Given that most people will spend the majority of their day at work, it is important to ensure your workplace is healthy. A working environment that is unhygienic and uncomfortable can have a detrimental effect on employees’ mental and physical wellbeing. It is not only crucial for staff either; businesses themselves can benefit from guaranteeing their employees’ welfare. It can increase morale and productivity at work, reduce the likelihood of sick leave, and in the process save companies a great deal of money. The best thing about it—it is incredibly easy to make small but significant to your workplace that will guarantee this.
One of the easiest changes to implement as a business is increasing staff comfort. Most workers will be sat at their desk for up to eight hours per day in an office environment. This can cause severe discomfort if employees are using unsuitable furniture, which, in extreme cases, will lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Investing in furniture which offers ergonomic support and ensuring workspaces are properly calibrated (computers are at the correct height, for instance, and there is enough leg room) will alleviate these risks. Comfort can have a positive impact on an employee’s productivity and happiness. Furthermore, as an estimated 8.8 million working days are lost because of musculoskeletal disorders, it is estimated that workplaces across the UK collectively lose around £154 million by not tackling these problems.
Comfort is not the only way an employee’s personal workspace can be improved; it can also be done by encouraging staff to eat away from their desks. This can be incredibly bad for your team’s productivity, happiness and especially health. There are 16 million microbes on the average office desk, making it up to 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat. To enhance the health of employees, they should be dissuaded from eating lunch at their desks when possible. One way to achieve this is by having a dedicated break zone where staff can not only enjoy lunch in a hygienic area but also psychologically detach themselves from their work and spend more time bonding with colleagues.
A bad diet in the office can lead to lethargy, as well as poor health. Treats like sweets, chocolate, biscuits and doughnuts may seem like a good idea to perk the morale on a particularly long afternoon. However, you will find that the productivity of staff indulging in these confectioneries may slip towards the end of the day. It is, thankfully, possible to do both—provide employees with snacks and ensure they remain happy, healthy and focused throughout the day—by replacing them with fruit. Bananas are the best option because a single banana contains the daily amount of glucose (energy) your body requires.
Another simple way to improve the health of your staff is to encourage them to avoid driving or using public transport. Many employees suggest they would cycle to work, for instance, if their workplace had adequate facilities to accommodate for this (such as bicycle storage or a shower on-site). Exercise before work can help to increase mental stimulation and productivity throughout the day, as well as improving overall mood. Meanwhile, studies have shown that there is a correlation between cycling to work and not requiring sick days. Non-cyclists take an average of 8.7 sick days per year while cyclists take just 7.4.