Creating a healthy working environment doesn’t just mean following the health and safety rules – it means providing offices that people are happy and comfortable working in.
There are many ways you can update and improve your working spaces to make your staff happier and healthier without having to blow your budget.
While you can’t make people eat healthily, you can make sure they’re given healthy options. Get rid of the vending machine and replace it with fruit bowls and fresh juice. Nuts are also a great option as they full of slow-burning energy so will keep your staff going throughout the day. Getting a daily or weekly delivery of healthy food is a great option.
Research from the World Green Building Council suggests air quality has a big part to play in how people feel and how productive they are. Low concentrations of CO2 and high ventilation boost productivity by around 8% to 11%.
You can improve air quality in summer by opening windows. However, in winter this might not be an option so make sure your air-con is working properly by getting the filters changed regular. A good system not only brings fresh air into your office but also cuts out smoke, dust, smells, pollutants and allergens.
We live in a mobile world and if the weather’s good, there’s no reason why staff can’t work outside for a bit. Many new office buildings are adding decking or roof gardens but if your place of work doesn’t have one find a café with Wifi and outside seating.
Antiglare filters for your screen mean you can not only work better in sunlight but also add a level of privacy as they double as privacy filters meaning only the person directly in front of the screen can read it.
A study in the journal Water, Air, and Soil Pollution found that plants can help combat ‘sick building syndrome’ where offices have major contaminants often several times higher than outdoors. It found that potted-plants in offices can provide an efficient, self-regulating, low-cost, sustainable, system for indoor air pollution and can improve human wellbeing and productivity.
Not only that but plants capture dust, bacteria and mould from the air and can reduce ambient noise levels. Also, they generally make the office a nicer place to work, softening the hard angles and adding a splash of colour.
Hot (or cold) stuff
Comfort is a difficult thing to measure across a large office but one of the main factors is temperature. Studies by Cornell University show temperate had a direct effect on typing errors with staff in the warmer offices making more mistakes. And while everyone has their own perfect temperature, the optimal temperature is thought to be around 21 to 23 degrees C. Again, this comes down to your air-con system. Having a system that can be managed by staff and can be changed for different areas can help.
Cleanliness is next to godliness
Having staff off sick not only affects their workload but the workload of their colleagues, so keeping an office germ free can be vital. While air-con can help provide better air and warmer staff, it can also spread germs.
To cut down on them, make sure that the kitchen and toilets are stocked with hand wash and think about investing in germ killing door handles. Keep fridges and work surfaces in kitchens clean.
Light up my life
As discussed in a previous post, a well-lit office is important for staff’s eyes, mood and health. Sunlight brings with it the immune-system boosting vitamin D while sunlight deprivation leads to problems sleeping.