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Is it that time of the year already, when New Year's resolutions, like keeping fit and eating well, have been thrown into the rubbish along with the chocolate bar wrappers and gym membership flyers?

Yet another abandoned plan for a healthy lifestyle is looming. As far as we're concerned, however, a promise made at the end of every year is not the answer to achieving long-term health and wellbeing goals.

Most people need continual messages about wellbeing throughout the year to start making changes that actually stick. And, moreover, they also need to operate in a stress-free environment that allows them the space for rational thought. One of the best places for people to be encouraged to adopt a healthier lifestyle is at work, for the simple reason that it's where we spend the majority of our time awake.

Employee health and business wealth

There are several measures employers can take to encourage staff to improve their health and wellbeing through office design. And, in return for taking these measures they achieve a happier and more productive workforce that will work tirelessly to boost bottom line profits in what is an increasingly tough and unforgiving business environment.

Office design should also reflect an employer's health and wellbeing objectives however inventive or conventional their approach. Some employers may choose to tackle stress by providing chill out zones and games rooms where employees can unwind. Others may choose to encourage staff to get fit by assigning dedicated rooms for yoga classes, aerobics and meditation or even set-up an onsite gym. It is also important to ensure workplace perks, such as bikes-for-work schemes, are properly supported by the provision of changing rooms, bike sheds and showers.

The canteen is another key area in which employers can push health and wellbeing messages. It is not just about offering healthy options it is about creating a space that encourages people to take time out for a proper lunch. Equally a well-equipped kitchen will encourage staff to make healthy meals rather than grabbing quick unhealthier snacks. Whatever the way in which the employer chooses to push their health and wellbeing agenda, the importance of the office environment should never be overlooked.

Think laterally

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