The average working adult spends a minimum of 8-10 hours in the office daily. For those of us that are workaholics, this can easily be in excess of 12-14 hours daily and even include weekends. So, how then does your office space fair in providing a work life balance for your employees?
When we think about the fact that most of our lives is spent more at work than with our families and friends, it is imperative that the health of your employees are properly addressed and catered to effectively. Doing so increases productivity, as a happy and rested workforce is one that is energized and enthusiastic about working. It also reduces absenteeism and improves staff retention.
To ensure that the office environment is conducive, we share below some things you can implement into your office space. Your office space must factor in healthy environments with the provision of passive features such as air quality and light and should also include active features which encourage certain behaviours such as exercise and good nutrition.
Indoor air quality is top of the list when it comes to providing a conducive office space. Poor air quality can have serious health impacts on people particularly those with respiratory problems and allergies. Therefore seek to install proper ventilation and air filtration in the office that can ensure purified outdoor air and that can effectively remove pollution from source to provide good air quality. Also enhanced humidity control should be installed to eliminate unhealthy biological growth.
Lighting has been scientifically proven to have specific effects on our alertness levels and circadian rhythm – our natural body internal clock. Proper changing of light at the right time is the key to keeping our circadian rhythm balanced, which is why when we are in a place where there is bright light or on a sunny day, we generally feel good and energetic, contrary to when we are in a dim or dark place. Quality of lighting is also important to avoid headaches and tension on the eyes, particularly when in front of the computer or having to do a lot of reading. To make the office a conducive environment, install circadian lighting, which is lighting that emulates or at least complements the natural cycle of light and dark and works in tandem with natural daylight to provide the perfect balance. Lighting should no longer been seen as a basic feature or as just an aesthetic feature, it should be properly consulted on to ensure the best type of lighting suited for your office.
LANDSCAPING AND PLANTS:
Spending hours on end in a lifeless environment can never do our mental health and well-being any good. A typical office is filled with machines, books and other innate office objects that provide very little connection with nature. As humans we are inherently nature lovers and thrive on being in environments that gets us as close to nature as possible. Therefore having greenery in and outside of the office space improves the quality of the physical environments we occupy. Where possible provide a garden or green space outside of the office that can be a work break space or at least provide serene views for moments of downtime in the office. Office plants are a great way to infuse nature into your space no matter how small or big and is an easy way to connect your employees to the natural environment.
It has now become a common fact that a sedentary life is a health risk that increases the chances of heart disease and premature death. Research from a study reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that there is a 29 percent of increased risk of dying from heart disease if we sit for more than 6 hours a day. This is an astonishing fact that cannot be ignored. We have already established the amount of time the average employee works in the office and can estimate that the large part of that time is spent sitting in front of a screen. For an office space that is conducive for your employees, it must provide them with opportunities and activities that will encourage them to get out of their seats regularly during the day. Practical alterations to locations of water filters, photocopiers and printers etc can subtly get staff moving. Some of the more innovative ideas practiced by more forward thinking companies have been providing meeting rooms where attendees stand and work stations without seats, some offices provide gyms and fitness programs and incorporate them into the work day. Use your office space to be creative about encouraging more movement.
Changing your office space into a more conducive environment is an investment and one that requires the right attitude and desire to want to improve the health and wellness of your employees. Making the needed changes does not have to be expensive, nor difficult to deliver, however there must be a commitment to the implementation to bring about the success. Physical improvements in the office to improve well-being is a collaborative effort of all stakeholders and a cultural adjustment in the office.
If you are interested in thinking differently about how your workplace can better support your office investment and/or your workforce, contact us for your property needs.
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