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How Your Office Environment Affects Your Employees and Ways to Make it Healthier

AUTHOR: Carson Design Associates - Indy   POST DATE:

Did you know that creating a positive, safe and healthy office space can increase morale, improve work-life balance, and make an overall positive impact on your business? Here are just a few of the benefits of a healthy office environment.

Attract + Retain Good Talent

By striving to make the work experience healthier for employees, you will naturally attract more people, which increases the caliber of applications and makes it easier to find higher quality employees. Once you’ve hired new people, your healthy environment will then help retain these employees, thus saving money on training and recruiting. Studies have shown that losing one employee can cost your business up to nine months of a salary. By simply promoting good health among workers and creating a positive environment, you can significantly reduce the costs of employee turnover and recruitment.

Improve Performance + Increase Productivity

Healthy employees have more energy, endurance and overall happiness levels. Naturally, this increases productivity and performance by your team. By encouraging your employees to eat better and take care of their bodies, employees feel more valued and energetic, and therefore work more efficiently. Research has shown that happy, healthy employees are 12 percent more productive than unhappy employees.

Lower Rates of Absent Employees

By encouraging your employees to be healthier, you are motivating them to stay at work and recover from sickness at a faster rate, while decreasing their risk for long-term illness.

So how do you make your office environment healthier? Start by surveying your employees. See where they are in their health goals and ask them what types of health programs they would benefit from the most.

In the meantime, start with the following steps to begin your journey of creating a healthier workplace environment:

1. Be intentional about the design of your workplace.

Natural lighting is ideal in an office space. Include as many windows as you can (if you have control over the design of your space). Being exposed to daylight decreases stress levels and levels out your circadian rhythm. If a redesign isn’t an option, consider changing the color of your office walls or light bulbs. Cool, blue colors are good for analytical thinking, while warmer colors are better for social interactions. Also, consider adding plants to your space — a great way to inspire creativity and wellness. Consider going with something like a sansevieria, which can also improve the air quality in your office.

2. Emphasize good posture.

We all know that sitting is killing us, so we strongly suggest investing in ergonomically correct office furniture for your employees. Posture is so important to the overall health and wellness of your employees. Hunching over desks and computers is a major cause of back pain, and any amount of pain will lower productivity and happiness levels. Ergonomically correct desks and chairs support correct postures and prevent slouching.

3. Encourage your team to be active.

Hold walking meetings. Sponsor frequent workout classes from local yoga studios, bootcamps and more. Encourage everyone to take the stairs on a certain day each week. Host monthly team lunches where everyone walks to the restaurant, and encourage your employees not to sit and eat at their desks. Create an inviting space for your team to gather and each lunch each day.

4. Provide healthy snacks.

If you provide snacks for your employees, make sure they are healthy snacks. Include fresh produce from a local vendor and snacks that are low in sugar. Also consider encouraging your team to go “meatless” one day per week, and educate everyone on the environmental and health impacts of being vegetarian.

5. Establish a health & wellness committee.

Recruit a group of health advocates within your company to serve on a committee to lead the charge to a healthier workplace. Challenge them to take the results of the health survey you administered and design creative programs around what your team really wants. This committee can research local opportunities, organize activities, send out regular health tips and much more.

Focusing on the health of your office is critical to the success of your business, and we understand it can be an overwhelming task. It certainly won’t happen overnight, which is why it’s important to set goals, create a committee who can help, and be patient with your progress. By providing tangible benefits to your team, you’ll be well on your way to increasing health and overall happiness levels in your workplace.

We’d love to hear your methods of creating a healthy workplace environment. Leave your tips in the comments below!

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