The physical workspace at any office can have a significant impact on employee satisfaction, health and productivity. Government employees, while having unique cultures and structure, still want the same feeling of satisfaction. With Boomers retiring and the need for digital expertise increasing, millennials can help fill the gaps. Overall, about a quarter of the American labor force is younger than 30, more than three times the proportion that works for the federal government. However, a Washington Post article entitled Millennials exit the federal workforce as government jobs lose their allure explains the alarming rate at which millennials are leaving federal jobs— “With agencies starved for digital expertise and thousands of federal jobs coming open because of a wave of baby-boomer retirements, top government officials, including at the White House, are growing increasingly distressed about the dwindling role played by young workers.” While the article cites a variety of reasons that younger job seekers either left or gave up finding a role in the government—pay freezes, hiring freezes, hiring processes—things that most employees can’t quickly fix or have an impact on, one area that anyone purchasing for their office can change quickly—their physical workspace.
Job Satisfaction through Chairs?
It sounds silly to say that a chair can make an employee happy, but according to the most recent Gensler Workplace Index, “Currently, only one in four U.S. workers are in optimal workplace environments. The rest are struggling to work effectively, resulting in lost productivity, innovation, and worker engagement.” Why does this matter to government teams? With millennials needing to fill open boomer roles and bring their expertise in technology, this generation has already shaped office culture in the private sector. From more casual dress codes to open floor plans, they feel happiest and most productive in environments that are more than a cubicle or desk. In fact, across generations, Forbes contributor Jacob Morgan states “employee well-being is strongly correlated to employee productivity and performance and even a small shift in well-being can have a dramatic impact. Perhaps one of the largest factors of well-being is the physical workspace. Employees who enjoy and like the environments they are a part of will be more engaged, productive, happy, and healthy.”
Better Employee Health through Chairs?
ICAEW asks “Are you sitting comfortably? Research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has shown that back pain is one of the biggest causes of absenteeism in the UK, so it makes sense to consider investing in office equipment designed for people who sit in front of computers for any length of time.” Furthermore, according to the U.S. Green Building Council choosing furniture manufactured with sustainability in mind can make a big difference to employee well-being in the workplace. “One of the most important aspects of sustainability is health – health of the indoor environment, of the occupants, of the materials.” Sustainable furniture can help improve indoor air quality, is toxin-free, and water/energy-efficient. Unfortunately, there are still many manufacturers out there who manufacture unsustainable furniture made with toxic chemicals. Formaldehyde and fire retardants can lead to cancer, asthma and allergies. The furniture you choose actually does make a difference in the health of your team—including you! So, when looking for new furniture for your workplace make sure it has the ANSI/BIFMA x7.1 and e3 7.6.1, 7.6.2, 7.6.3 designation.
For 70 years, Haskell has created furniture with the modern worker’s health and well-being in mind. We are a proud partner and supplier for numerous federal, state and local governments. Our full line of products is approved with GSA contract number GS-27F-029DA.
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