Office workers who carry on working throughout the summer months are finding that there are unexpected benefits to ‘manning the fort’ while their colleagues are lazing on the beaches.
Among the unexpected benefits are renewed vigour and highlighted productivity as many employees find that spending summer at their desks allows them to get down to work with increased productivity and a more focused outlook.
Increasingly, businesses are asking themselves how they can channel this positive outlook throughout the year.
Steelcase, the global leader in the office furniture industry, conducted research into the link between workers’ wellbeing and the bottom line. They discovered that employees who are in a positive frame of mind are not only healthier, but more productive at work. It would appear that physical and mental wellbeing are tightly linked to emotional experience and this can be influenced by our surroundings, our actions and our perception of the world.
During the summer months, a number of factors contribute to a thriving working environment.
- A more relaxed atmosphere. Quieter times mean more time for reflection, fewer pressures and more opportunity to concentrate on the task in hand.
- Relaxed Dress Codes. With the rise of mercury levels, employers often turn a blind eye to more casual clothing. This results in workers feeling closer to their core personality and thus able to give vent to their creativity.
- More Space, Less Stress. With colleagues away, workers often find that there is less noise and fewer distractions in the office, allowing them to get down to serious work. Stress levels are further reduced by the sunny weather and nicer lunch breaks in the open air reinforce the feel good factor.
Bostjan Ljubic, vice president of Steelcase UK and Ireland said: “It is paramount for productivity that workers’ wellbeing needs be catered for. We very soon realised at Steelcase that one of the key factors of this wellbeing is to provide staff with a level of choice and control over how they work.
“Summer time created a more flexible environment and allows some employees to concentrate on their work in a quieter ambient with fewer stresses.
“However it is not necessary to wait all year round for summer to arrive to see workers thrive. By creating more flexible working conditions and providing workers with spaces which allow them to choose where they work, control temperature and a more relaxed dress code, it is possible to create a sense of belonging and empowerment in the workplace
“Workers’ wellbeing is not just of benefit to the individual, it is completely in the interests of organisations. Indeed, creative, collaborative work is only possible when employees are in a positive frame of mind.”
Steelcase has found that there are six dimensions to consider when planning for well-being within the workplace:
- Optimism (allowing choice, personalisation and control)
- Mindfulness (offering calming places that encourage interaction)
- Authenticity (creating informal, non-restrictive environments)
- Belonging (welcoming and well-equipped spaces)
- Meaning (aligning workers with a vision through space)
- Vitality (supporting active, healthy lifestyles with movement and visibility)