Making The Workplaces Healthy
How we work in America is very interesting. We work hard, this is America after all. As I have begun my professional life I have seen how work infatuates us as humans at times to no end. We have to pay our bills, buy the nice technology, and get those sweet snacks that last one night. As we trend into bigger and better ideas and overall smarter strategies for production one thing we should be looking into is how we can make work healthier (no this does not mean cutting out those crucial meetings).
Over in the United Kingdom, Suffolk to be exact, they have taken measures to ensure the workplace becomes health concise for its employees. Business leaders and city council executives started to realize they needed to make changes and decided to meet. The objective they had was to develop better employee workplaces.
Some of their decisions were to change factors such as making healthier food options available making employees focus on being fed food which leads to increased focus and productivity. Those who met also look to make lunch breaks extended to give employees an opportunity to do things like go on a walk or even get a quick workout/cardio session in. Happiness was also a subject looked at as happy employees are good employees (who would have guessed). Recently I had the chance to go visit and tour the South Bend historic Studebaker building. One of the great things I picked up on and that I loved was the openness to the buildings layout. Like what Google set as a trend there was no barrier walls that cut people off from each other. Clear windows and space in, cubicles out. This is a healthy thing that we often don’t think about. It truly does influence our mental health and overall well being. By opening things up it will lead to more conversations, reducing self imposed barriers and ending the stigma by opening up talk about real issues.
Side Note: We wonder why students in schools have mental health and happiness issues. We have schools all across the country set up with thick brick walls enclosed by doors that make students feel isolated, less happy, and limited creativity. This doesn’t turn the 4.0 student to a 2.0, but there is an effect. With school shootings this presents an issue, but imagine if we can figure this problem out to give schools .a healthier layout to increase mental and physical health.
When John Dugmore the chief executive officer for Suffolk Chamber of Commerce was asked why so much thought was going into this he stated a reason beyond the health of the individual. He said “Underlying all of these ideas was the concept of resilience. How do we work together to create more resilient employees, managers and organizations?” Building more resilient people doesn’t just start and end in grade school. It is a lifelong process that if organizations took time to develop, or improve, in their workers might reap more benefits. Suffolk people are setting up small event workshops to further problem solve and bring in other influence. This shows how seriously they are taking it.
At the end of the day employees have a job to do. Employers want it done well. Machines have not taken over yet and so people must be invested in beyond just giving them money, benefits, and a parking spot. Making efforts to enact changes in the workplace to make people lives healthier may be something the cutting edge organizations will undertake and the organizations who stagnate will ignore. Let’s start the conversation and work to find ways to make our workplaces healthier. it could be wholesale changes, policy transformations, or something else.
Let’s make the workplace healthy!
Check out the article about Suffolk HERE