From natural light to houseplants to a standing desk, there are many ways to ensure a healthier office for your team.
To quote Mahatma Gandhi, “It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” These words have borne out with particular clarity these past many months.
2020 has offered quite the reminder of how vital our health is and, for many of us, how precarious.
As we welcome larger teams back into the office, we must provide a workplace that assures employees they’ll be safe, secure, and healthy coming back to work.
It means prioritizing health, wellness, and safety in the office. Along with an electric standing desk for enhanced comfort, here are eight strategies to help support the health of your workforce.
1. Position Desks Near Windows
When employees are cooped up indoors without the benefit of natural light, or with only fluorescent lighting, their internal rhythms suffer disruption, causing mental strain and fatigue.
Natural light is integral to regulating our bodies’ natural circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake schedule.
2. A Height-Adjustable or Standing Desk
A stand-up, height-adjustable, sit-stand, or standing desk, allows you to work while standing up comfortably.
A motorized standing desk offers a positive impact on the physical and mental health and general well-being of desk workers.
The flexibility of a stand-up desk can alleviate aches and pains associated with sitting all day while increasing productivity and overall satisfaction at work.
Back, neck, and shoulder pain are among the most common complaints of office employees who sit most, if not all, of the day.
Workers who use standing desks usually experience improvement in pain of the lower back after only a few weeks at a standing desk.
Working in a sedentary way all day has been linked to metabolic disease and obesity.
An added benefit of a stand-up desk is enhanced weight management – an afternoon standing at work rather than sitting can burn an additional 170 calories.
That’s 1000 extra calories burned per week merely standing at work in the afternoons! A standing desk can also help to improve energy levels and mood in desk workers.
3. Schedule Walking Meetings
An easy way to help your employees feel more energized is to encourage walking meetings.
Allow workers to take their meetings and collaboration on a mid-afternoon stroll – stretch their legs, enjoy fresh air and sunshine, and inspire creativity and problem-solving.
4. Include biophilic design – or just add houseplants!
Even just the view of a tree can help to reduce office stress and make a worker feel better overall. Providing access to greenery, sunlight, and some fresh air helps your office mates both physically and mentally.
Incorporate elements from nature – walls of greenery, windows with views, even simple houseplants – and provide a highly beneficial connection to nature.
Along with creative inspiration, it will help manage day-to-day work stresses and help to improve overall well-being.
5. Diversify Office Workspaces
Encourage movement in the office. Provide your team with a range of workspaces for variation throughout the day.
Offer quiet, private areas; larger collaborative environments; focused meeting spaces; and open, unstructured social areas.
Furnish them accordingly so employees can be at their most creative, inspired, and productive throughout the workday without feeling tied to a desk.
6. Keep Your Offices Clean and Tidy
Never has the sanitization and cleanliness of our spaces been so essential or taken such a high priority.
A clean, disinfected, and sanitary workplace should be priority number one.
And while it’s vital to educate your team about the importance of keeping a clean and hygienic workspace, cleaning isn’t a task for your employees.
For frequent, consistent, and reliable cleaning, you should invest in a dedicated and professional cleaning service.
Ensure that your entire workplace, particularly those high-touch or highly trafficked areas, is appropriately cleaned and disinfected to prevent allergens and germs, as well as the spread of potentially harmful viruses.
7. Maintain Good Air Quality
Along with office cleanliness, good air quality will help to ensure not only the optimum health of your workforce but their performance as well.
The level of airborne pollutants inside is so much greater than that outdoors. Consequently, investing in a high-quality filtration system is worth the cost and quite necessary to keep your office spaces healthy.
Simple houseplants will do a significant job filtering pollutants and excess carbon dioxide from the air, offering your office extra clean indoor air and vital oxygen.
8. Design with Well-Being in Mind
While the pandemic may have put the focus squarely on the physical condition – appropriate cleanliness and sanitization – of our workspaces, health measures impact office culture as well.
If you’re considering renovating or modifying your office design better to meet the health and wellness needs of your workforce, it begins at the planning phase.
The layout is fundamental to the office experience, including comfort and productivity.
Maximize workers’ exposure to daylight and outdoor views, provide spaces for fitness and solitude, and encourage movement between tasks, meetings, collaboration, and other workplace demands.
Let people up from their desks! Giving your employees motorised standing desks allows them to move even more throughout the day.
Choose materials and furnishings that promote a healthy environment – items from nature and those that support healthy workplace ergonomics, such as motorized standing desks and L-shaped desks.
The bonus to investing in your team’s well-being? Your care and consideration of their experience at work will have a positive impact on morale and workplace satisfaction as well as valuable productivity – all well worth any investment you have to make.