From office space to happy place
12 December 2020| Last updated on 5 January 2021
All Credits: PA
Consider all the places you might associate with wellness. The spa, a hotel, perhaps your living room… the office?
Work can be stressful at the best of times, but according to the new Wellness at Work Report by flexible work-space providers Uncommon, a whopping 40% of office workers felt that their environment made it difficult for them to work smoothly and productively.
Fortunately, there’s a wide array of ways to boost your workplace wellbeing. Here’s just a few of them…
Never underestimate the power of a comfortable chair. For wound up office workers hunched over phones and keyboards, bad posture is a daily hazard, and can cause back pain sooner rather than later.
Remember the golden rules: Eyes level with the top of the monitor, shoulders low and relaxed, feet flat on the floor. If these don’t sound unfamiliar, your chair is failing you.
If your work space really isn’t working out, speak to your employer about more flexibly or find somewhere else. Under a variety of guises (flexible hours, hot-desking) agile working is slowly becoming standard in lots of industries, allowing employees to function when and where works best.
It’s not universally loved. Gone are the personalised desk areas with food drawers and family photos, and it’s been criticised for treating workers as interchangeable. But for the right people, it’s a revelation.
A fundamental need not just of people, but every single living organism on Earth, a previous study found that even mild dehydration can cause a drastic dip in cognitive function. Spend as much time at the water cooler as possible, and not just to hear all the goss about what goes on in the office stationary cupboard.
From outdoor churches to forest bathing, this year's wellness trends are all about au naturel, and your office can benefit just as much as your body and mind. Study after study has proven the positive effects of greenery, and even a solitary pot plant can reap reward.
Sharon from accounts may have irked the cleaning staff with her overgrown peace lily, but she’s doing you and the rest of the office a psychological favour. Avoid flowering plants – imagine the horrors of office hay fever – and try sneaking in a succulent or cactus.
Be it music, chatter, or just general crashing and bashing, the report calls noise disruption “the number one inhibitor of a personal sense of productivity”, and cites performance drops of 66% when workers are disrupted. Minimise background noise any way you know how – sound insulation, detached work spaces, a quiet word with the overly loud.
Lighting is similarly central, and 55% of Uncommon members cited natural lights as a ‘leading factor’ when scoping out new buildings. There’s a basic human preference for natural light over electronic, and if your employees are left squinting at their notepads they might damage their eyesight and their productivity.
This may seem a lot of expect from your average urban office building, but even cheap, mail-order prints suffice to break up the visual monotony, and the report found that workers in ‘enriched’ spaces (decorated with art or plants), are 17% more productive.
No one is expecting Caravaggio, but creativity breeds creativity.