Flexibility and wellbeing are the common ‘buzz’ words used in relation to the modern office environment and much has been made of how important it is to support and enable the improvement of both when planning any changes.
Most office employees now expect a degree of flexibility. It’s become the norm. Flexibility means that workers can pick their hours, how they work and where they work, within certain agreed boundaries. This takes the pressure off those with kids, who need to attend school-related events, and helps almost anybody who has commitments, social or otherwise, outside of work that they may sometimes need to take care of within the Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.30, sphere.
Various studies and polls have confirmed that flexibility is, in fact, the most valued aspect to any job as we are all committed to achieving the best work / life balance in the main. What we want out of work has changed in recent generations and those new expectations can be met, thanks largely to major advancements in technology.
Investing in wellbeing
Many of the larger corporations have invested a lot into identifying what might improve the wellbeing of the workforce as they recognize the correlation between good mental and physical health and happiness and increased productivity.
There are obvious practical ways in which wellbeing can be nurtured and supported in the workplace. Well-ventilated workspaces, with lots of natural light, are a given while it’s now widely recognized that the use of certain colours has an impact on how we feel at work.
It’s also about taking into account how people like to work and addressing those needs, allowing room for undisturbed work, and some privacy, as well as for collaborative working, breakout spaces and the most attractive, user-friendly kitchen and bathroom facilities.
On another level, wellbeing also incorporates those added extras that promote wellness overall: standing desks, complimentary gym membership, the provision of free fruit, along with storage areas for those employees who choose to cycle to walk, are just some potential initiatives in the mix.
However, there’s another side to the equation, for those aspiring to achieve the perfect balance, which is often overlooked…
A purposeful approach
A sense of purpose is critical to any employment longevity as it’s what drives the dynamic in the workplace and makes team members feel that they truly belong. Creating a better working environment depends a lot on positivity and generating a sense of commitment and self-belief from the workforce.
This is just as essential to the workplace as flexibility and wellbeing as negativity has a habit of spreading and impacts on, and influences, the rest of the team. If employees aren’t fully motivated, and don’t believe that they are making a difference, then any potential drive and enthusiasm simply fades away.
Three is the magic number…
The best workplaces are those that consider all of the above needs – purpose, flexibility and wellbeing – and seek to address all three.
To do this successfully requires good communication. Employers need to be aware of what motivates their staff and gives the team a sense of purpose; they should also recognize what level of flexibility is needed to provide workers with a good work life balance and, finally, create an environment that adequately delivers wellbeing, nurturing its inhabitants and addressing all of their needs.