The intimate collaboration that embodies small business teamwork often helps sustain a healthy workplace atmosphere. Whether it’s open office design or building safety, modern commercial real estate trends are helping to put emphasis on the quest for healthier and happier workspaces.
The built environment is particularly important to support positive ways in which employees communicate, innovate and remain productive. As small business owners often have to determine company mission and culture, part of a small entrepreneur’s duty is to also find real estate that creates an environment that maintains physical wellbeing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poor employee health can cost companies up to $225.8 billion each year.
At a time where the state of work is more transient than before and employees are more aware of what they want in a workspace, businesses who want to attract the best talent should use the physical space as a unique benefit and invest in it accordingly.
Here’s how small business entrepreneurs can use the built environment’s features to create healthy workplaces to maximize the potential of all their employees:
1. Walkable Offices and Buildings
Real estate that’s constructed to provide walkable and flexible spaces can improve employee health. Providing opportunities for physical movement, offices designed with long corridors or general open office design can afford optimum space for movement. According to a World Green Building Council report, employers can enhance options for fitness and leisure in turn positively impact well-being and productivity. Likewise, the CDC also reports that a simple walking path can provide opportunities for employees to walk at work, addressing issues like leisure time, concerns about neighborhood safety and lack of social support.
Small business owners may want to incorporate their headquarters in a central or downtown location so that workers are encouraged to walk to work or go outside when they need to socialize or take a break.
2. Amenities & Leisure and Relaxation Areas
For small businesses looking to hire knowledge workers — those cross-generational workers who utilize and value emerging technologies and workplace innovations that foster creativity and productivity — market trends show that flexible and amenity-driven features are becoming increasingly popular. Smart buildings are starting to feature healthy cafes, lunchtimes classes, lounging areas, and flexible working and meeting spaces. Perhaps this is why 47% of small businesses lease office space from coworking spaces.
In addition, mental and emotional factors are also key components of employee health. If your team members are stressed with no outlet, then they will be at risk serious health complications like high blood pressure and heart disease. On a small team, in particular, this could more directly stifle innovation and productivity. Businesses should design and find office buildings that can act as designated leisure and relaxation areas so that employees can relax, think, or even take a short nap. In addition, offices should also offer a sense of choice. Workplaces that provide both communal areas along with private and secluded areas for working and creating can provide more productivity during working hours.
Read the other 2 ways on the original article published on SCORE.