Most people spend a lot of time at work. What happens there can affect our general health and wellness fairly significantly. We can catch an illness for example or become so stressed out that we can’t function properly. Today let’s put the focus specifically on office jobs and what you can do to create a healthy workplace either for yourself or your employees.
Here are five things you can do to maintain a healthy workplace in your office:
1. Keep the office, and your desk area, clean and clutter-free.
Cleanliness is obvious, so we won’t go into detail about that. But clutter is a bit different. You can generally control the clutter of your own area (or as an employer, you can control clutter in shared areas like break rooms or file rooms). Clutter might not be unhealthy in the sense that it can make you sick, but it can increase an employee’s stress level while at work. And too much stress is not only unhealthy, but it can hurt productivity.
2. Make sure water is always available.
If your office doesn’t have a break room with a sink where employees can at least get tap water, install a water fountain or a water cooler. Staying hydrated is important for your employees’ health, and water is a healthier option than having them rely on coffee all day every day. If you’re a worker, you can also bring your own water with you in a thermos or bottle if your employer doesn’t provide enough safe drinking water. Otherwise, Aramark’s office water coolers is a good option.
3. Open a window and bring nature indoors.
While many offices have decent air circulation through the ventilation system, some (especially smaller offices) might not. “Stale” air can become unhealthy. Keep it circulating and refreshed with new air, especially during times when employees are sick. Opening a window (when the weather calls for it) can help. Adding live plants can also help to refresh the air around your office, keeping it cleaner and healthier.
4. Offer ergonomic office equipment.
From keyboards to chairs, many different pieces of office equipment and office furniture come in ergonomic options these days. If you want to create a healthier work environment in your office, consider investing in some for your employees. You could help them decrease back strain (and back injuries risk putting them out of work for a while), and you can help them avoid things like carpal tunnel syndrome if they type a lot.
5. Encourage healthier habits.
While you can’t control everything your employees choose to do, you can make an effort to encourage healthier choices when at work. For example, you can ban smoking within the office building as well as immediately outside of the doors (so nonsmoking employees aren’t walking through the second hand smoke). You could also avoid installing vending machines stocked with junk food, and opt for healthier snack options instead — either also through vending machines or by bringing in healthy snacks periodically. Some companies take it even further by offering on-site gyms, walking paths outside of the office, or in extreme cases even providing bikes for employees to get to work (as much in favor of “going green” as improving employees’ health).
What kinds of things do you do to keep your office healthier, or to stay healthy in a not-so-healthy office environment that’s largely out of your control? Leave a comment and tell us about it.