Five years ago, had I suggested running meditation or crafting classes at work to improve employee productivity, I would likely have been laughed out of the office. Yet today, many workplaces are doing exactly that.
This is, in part, due to a clear recognition that a ‘well’ worker is a more productive one – that our place of work has an impact on our health and wellbeing and that positive workplaces can actively boost business performance. But exactly how widespread are these new initiatives? Is your office embracing the now well-documented benefits of a workplace wellness regime? As you browse recipes for kale smoothies and “Couch to 5k programmes”, let’s take moment to ponder the bigger picture…
Research from the British Council for Offices ‘Wellness Matters – Health and wellbeing in offices and what to do about it’, identified significant obstacles to businesses adopting a health and wellness strategy for the workplace. It revealed a widespread perception that such strategies are expensive to implement, with 74 per cent of survey respondents citing cost as a barrier. Whilst there will inevitably be costs associated with any new initiative, the report demonstrates how these can be mitigated if the strategy is deployed throughout the lifetime of a project. The report also makes a powerful business case for health and wellbeing beyond improved productivity – with benefits extending to reduced costs associated with absenteeism and presenteeism (coming to work when ill), as well as contributing to the recruitment and retention of staff. So how do we go beyond the concerns around cost?
The role of Facilities Management
We have said many times before that the physical environment has a lot to answer for when it comes to creating a healthy and happy place to work. People matter. Some of the most significant conversations around trends in the Facilities Management (FM) industry today revolve around holistic, employee-friendly and efficient workplaces. When a company focuses on workforce health and wellness, employees report increases in engagement with their work, productivity increases and absenteeism declines.
As the built environment continues to be recognised as a tool through which organisations propel their success, FM leaders must contribute insight into the physical space in which employees spend their day-to-day. At Key FM and Keystone, we don’t see health and wellness as an afterthought; rather a deliberate workplace strategy on which employers see positive returns.
According to the most recent 2019 Health and Safety Executive’s Labour Force Survey, “an estimated 12.8 million working days are lost each year due to stress and anxiety”. Resulting in an economic cost to the UK of over £14billion. So surely the bigger picture is not that businesses can’t afford to implement a wellness strategy… it’s that as a nation we can’t afford not to!
As 2020 cranks up, the clear focus on the issue of workplace wellbeing continues amongst influential players in the FM industry. Some examples for your diary:
- One of the IWFMs “Mega trends” at the heat of their 2020 Conference in February is “Wellbeing”
- Yet again there will be a whole section and theatre dedicated to Wellness at the Facilities Management show , London Excel, the biggest FM Show in the UK
- The ISO TC/267 – Facility Management – committee recently announced their intention to map the ISO 41000 series of standards to the UN Sustainable Development goals – Number 3 being “Health and Wellbeing”
- The hero theme for the Workplace Futures event this year is 20:20 Wellness
I could go on…
Facilities Management is a profession which involves coordinating many essential areas of the built environment with people and the work done by an organisation. Wellness is inextricably linked to FM through many factors, including but not limited to air quality, water quality, temperature and humidity control, security, cleaning materials, healthy food options, lighting, interior layout, and dedicated physical activity spaces. From an FM perspective, a focus on wellbeing goes hand-in-hand with the current redefinition of the workplace experience. From physical space and amenities to technology and operational efficiencies, the way workers experience their surroundings is key to a healthy, happy and productive workforce.
We understand that you need an FM partner that will provide a workplace environment where employees feel engaged, healthy and safe. If you would like to hear more about how our cutting-edge Cloud Enterprise technology from Keystone, coupled with generations of expertise from our team of Facilities Management Consultants at Key FM can spearhead your wellbeing strategy, get in touch today firstname.lastname@example.org