The office environment is like its own microclimate, and its health and wellbeing are atmospheric conditions that rely on its balance within its nature to survive. Upsetting any part of that delicate balance could lead to disaster for the company. Creating ways to mitigate the health risks of the workplace and upsetting its natural, cultural balance from internal disease and total self-annihilation is, without saying, the ultimate imperative.
According to Metlink, in the UK, there are these different types of microclimate regions: upland, coastal, forests, and urban. Within one microclimate, generally, there are little pocket microclimates that make up the whole, and each has its temperature to gauge.
Keeping an eye on occasional temperature inversions, cloud clusters, air flows, and any atmospheric pattern variables is an important task because these might cause a shift in the regional microclimate’s balance.
As in nature, so too in the office space. Taking the UK’s established microclimate regions as models into consideration, the office microclimates can mirror nature in its tranquillity and chaos, depending on the health and wellbeing of its inhabitants and the atmospheric conditions on its elemental structures. Finding ways to interact within the established environment without creating a negative impact, a ‘carbon footprint’, or imbalance is, in effect, the office conundrum.
Commonalities between upper management and upland regions present themselves naturally for this comparison. As per Metlink, the upland climate differs from the lower regions through temperature falls, height ratios, and humidity levels, which create a distinctively colder microclimate to the lower valley and coastal regions. Low cloud formations can cause the view of the summit to be covered, and its visibility obscured.
In the office, upper management is often not seen, being on a higher plane to the lower regions, but their presence is felt from above as the colder air flows down along the hills and into the valleys. Thunderstorms and showers also matriculate downward when an imbalance in the spreadsheets upsets the uplands.
Middle management favors the coast as a model because it acts as a border or barrier wall between the land and the sea. A more positive spin might be that of liaison between the stormy waters and the productive land regions.
The coast buffets between the two elements as it tries to bend them to its will to achieve the desired spreadsheet results for the uplands. The interesting factoid about a coastal environment is that inclement weather tends to form around it but not directly over it.
Perhaps the forest is best emulated by the popular, favorite employees, or those with some vague sense of seniority within the office as you often cannot see the forest for the trees. It is a canopied environment, protected from the scrutiny of the sun by its lush foliage. It’s also where the monkeys and the tigers hang out (for this article, jungle and forest are synonymous).
The urbanscape, or the ‘dog’s body’, is an on-the-ground, real-time, rat race of workers busily doing their jobs and inputting the real numbers into the spreadsheets. This scape is best described as diverse, sub-pocket microclimates, all working toward cohesion and a common goal. This cluster of subgroups is the bulk of a company’s workforce and, by popular opinion, the most important to its success or failure
But these sub-pockets, with their varied temperaments, can easily become imbalanced, so risk mitigation policies and management are key to maintaining equilibrium in the urbanscape. What offerings a company provides should be well-researched and tailored to the cultures or climates that forms its own signature genetic makeup.
Health And Wellbeing
One policy that cannot be overlooked or underdeveloped is the company’s strategy on health and wellbeing. An office’s health and wellness program are vital to mitigating company risks such as revenue loss due to employee physical and mental illness, both absenteeism and presenteeism, and, subsequently, the inevitable loss of productivity as a direct result of these.
The knock-on effects these have on other employees, and office morale is an exorbitant risk but manageable by offering a hearty wellness package. Some contributions may include:
- Encouraging and enabling physical exercise to, from, and while at work
- Flexi-time work hours
- Ergonomic assessments for office workstations
- Healthy alternatives to the sit-down desk syndrome, such as adjustable up/down standing desks, cycle chairs, and swiss ball options
- Encouraging breaks by offering attractive and active communal areas
- Offering healthy food options, perhaps even subsidized choices
- An in-house gym or subsidized external gym membership
- Offering an adequate sick leave allocation that takes workers’ families into consideration
- Awareness and upskilling through educational seminars and workshops
- Counselor sessions for mental health support.
- Promote equality and opportunity
- A zero-tolerance policy on workplace bullying and exclusion
Healthy and inclusive office culture is a selling point to attract long-term employees. It might even be the deal-breaker, so the culture must be founded on a fully integrated team unit. There is no room for employee conflicts and hurtful workplace shenanigans, exclusive cliques, and ‘golden boy’ mentalities.
Healthy, happy team morale and cohesion is paramount, and some ways to achieve this is through:
- Foster commonalities but organically manage cliques and friend clusters to promote inclusion
- Team-building learning exercises and ‘think tanks’
- Team-wide events, such as adventure-styled day trips
- Carefully cultivate friendly competition through company sports teams
- Boost creativity with games and fun activities
- Get the team involved by offering their own suggestions
Generally speaking, if management has hired the right fit of people that best emulates their company’s principles, then it is fair to say that employees will want to contribute, want to be productive, and want to be present and included as part of the team. The provision of great wellness and team-building programs will help to forge healthy interaction between sub-pocket groups within the established microclimate regions.
And these strategies will equalize any negative effects the office conundrum might have on its core assets and mitigate the risks of any brewing storm from imploding the company’s delicate microclimate.
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