Work Environment Impacts Health and Productivity

By Cary Conway
Work office environment impacts health and productivity - Vitality

Our clients are focused on improving the health and well-being of their workforce for many reasons not the least of which is the ability to compete in a global marketplace and recruit and retain top talent.

While there’s a great deal of focus on benefit programs to improve health and productivity, environmental elements are often overlooked. It’s important not to underestimate the influence factors such as air, light and temperature can have on employee health, productivity and engagement.

A recent survey from Future Workplace of 1,601 professionals working in corporate office environments confirms that important environmental factors that lead to employee well-being are being overlooked. As a result, employee satisfaction, engagement and organizational productivity are suffering.

The workplace environmental survey found that only 1 in 4 employees said the air quality in their office is optimal for them to do their best work; there is a lack of natural light as nearly 40% think their companies should provide access to views of the outdoors; and only 1 in 3 employees say their office temperature is ideal for doing their best work. When it comes to acoustics and noise levels, nearly half are distracted by coworkers’ conversations, and more than a third are unable to concentrate due to noise from phones, keyboards, and heating and cooling systems.

Given the impact, employers must consider the physical, emotional and environmental factors that influence health and well-being. Future Workplace offers guidelines to improve workplace wellness including:

  • Take an employee-centric view by surveying your workforce to understand the most important factors.
  • HR/benefits should work with departments – including facilities – to create an optimal and healthy environment.
  • Focus on what matters most to employees. For example, standing desks may be more meaningful and impactful to health than an on-site gym.

Given that employees spend the bulk of their awake hours at their place of work, taking steps to improve the environment can have a lasting impact on an organization’s bottom line.

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