Creating Comfort and Well-being in the workplace

In Chicago this year, the showroom featured what is important to us—quality products that inspire, spaces that improve well-being, and a focus on people with the goal of comfort and happiness in the workplace.

Evoking a forward-thinking approach to products and spaces that allow individuals to interact and collaborate, we are providing environments that create comfort and foster well-being, as well as immersive areas for both community and collaboration to enhance productivity. Mindfulness and well-being are key to recruiting the top talent and Kimball demonstrates how furniture and technology can improve comfort in the workplace, making it a destination so amazing that everyone wants to work in it.

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness? Ask a group and you are likely to get a different answer from everyone. At its core the concept is straight forward; we all need to take a moment to slow down and embrace the beauty of focusing inward.

In today’s hyper-active world where physical and digital collide, we are tethered to our devices, being inundated with information and constantly connected to work. Whether it’s a news alert about the latest disaster or a 911 email from a co-worker at 11PM, there is no downtime. As the work-life balance continues to blend, people are continually multi-tasking, and as psychologist Daniel Goleman says, “the more you do it, the worse you get at it.” Research out of the University of California, Irvine, reveals that not only do people tend to switch activities every three minutes during the workday, but it takes significantly longer to get back on the original task. UC Irvine professor Gloria Mark says this leads to “higher levels of stress, frustration, mental effort, feeling of time pressure and mental workload.”

It is no surprise that mindfulness is growing in mainstream markets such as healthcare and workplace. Hospitals across the country are using meditation and yoga as part of the healthcare offerings to patients undergoing surgery, pain management, cancer treatment and more. Corporations such as American Express and Nike have taken mindfulness training programs to their staff. Google has even started the program “Search Inside Yourself” to boost productivity and stave off burn-out.

Mindfulness is a practice worth considering. There is no wrong way to do it, and no medal for master meditator. Just pay attention and be mindful as much and as often as possible, and you will reap the benefits. Now go get your Namaste on.

Wellness

A greater number of errors, inadequate care, and high turnover rates are driving organizations to evaluate the well-being of their employees. Both corporate and healthcare facilities are introducing their versions of on-site services, recreation, and design elements to build a true sense of belonging and esteem.

Designers are incorporating private wellness rooms where staff can retreat to rest and recharge. They are also accentuating the importance of natural light and fresh air by putting focal points on windows and making open-air courtyards available to employees. Group activities focused on physical health are being coordinated to make employees feel more connected to their peers and the organization, and access to healthier food options are being offered in cafés.

Being well is more than just feeling healthy or avoiding sickness and injury. The American Nurse’s Association defines a healthy nurse as “one who focuses actively on creating and maintaining a balance and synergy of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, personal, and professional well-being.” Step one is focusing on the most basic needs of physiological comfort and safety—healthy food, natural light, ergonomics, privacy, and infection control. These are the key elements that support wellness, but well-being includes more than that. To elevate to true well-being and a sense of belonging, connection and social needs must be addressed, as well as esteem and self-actualization through trust, respect, autonomy, purpose, value and empowerment. Achieving all these elements will ultimately lead to employees that are happy and healthy in both mind and body.

A study found that if people think they should be reachable after work, they feel less in control and more stressed. It’s ok to shut it down from time to time, it will make you happier, healthier and more productive in the long run.

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