in the 21st Century. Recruitment, retention, productivity and employee satisfaction are dependent on the wellbeing of the workforce. By starting with a strong and flexible body which is supported by the correct office set up, you create the foundation. Healthy and well thought out nutrition and hydration builds on this. The mental aspect of meditation supported by flexible working arrangements improves resilience to stress and anxiety. Finally the support of a community holds everything together. United Co. takes the stress out of workplace wellness by providing members access to an extensive wellness program.
If you like to know how United Co. can support employee wellness for your business, get in touch with our team today.