COLUMN: INSIDE FACILITY MANAGEMENT
HOW FM CAN HELP DECREASE SICK LEAVE BY 30%
March has almost come to an end an with that, the first quarter of 2019 is done! In this past quarter, we feel like there has been great focus on the workplace. Putting the employee first and increasing productivity through workplaces have been hot topics. Not only in articles but also during events: this month, IFMA and FMN hosted Work Workplace Europe in Amsterdam. We were lucky enough to meet and speak with so many of you during this event. A lot of the sessions during this event were also focused on how to impact the workplace in a positive way and strong trends in the FM marketplace such as flexible workspaces. There were also talks on how FM and HR can integrate, for example during the panel that we got to host and during which we’ve had some great discussions. Because after all: should FM and HR work together and to what extent?
Of course we’re taking you through the most interesting articles of this month. Let’s start!
How FM can impact sick leave…
We were inspired by an article on Linkedin about Mimer AB, a Swedish software company that came up with an amazing idea. For every hour that their employees work out, they will get 12 minutes extra holiday leave. In order to encourage employees to work out or follow classes, the company supplies them with a free gym membership. Sounds fun doesn’t it? Well the results are even more fun: over the course of two years, sick leave decreased by 30%, and employees stated they were sleeping much better, were less tired, and had less headaches, neck pains and stomach pains. On top of that, it positively affected the image of the company and of course this was an incentive for people to apply for a job at the company so it was also excellent employer branding. Would this be something you would apply within your own organization?
Easy steps towards a healthy workplace
And we’re not nearly done yet because we also stumbled upon a great article by Allianz. They have shared 5 tips that are easy to implement and that positively impact a healthy working environment:
- Have lunch together. Having lunch with your colleagues is not only great for bonding purposes but it also allows employees to have a mental break from work. Your brain is used in a different way, and is able to recharge for the rest of the day. Plus, being stressed and eating at your desk is horrible for digestion so make sure that your employees have the time and space to have lunch together away from their desk.
- Meetings by foot. Big tech companies like Facebook are embracing the trend of having meetings whilst walking. In a (boring) meeting room with little fresh air, it’s much harder to stay focused. Research has also shown that this has a negative effect on the creativity of the employees and that people tend to have more innovative ideas when in unusual settings or whilst moving. Walking enables oxygen to circulate through your body, and because of that you’ll gain new energy and ideas.
- GREEN GREEN GREEN! Plants and flowers not only make our offices look a lot cozier, they also make sure the quality of the air improves. Research has also shown that plants in the workplace decrease stress and feelings of depression. Offices with “green window views” are even more effective.
- Standing desks. More and more buildings have desks that also allow employees to work whilst standing. Again, this is good for the flow of oxygen in your body. Plus, sitting the majority of the day brings high risks in terms of health. Old but gold: desks that are adaptable for different heights so that the employee can choose to work sitting down or standing.
- Working at home. Of course this is not a new trend: we’ve seen it for quite some time but “us facility managers” don’t unanimously agree on the effect of it. Allianz states that working at home has a positive effect on the health of the employee, as they are less distracted and they are able to start their mornings off calmly. This is not only better for the health of the employee, but according to Allianz also increases creativity and productivity.
Physical space vs. management
We’ve also gone over an article written by Barry Jessup about the importance of healthy workplaces. He emphasizes that mainly younger generations such as Millenials and Generation Z really prioritize a healthy workplace as well as a healthy work-life balance. Thus, organizations should take this into account. Jessup states that there are two important elements when developing healthy workspaces: the physical space and management. The first step is to develop the building and design physical spaces in a healthy way. Then it is up to management to take on the right leadership style to also have a healthy work-life balance and to enable employees to work a certain way.
According to Jessup, the most difficult issue is to measure the effects. We often see that there are community apps involved to monitor the employees where-abouts and activities to give the facility manager input on a more tactical and operational level. But really monitoring and evaluating the effect on health and the employee is scarce. As soon as we find a way to do that, this will also enable facility managers to alter their buildings and facility services to their customer even further.
That’s it for this month. We’d love to hear your opinion on the matters we’ve discussed and do let us know if there were tips & tricks you’ve been able to use yourself!