How to be happy and healthy on the job.
From corporate executives to tech developers, Americans typically spend 40-plus hours a week on the job. With so much time and energy channeled into the office, finding a professional environment that is healthy and emotionally satisfying is paramount to both success and overall well-being. But what makes a happy workplace?
The office environment and attention to physical health play vital roles in on-the-job wellness.
Picture someone hunched over a desk in a small, poorly lit cubicle. Now imagine another person in a bright, ergonomically set-up space, with the added benefit of a serene natural setting outside the office walls. Who is more likely to express job satisfaction?
For SAP’s Robin Tate, head of operations for San Ramon, the office environment is crucial to employee happiness, a fact that was made all the clearer after the data management firm moved to Bishop Ranch from its previous location.
“We’re in such an amazing space here. We went from hard-walled cubicles to a more open, collaborative space. It’s easier to communicate with people, and there are so many places to interact with others,” says Tate. “The work environment is changing, and the company is looking at more flexible options where you can work anywhere but still be active and a contributor.”
Many companies at Bishop Ranch understand the health benefits of nontraditional workspace options, utilizing extended Wi-Fi to allow their employees the opportunity to work from the office balconies, the Roundhouse Market & Conference Center, or even the boat dock. Holding work sessions outside, having one-on-one conversations in a rowboat on the lake, and taking advantage of the nearby Iron Horse Trail for walking meetings are also fresh-air alternatives.
Get With the Programs
Encouraging an active lifestyle and wellness through guest speakers discussing physical and financial health topics, flu shots, walking programs, health fairs or on-site exercise classes are some concrete ways that companies promote employee well-being. Other businesses, such as CPA and consulting firm Armanino, add a little competition to the mix, sponsoring basketball, softball and other corporate sports teams.
“We have a wellness program based on lifestyle, exercise and nutrition,” says Vickie Moul, Armanino’s director of human resources. “We bring people together for friendly competitions against other local businesses, which is always fun—especially when you win.”
Part of workplace wellness is also prioritizing time away from the office—unplugging and taking days off as needed. This ties back to flexibility and employee empowerment as well.
“When you are not at work, you are not at work,” says Moul. “We are all professionals who have a job to do; we get it done and then try to focus on our lives.”
The Social Network
According to Robert Half’s survey, building collegial relationships is a major factor in workplace happiness.
Working Better Together
Professional collaboration is essential in business; it can result in more creative solutions, promotes innovation and improves overall communication. Increasingly, social media and tech advancements allow employees to break down barriers and share common interests, both inside and outside the workplace.
Skin-care company Rodan + Fields uses Workplace (formerly Facebook at Work) to connect its offices in San Francisco and Bishop Ranch, as well its global locations. “We think communication and connection are integral to employee happiness,” says Jessica Raefield, senior director of human resources. “We try to provide our employees as many opportunities to connect with each other as possible.”
One such example: The company also uses technology like Zoom video and web conferencing to enable easier digital meeting connections worldwide.
The Power of Team Building
Rodan + Fields employees have used Workplace to develop everything from basketball teams to a foodie group that explores the bounty available at San Ramon restaurants. Other people opt to give back, helping at food banks or doing meal prep for local churches. Rodan + Fields also offers charitable opportunities through its nonprofit Prescription for Change foundation; employees get a yearly allocation of paid time off to do volunteer work.
“We try to create a work environment that is flexible and representative of our company values,” Raefield says. “While we have a work-hard mentality, passion and fun are core to our company culture too.
“Most companies strive for happier employees,” she adds. “Happy employees stay longer, produce better work and feel better about coming to work every day.”
To learn more about Bishop Ranch and their healthy workspaces, click here.