Living Here Living In Hong Kong

Is your work office a healthy place?

By: Rebecca Simpson

Wellness isn’t just for the gym and vacations. A focus on our mental and physical health is now a fixture in workplaces, and so it should be – we spend a lot of time at work.

Can the building where we work really impact our health and wellbeing? The answer is yes, absolutely! Looking after employees with design elements and policies that purposefully drive wellness isn’t just for Silicon Valley start-ups; this is for everyday multinationals and smart SMEs. Wellness Consultant VICTORIA GILBERT from Colliers shares some of the must-have design elements for wellness in the workplace.

#1 Air Quality

“We spend 90 percent of our time inside, especially in urban environments like Hong Kong, and that indoor air can be more polluted than outside. Smart companies ensure the air that the staff breath is clean and oxygenated. Poor air quality, including high carbon dioxide levels, is linked to decreased productivity. Clean air also gives a psychological edge – it’s peace of mind.”

#2 Water Quality

“While Hong Kong’s water source is fine, the water quality can be bad, often because of the state of building pipes. A clean water source is critical to health, and hydration is essential in our city, so employers should make clean water accessible to teams and be smart about placement.”

#3 Lighting Design

“Lighting design impacts productivity – so get it right. The light we’re exposed to during the day impact how we sleep, and our stress levels; in turn, that impacts productivity. Natural light is always best but artificial light can be designed to reflect the sun’s natural position, which our working bodies respond to well.”

wellness colliers space

#4 Movement

“We were born to move. Smart offices are designing circulation routes to ensure people are moving throughout the day. Some have fewer printers or a centralised area for bins so people are naturally compelled to walk and socialise. You’ll also find height adjustable desks or standing desks that team members can move to for a short break.”

#5 Workplace Wellness Policies

“Not all design elements are physical; it’s also important for companies to implement policies to help the team with stress and health. From a policy perspective, teams should ask what the company can do to help employees be their best in the environment they’re providing.”

Victoria adds that, if you’re inspired to make a change in your workplace, there are some great white papers online that can help you create an action plan. “Start to understand this area yourself and better educate those around you; and find someone on the leadership team to champion your enthusiasm.”

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This article first appeared in the August/September 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.