Providing a safe, healthy, and appealing workplace should be one of the top priorities of any business owner. Employees are the heartbeat of your business, so you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure they feel valued.
So, how do you keep your employees happy and healthy in the office? Provide a safe, healthy, and vibrant work environment that is optimized with clean air, clean water, with access to natural light, and uses color to stimulate employees’ minds. Also, provide ergonomic furniture with alternative workspaces that promote employee movement and use perks such as food and coffee to promote social collaboration.
One of the best ways to demonstrate your commitment to your employees is by evaluating your office building and upgrading it when possible in order to ensure optimum comfort and safety for everyone who works there.
Check the Water Supply
One of the most basic of human needs is water. After all, nearly 75% of our brain matter is water, so it makes sense that keeping hydrated helps us stay mentally sharp and focused on the work at hand. Does your office provide an abundant supply of safe, good-tasting water? If not, you might consider installing a water cooler or water filtration system. Bonus idea: How about ordering some BPA-free water bottles with the company logo to encourage your team to hydrate while also sneaking in some advertising?
Besides water for drinking, you’ll want to ensure there is adequate hot water in your restrooms and kitchen area for both sanitation and comfort. You can find a water heater company in Los Feliz or any other area to help assess your current water heater and make a plan to upgrade if needed.
Evaluate the Air Quality
The quality of the air we breathe is critical to overall health. Indoor air tends to contain more contaminants than the air outside, making it even more important to ensure your office space is as hygienic as possible. Some of the most common indoor pollutants are mold and mildew, bacteria and viruses, and chemical emissions from cleaning products. Prolonged exposure to these contaminants can result in a variety of diseases such as allergies, asthma, and even some forms of cancer. Studies have also shown that breathing impure air at work can adversely affect workers’ productivity and reasoning ability.
Most indoor air pollution is undetectable by sight or smell alone, so don’t rely on your senses. Be proactive by following a rigorous cleaning schedule, preferably using green products rather than potentially dangerous chemicals. Make sure air filters are replaced at appropriate intervals. When possible, boost air circulation the old-fashioned way by opening the windows. Another simple fix is to bring in houseplants; they do double duty by providing beauty along with cleaner air.
Inspect the Lighting
Recent research by a professor at Cornell University indicates that exposure to natural light at work leads to increased productivity and happiness. Workers in offices with natural versus artificial light also reported significantly fewer headaches along with less eye strain and blurry vision. If feasible, locate workspaces within ten feet of a window. Other ways to bring more daylight into the office include adding skylights and rearranging any light-blocking furniture.
Of course, most offices will require some artificial lighting as well. Make sure overhead lights are not too bright and are free from glare. Mix overhead lighting with other types such as floor and table lamps, including adjustable task lighting. Replace any bulbs that are flickering or buzzing, as these distractions are not only annoying but also adversely affect employees’ ability to concentrate.
Scrutinize the Comfort Level
Ensuring your employees’ physical comfort is another way you can optimize their performance and satisfaction at work. Are their workstations ergonomically designed so as to prevent repetitive motion injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders? Is the heating and cooling system working appropriately, maintaining the space at a comfortable temperature and humidity level? Is the noise level conducive to focused work?
Think about supplying alternatives such as sit-stand desks or flexible work areas instead of limiting employees to a single workstation. How about a dedicated quiet room where team members can go to rest and recharge as needed? Any adjustments you can make that enhance your employees’ physical well-being will result in a happier and more productive team.
Consider the Food
Everyone knows that our brains and bodies function best when they’re fueled with nourishing food. While it’s not your responsibility to ensure your employees eat well, you can encourage a healthy diet by providing alternatives to the typical vending machine fare. Longer-lasting fruits like oranges and apples are good options, as are fun snacks like baby carrots dipped in single-serving packets of hummus or guacamole.
Make sure your employees have a restful space away from their work stations to enjoy snacks and meals. Ensure the office culture supports taking the time to savor food rather than gulping it down in a rush to get back to work. You could even take it a step farther and organize a healthy potluck meal, complete with prizes in categories like “best low-fat dish” and “yummiest low-sugar dessert”.
Assess the Activity Level
Closely related to good nutrition is physical fitness; they go hand-in-hand in promoting overall wellbeing and effectiveness at work. Exercise promotes blood flow which, in turn, increases mental acuity. Take a look at your office building and see if there are tweaks you can make to promote movement throughout the day. Is there a bike rack for employees who might like to cycle to work some days? Are there clear hallways and stairwells for walk breaks throughout the day? If space allows, you might even consider setting up an area with hand weights and a stability ball to encourage an energizing exercise break.
You could also think about promoting fitness through some friendly competition. See who can log the most steps in a week or jump rope the longest. Encourage folks to take a walk together at lunchtime when the weather is nice. Can you arrange for a reduced membership rate for your employees at a local gym? Anything you do to help your team stay healthy is an investment in them and your business.
Study the Mindset
Consider your workplace from a psychological point of view. How do you think your employees feel about the time they spend there? A seemingly minor factor such as the paint color on the walls can have a surprisingly big effect on mood. Warm colors like red and yellow tend to promote energy and happiness but, if overdone, can create a sense of anxiety or danger. Cool colors like green and blue often have a calming effect but can sometimes evoke a feeling of sadness. Purple, which is a combination of warm red and cool blue, is thought to promote creativity.
Another consideration for your employees’ emotional state at work is the type of furnishings that surround them. Strictly utilitarian desks and chairs create an austere environment that is counterproductive to creativity. On the other hand, a cluttered space filled with a mish-mash of items leads to a chaotic atmosphere that inhibits concentration. Strive for a balance, combining orderly elements with splashes of interest, to create an ambiance that promotes the mental health of your team.
Think carefully about how your office space affects your team’s physical and mental wellbeing. Employees today are interested in more than just a paycheck; they want to feel valued and respected. They also expect a work environment that’s conducive to performing at their best. Taking steps to ensure your team is comfortable and content at work not only makes you a better employer but also contributes greatly to your business’ success.