Built Environment & Wellness

Toni Sperlbaum, CWWPM, CHWC
Vice President of Sales & Marketing

What if you had to hopscotch into a conference room as you entered because there’s a tape hopscotch board on the floor.

What if when you entered that conference room, you had the option of standing at a taller bistro table around the perimeter of the room, or to sit comfortably in a chair?

What if you had a basketball hoop in your parking lot or behind your building?  Would employees play at lunch, or perhaps after work before heading home?  I don’t know for sure – but the likelihood is certainly much higher!

There are so many opportunities being missed in the worksite wellness arena when it comes to the built environment to activate employees and really show support for the types of behaviors you are aiming to change in your workforce.  Two aspects of built environment can be considered:

1. The “Built In” environment that usually requires some construction or major foresight when renovating office spaces.  This could include making the stair well open, well lit, and in a prominent place in the center of a room versus having the elevator front and center.  This certainly is important, but not always as easy to just change on a whim or implement over a short time period.

2. The “Surface Level” built environment, typically more affordable for companies and easier to implement, which includes my above what if examples as well as additional ideas such as:

  • An option for stand up desks (they sell relatively cheap desk top ones that can adjust your computer vs. having to purchase a full desk with an electrical height adjustment.  Although, those are pretty cool too)
  • Turning an old office into a makeshift gym with a treadmill, some hand weights, a ball, some bands, and maybe a TV and DVDs where employees can work out with DVDs on their lunch break
  • Paint/artwork in the stair wells done by employees
  • An indoor walking path marked with arrows and a map indicating how many laps around x department = 1/2 mile, for example (you can make an outdoor path, too!)
  • “Wellness Recognition Wall” where you can feature employees who have lost weight, completed a 5K or similar event, quit smoking, etc.
  • Installing bike racks, removing a barrier for employees to ride to work
  • Offering utensils in your break rooms will encourage employees to pack a lunch instead of going out.  Ample fridge and microwave space will help with this too!
  • Placing the healthier vending machine options at eye level and the unhealthier options down below.The possibilities and creative ideas are endless!  Take a look at your built environment, or tap into the creative juices of your wellness committee and see how you can mold your environment to support wellness efforts.

Find Your Balance – It’s National Work & Family Month

Dan Mata, Fall 2017 Intern

This national observance is one that many people look past, or yet, don’t even know it exists. National Work and Family month is all about our work-life balance, which some may have down better than others. Statistically, work-life balance is becoming much more difficult to “balance.” Many employers have been attempting to make true work-life balance a reality for employees; however, it isn’t becoming as attainable as we want it to be. It is said that at least  1 in 4 Americans describe themselves as “super stressed.” Many of us are trying to manage heavy workloads, relationships with families, along with our outside interests. Life can be very overwhelming, and with that, our stress level rises. It’s true that we all will experience some level of stress, (we need some amount of stress challenge us and help us grow), but it is important that we learn how to manage it. Keep in mind that as our stress levels spike, it makes it harder for us to maintain good health. Weight loss becomes harder, overall mood is decreased, sleep can become worse, and etc. There are countless ways stress negatively affects you but there is good news. For every one bad way stress can affect you there are ways to combat and even prevent high stress levels.

Here are some practical steps that you can implement to kick the stress and bring that work-life balance back!

At Work

  • Set manageable goals each day
  • Be efficient with your time at work
  • Ask for flexibility
  • Take a five-minute break
  • Tune in to your favorite listening pleasure
  • Communicate effectively
  • Make sure you take your lunch break, away from your desk, and all other breaks allotted to you

At Home

  • Unplug from technology
  • Make sure home responsibilities are evenly distributed and clearly outlined
  • Don’t over commit – say ‘no’ to over scheduled activities
  • Get support from friends and family
  • Take advantage of your company’s Employee Assistance Program
  • Stay Active – regular exercise reduces stress, depression and anxiety
  • Treat your body right – being healthy increases your tolerance to stress
  • Get help if you need it

Source: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/work-life-balance