It’s no secret that working a desk job comes with its share of health risks. According to The Washington Post, working at a desk can result in elevated risk of heart disease, an over-productive pancreas, colon cancer, a strained neck, poor circulation, degenerating abdominal, hip, and glute muscles, and softer bones… Amongst others!
So what can businesses do to combat the negative health impact of sitting all day in an office setting? Good news! There’s plenty that employers can do to make the workplace healthier. Whether you’re a concerned employee, or a small business owner looking to do right by employees, these 5 steps to a healthier workplace are a great place to start.
Water, Water, Water!
It may seem obvious, but employers who want to create a healthier workplace should provide access to ice, and clean purified water. This will make it easy for workers to drink enough water throughout the day. Drinking enough water is critical to health and wellness. Providing ice and purified water has been shown to increase the amount of water that employees drink.
An easy way for managers and employers to encourage employees to drink more water (beyond providing access to it), is to provide free drinking bottles. These can be branded with a company logo as a form of free advertising. Any extras can even be gifted to clients and vendors!
Opening a window and allowing fresh, natural air into the office not only minimises the requirement for air conditioning, but also creates a breeze and moves the air around. Obviously, in the winter this may be difficult. However, as soon as Spring hits and the sun is out, open those windows!
Some of the benefits of fresh air are:
- Improves blood pressure and heart rate
- Mood booster
- Cleans lungs
- Provides more energy and a encourages a sharper mind
Creating a pet-friendly workplace where well-behaved dogs are welcome can be a great way to reduce employee stress and give employees something to bond over. Studies have shown that the presence of friendly animals can reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Going pet-friendly is also likely to promote activity as workers will vacate the break room and take a walking lunch or break. Start by encouraging staff to go outside more often to move around and leave their office chairs behind.
Healthy Snacks or Lunches
Does your workplace has a tendency to gobble up cake, muffins, and unhealthy snacks? Consider organising a healthy snack schedule. If you’re the business owner, this could include providing a free salad bar once a week. Or you could even provide fresh fruit, granola, and low-fat yogurt on Monday mornings.
If colleagues are on board, divvy-up the responsibility and have a different person provide a healthy morning snack each day or once a week. This can be a great way to prevent overeating at lunch, giving colleagues a chance to socialise, and provide healthy alternatives to what’s in the vending machine.
Plants, Lots of Plants
Having plants around the office not only improves the appearance of the work space, but it’s also proven to be beneficial to health and productivity. Humans have an innate desire to be connected with nature, which scientists call ‘biophilia’. Unfortunately, the spaces we tend to spend most of our days are generally stripped of much of their connection to the natural environment.
Not all plants will love to live in the workplace. Start to consider restrictions such as the availability of daylight, and how often the plants can and will be watered.
A Healthier Workplace = A More Productive Workplace
These 5 steps have been proven to boost employee mood, productivity and creativity. They can also be effective at improving teamwork and collaboration. Taking care of employees is incredibly important, and burnout in the workplace is very real. Learn How to Prevent Team Burnout with just a few clever, easy-to-implement methods.