The Covid-19 pandemic (alongside a few other factors) has engineered a reevaluation of the corporate workspace. In a little under a decade, the focus has shifted from coaxing productivity from employees by all means to realising the importance of maintaining a healthy workspace, both for employers and employees.
Healthier workers are happier workers and happier workers are more productive by about 50 per cent. Lately, with employees prioritising their physical and mental health, creating and maintaining a healthy traditional or home office is no longer an option – it is a must.
Thankfully, you don’t need to completely overhaul your existing workspace to make it more pro-health. A few simple tweaks, such as the ones identified here, can have a significant impact.
1. Use Standing Desks
On average, workers spend about 8 hours seated behind a desk in offices. The rise of hybrid and remote work has undoubtedly raised this figure even higher. The results? Worsening health standards and thicker middles. Sitting has indeed become the new smoking.
Sitting in a spot for prolonged periods is bad for your mental and physical health, but standing for hours is not a likely alternative as well. A healthy and perfectly workable compromise is to introduce standing desks to your traditional or home office.
Standing desks help workers remain productive while doing something beneficial to their health. For a more detailed breakdown of standing desks and the benefits they offer, check out this useful resource.
2. Prioritise Mental Health
Simply focusing on the physical aspects of office health is inadequate, especially as there’s been an increase in conversations about the effects of office work on the mental health of workers lately. Then there’s the fact that mental burnout is among the leading reasons for worker resignations.
To create a workplace that promotes and supports good mental health, start by reducing workplace stress. You can achieve this by encouraging a calm and relaxed environment. This can be as simple as integrating natural visual elements such as green plants or crafting a relaxed ambience with the creative use of paint.
Aim to encourage collaboration among workers, even remote ones, and reduce the frequency of your oversight functions if you’re an employer. Another strategy to improve mental wellness is to provide staff with time and a defined location to take breaks outside. Provide an easily available mental health resource list for those who are concerned.
3. Air The Place Out
Whether you work in a traditional or home office, the importance of breathing in fresh, clean air cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, many employees work in close quarters, where the quality of air is dodgy at best. The activities of pets in homes also mean that the air in quite a few home offices is corrupted by allergens.
Allowing some fresh, outdoor air into your workstation by opening the windows can make a significant difference. It will also freshen up your workspace and combat any allergens that may be present.
Humidity also affects air quality because an overly humid office can cause mould or mildew to grow on the ceiling, vents, or walls. Investing in a dehumidifier can help solve this problem. If air circulation appears to be inadequate, consider replacing an old HVAC system with a more modern one.
4. Let In Natural Light
Reducing your dependence on artificial light sources not only brings down the electricity bills but also helps you craft a pleasant, attractive atmosphere for your employees and customers.
Beyond this, natural light offers several more benefits. It helps reduce the amount of artificial light necessary, which can help reduce or eliminate eye strain and headaches. Employees with access to windows that allow for changing light throughout the day can enjoy some of the benefits of being outside while remaining inside the building.
5. Introduce Proper Sanitation Measures
There’s something inevitable and inexorable about the spread of germs as the pandemic has no doubt proved, but introducing proper sanitation measures can retard the spread of illnesses in any workspace.
Establish regulations that apply all year so that employees acquire healthy behaviours before the outbreak of disease or the peak of the season. One strategy to limit surface transmission is to regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as a shared workspace’s keyboard and computer mouse or the doorknobs of entrances and offices.