Is comfortable work synonymous with efficient work?

The comfort of employees’ lives is a key element of their well-being in the workplace. How to achieve this?

Is comfortable work synonymous with efficient work?

Comfort in life is a pivotal component of employees’ wellbeing at work. By prioritizing the physical and mental comfort of their team members, employers can make a significant contribution to improving their job satisfaction and productivity levels. It’s an investment that will pay off many times over, benefiting both employees and the company as a whole. Leaders have a diverse array of tools at their disposal to accomplish this objective.

What’s the essence of a comfortable life?

Comfort of life is recognized as one of the six key components of wellbeing, as highlighted in a survey conducted by Benefit Systems in partnership with infuture.institute headed by Natalia Hatalska. This is a crucial area that profoundly impacts the mental and physical wellbeing of every individual.

A comfortable life comprises a variety of elements, such as financial independence, suitable housing that fosters wellbeing, work-life balance, and a sense of security amidst the economic and political uncertainties of today’s world.

All these factors have a huge impact on the quality of life of employees and, consequently, on their efficiency at work.

Workplace comfort goes beyond having a comfortable chair

As the understanding of workplace needs has evolved, it has become clear that beyond meeting the basic requirements recommended by official bodies like the State Labor Inspectorate – such as ergonomic workstations, access to appropriate tools and technology, and favorable environmental conditions like lighting and temperature – there’s yet another critical aspect: mental comfort, which has gained significant importance especially since the onset of the pandemic. It’s important to remember that attending to your mental wellbeing significantly influences your professional life too.

This approach holds considerable value especially in volatile and dynamic times. So what is mental comfort at work all about? The concept could be summarized in three aspects:

  • level of stress in the workplace (as well as its persistence over time);

  • interpersonal relationships, both horizontally and vertically, as shown by numerous studies, including those by Beata Yakimiuk, Ph.D., leading to the conclusion that good relationships contribute to reducing stress and the risk of burnout, while increasing commitment and loyalty to the employer;

  • sense of meaning (relating both to the work performed and the opportunities for professional growth).

Implementing policies that promote mental health, along with providing access to support programs and stress management workshops, can greatly enhance the mental wellbeing of employees in the workplace. It’s worth noting that such activities organized directly in the workplace, rather than in a dedicated workshop room, more effectively promote the ability to manage workplace stress.

As productivity expert Tony Schwartz points out: “The real value of work lies not just in what we do, but in how we feel while doing it.”

What about the comfort of working from home?

We learned some lessons after transitioning to remote work schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic. While working from home may initially appear convenient, it comes with its challenges. One of them is need to maintain balance, or at the very least, avoid extremes. What steps can you take to enhance comfort while working from home?

1. It’s advisable to create a dedicated workspace, which contributes to maintaining a relatively healthy work-life balance. Also, it’s important to ensure that your workspace is ergonomically suited to the tasks you perform – your spine will appreciate it!

2. It’s also recommended to establish a work routine that includes regular breaks to intersperse periods of intensive mental work. The human brain has its limitations, and it benefits from structured work periods such as 90-minute blocks or incorporating micro-breaks and active breaks (for example combined with short walks).

3. Striving to achieve the perfect work-life balance may seem daunting, but making the effort will undoubtedly have a positive effect on maintaining mental health. Blurring the boundaries between work and leisure simply does not support effective recovery. That’s why you should put regeneration and leisure activities on your calendar – they are just as important as other types of commitments.

How do you ensure that all aspects of employee comfort are well cared for?

1. Workplace organization

Whether working from the office or from home, organizing your workspace is essential for ensuring comfort and optimizing task efficiency. The workspace should accommodate the individual needs of employees, considering their preferences and specific requirements. The best approach is to assess these individual needs from the grassroots level, as employees themselves are best suited to express them. It’s crucial to recognize their opinions and preferences, reinforcing the importance of their input.

2. Maintaining balance in a demanding work environment

In today’s world full of deadlines, ASAPs, and multitasking, maintaining a work-life balance is a challenge. Implementing policies that support work-life equilibrium, such as flexible work hours, remote work options, and days off for recovery, can greatly enhance the wellbeing of employees. We already know that mental comfort plays a key role in various aspects such as flexibility, work efficiency, absenteeism, and professional burnout which, from the company’s perspective, are important because of their tangible financial consequences.

3. Sense of security at work

A sense of security is fundamental to everyone’s wellbeing. Amid global economic and political volatility, a sense of security at work is extremely important. Perhaps now even more important than ever. Employers can support employees through transparent communication, the importance of which should not be underestimated, as well as psychological support programs and a focus on job stability.

4. Financial independence

From the perspective of employees, achieving financial independence is not just about paychecks or bonuses. Employers can promote a sense of financial independence by offering their employees educational programs on financial management, opportunities to participate in retirement plans, and benefits such as private healthcare coverage.

Key to success in the organization

Comfort in life is a crucial element of employees’ wellbeing at work. By prioritizing the physical and mental comfort of their team members, employers can make a significant contribution to improving their job satisfaction and productivity levels.Implementing appropriate policies and measures to enhance workplace comfort is an investment that will pay off many times over, benefiting both employees and the company as a whole.

In the words of Daniel Goleman: “Creating an environment conducive to employee wellbeing is key to an organization’s sustained success”.