Christopher Allen

By Christopher Allen
Head of Workplace |

We take a look at tools for cultivating a wellness mindset, supported by your workplace. Read on for our top tips on how to hack your working week.

Wellbeing is everywhere. You’d be hard-pressed to go through an entire week without seeing multiple wellness gurus in your newsfeed, fancy juice bars or pop-up yoga classes in your neighbourhood.

Our daily environments outside the office are shaping modern perceptions of wellness and personal wellbeing. Our clients regularly ask us what a wellness strategy is and how they can get one. We’re advocates of corporate wellbeing strategies, of course. But what do they mean for you and your employees right now, today?

On a practical level, wellness is about creating freedoms (not constraints) within a workweek structure. A little like this…

Meetup Mondays

Collaborate on meetup Mondays. You’re fresh after relaxing and restocking on the weekend. You have energy, you have ideas. Take advantage of how you feel on a Monday and tackle the week head-on. Pitch your innovations to colleagues and make those important decisions.

Don’t succumb to collaboration overload by accepting invites to every meeting or getting involved when you don’t need to. Much of this overload can be driven by your desire to be helpful, which may not always be practical. Practising healthy collaborative habits - like thoughtful exclusion or prepping before a meeting - enable the most productive people to claw back 18-24% of their misused time.

Design tip #1: Create multiple informal meeting areas throughout your office using a mix of furniture including benches, booths and sofas.

Transformation Tuesdays

Channel on transformation Tuesdays. This is all about creating a purpose-driven organisation. Think, plan and reflect.

Instead of drifting along, give yourself a birds-eye view of your long-term goals and jot down your high, medium and low-priority tasks to get you there. It’s important to review the previous week’s successes and failures and look ahead to the current week. The process of reflection helps us make sense of our day-to-day experiences. It can help us move forward, make decisions, take action and challenge us our habitual ways of doing and thinking.

Encourage reflection by giving your employees time and space to do so. When we fall behind, even though we're working hard, our response is often just to work harder. But to work smarter, our research suggests we should all take a little more time for reflection.

Design tip #2: Allocate quiet areas for reflection away from the open plan and add partitions or acoustic panels for privacy.

Wellness Wednesdays

Converse on wellness Wednesdays. I’m not talking about juice cleanses, yoga rooms or gym memberships. I’m talking about encouraging people to choose or make time for wellbeing. Disconnect from digital devices and connect in real life!

We know from our data there’s a definite mid-week slump. We believe reconnecting with each other and being aware our personal needs is a great way to get an energy boost for the rest of the week. Take time to eat lunch with your team or go for a walk around the block together. Swedish Fikas – informal coffee breaks with pastries or snacks – absolutely have a place in the modern British workplace!

Celebrate small wins, give positive feedback to those around you and focus on open communication. Before you know it, you’ll have a solution to that tricky task or get unexpected help with a project. Sometimes work doesn’t look like work!

Design tip #3: Take inspiration from domestic interiors in your kitchen or breakout area to create social environment.

Talk-less Thursdays

Concentrate on talk-less Thursday. Ditch distraction and indulge in guilt-free concentration, without headphones!

Humans are hardwired for distraction. Our days in the office can become a series of unproductive work moments, punctuated by meetings, phone calls and questions from coworkers. The average person is distracted or interrupted every 40 seconds when working at their computer. Sometimes it’s easy to get back on track. But when our attention is completely derailed, research shows it can take more than 20 minutes to refocus.

Towards the end of the week, armed with your to-do list and collaborative ideas, it’s time to translate your week into productive work. Give yourself an entire day to focus strictly on work and not office interactions. Practice self-discipline, communicate your intention to concentrate on productive work only and let your creative juices flow.

Design tip #4: Invest in your tech infrastructure. Enabling a plug-and-play solution throughout your office means employees can pick up, find a quiet space and continue working seamlessly.

Future Fridays

Create on future Friday. Future Fridays are about new ways of working and driving innovation in your workplace.

Ditch all notions of presenteeism and give Fridays over to flexibility - whatever it means at an individual level. Perhaps even consider your very own version of Google’s famous ‘20% time’ philosophy.

In 2004, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin introduced a policy encouraging employees to spend 20% of their time on what they personally believed would benefit the company. This empowerment to be more creative and innovative has resulted in many of Google’s significant advances. In my view this is also about blending a personal passion or skill, which may not ordinarily be utilised in the workplace, with your day-to-day role.

It’s important to trust employees to manage their own time. Micro-management or dictating their 20% will ultimately stymie growth. Let employees choose where they want to work and what they want to work on. Working effectively is way more important than clocking hours. It’s been proven a four-day week can be just as productive as a regular Monday-to-Friday schedule!

Design tip #5: Adopt an activity-based approach in your office design. This means staff can work on their own projects wherever they feel most comfortable, whether in the office or not.

Switch off Saturday and Sunday

Rest, restock and refresh over the weekend. Simple.

Wellness has to become part of our general mindset. We can’t always replicate the wellness we see being touted on the high street in our offices, but we can structure our time to promote a more meaningful work-life blend!

Find out more in the full webinar!