The never oily, never dry workplace

Kraft peanut butter…’never oily, never dry’…it and almost it along was synonymous with growing up in 1980s when it came to the nutty spread…yet something strange has been happening in the peanut butter isle at the local supermarket…

Today, we are presented with a plethora of options including those that offer a once dreaded thick layer of oil between the nuts and the lid. Light roasted, dark roasted, with almonds, spicy, organic, with linseeds, hand pressed, with extra nuts, crunchy, smooth, and super crunchy. Past generations must surely look on in envy as we reside in the enviable position of being able to select the best peanut butter variety to suit our ‘lifestyle’…

So, follow us reader (if you will) into the world of peanut butter applied to the machinations of the workplace. A stretch? Perhaps, but fear not as there is a point to be made.

Born to move

We all know it, whether we admit to it or not, the sedentary life and all the negative health effects it brings ends in a life less desired by most or at least those of us who are informed.

Try tallying the hours you spend in physical motion per day. You may be surprised to learn that on average an office worker can spend less than 4 hours per day undertaking physical movement. Evolution it seems, has brought us to a point whereby movement (being the very thing the body was designed to do) is in conflict with the office and has been since the mid 1970s. In-fact up until very recently there were little options; “here is your desk and there is your chair”.

It is widely accepted that prolonged periods of seated work are associated with an increase in type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. According to a recent study, those of you who sit more than others are staring at a 17% higher mortality rate.

The workplace however, is awash with the latest trends that seek to combat the sedentary life including; ergonomic mice, wave like keyboards, beanbags, chairs designed in wind tunnels, sit to stand tables and lounge settings all presented as options for our teams. But do they truly address the holistic challenge which is at its core the ‘health of the team’? A challenge that we believe is overlooked by businesses who have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their teams. What’s more, as the workplace office extends to the home office, at which point does the employers obligations stop? If our teams are delivering at home surely we must also take a vested interest in how they work in that environment too.

Now we are not proposing the enforcement of Yoga or Spin classes for your team, but there are actions in the workplace that can have a meaningful and positive impact to those that reside within it. In 2015 we sought to start to shift the thinking in our own workplace and with it came a great deal of change. Most noticed was the removal of junk food and it remains contentious to this day.

We introduced opt-in outdoor lunchtime bootcamps and started to promote activity based charity events such as the Oxfam Trailwalkers, Run for the Kids, City to Surf and Sydney to the Gong. Whilst not everyone partakes in the City to Surf, almost everyone supports those who do and yes…we have a lunch time Pilates crew…

All of these initiatives generally have a positive impact to team culture but in reality we were just skirting the fringes of what is possible in relation to having a purpose led outlook on the health and wellbeing of a POMT’er. That said the options that are presented to a business of our calibre are vast and extremely hard to navigate without outside help.

Enter Ergoworks and a shameless plug to a core partner

Providing end to end workplace solutions that empower organisations to improve the quality of life of their team, since 2003 Ergoworks has delivered consulting services across Australia via a team of experts consisting of physiotherapists, ergonomists, occupational therapists and exercise physiologists who are able to tailor solutions to meet every requirement including ergonomic workstation and home office assessments to product selection and education.

Engaged early in a workplace lifecycle, Ergoworks work with architects at a concept design stage, then assist with furniture selection and procurement, and finally formulate implementation strategies for the training of employees moving into the new work environment.

It was little surprise then that POMT found immense synergies working w/ the Ergoworks crew on a number of marque projects including our very own workspace. Further we are now thinking more than ever before about the health and safety impact to mobile working and beginning to start the conversation with all members of the team about their working environment.

The need for constant evolution

Eons ago, car manufacturers would model updates or feature releases on a ‘Big Bang’ type approach which saw advancements stagnate for years on end whilst consumers eagerly awaiting the next future release. It is widely accepted that this approach has been retired in favour for an (almost) agile type approach to feature enhancements which is no small feat when you consider the production line impact this must surely have. The same is true for the workplace where much focus is placed on the pre ‘go live’ activities to design, pilot, deploy and place into production the daily services and environment we access.

Thus we believe that we all have a duty to ensure that the health and wellbeing of our teams are reviewed constantly in order to keep pace with highly unique requirements of individuals regardless of the teams size.

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