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Get Smart, Get Healthy

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Rajiv Nagrath Executive Director & Chair, Corporate Solutions, JLL Australia
Talk to Rajiv Nagrath
When not looking after clients, Rajiv can be found researching the latest tech, tinkering on home electronics or walking his dog Tanny.

Digital disruption has rapidly transformed the way we communicate with one another, but sometimes the good-old fashioned way works best.

When we come together as a community, it helps us to feel a part of something bigger, and that makes us happier, healthier and more engaged with our surroundings. The same is true at work.

In an effort to better understand the needs of employees now and in the future, we again partnered with TEDxSydney in 2017, surveying more than 260 people about what the future holds for our workplaces and cities.

Let’s get physical

Respondents ranked an increased focus on physical and mental wellbeing as having the second biggest impact on the way people will work between now and 2030.

Office work can be a notoriously sedentary profession. There’s plenty of research pointing to a lack of exercise as being harmful to both physical and mental health. In response, corporates need to create programs that encourage physical and mental health activity.

While a lot of corporates used to pay lip service to this idea with discounted gym membership, that’s not really enough.

We need to continuously look after our people and make sure they are in a good space. It can be as simple as installing sit-stand desks, setting up a jogging team or hosting a boot camp.

31 percent of respondents strongly agreed that access to mental health and wellbeing programs will allow them to take less time off and be more productive.

Respondents also identified that access to fresh air improves both productivity and creativity. It’s important to go above and beyond minimum air quality standards, with access to quality outdoors space and plenty of natural light indoors.

Get smart

While facilitating human-to-human interaction is vitally important for a happy, healthy workplace, technology can play a role in making that happen.

Smart buildings and IoT technology can keep a caring eye on the wellbeing of all employees by mapping their movements and social interactions.

That’s the beauty of technology. If you use it right, you can actually see what’s happening on both a macro and micro scale. There is so much data available now looking at how people are working and connecting.

This sort of technology means that managers can get a heads up on any possible mental health issues, a major problem for productivity.

Dr Bridianne O’Dea, a Research Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, recently spoke at our client event held as part of our partnership with TEDxSydney. She said that, “50 percent of us will have a mental illness in our lifespan. It is potentially the biggest loss of economic earnings in Australia.”

Smart corporates can also use this information to design better workplaces that ultimately foster good physical and mental health, using the data collated to identify which spaces best encourage human-to human interaction and the behaviours we want, while not wasting money on spaces that don’t. This is what retailers did for years.

We need to harness that quick thinking approach to create better workplaces by 2030, empowering all employees to feel engaged and fulfilled.

Interested to know more? Read the full report here