At Fusion Spaces we believe that there are ‘five freedoms’ which all humans need in their workplace in order to thrive. In some respects, our wellbeing needs are not too dissimilar to the welfare requirements of battery hens. Animal welfare is where the five freedoms originated from.
We all have basic needs as discussed in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the elemental requirement for food, water, warmth and rest are the foundations of everything.
1. Freedom to express natural behaviour
We spend on average 90% of our time indoors, which goes against our natural instinct as by our very nature we are attracted to the outdoors. Nature deficit disorder is becoming more prevalent, as thanks to our busy lifestyles we are just spending 15 minutes a day of our time outdoors.
As flexible working is becoming more normal, allowing your employees opportunities to work outdoors in natural daylight will really boost their wellbeing and morale.
If this simply isn’t possible then you should look to bring the outdoors indoors by introducing biophilic design into the workplace.
2. Freedom to access natural light
Natural daylight within the workplace has significant positive effects on employee wellbeing. On the flipside, poor lighting within the workplace can lead to eye strain, visual discomfort and stress. So, a happy medium needs to be struck.
Exposure to daylight can reduce the chance of developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) especially as the seasons change and natural daylight is reduced from 16 hours a day to just eight, especially since the bulk of these hours are spent in work.
Light has a huge influence on our circadian rhythm and if you have a very dull office it is probably worth getting some expert advice on how to improve it. Everyone will benefit from the right light source. Remember light gives life.
3. Freedom for acoustic, thermal and environmental comfort
Noise, temperature and general comfort are all big issues in the office. Temperature in particular can be really divisive as can noise. A loud noise can disturb your train of thought for over 20 minutes after it occurs.
If staff are having to plug in to escape office noise, then there is an issue. This is causing them to zone out from the office interaction and they could be missing out on vital information.
Perhaps a quiet area can be introduced so staff are able to work in peace, or if need be innovative soundscaping technology could be used. Once again this is a very specialised area and would require external support.
4. Freedom from stress, anxiety and mental suffering
Work can be a difficult place to be if there are other life events happening. Add to that the pressure of work with targets to hits, emails to reply to and deadlines which can’t be missed. It can potentially be a flash point where two worlds collide.
Mental health support and understanding at work is essential as is stress-free technology. Technology, which isn’t fit for purpose or is difficult to use just adds even more tension and stress to our already packed lives.
This is an area which can be considered by any workplace and it will ease the burden making life a little simpler.
5. Freedom from discomfort
This freedom very much harks back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as everyone needs to be comfortable in their environment, to feel secure and have peace of mind. Cultivating a wholesome workplace where everyone feels secure is definitely something to aim for. This can be achieved by talking to staff and find out what works best for them.
The human animal is much like any other, support basic needs, and we are happy.