Report outlines steps firms can take to banish the workplace blues

Workplace lavenderThe back to work blues following the festive holidays are a challenge for businesses and their employees. However, new research from office furniture maker Steelcase claims that prioritising employees’ wellbeing at work is one way to help employers and staff overcome their annual seasonal hurdle. The study of the link between workers’ wellbeing and the business’s bottom line claims that employees who are in a positive frame of mind are not only healthier, but more productive at work and better able to deal with workplace challenges. Steelcase has also produced a list of measures that the firm claims can help to create a working environment that looks after the wellbeing of employees and helps them to become more productive.

The research claims that:

  •  Only 56 percent of employees reported their environment enabled them to feel relaxed and calm
  • Only  54 percent reported being able to work in teams without being interrupted or disturbed
  • Nearly half of all workers surveyed said they didn’t have adequate spaces that support mindfulness and focus.

Among the steps Steelcase advises employers to take to enhance their staff wellbeing are:

  • Provide as many workers as possible with natural light and views to the outdoors. Workers exposed to natural lighting stay on-task for 15 per cent longer than their sun-deprived counterparts.
  • Research shows that workers switch between a variety of physical postures during their work, if the space allows them to do so. Changing postures is physically energising and mentally stimulating.
  • Open layouts encourage interaction among team members, but can also be distracting to some. The study showed that 49 percent of workers report not being able to concentrate easily, while the average person loses 86 minutes per day. The  provision of a quiet space where workers can gather their thoughts and focus can do much to increase wellbeing in the workplace.
  • Choose the colours of your office furniture wisely: blue stimulates clear thought, yellow boosts creativity and lifts spirits and green creates a sense of calming balance.
  • Plants aid concentration, increase productivity, and remove contaminants.
  • Warmer temperatures can increase productivity. When the temperature increases from 20°C to 25°C, typing errors fall by 44 per cent and typing output jumps 150 per cent.
  • Typists make fewer errors when exposed to various scents: lemon produces 54 per cent fewer mistakes, jasmine 33 per cent and lavender 20 per cent.