Most people spend about eight hours every day at work, five days a week. For many, the office can be a very stressful place, with crowded, impersonal workspaces, stale and continuously recycled indoor air, and high-calorie vending machine snacks. All of these add up to an unhealthy environment. Studies show that just sitting at a desk for long hours can be harmful to your health. Luckily, a quiet transformation is underway in the way employers and workers see the office.
Employers are realizing that a happy and healthy office is also a more productive one, and are taking steps to promote workplace wellness. This can mean changes across many different fronts, from personalized workspaces to office yoga. Many offices have adopted innovations like adjustable desks that can be used to work while sitting or standing. Indoor communicating stairs encourage movement through the workday.
Healthy food choices in vending machines and pet-friendly offices go a long way toward helping workers feel more relaxed, and better able to focus on their work. Intangibles like worker recognition programs and better communication can work wonders for motivation. Something as simple as scheduling a meeting before lunch instead of after can contribute to employee satisfaction.
Office spaces too are getting a makeover, with strong influences from green design. Shared lounge areas with cozy couches and throws and cleaner indoor air can improve morale and creativity. Natural lighting is linked to mental concentration and better short-term memory recall. If access to daylight is not possible, designers try to use variable lighting that matches daily circadian rhythms. Acoustic design is used to block out stress-inducing external noise while making it easier to have private conversations indoors.
The best element of workplace wellness is that it’s easy to begin with small simple steps and then work up towards adding more features of a healthy and happy office.