Employees lose one to two hours, and often more, of productivity each day in work environments unsupportive of daily health – but there are easy, cost-effective steps that can be taken to remedy the problem. Five ways to promote a healthy workplace, to be exact, is all you need.
Linda Trim, director at workplace design specialist Giant Leap, said: “Air quality, lighting and temperature are the top factors for positive influence on wellness.”
“Other priorities include personal control of the workplace and more privacy from noise and people distractions. Given the importance of a healthy workplace for productivity and retention – 7 out of 10 employees are likely to stay in a job that enhances wellness – all businesses should invest some time in making the most of their space.”
Here are five ways to promote a healthy workplace:
1. Personalise your healthy workplace:
You may not always be able to renovate and install new furniture, but you can probably always make decorative and design improvements. “Hanging pictures, keeping fresh flowers or living plants at desks makes a big difference,” said Trim. She also suggested improved, more people-friendly office layouts and positioning people so they have the most appealing views possible.
2. Create privacy in open layouts
Fewer offices with doors instead of more shared layouts save money, so they’re here to stay. But you can still maintain your privacy in an open workplace. Said Trim: “Taking advantage of private rooms and hanging a Do Not Disturb sign when you need to focus or using common spaces away from your desk makes a big difference to a sense of control. If you do have private spaces you can use, know where these are and how to reserve them.”
3. Bring in support tools
It would be ideal if every office provided the air quality, lighting, temperature and other factors we want, but opinions notoriously vary on what’s optimal. If you need more air or light, consider a desk fan or a desk lamp. The fan can help with a temperature that’s too warm. Keep a jacket or scarf on hand if the temperatures are too cold.
4. Build good healthy habits into your daily schedule
Leaving your open workspace for a private room for even a few minutes each day is an example of a habit you can build into your schedule. “Take your lunch break,” Trim advised. It’s good for networking too. Walk the floor for exercise and a broader perspective on your work. “Drink water throughout the day,” she added.
5. Invest in your bonus productivity hours and build a virtuous cycle
According to the Future Workplace Wellness Study conducted by View, a US company that creates smart buildings, 67% of employees are more productive in workplaces that promote a healthy environment, and gains could mean one hour or more of increased productivity each day.
“Once you incorporate improvements into your workspace and gain that time back, invest it in your career,” Trim advised.
“Write a list of career-enhancing activities and tick them off. Examples could include catching up on industry news, attending a webinar to update your skills, spending time with colleagues outside your immediate area – or even a wellness option like walking outside.”