How much does an innovative and well-designed workplace impact the productivity and the overall welfare of employees? On this week's podcast episode produced by Fast Co and Citrix, Rachel Gutter, the president of the international wellness building institute, shares her unique insights on how the implementation of wellness factors in the workplace can create a virtuous cycle of positive change. Key highlights from the podcast: TED BROWN:
Why do you think that wellness has become such a hot topic now for employers? RACHEL GUTTER:
If I suggested to you that I had a solution that could enhance productivity, decrease turnover, improve retention, and recruitment, what business would turn us down, right? This is the holy grail, this is what we have been looking for to understand to how have a more productive workforce to generate better results for the organization, and it turns out that wellness is a kind of framework. And this creates a road map for the organizations that want to do just that. I don't think that we are under any illusion that many employers who choose to pursuit wellness for altruistic purposes. But that is the beauty of what we call a triple bottom line. That intersection of people, planet and prosperity, we shoot for that intersection with WELL.
Have you sort of seen how wellness can impact productivity in a positive way? That there are measures that have taken over the last few years? RACHEL GUTTER:
Absolutely. The projects that get certified under the WELL building standard, which is our principal offering, their performance status speaks for itself. We know that when employees feel that their employers have invested in their wellbeing, that they are 38% more engaged at work and we see that bearing out in different certified projects. TED BROWN:
So, Rachel what are some low-cost solutions for companies that want to improve their employee wellness? RACHEL GUTTER:
A lot of really good options. Examples include installing water filers at sinks, so that everybody has great water quality and can be discouraged from bottled water. This is a pretty economical and impactful solution. Flexible dress code, or just keeping some blankets that are regularly washed in the office, because not everyone is comfortable in the same condition, some like it hot, some like it cold.
How has emerging technology played a role in wellness and the future of wellness?
I think wellness is largely a technology driven movement, which is a really good thing. I think technology is leading to some tremendous innovations and inventions, but I also think that we are sometimes in danger when we get too attached to technology to solve our problems. You can install circadian lighting, but first daylight is more important. So, I think there are a lot we can learn from our natural environment, like biomimicry.
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