As we all learn to adapt to new ways of working, greater emphasis is being placed on how buildings and offices provide a safe and healthy place for workers.
Buildings undoubtedly have an impact on health. Poor ventilation, limited natural light, and crowded workspaces create an environment that impacts our ability to work. The answer isn’t a ping-pong table or a huge slide in the centre of the office.
Already design companies are seeing a shift in how office space is utilised due to hybrid working. Central to this new thinking of the future office is how workspaces should cultivate good health, which profoundly impacts productivity and employee happiness.
We’ve produced simple tips that will help your office keep people happy and healthy.
Let the light shine in
Access to natural light and air are vital factors in workplace wellness. If you have an area outside, make sure your people can access this at intervals throughout the day. If your office doesn’t lend itself to natural light, invest in decent lighting.
Breakdown the barriers
While it’s essential to have privacy at work, try removing as many physical barriers as possible to help your people feel part of a unified team. Of course, there may be times when you need peace and quiet, so make certain areas quiet zones.
Let’s get physical
Making sure employees can be active while at work is vital to building a healthy workplace. Standing desks are becoming the norm in some offices as they help people be more active and not sedentary. Encourage people to take regular breaks from their desks or go for walks. Ask them to switch the lift for the stairs or even provide a room where they can do simple stretches, which can help good circulation.
Part of the furniture
Think about how people will sit and move through the office each day, but the most important piece of furniture will be the desk chair. It has to offer excellent levels of support and good posture as your people may well be sitting for large parts of the day.
Five a day
Encourage better eating by providing fresh fruit, and if possible, try and remove the biscuit barrel.
Although this isn’t a central part of the office, regular health checks could be perhaps something employers offer to their people. It’s a simple way of helping them maintain a healthy lifestyle.
And of course, hybrid working looks like it’s here to stay. If you are working from home, here are some useful tips.
- Stick to a routine. Much as you would have done in the office, create a routine that works for you and helps you be productive.
- Create a dedicated workspace. If possible, create a quiet space where you can work without distraction. Make sure it’s comfortable, though and set up your workspace that won’t cause physical problems.
- Set ‘office’ hours. When working from home, you can choose your hours but try to work within a 9-5 system and structure your day to stay on schedule and complete specific tasks at regular times.
- Stay connected. Being on your own can leave you isolated, so if possible, stay connected with your peers. Make time to socialise as you would do at the office.
- Set boundaries. Make sure the people that share your home understand when you’re working and perhaps share your schedule so they know when you need quiet or time to focus. At the same time, keep to those office hours and make sure work doesn’t creep into your downtime.
- Think long term. If you are thinking about working from home long term, look at what you can do to improve your home office to keep productivity at an optimum.
- Be kind to yourself. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and give yourself realistic targets. Make sure you have time to relax too.
If you have a team of people working from home, make sure you have regular check-ins to ensure they’re feeling ok mentally and physically.
For more information about how to look after your people, feel free to drop us a line.