Wellbeing dividend: making the workplace work for people

The rise in popularity of the coworking model suggests that people are gravitating towards a sense of community wellbeing - corporate workplaces need to step up

Why have coworking spaces and corporate offices based on the coworking model become more popular? Despina Katsikakis, Head of Occupier Business Performance at Cushman and Wakefield, believes it is because people want to feel that they belong to a creative community. As it turns out, the more constant and seamless our virtual connections become, the more important physical place becomes to bring us together in meaningful ways.

Katsikakis says that there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that people are much happier when they feel connected to others in the workplace. People who have friends at the office are at least four times happier at work than those who don’t, while over 70 per cent of millennials want their co-workers to be a second family.

‘People are much happier when they feel connected to others…’

This renewed focus on community in the workplace brings with it an accent on mental and physical health. But while many companies want to build wellness into their workspaces, they don’t always know how to go about it, and they lack the vision to achieve it.

Truly enabling people-centric workplaces requires management vision and practices. Companies need to have the right culture and behaviour, and they need to have the right space, technology and services. Here are five essential components of workplace wellbeing:

Ergonomics and active design: Long hours sitting at a desk is a common, detrimental workplace behaviour that should be addressed.

Light and air: Natural light has a positive effect on employee engagement and productivity. If you rely on artificial light, be cognisant of the type and intensity of light delivered at different times of the day.

Nature: Research demonstrates that greater connection with nature reduces stress and enhances mental wellbeing – whether companies integrate patterns, colours and materials found in nature into biophilic design, or directly introduce natural features.

Leadership and collaboration: As we move towards designing for overall occupant experience in the workplace, we will see more and more new, interdisciplinary teams mobilising to successfully address both physical and non-physical aspects of work.

Read more on Re-envisioning the Workplace for Wellbeing by Despina Katsikakis here.

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