Wellness by Design

Goran Bogicevic/Shutterstock

Look around your current work or study station. What do you see? Are there closed spaces? Is your ‘stuff’ jammed around your desk? Is other people’s stuff encroaching on your territory? Can’t figure out where your colleague is within the office cubicle maze? Feeling claustrophobic yet?

Many of us go through our daily lives feeling trapped in this type of office culture. In order to be ‘efficient’ we have office boxes instead of open spaces. Our ‘things,’ which are kept within hand’s reach, encroach upon our limited space instead of being accessible when we really need them. Instead of encouraging movement, this type of work space ties us down from the minute we enter in the morning until it is time to leave at the end of the day. While we may work with people, our work space is often isolated and isolating.

Clearly, office design can make or break how we feel about our work – both in place and in space. An alternative to the traditional model is taking shape to promote employee health through innovative and open office design.

An architecture firm in Australia has begun implementing office spaces built on the premise of ‘passive’ design which encourages employee movement and social interaction.

Click here to read about wellness based office design.

As noted in the article, passive design increases the ability of employees to move around the office environment. It seems to promote connections through open spaces, common places and the development of community.

This ‘new’ approach to office design seems to be based on some age-old fundamental principles. When we feel like we belong, we feel better about what we do. When we feel better about what we do, we do better.

So clear out your work space and lower those barriers. It feels better.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In your current work space, what design elements are in place that promote a wellness approach for your work day?
  2. What changes would you make to your work environment in order to increase your physical activity?
  3. What do you think about the concepts of ‘passive’ design? Would these be easy or difficult to implement in a Canadian office environment?


HR’s Role in Economic Predictions

Girl with shopping bags looking at internet browser in sky
Source: Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

There is no doubt that the retail sector is a huge industry in Canada.  Many of us have worked in this environment, somewhere along the way, on our individual employment journeys.  There is also no doubt that the retail sector is going through significant challenges and changes that will continue throughout our employment lifetimes.

Click Here to Read the Article

The shift to online shopping has to be one of the most significant changes influencing the retail industry.  As customers, we can now enjoy the ease of online shopping in our pajamas, every day, without ever leaving the comfort of our homes.

From an employment and staffing perspective, it is interesting to note that this article does not speak to the impact on the existing workforce.  Will the need for smaller stores and increased online presence for a retailer like Walmart have an impact on its employees? Will this impact be positive and/or negative?  Absolutely! Just because it is not identified does not mean it does not exist.

This is our challenge, as HR Professionals – we need to be cognizant of these types of industry predictions.  We cannot be blind to patterns in industry that are laid out for us to consider from an employment, staffing, and workforce perspective.  Too often, we leave the industry and economic predictions to others in the organization to process and consider.  Our challenge is not to just monitor the changing economic environment and industry forecasts; but to identify the real issues that will arise because of these changes and chart the right course for the future.  Forecasting is an activity full of risk, but it is a necessary task, as it must identify potential impacts for the employees that we, as Human Resources professionals, serve.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do I shop differently now from the way I shopped three years ago?
  2. What are three positive impacts on employees who work in the changing retail sector?
  3. What are three negative impacts on employees who work in the changing retail sector?
  4. What are key skills or traits that a Human Resources Professional needs for working within a retail environment to ensure accurate workforce forecasting?