The Impact of Place on Wellness and Well-being

Do you know that if you can make an employee more productive for just 10 minutes a week, it will have a larger impact on your company’s bottom line than reducing the size of their officespace by 25%!

Couple that with the fact that poor employee health can rob a company of the equivalent of between 20%-50% of salaries, and together you have a pretty compelling business case for wellness and well-being programs.

The term “wellness” relates to physical health. “Well-being” includes wellness (in fact it’s predicated on it), but encompasses the whole person–mind as well as body

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows nicely how work and place relate to wellness and wellbeing.

Lighting, noise, temperature, and ergonomics are at the bottom of the hierarchy: they’re the wellness issues. If your office is freezing and your chair is killing your back, you’re probably not going to be thinking very well about the role you play in the organization’s mission. You’re going to be looking for a sweater and taking time off for physical therapy appointments. You’re going to be focused on just getting through the day. So unless your wellness needs are met, you can’t move on to the kinds of things that create well-­?being.

One of the other things we know about Maslow’s hierarchy, is that while not having your physiological or safety needs met creates dissatisfaction, having them met doesn’t necessarily create satisfaction. The same is true in the workplace—think noise, aesthetics—accommodating them doesn’t create satisfaction. So you have to wonder what the ‘sweet spot’ for satisfying those needs when you’re budgeting for office space.

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