COMPANY CULTURE / JUL. 14, 2014
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How to Create a Healthy Office Environment – 9 Easy Steps

We spend so much of our time at work, but often we mindlessly plod through the day without a thought for our physical or mental health. By following a few easy steps, you can ensure you are a physically and mentally healthy office worker resulting in higher productivity, a happier workplace and an unexpected increase in office treats...! Read on to find out how!

Steps to create a healthy office environment:

#1 - Take breaks

Its age old advice, but it makes the world of difference. Getting out of the office for a 10 minute walk – not to do an errand, to get out of the office - helps you to think more clearly, get tasks in perspective and feel less stressed. Make time to get up at least once or twice a day and don’t worry about disapproving looks you might get from co-workers chained to their desk squawking about how much work they do; ultimately you will be more productive.

#2 - Find greenery 

If you’re in the middle of the city and there is no greenery around you, put some plants in your office. A bit of greenery provides a much needed oxygen boost. The colour green is known to promote calm.

#3 - Sit next to a window 

If you can’t leave the office, make sure you get some fresh air and daylight into your day; it can make a big difference to your stress levels and wellbeing.

#4 - Exercise 

Much like when you’re on an airplane, exercise is very important to keep your muscles and brain healthy. If you can’t make the gym and you struggle to leave your desk due to your busy schedule, try these desk exercises to keep you fit and healthy in the workplace. If even that is too much, at least make sure you take the stairs!

#5 - Eat lunch away from your desk 

Research has shown that a desk can contain more germs than your average toilet seat... gross right?! Well, it’s true. If you think about a large office space, how often does anyone clean your desk? The cleaners might clean the communal areas, but they certainly don’t polish the keyboards every evening. In addition, eating lunch at our desks encourages us to eat more and eat bad food. Be kind to yourself, head out to eat!

#6 - Bring treats!

If you want your office workers to love you, bring treats. Don’t bring them all of the time, just occasionally or the novelty will wear off. Perhaps chat to a couple of co-workers about taking it in turns.  Mix up the treats you buy; sometimes fruit, sometimes sweet treats, and don’t forget about the gluten / dairy free and vegan folk in your group! Having treats can make everyone feel more valued and happy, and it helps everyone to stop working and appreciate a moment of light relief in the day.

#7 - Create a suggestion board 

Everyone has basic needs and wants from their workplace, but sometimes there is a need for something different. Create a suggestion board and bring it to weekly meetings for wider discussion. If management act regularly on minor requests for changes, it can help everyone to feel cared for and increase motivation. 

#8 - Sit ergonomically 

As a home office worker, living in a tiny flat in the middle of the city, I know all too well of the perils of not having the right office equipment. I am often found sat curled up on the sofa, laptop in hand or sat at my kitchen table on a very uncomfortable wooden chair. This does my productivity and posture no favours. If you’re lucky enough to work in an office that supplies good chairs and desks, make sure yours are ergonomically seated. Ask your HR team to do an assessment for you. If you work from home, buy a desk chair for your home office. 

# 9 - Don’t hold grudges and don’t gossip! 

Fallouts happen, we’re all human after all. But remember, we all have off days and most of the time you won’t know why your co-worker is in a bad mood, so let it go. Be friendly and accepting and the argument will dissipate. Ultimately, you’re all there for the same purpose, so try to find that common ground and be kind to each other! Don’t gossip about your co-workers. It creates tension and is a form of bullying... Think how you would feel if you were on the receiving end. 

Final Thoughts

The office can be a difficult space to navigate, but since we spend so much of our time there, it’s important that we make our space as user friendly as possible. Follow these 9 top tips and you should be well on your way to a happier and more productive work life.

 

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