The workplace has gradually evolved from the standard fixed location to a manifold of configurations such as open space, open plan, cubicles, and co-working spaces through time. Nonetheless, the principle of workers sitting at fixed position remains. In a book published in 2018, Conquering digital overload, by Peter Thomson, Mike Johnson and J. Michael Devlin, the ninth chapter is devoted to the wellbeing and the workplace. The authors point out the transformation of the classical office work to a knowledge work and how the conventional human resource es policies are affecting the wellbeing together with the mental and physical health of the employees.
According to a Danish study cited by the authors, the employees working in open spaces were more frequently ill and absent from work on sick leave. Similarly, other investigations highlight the drain of productivity and negative impact on staff motivation created by the noise and continual distraction in open spaces.
In order to minimize these negative effects, another way of working have to be shaped. The activity based working can be an alternative, since sitting at the same desk for hours, on end, is no good for physical and mental health, neither being tied to a laptop, tablet or smartphones. The design of new workplaces with smartly placed stairs, sit/ stand desks and/or conference rooms with no seats can reduce the monotony of common workplaces.
The second critical point regarding the wellbeing in the workplace is the trust between employees and the employers. Nowadays, the workplace can be almost everywhere, but many employees do not trust their staff to choose their workplace. In addition, the wellbeing at the work should be addressed as a leadership’ strategy. It is not a coincidence if 75% of the 20 largest multinational companies emphasize their commitment to the wellbeing of the employees by publishing corporate responsibility reports. Indeed, there is a direct relationship between the introduction of wellbeing programs in the workplace and the improvement of business key performance indicators.