As open concept offices become the norm, more workers are finding the occasional need to escape the stresses of these busy and public environments. Some employers have responded by providing dedicated wellness rooms that can be used for purposes such as rest, relaxation or taking medication.
Such employers, however, are in a minority. According to the 2018 Staples Business Advantage Workplace Employee Survey, only 19% of Canadian office workers reported that their workplace has such a facility, and that in most cases, these rooms lack general privacy, and basic amenities such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, a sink, or a nap pod or bed.
Employee expectations of their employers in this regard, however, are high. 81% expect their employers to take measures to keep them mentally and physically healthy. Furthermore, 72% believe that stress at work has a negative impact on their health and vitality.
Other results in the survey underline these concerns. 24% of respondents placed ergonometric furniture in their top three wish list for their office environment, 23% included a fitness center, and 20% included a private place to rest.
the other hand, many employees cope with stress by staying out of the office. More than one-third (36%) say that they have taken a mental health day, officially or unofficially, on at least one occasion, and most of those who work remotely (57%) say that they sometimes make this choice in order to avoid the distractions of the office.
Today’s offices are collaborative environments that are at times chaotic and stressful. Wellness rooms and other amenities can provide a safety valve for employees who need the occasional escape. If workers are avoiding the office for health and wellness reasons, it may be time for their employers to consider how an improved office environment could address their concerns.