9 steps to build a healthy office environment

9 steps to build a healthy office environment

Been feeling down in the office lately? Have you been feeling unmotivated to do your work? Are your co-workers feeling the same way too? Your workplace surroundings may be the reason for it.

Good thing a simple sprucing of your surroundings can help turn things around and improve productivity in the workplace. Try out the following tips below and see for yourself:


1. Choose comfortable office furniture

Office employees are expected to be sitting by their desks 80% of the time – wouldn’t it make sense to make sure they feel cushy and cozy while they’re working? Think of furniture that boasts of having ergonomic features, like chairs with ample back support. Health experts have long warned about the problems brought on with prolonged sitting. Additional health risks can be avoided by choosing chairs that provide ample support. These are chairs that are fully cushioned and positioned at the correct angle (to test this out, make sure your arms are at a 90-degree angle while you are sitting straight, with both feet flat on the floor) to avoid straining your arms and back. Also, remember to take breaks by strolling or simply by doing stretching movements as much as you can.


2. Have some greenery around the office

Plants don’t just beautify our surroundings – they also provide relief for headaches, fatigues, cough as well as stress. A study by Environmental Psychologist Dr. Tina Bringslimark from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Uppsala University in Sweden revealed that workers take less sick leaves when they have plants nearby. This is due to the plants’ ability to absorb toxins released by office machines and transform them into oxygen. This results to higher air quality in the office, free from volatile compounds that affects our health. There are some plants that are especially adept at air purifying like the Bamboo, Anthurium, Chinese Evergreen and the Snake Plant.


3. Make use of natural light sources as much as possible 

Harsh, artificial lighting can often be distracting and may even cause headaches to those who are working in the office. Research has shown that natural light can reduce stress and raise productivity levels in the workplace. Eye strain due to computer use is also a huge problem in many offices and using natural light can help minimize those too. Though you can’t rely on them 24/7, you can still utilize natural light in the office through a few simple tricks. Having large windows in the office allow for natural light to get in as much as possible. Of course you can’t do away without using artificial light, but there are lighting options currently out in the market that mimic the look of natural light such as full spectrum bulbs.


4. Choose inspiring colors to decorate the office 

Different colors can evoke different emotions and reactions in people. An intense color like red can ignite urgency and quick response, which is at workplaces like fire stations and hospitals. Calmer colors like green or blue, meanwhile, can help people focus and inspire a feeling of well-being. Yellow, on the other hand, are best used in creative workplaces as the color is believed to inspire innovation and creativity.


5. Fill the office’s food supplies with healthy choices

Encourage your employees to develop good eating habits by stocking up on healthy treats like fruits, nuts and tea instead of junk food that are often high in sugar and salt. Fruits offer a longer-lasting energy boost without the slow burn that sugar does. This means you won’t get the sugar crush that one often gets after consuming sweets.


6. Encourage the employees to use their breaks

A mid-day break can help tired employees recharge and relax after working on their tasks in the morning. It also helps them stay motivated and alert enough to continue working in the afternoon. Breaks can be as simple as taking a stroll outside the building for a few minutes.


7. Promote exercise and sports as hobbies

Break up the monotony of the daily working grind by choosing a day or two where all the employees get to compete in games and sports. It’s a great way to let off steam while working off a sweat with friends and colleagues. Not only that, but it can also serve as a great team building activity that everyone in the office can enjoy.


8. Allow employees to take naps

Yes, allowing your staff members to “sleep on the job” is a great way to help them become better performers! After doing a long stretch of work, a short nap can help people rest and recover which boosts their mental performance than their sleep-deprived counterparts. A few companies do take this into account when designing their workplace such that sleeping quarters and lounges are included as amenities.


9. Implement and encourage the use of vacation and sick leaves

Emphasize the importance of having work-life balance by providing your staff with ample vacation and sick leaves. With these, you’re sending a message that you value their health and well-being. Nobody wants a sickly team in the office so it’s in everyone’s best interest to take their days off when needed.


Maintaining a healthy office environment should be one of the top priorities of every responsible manager. The extra effort will pay off handsomely in the end when you reap the benefits of having a healthy and productive workforce.  

 

Further reading: 

7 practical steps to making your dream job a reality

6 key principles of personal wealth from the world’s billionaires

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