Promote wellbeing with these easy changes to your charity intranet and workspace

John Newton's picture
John Newton
Textured standing and walking surface

A couple of years ago I noticed a change in priorities for internal comms and HR teams towards better wellbeing promotion on charity intranets. Of course this had always been an important matter but it was given fresh impetus by an article from The Guardian which to some extent pointed the finger at charities as being less inclined towards promoting wellbeing among staff than their commercial counterparts.

As such, charities began to give primacy to wellbeing areas on their intranets. I wrote briefly about this previously pointing to a number of really simple ways an intranet can be used to engage in wellbeing promotion - for example, making use of targeted design ideas, engaging openly with staff through the use of simple commenting and polling tools, timing your activities to dovetail with national campaigns. I think this has become well-embedded among many organisations.

However, alongside the digital workspace there have been arguably fewer changes of late to people's physical working practices. To some extent, this is because a number of basic health and safety-driven improvements have already become well-established - anti-glare screens, decent chairs, reminders about taking breaks and so on.

However, we can go beyond that and here at Sereno that's exactly what we have been doing. Starting from the premise that human beings are not meant to sit at desks for hours on end, we have have developed our own set of tools that help us keep focused and mitigate against the challenges of working with computers all day. Going beyond the standard stuff many of you will be familiar with, here's a whistle stop tour of the kit we use and how we help fight fatigue and damage caused by a lot of screen working.

Stand up for yourself

I mean that literally. We try not to sit all day so use adjustable standing desks to stand and sit whenever it feels most comfortable to do so.

Sit comfortably

There are no rules about this. We all take a different approach - I use a kneeling chair but colleagues use either really high-quality office chairs with great lumbar support, or even saddle stools which have been a long-time favourite of nurses in the NHS.

Don't wear shoes

OK, you need to be working with a sympathetic team but if everyone gets a chance to walk around bare foot for a while, they'll soon become converts!

Wake up your feet

Yes, we're into foot health! Just walking around barefoot over a range of surfaces can help keep your feet (and you) alert and happy but we've also taken to making sure our feet get a regular wake up by walking across a deliberately challenging surface.

Stay balanced

Did I mention we think looking after your feet is really important? Regularly moving helps keep you alert and may well help with back problems or other bodily aches and pains. There are different boards you can use to help while you stand. The one below rocks and changes shape as you flex.

Do something else

Walk, run, do some push ups, yoga or just go lie down for ten minutes. We keep things varied throughout the day to help keep us fresh.

We've found not sitting still for too long and respecting our bodies' natural need to move has really helped back problems, energy levels and focus. We get more done and feel better and the end of the day too. Please let me know if you'd like to try any of these ideas or have some more of your own. Oh, and perhaps post them for others to enjoy on your intranet too!