Mind, Body and Spirit: inspiring a new workplace deal

The working environment can play a significant role to either stimulate and sustain people’s engagement and energy or dampen and drain it.

For it to be a positive experience that adds value, it must meet a series of basic human needs: renew our physical and mental energy, help us feel valued and connect with others in meaningful ways.

With longer working hours in an increasingly ‘always on’ world, businesses need to be more focused than ever on creating places in which people want to spend their working days and feel healthy and happy.

There is strong evidence that businesses with healthy and happy people enjoy high levels of morale and productivity and ultimately enjoy healthy long-term profitability. Investing in staff well-being is now a priority, as organisations realize that they need engaged and inspired people to succeed.

The associated risk and implications of workplace stress is alerting employers to the idea of providing more ‘active design’ and amenities to support wellness, regeneration and greater connection to nature. However, more is required as the entire approach to workplace well-being is in need of transformation.

Focus on value rather than cost

The current well-being paradigm is stuck measuring the cost of various degrees of illness rather than calculating the value of higher levels of wellness and proactively enabling us to thrive. It is not a simple solution — a gym, or a standing desk — but it is an ongoing process that requires an integrated approach by leadership, space design, technology and policies to deliver change.

We perform at our best when we move, spend time outside getting daylight and alternate between different physical, emotional, mental and spiritual states. Our places of work have a key role to play in supporting well-being, engagement and inspiration, as they are always communicating corporate culture and engendering behaviors.

More meaningful work

When space is designed with people and purpose in mind, and has a clear narrative, it can make our life at work more meaningful. It can help make us more aware of what we are doing and who we are ‘being’ at work.

What if — we left work more energized than when we arrived?

What if — our workplace actively supported our life at work?

What if — we had a say in the way we work and could make a difference?

What if — we felt genuine connection to our community of colleagues?

The challenge will be breaking down the corporate services silos to create people-centric experiences. Changes to the design of the workplace are only effective if there is an empowering workplace culture to support it. It is vital, therefore, that any workplace design change is championed by leadership and accompanied by change to management practices and policies to establish appropriate protocols and engender the right behaviors.

This is an ongoing process that requires an integrated approach of the Corporate Mind (leadership and vision), Body (space and technology) and Spirit (policies and culture) to deliver change.

Corporate Mind, Body & Spirit — Image Copyright: Despina Katsikakis

This new, people-focused approach demands fresh thinking in the design, leasing and performance certification of buildings.

New approaches to certification focused on wellness, such as the WELL Building Standard, provide an opportunity to bridge the operational differences and create aligned goals for HR and CRE. The emphasis must be on comprehensive daily well-being across all aspects of building specification, design and operational policies.

We need to bring humanity into the workplace and provide environments that delight, stimulate, energize and connect us with each other. We have one life and a company culture that does not expect employees to be wired and responsive 24/7 needs to become the norm to make our workplaces truly sustainable and inspire people to do their best work.

Originally published at www.worktechacademy.com on August 30, 2016.

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