The last few years have seen some pretty drastic changes in the workplace. Just as we all predicted, technology has continued to reshape the landscape, allowing us to have meetings anywhere in the world, rely on software to make important decisions, and get ahead of trends faster than we ever thought possible.
But something else is happening that is just as influential in the business world, and it has nothing to do with tech advances. As it turns out, the trends of 2018 that are most exciting are the ones that have to do with, well, people. Interestingly, health and wellness are going to take the business world by storm this year as companies think of creative ways to boost productivity and increase retention. Here are five of the more prominent changes we expect to see over the next few months:
Green Spaces and Fresh Air.
Maybe it’s surprising that companies are putting so much consideration into widening windows or placing a potted plant in the design process, but there’s something really promising about this trend for both employers and employees. In fact, Biophilic design is a growing industry based on the idea that if we have to spend 8 hours of our day inside, we should figure out a way to recreate the tranquility and rejuvenating benefits of being outdoors. Not only do the plants make workers more relaxed and focused, but they also reduce a company’s carbon footprint.
We’re pretty excited that the cramped cubicle is going out of style, because sitting all day is really detrimental to our health. In 2018, many companies will be trying out optional standing work areas where employees can stretch their legs and add some variation to their day. No more getting up every half hour to make an unnecessary trip to the bathroom or coffee machine just to get out of your seat.
Intentional Design to Encourage Movement.
For companies that are in construction this year, a huge push is going to be to increase opportunities for exercise. This means placing staircases in plain, inviting view to encourage people to get their steps in. And, there’s another obvious benefit to this design process: cost. When more people opt for the stairs instead of escalators and elevators, the building is more energy efficient. This intentional design can also be implemented through the use of ergonomic furniture in the workplace. The WalkTop Treadmill Desk is a perfect example of a piece that can be added to an office’s design in order to encourage more movement throughout the day.
Emphasis on Mental Health.
Gone are the days that people were afraid to admit that they were stressed out at work. The truth is, it is pretty much inevitable to feel pressure or stress on the job, and without dealing with it, we become a less-than-ideal colleague and employee. Companies are taking note that providing resources for mental wellness is not only the right thing to do, but also has some positive benefits like increased focus and lower turnover. That’s why some companies are offering mental health days and others encourage lunchtime meditation or yoga. Some employers are even considering putting napping pods in the workplace for a little afternoon rest and recovery.
Flex Schedules and Clear Boundaries.
Mental health is not just about helping employees deal with stress, but also with creating an environment that prevents unnecessary stress in the first place. Asking employees to put in extra hours, expecting them to answer phone or video calls and emails after work, and offering very little vacation time is going to fade out as more and more employees demand a flexible work experience. After all, they just want a reasonable balance between their work life and home life, even in a world that keeps us connected 24/7.
Clearly, it’s going to be a great year for physical and mental wellness. And, when these 2018 trends start to translate to profits and employee satisfaction, you can be sure that companies are going to continue investing in the happiness of the staff. Whether these changes include innovative design concepts or more human-centered hiring packages, 2018 has some pretty great changes in store!