Is Your Office Undermining Your Wellbeing?

It pays to have a doctor in the family. I should know- my brother is a doctor. It wasn’t until after I spoke with him – and had a candid conversation with myself – did I realize the connection between having health and the ability to do my job well. After all, he told me, health isn’t just physical. Our bodies are a complex system of emotional, cognitive, and physical processes that have a circular way of affecting each other and our holistic wellbeing.

Over the years, work has become just as complex. Technological advances, global expansion, and near-constant innovation have introduced a plethora of new challenges, opportunities and lessons for the 2014 employee- a person who, by most estimates, will spend more time working than anything else, even sleeping.

Stress-induced issues – the extreme opposite of wellbeing – is a risk factor that leaders can and must proactively manage, within themselves and within their organizations. People who are overly stressed, overly worked and anxiety-plagued can’t frame challenges in an optimistic way and move things forward. In contrast, people who feel supported are unbounded in what they can accomplish and gain deep personal satisfaction from their work.

In our new research project focused specifically on worker and workplace wellbeing, we wanted to look closely at the building blocks of wellbeing and how the workplace can be a source of wellbeing day-to-day. We are continuing to learn about the power of place in providing an environment that serves to provide harmony, reduce friction and amplify human capabilities.

This research shows a workplace designed with employee wellbeing in mind can be a source of pride as well as a source of inspiration to achieve the purpose that drives the organizations reason for being. It can be a place that makes people feel good about being part of the enterprise, a place that they want to show family and friends, a place that is a visual representation of what their company stands for.

It’s been my experience as CEO for Steelcase for the past 19 years that work is inherently a social endeavor and that when you understand the purpose and emotional health of great companies is centered around people, you can take performance to a much higher level.

I invite you to learn more about what we’ve uncovered around wellbeing in our latest 360 issue, available online here.

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