Workplace Wellbeing: Top Tips to Stay Productive & Healthy at Work
Your employee's health and wellbeing should be one of your primary concerns! After all, if your employees aren't happy and healthy then productivity levels are likely to drop and so will the success of the business with it! That's why we thought we'd put together our latest blog; featuring a selection of top tips and ideas on how to stay productive and healthy whilst you're at work. Let's take a look...
Wellbeing: A Definition
According to the (CIPD) Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, well-being in definition is the "creation of an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows employees to flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organisation." So how do you ensure that your employees wellbeing is being looked after? Try these simple tips to gain a head start...
Create Positive Work Environments To Suit All Employee Need ~ Herman Miller - Living Office, 2015
Tip One: Oxygenate
Breathe with me! Now, I genuinely think you should take a deep breath. Not because this blogs that long, but because it will help to slow down your heart rate, reduce your stress levels, and make what you're working on that bit easier. Oxygen is an essential tool for living, but apparently, we don't always get enough of it at work.
So how do you boost oxygen levels? Well, you can start by making sure there is enough ventilation in the main office area. HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems are key to improving the office air flow (and a legal requirement). An ample supply of windows are equally important, bringing in natural air and also maximising sources of natural light; crucial for that all important daily vitamin D boost.
Increase oxygen levels via the incorporation of indoor plants
Alternatively, you can incorporate plants into the office to maximise the production of oxygen levels. Simple potted plants like these above will do just the job, and not only that, it will give the area a nice aesthetic boost as well. For more information on how to bring the outside in, check out our recent blog on biophilia.
It was also found in a recent study by the University of Exeter that office plants can potentially boost staff productivity levels by 47% and creativity by 45% (Medical Daily, 2013). The study took place at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and pitted individual testers in a simulated office environment with their newly added plant supplements. Needless to say, it had a most positive effect.
You have to also remember that certain types of indoor plants fair better than others in terms of the amount of oxygen they can produce, but this handy guide from Ideas That Spark will give you a hand on that. Now, inhale, exhale!...
Tip Two: Exercise or Deskercise
We say exercise, but really we mean deskercise! A term coined by the guys over at Greatist.com. Let's face it, most people don't get up and away from their desk in the day as much as they need to. It's easy to spend the whole day tapping away, writing emails and answering calls. So even if you are digging in for the long haul, it's time to get those legs and arms moving. Wave it in the air like you just don't care...
The Huffington Post has a great feature on office yoga sequences, with visual examples (like the one below) to help restore and rejuvenate those who are stuck at their desks all day. The eagle twist, seated cat and cow and breath of fire are just a few of the intriguingly named exercises. But don't be put off, these exercises are simple and effective, and will no doubt help to raise blood flow, relieve cramp and activate those sedentary limbs.
Stretch it out. Office yoga sequences to boost wellbeing
If you don't feel like you can exercise at your desk due to space limitations or the feeling of embrassment by deskercising in front of your colleagues (forget what they think anyhow), then make sure you get up, get out and get moving at some point in the day. Do your best to go for a brisk walk at lunch to get the joints moving, and to also fill your lungs with a nice blast of fresh air.
Sometimes, your employees can be so engrossed in their work and bogged down by deadlines they might feel that they can't escape for a quick break! A friendly reminder will no doubt put this right and keep them on track for a healthy and productive afternoon.
Tip Three: Dietary
A staple diet is essential in all aspects of life. Missed this mornings breakfast? Don't! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After eight plus hours of sleeping your body needs help to recharge and replenish. It needs a concise intake of protein and low glycemic index based foods to maintain its performance and productivity throughout the day. That's what we all want right?
The afternoon period after lunch is no doubt one of the worst areas for a decrease in productivity. This is typically when blood sugar levels can easily drop, causing those most unwanted afternoon crashes! High sugar / carbohydrate based foods are the major culprit for this effect, and should be avoided if possible. Not completely, just kept to a minimum.
Another counter measure would be to eat more frequently. LifeHacker recommends having a snack every two to three hours; healthy and high in protein to keep your body and mind ticking along. Check out their blog to gain a further understanding of which foods you should avoid, and which you should have more of.
Simple dietary changes can greatly improve productivity and wellbeing
There are plenty of guides and blogs out there that can help you to adjust and improve diet. In fact, HelpGuide.Org's guide to Healthy Eating to positively impact emotional health is well worth a read to gain some simple and effective tips if needed.
Some other ideas: If you want to actively promote your employees good eating habits, then try placing a fresh fruit basket in the lunch room / kitchen area and keep it well replenished each week. Have a vending machine area? Well, you don't neccesarily have to take away the unhealthy stuff, but try adding in another machine with healthy alternatives: dried fruits, nuts and natural juices. Promote your employees health by at least giving them the option to eat healthy.
Bonus: Try Life Hacker's - Eat Your Way to a High-Energy Workday Blog
Tip Four: Hydration
You know, I bet you that a lot of people turn to the old coffee pot in the morning in the hope to keep active and awake. That swift, scentful blast that floods your nostrils, lifting you into a heightened sense of awareness turns out isn't actually the best solution after all. But we all knew that anyways. Instead, try to get used to upping your water intake levels. As LifeHacker states, "The minor signs of dehydration include lethargy, headaches, muscle pain, and a general sense of confusion." Not so good!
Hydrate yourself to avoid tiredness and improve productivity at work
It can of course be quite easy to forget to drink throughout the day, and there are measures that can be put in place to make this easier. Every office should either have a water cooler / dispenser system in the main office or kitchen area. You should always look to bring in a refillable bottle or flask (not a hip flask) to keep your water levels topped up. You can also try putting a timer in place so that on the turn of every hour you make sure you get up and get a refill. Worst case scenario...you'll have increased bathroom breaks. Not so bad at all considering it gets you moving about the office more.
Tip Five: Positive Working Environments
Sometimes it's not always about physical health factors such as exercise, dietary planning and oxygen intake levels that make the difference. Sometimes it can be more of a psychological issue. That's why it's important to create working areas that benefit all personality types and work modes, ensuring everyone has the best opportunity to collaborate, socialise and work in optimal surroundings.
Multiple generations work under the same roof, and in very different ways, so it is important to get employees to mix and not feel isolated. Take a look at Herman Miller's Living Office guide which showcases various configurations of dynamic and adaptable areas, similar to the co-working / break-out spaces like the one featured below. A nice, colourful, open space like this can greatly impact the workplace and really bring people together boosting everyone's wellbeing in the process.
Breakout spaces...a cost effective solution for creating positive work environments
Sometimes, you just need to inject a little fun into the workplace. Perhaps you could arrange a themed charity event to promote good will and to generate a few laughs. You could create an internal ideas forum where staff can share their opinions and thoughts, or perhaps you could even introduce some quirky office design features to make the office more exciting. Simple measures can go a long way...
Bonus: Top Five Modern Office Features Blog
So there you have it. A few of our personal tips and tricks, combined with some insightful research links that can help you make sure your employees are as happy and healthy as they can be when at work. If you want to see how we can help you design, implement and install break-out areas and co-working spaces to benefit well-being and worker productivity, check out our product page and feel free to get in touch either via the contact form or by phone. Until next time...Thanks for reading.
Post by Adam Bissmire-Mullen