Pairing Worksite Wellness and Sustainability to Create "Quality Of Life Per Square Foot"


image: worksite wellnessBecause most adults spend a majority of their waking hours at work, a sustainable working environment is critical.  The work site, organizational culture, and working environment are powerful influences on behavior.   A component of increasing employee engagement has been wellness programs.  Traditionally, they have been used as instruments to address weight reduction, reduced stress levels, improved physical fitness, health, and well being.  Until recently, corporate wellness programs have been a "nice to have" program.  However, new trends point to wellness programs as "must have" programs as success evaluations of these programs are shifting.

As mentioned in the post, 2012 Workplace Trend: Well Being in the Workplace, worksite wellness and sustainability are linked:

  • Enhanced recruitment and retention of healthy employees
  • Reduced health care costs
  • Decreased rates of illness and injuries
  • Reduced employee absenteeism
  • Improved employee relations and morale
  • Increased productivity

Fortunately, further progress is being made with a call for companies to measure "Quality Of Life Per Square Foot" as a new workplace standard.  Headed by CoreNet Global and its 7,500+ members, the group advocates the quality of working environments and work experiences as a socially responsible corporate practice.  Which eco actions are CoreNet Global requesting the corporate community to take to improve workplaces? 

  • Holistic, integrated workplace design with open, progressive work spaces designed for the work modes of collaboration, focus, learning and socializing; complemented by telework and other forms of mobile work when the job functions involved are applicable
  • Emphasis on sustainable features promoting personal health and wellness, such as:
    • Use of non-toxic and/or reused materials
    • Ergonomically sound furniture and equipment
    • Access to daylight and open views complemented by energy-efficient windows
    • Natural ventilation via mixed-mode conditioning
    • Balanced interior temperature controls
    • High-performance lighting systems
    • Shading, cool roofs and green roofs
    • Water conservation and storm water management
  • Incorporation of personal amenities with an eye toward integrated wellness, such as:
    • Flexible work terms and work schedules
    • Introduction of “third places” and “third spaces” as alternatives to the main workplace setting
    • Integration of personal devices with company servers and systems as an extension of the emerging work-life support “eco-system” trending toward employees using their own technology while working, or “BYOT”
    • Fitness centers, walking and running trails
    • Cafeteria, café environments and food services emphasizing healthy options and offerings such as fresh, local foods with programs promoting healthy eating
  • Encouraging commuter-carbon footprint reduction through public transit links, transit and/or car pool incentives, bike paths and bike storage

In as much as worksite wellness is becoming more on the norm and less of the exception, so too is business sustainability.  By providing employees with wellness programs not only provides access to improved health, but it also demonstrates corporate social responsibility. Sustainable business strategies embedded in the core operations of a business captures the benefits a wellness program aims to make and more.   As with any successful program, leadership is critical as is participation and engagement.   Unite wellness programs with the corporate sustainability plan to engage your workforce.

Comments for Pairing Worksite Wellness and Sustainability to Create "Quality Of Life Per Square Foot"

Name: Cathie Guthrie
Time: Friday, January 25, 2013

I love hearing about this very progressive initiative - quality of life per square inch - #QLPSI - we need to get a hashtag for it!