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Wellness trends in workplaces around the world

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Wellness trends in workplaces around the world

Sam Milbrath
By Sam Milbrath
March 29, 2018

Sixty-one percent of employees are burned out on the job, according to CareerBuilder. And the top five stress symptoms causing missed work days—and costing businesses billions of dollars annually—are constant fatigue (29%), sleeplessness (26%), aches and pains (24%), high anxiety (23%) and weight gain (18%).

That’s why so many companies are rushing to increase their health and wellness benefits. In fact, 60 percent of organizations offer wellness programs—and 53 percent want to.

Employers are using health and wellness programs in a last-ditch effort to keep employees happy. Many of these programs are holistic and deeply embedded in the culture and even in the office and interior design.

But companies aren’t just tackling the physical well-being of employees, they are also taking responsibility for their emotional, mental, health and spiritual wellness as well. That’s a tall order. We wanted to know what the top health and wellness trends emerging from offices around the world are—and if they actually work. Here’s what we found.

1. Eating good, healthy meals together

Here at Foodee, we so strongly believe in the power of eating great meals at work that we’ve built our business around it. Eating healthy, fresh and deliciously local team meals strengthens relationships, clears the air of any bad office juju and boosts company culture. Plus, it keeps employees well-fed, healthy, energized and productive. In fact, there’s a 20 percent increase in brain power and mental alertness after eating a good meal.

We recently wrote a post on the importance of a good staff meal—and what corporate office culture can learn from restaurants. These staff meals, or family meals as they’re so lovingly called, are central to many restaurants’ culture. These family meals offer an opportunity to sit down, reconnect and recharge before getting back to work. People laugh, talk and share—just like the good ol’ days. Say no to sad desk lunches.

2. Sweating and meditating together

Employees at Adobe shooting hoops together in their private basketball court… Hootsuite teams doing downward dogs and sharing namastes in the yoga studio. Many companies believe that teams that sweat together stay together. And there’s an element of truth in that.

Countless studies have shown that exercise helps reduce stress, relieve anxiety, give an instant energy boost, increase confidence, improve sleep and boost happiness. Plus, it’s good for your mental awareness, heart and body health and encourages more movement throughout the day.

3. Bringing the pups to work

Everyone seems to be talking about whether or not to allow pets at work. While there’s plenty of legitimate reasons why allowing furry friends at the office isn’t always a great idea, the pros shouldn’t be overlooked. Especially with such a focus on workplace wellness. Having pets at work has been said to relieve stress, increase employee satisfaction, improve morale and boost teamwork and collaboration. Some studies have also shown that dogs in the office increases productivity, decrease employee absenteeism and attracts younger, top talent. No more leaving fluffy at home?

4. Taking time to do nothing

High-intensity workouts at the office have their benefits and so do stretching and mindfulness activities, such as mediation. Take the company Headspace, for example. This LA-based office has been named one of the happiest offices in the world. “The Headspace vision is to improve the health and happiness of the world,” says Headspace designer Kelly Robinson to GQ Magazine. “Every design decision is connected to sustainability, health and wellness.”

The office has meditation pods and a silent room which are tech-free zones, for quiet mindfulness alone. The company considers these activities just like “a gym membership for the mind.” Many of the world’s best offices have hammocks, quiet corners, nap rooms and meditation zones to turn off. These spaces offer our minds a chance to work through problems in peace and quiet or to have a moment to think of nothing—or to sleep it off and try again later.

5. Bringing the outdoors in—and seeking out nature

There’s also something to be said about being out in nature. But what if we bring nature in? According to a recent study, when we work in green-certified offices, we get a 26 percent boost in cognition and 30 percent fewer sickness-related absences. Plus, respondents reported a 6 percent rise in sleep quality.

We’re seeing more companies with rooftop gardens, outdoor meeting spaces and communal areas, green walls and even jungle-like garden spaces in the office. After introducing more plants and green spaces in the office, many employees in the study had an increase in engagement, concentration levels and felt that the air quality had improved.

Perhaps there’s something to be said about bringing the great outdoors in. Especially if it improves employee health and wellness—and keeps them happy and engaged in the workplace.

Sam Milbrath

About Sam

Sam Milbrath is a freelance copywriter and brand marketer. When she isn’t writing for brands or doing her own creative writing, she's exploring, taking photographs, gardening and doing pottery. Check out her work at www.sammilbrath.com

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