How maps can help Wellness in the Workplace

By February 29th 2024

It is widely recognised that physical activity, particularly if undertaken outdoors, can help support good Mental Health and general wellbeing. Since we spend such a lot of time in the workplace, as employers, we should look to address the wellbeing of staff. Many companies actively encourage light exercise and outdoor activity as a means of encouraging staff to perform better and to feel motivated and focussed.

Improvements in work/life balance can help reduce workplace stress and lead to happier, healthier staff. MIND, the UK mental health charity, state that “60 per cent of employees say they’d feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing.”

One way to address this “workplace wellness” is to create a map to encourage employees to leave the office, have a proper break and take some physical exercise. This has been adopted by the Civil Aviation Authority, who identified a need to produce maps to highlight locations for walking, cycling and exercising around their UK sites. Gyms, shops and green spaces are all highlighted, with suggested walk and cycle routes, with panels on the benefits of exercise outdoors.

Engineering and design company Parsons Brinckerhoff (now WSP) took a slightly different approach to highlight the value of active travel in commuting to and from their office in Bracknell. Highlighting public transport, local shops and businesses, as well as pedestrian and cycle routes, the map shows radial circles for walking distances from the station.

Milton Park, south of Oxford, is a science and technology park with over 250 businesses within a rural site. They encourage active travel to and from the site but also wanted to highlight the various locations for relaxation within the park, including quiet areas, nature gardens and walking and cycling routes.

An alternative map was made with illustrations to highlight the flora to be found around the park, as well as the prescribed walks.

East Kilbride Community Trust required a map to publicise walking routes and the natural features to be seen in woodland located within a residential/light industrial area. The focus of the map was to encourage engagement with nature in a more urban area.

In summary, a map can be a useful tool to help address employee wellbeing, satisfaction and perhaps even improve productivity. Such assets can encourage active travel, promote lunchtime walks and ultimately improve staff with wellbeing.

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