In the last 50 years, the workplace has evolved dramatically. For many offices, the days of cubicles and strictly independent work are long gone. Creating a healthy work environment has become a priority for many companies, and for good reason. A healthy work environment can make all the difference when it comes to employee satisfaction and company image.
Let’s dig deeper into the benefits of a healthy work environment and how to implement changes that make a happier, engaged and more productive workplace.
What is a healthy work environment?
There are many ways to define a healthy work environment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “a healthy workplace provides physical, psychological, social, and organizational conditions that protect and promote the health and safety of all workers of a company.”
In general, a healthy workplace creates a sense of comfort, collaboration, safety, and positivity for those who work there.
Benefits of a healthy work environment
According to a study from Iconic Research and Engineering Journals (IRE), the workplace environment has the most influence on employee motivation and happiness. A healthy work environment is a key to success according to 94% of entrepreneurs and 88% of job seekers.
Employees and companies both benefit from a healthy work environment. Employees are more productive, motivated, excited, and engaged when they are comfortable in their workplace. In turn, companies have lower rates of turnover and absenteeism, increased staff morale, and overall better company image compared to those that do not.
How to create a healthy work environment
There are many ways businesses can create a healthy work environment. Improving office aesthetic, focusing on mental and physical health, and providing ways to develop professionally are all ways companies can support their employees. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Improve office aesthetic
- Add live plants
- Though it may seem insignificant, the addition of plants can make a huge difference in an office setting. Studies show that adding greenery to a workplace can make a huge difference in productivity and happiness among employees. Here are some good options for indoor plants.
- Incorporate colors
- The addition of colors is a great way to influence the moods in an office. Places that only have neutral colors such as grey, white, and beige, can increase feelings of sadness. A pop of color can change the entire environment. For example, blues have been shown to increase focus and productivity. Yellow can inspire creativity and happiness. It is important to do some research to figure out which colors can create a healthy work environment.
- Prioritizing cleanliness
- Studies have found that a messy environment can lead to stress and anxiety. Standardizing cleaning routines and keeping the workplace free of clutter can be a great way to keep employees focused and organized.
Focus on mental and physical health
- Use standing desks
- It’s no secret that sitting all day long is killing you. One of the best ways to look out for an employee’s physical health is to provide a standing desk.
- Recognize and reward employees
- Recognizing and rewarding is a great way to keep spirits and engagement up in a healthy work environment. A simple “thank you” or “good job” can be an easy way to show appreciation. A recognition email to a team when they have met a goal or even a lunch out can boost morale.
- Be understanding
- One of the biggest stressors working people face is finding a good work-life balance. In one survey, 77% of people said that they have experienced burnout due to a lack of balance in their personal and professional life. It is important for companies to be understanding and empathetic to their employees to prevent this burnout and promote a healthier work environment.
- Encourage wellness
- Companies that encourage overall wellness tend to have more productivity and less long-term health care costs. Examples of this include encouraging exercise, offering healthy snacks in the office, and offering discounts on health care plans.
- Earn trust from employees
- 90% of working people say that honesty, trust, and fairness are the most important factors in a workplace. Some ways that companies can build trust with their employees are to show compassion, admit when a mistake has been made, and keep a promise when it has been made.
Professional development opportunities
- Employees want to learn
- The ability to learn and grow while working at a company is significant to most employees. A Gallup poll found that 87% of millennials say that development is important in a job. Learning and mastering new skills not only keeps companies up-to-date, but also can beat boredom, boost confidence, and create happiness in the workplace.
- Focus on education
- Education is key when it comes to a healthy work environment. Whether it is offering classes on topics relevant to the company, providing high-quality training materials, or paying for degrees/certifications, focusing on furthering education can improve employee satisfaction and performance.
Healthy work environments mean successful businesses
Workplaces with a toxic environment are more likely to have employees that are stressed, overworked, bullied, and lacking in confidence. This can lead to high turnover rates and companies losing money. However, businesses that have a comfortable and safe workspace tend to have a significant increase in performance rates. Clearly, for an organization to be successful it is important to create and maintain a healthy work environment.