For many people, staying happy and healthy in their workplace seems like an unending battle. Sitting in the same position for hours on end, enduring the computer screen glare, indulging on your 6th chocolate digestive…there are numerous ways that you may be disregarding your health at work. This can have a huge affect on your morale, productivity, and just overall enjoyment of your job.
In this article we discuss some of the main things that you need to be aware of when creating a happy and healthy working environment.
Keeping a cleaning and tidy workplace should be a top priority. Obviously cleanliness, sanitation and reducing the spread of germs has come to the forefront in recent years (we all know why), highlighting how vital it is in preventing the spread of illness. Although this is paramount, studies keeping things clean and tidy can have a significant impact on productivity and mindset.
Coming into an office with boxes and papers haphazardly stacked everywhere, mouldy coffee mugs strewn across the desks, and a carpet that hasn’t seen a good vacuum in months will heavily contribute to a general feeling of stress and unease in the workplace. As well as just being common sense, keeping on top of the housekeeping directly contributes to business success.
If we were writing this in a few months. this would probably be a bit further down the list, but the sweltering heatwaves we have endured has put this right at the top of our minds. Working in an entirely too hot (or cold) environment makes it extremely difficult for employees to focus or function properly, and is a sure fire way to build resentment towards an employer.
Office temperature can be quite a contentious issue, but you have to realise that you can’t please everyone. Approved codes of practice suggest a temperature between 16 and 24 degrees, so we would suggest it’s a safe bet to split the difference and go for 20 degrees.
This isn’t just workplace advice and you’re probably sick of hearing this, but drink plenty of water! Fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating are some of the main symptoms of mild dehydration, and they certainly don’t make for a productive employee. Employers need to ensure their workers have easy access to drinking water wherever they are. To encourage plenty of water intake, keep a bottle with you all the time, and if you really need a push, set a regular alarm on your phone to remind you when you should be refilling.
Eating plenty of fruit and veg is also a great way to up your fluid intake. The amount to drink will obviously depend on the individual, their levels of activity and the environment – have a look at this handy calculator to see how much you need to stay hydrated.
You may notice around the same time every day that you’re rubbing your eyes and trying to slow down the onslaught of an inevitable headache. If this is the case it could be due to the fact that you are getting too much exposure to particular light patterns. This is especially true if you do a lot of your work staring at a computer screen or your office has a lot of fluorescent lighting. Make sure you take frequent breaks away from your screen, and try and get out into some natural light whenever you can. Looking out of a window for a few minutes every hour is also a good way to give your eyes a rest, and also just to help improve morale and productivity.
There are differing schools of thought on to what the right levels of noise should be in the workplace, especially when it comes to playing music or not. Some people work more productively with a bit of background noise, some people prefer absolute silence. The challenge comes when trying to do what’s best for everyone. It’s generally accepted that a high level of noise is not good for productivity and can become distracting. A good rule of thumb is that if you have to raise your voice at all to speak to someone who’s within 10 feet, then it’s too loud. For employers, if your workplace is big enough, it may help to establish a dedicated ‘quiet zone’, which allow employees to hot desk and work in absolute silence when they need to.
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