I recall going through training on 5S, a workplace organisation method based on 5 Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke or as translated into English: sort, straighten, standardise shine and sustain. The training was said to improve quality of the workplace environment, and also overall morale.
I can say that it 'worked' for me, as having a cleaner and organised work station seemed to help things flow- even creatively. 5S coupled with techniques like six-sigma, really does aid lean clean working, along with other ideas such as themed inspiration rooms.
I find it encouraging when companies take employee wellbeing 'visually' by providing themed rooms to stimulate creativity, inspiration and also for relaxation. Companies such as Google and Zappo’s are famed for doing so, kickstarting a trend, which is now almost quite common.
What’s becoming more interesting is the use of Virtual Reality (VR) in improving workplace wellbeing. Kelly Pipes wrote a blog on how Virgin are considering using VR technology to assist with meditation – part of their wellbeing offering. She said:
"Employees in fast-paced offices or claustrophobic start-up premises wanting to take meditation breaks have technology on their side. Thanks to virtual reality headsets and headphones workers can easily slip into a tranquil setting while sat at their desks. Meditation programmes on the VR market can take users from chaos to instant calm."
Journalist Hazel Davis wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph, suggesting that VR in the workplace is one of the top ten innovations that will change the way we do business and improve productivity at work.
And Jo Slater, Director of People and organisations business at PwC recently received survey results conducted by the firm which surveyed over 2,000 workers across the UK, from junior level through to managing directors, about their health and wellbeing at work. The results suggested that a third of the UK workforce (34%) may be experiencing difficulties such as anxiety, depression and stress. According to CCH (Accounting) Daily, this prompted Slater to look at all methods to help with reducing workplace stress.
'Technology can be a bridge to improving wellbeing at work. As a former fast jet pilot, flight simulators played a key role in overcoming my own anxieties by allowing me to practice in a safe environment. Similarly, the growing use of virtual reality has potential to do the same for workers in creating work-like scenarios, helping them overcome stress and improve performance.'
So what does virtual wellbeing look like? From the articles mentioned it appears to be an option that can start from the desk, requires minimal effort and has the appeal of being new/different. There appears to be a strong case for virtual reality in the workplace and how it can be a viable solution to having workplaces that are either physically or virtually fit for purpose and as a result happier employees. Starting with methods such as 5S, there are a number of ideas ready to use, which can form part of a holistic solution to creating a positive culture of wellbeing.