From isolation to connection: Incorporating wellness in workplace strategy

1 April 2023 — Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

In recent years, the office environment has evolved from being mostly in-person, to a hybrid, synchronous blend of working styles and communication. Whilst the ability to work from anywhere has accelerated due to the pandemic, workplace strategies to manage this change haven’t been implemented at the same pace, and it’s impacting employees.

For many, coming to the office can be a break from the stresses of home life. It’s also an opportunity to socialise with people outside of the family unit and for some, it may be the only social interaction they experience.

It’s the role of empathetic leaders to nurture the mental health of their employees, and by extension, the success of their business, by providing a workplace that fosters psychological safety, connection and empowers staff to be at their best. The foundation for this starts with a well thought-out workplace strategy that meets the current and future needs of teams.

Nurturing wellbeing at work

The specific solutions for an organisation should ideally be determined by their workplace strategy but here are a few ways that leading Australian organisations are nurturing connection and wellness in the workplace:

  • Providing opportunities to engage in physical activity: Gyms and wellness rooms are a popular addition to many workplaces today and can facilitate activities like dance classes, meditation sessions, yoga classes, and mindfulness groups. Breathing techniques and physical exercise are beneficial to overall health, focus, and can tackle those feelings of overwhelm.
  • Bringing the outside in: Having greenery in the workplace helps people feel calmer, more at ease, more productive, and plants can filter and purify the air.
  • Providing spaces to recharge: Allowing people to have down-time in between tasks helps them to alleviate stress and overcome mental blocks. Encouraging this balance by providing specially-designed areas demonstrates trust, which is critical to successful teams, employee satisfaction and optimal performance.
  • Creating space for downtime within the workday: Whilst having a physical space to recharge is important, making the time to use these facilities during the workday is also key to enabling peak performance in employees. The Pomodoro technique is a popular method of ensuring that people take regular breaks. This approach involves working in 25 minute bursts, interspersed with periods of rest and recharge.
  • Providing opportunities to bond: Games rooms and social spaces are great ways for employees to meet and unwind. They also help to bring colleagues together who may not otherwise meet, which is often the source of new and interesting ideas. Google is famous for promoting this type of casual collision. In a recent client project, Australian furniture retailer, Temple & Webster included a wellness room and a games room onsite, to encourage staff to unwind and connect with colleagues. Find out more here.
  • Encouraging staff to use their annual leave: Time away from work decreases stress and burnout as well as reduces the likelihood of sick leave by 28%. Having regular breaks throughout the year boosts creativity and overall mental health (source).
  • Staff events and social programs: An effective way to help combat loneliness and encourage workers to connect in-person more often, is to host team building events – such as social sports leagues, cross-departmental networking meetups, and fun outings.

Loneliness isn’t solely due to an absence of people, but rather the absence of connection. Providing a space for our people to forge relationships and regularly connect, enriches their lives and that’s invaluable to their wellbeing and to the business.

Ben Myhill Spaceful

If you’re interested in increasing your productivity through reimagining your workspace, reach out to start the conversation.