Workplace health and safety are topics that don’t see as much focus as they should. Proper ergonomics for employees will help reduce the incidence of workplace injury, but there are several other things that need to be done to really ramp up the healthiness of an office environment. While some of these changes can be done by individual employees, employers can do much more to enhance the health quality of the workplace. Below, you will find four important tips to increasing workplace and worker health.
Consider Standup Desks
When you think of a desk, chances are good that you picture the standard model – a flat surface a couple of feet off the floor with space for a chair and room underneath for the worker’s legs. While sit-down desks are still the norm, many companies are beginning to implement standup desks. These are designed to allow the employee to stand up and complete their duties, rather than sitting down. A mounting body of evidence suggests that long periods of sitting actually contribute to significant health problems.
Most workplaces use the most cost-effective type of lighting (usually fluorescents). However, that’s not necessarily the best option for creating a healthy workplace. Natural light is better for the eyes, improves vision and can also enhance mood and productivity. Letting in plenty of natural light is as simple as opening the blinds on your office’s windows. If your office lacks enough windows to make this feasible, look into lights that mimic natural sunlight’s wavelength and color.
Add a Fitness Area
Encouraging workers to take a break from the job and get their hearts pumping is actually a good thing for both your workers’ health and your company’s bottom line. It doesn’t have to be all that expensive, either. Find an unused office or area in your workplace and add a couple of treadmills and an elliptical machine or two. Encourage your employees to take periodic breaks and exercise. This gets them out of their sitting position, enhances blood flow and also improves overall health.
Encourage Healthier Eating
Lunch in an office environment is usually an unhealthy affair. Your employees might be wolfing down a massive burger and fries, or they might be eating quickly so they can get back to their responsibilities. They might be skipping lunch altogether. Encourage healthier eating in your employees. You can do this in a number of ways, including introducing meal plan suggestions, or hiring a healthy food vendor to come to the office. Of course, it helps if you (the manager or owner) are able to lead by example. Encourage your employees to take their entire lunchtime, too.
Creating a healthy workplace doesn’t have to require a revolutionary change. Small steps in the right direction can result in big improvements. Start small and think smart. Encourage your employees to get out of the rut and do things differently. Of course, you need to think differently as well.
Ergonomic chairs have become an essential part of the workplace. Chairs designed with proper ergonomics promote good health and comfort. They enforce the idea that the chair should adjust for you and not the other way around. However, ergonomic chairs can be quite expensive, especially the top-of-the-line, best ergonomic chairs. At the same time, you don’t necessarily have to look for a chair that brands itself as being ergonomic. You merely need to look for a few components that promote ergonomic design. By keeping an eye out for these features, you might find a chair with ergonomic features but at a price your pocketbook can appreciate.
Begin by looking for chairs with height adjustment
If you are confused as to what makes a chair ergonomic and why many of these chairs cost an arm and leg, you merely need to think of these seats as loaded with adjustments, especially height adjustment. Even if you see a chair in your price range that doesn’t say it is ergonomic, check to see if it features height adjustment. Height and backrest adjustment are key components of ergonomic design. They allow the user to adjust the chair to suit their lower back needs and their height. In the process, the back is happier and the legs can enjoy proper circulation.
Seek out chair mechanisms
A chair mechanism might be a foreign feature to you. However, if you look closely at the description of those fancy ergonomic office chairs, you will probably see this term mentioned. The chair mechanism controls how the seat and backrest move. It allows the chair to lock into any number of positions. Even if you can’t afford the most expensive ergonomic chairs, you can still look for cheaper options with this feature. Many ergonomic chairs come with a multi-function mechanism. This allows you to adjust the backrest to multiple angles, along with the pitch of the seat pan. You might also see chairs with a knee tilt mechanism. This helps you to keep your feet on the ground and thighs parallel to the floor when you do lean back in your chair. In the process, you experience better blood flow, which leads to less fatigue and discomfort.
Check to see if the seat slides
Another ergonomic component to chairs is the seat slider. You might only be looking for a chair in the $100 to $200 range. Even at this price point, you should be able to find chairs that have a seat slider. The seat slider allows you to adjust the seat to fit your height and width, rather than you having to try and fit into a chair that doesn’t exactly suit your dimensions. You can fit more comfortably into the contours of the seat as a result. The ergonomic feature of a seat slider adds more comfort and customization than a basic chair.
You might not have the budget to shop in the top-of-the-line ergonomic chair section. However, there are ergonomic chairs to suit all budgets. Even if you can’t afford the priciest chair, you can still seek out features in more affordable office chairs that promote ergonomic design.
Workplace happiness once seemed unimportant. Workers came in to do a job. Whether they were happy about it or not was irrelevant. However, it actually turns out that happiness in the workplace matters a great deal. Psychology Today indicates that it can have a direct impact on everything from productivity to worker retention and profitability. Smart employers need to ensure that their workers are as happy as they can be. While that doesn’t mean you need to “coddle” them, it does mean that smart businesses should take certain steps. Below, you’ll find eight important tips to improve workplace happiness.
1. Focus on Family
Your workers split their time between the job and their families. Of the two, their families are ultimately the most important. Show that you care and put the focus on your workers’ families first.
2. Build a Community
Your workplace should be more than just a collection of different people busily going about their duties. There should be a sense of camaraderie, a feeling of togetherness. Your workplace should be a community itself. Inspire a feeling of community by encouraging mutual goals, group events and fostering connections between your workers.
3. Share the Spotlight
Your employees work hard for you and you need to give credit where it’s due. If your firm experienced a jump in profitability, share the credit with the departments and employees responsible (after all, your company didn’t jump up in the ratings on its own; someone had to put in the effort).
4. Lead by Example
If you routinely take time off, or ask employees to do things that you wouldn’t do yourself, you’re creating a negative workplace. Lead by example. If you ask your employees to follow certain policies, do so yourself.
One of the factors affecting your workplace’s level of happiness might actually be the layout of desks, cubicles and equipment. Be open to change. Look into alternative layouts that foster better traffic flow, let in more natural light and open the space up.
6. Encourage Hobbies
Let’s be realistic. Your employees aren’t all work and no play. In fact, chances are their true personality shines through in their hobbies and extracurricular activities. Encourage your employees to explore other interests and don’t denigrate hobbies and other pastimes in the workplace.
7. Stock Snack Machines Smart
Most offices have some sort of vending machines on the premises. Chances are yours are full of soda, cookies, crackers, chips and other junk food. Make a shift and encourage healthier eating. Bring in vendors who can supply high quality snacks and healthy foods/drinks, and your employees’ morale will rise.
Break time equals less productivity, right? Wrong. If you actually encourage your employees to take periodic breaks, stretch, exercise and unwind a bit, they’ll be much more productive when they return to the job.
Following these simple tips will help you create a happier, healthier workplace and you might even be surprised at just how much that benefits your business.
If you have worked at any office job longer than six months you are most likely already familiar with the repercussions of sitting down for long periods of time everyday. You have most likely experienced the back pain that haunts you on a daily basis and the feeling of fatigue from remaining sedentary for long periods of time. In fact, a recent study posted in BMJ Open states that sitting for three hours a day cuts your life expectancy by two years. Other studies conducted by LifeSpan fitness found that 1 in 10 adults have trouble walking a distance equal to walking from the parking lot to the back of a large store or through a mall.
Unfortunately for most of us, we are confined to our cubicles and desks for the majority of our work day and do not have the time to get up and walk around every hour as recommended by health and fitness experts. But what if you were able to get your work done while being able to walk and stretch your muscles simultaneously? While this may seem like an idea that is far off in the future, treadmill work stations are slowly making their way into more and more work spaces across the world as companies are becoming more familiarized with their positive benefits.
What is a treadmill work desk?
The treadmill work station was created as an alternative to the traditional sedentary work place. It allows you to walk and work simultaneously during the day on a treadmill with a connecting sit stand desk, allowing you to significantly increase your activity level without taking time away from your busy work schedule. Most of us come home from work too tired to get back on the road and hit the gym or wake up an extra hour or two early to get your daily exercise in. The treadmill desk is the perfect way to integrate exercise into your daily routine without the hassle of making it to the gym after work, although it is recommended not to replace the treadmill desk entirely with your pre-existing work out schedule.
If you already have a standing work station, simply purchase the treadmill separately as most work station treadmills are designed to work with a large variety of sit stand desk applications. If you do not have a standing desk, there is also the option to purchase both the treadmill and desk in conjunction with each other as many companies offer packages for both items that are often less expensive in price than purchasing both products separately.
What is the benefit of a treadmill work station?
The American Heart Association warrants that walking 10,00 steps a day leads to a 90% reduction in heart attacks and 70% reduction in rate of having a stroke. The American Cancer society agrees that walking 10,000 steps is beneficial in that it leads to a 30-70% reduction in rates of cancer. Other benefits obtained from walking throughout the day on a treadmill include increased alertness, blood and oxygen flow to the muscles, increased energy, greater clarity, weight loss, improved productivity, feeling more positive, and a decrease in back and joint pain generally associated with sitting in an office chair.
Worried about being able to work and walk at the same time?
While it may seem like it may be a difficult task to walk and work at the same time, many have successfully transitioned to the treadmill work station with minimal effort. It may take a day or two to get accustomed to walking at a slow speed while working which is why it is recommended to test the waters on simple tasks such as responding to e-mails or answering phone calls. A study conducted by SitBetter.com at a UCLA health walk event tested over 50 employees of the university to see if they were able to work while walking and of those employees, 45 found that they could transition to this new form of working right away while 3 said they would be able to adjust over time.
Whether you are looking to reduce back pain, incorporate more exercise into your routine, maintain a healthier lifestyle, or simply want to be more active throughout the day a treadmill work station is your perfect solution.
To view Sitbetter’s full line of treadmill desks click here!
It is the most dreaded time of the year again, flu season. With the one in a million tragic flu death stories running rampant on every news station, social media feed, and online publication out there, people understandably are growing concerned about catching this illness. And the easiest way to catch it? From others that have it. With the majority of us spending most of our time at our jobs with our coworkers, the chances of catching the flu from a coworker that is sick is highly possible. While the easiest solution may seem to be to pass a bottle of hand sanitizer around the office, there are other steps you and others can take to avoid getting sick while at the office.
Keep Your Workspace Clean
This is often easier said than done, however it is important to make a conscious effort to keep your workspace clean and tidy. The keyboard and your mouse come in contact with numerous individuals throughout the work week and it is easy to forget that these people could have easily forgotten to wash their hands after they sneezed or even worse used the restroom. Use a Lysol wipe to sanitize your keyboard, mouse, desk phone, and desk space at least once a week to avoid unwanted germs. Even if you do not share any of your office accessories with your coworkers it is still possibly to reinfect yourself with prior illnesses and germs you may have unknowingly been on your hands while working. Instead of using the old excuse that you are, “too busy”, make some time on a Friday to clean when you are anxiously staring at the clock avoiding your work to fill it up with cleaning. Time will go by faster, promise.
Exercise Common Courtesy
This may seem like common sense but most people seem to forget that when they are sick others can get sick as well. If you find yourself sneezing or coughing at work, remember to cover your mouth to avoid spreading germs. The best way to cover your mouth would be to find a tissue nearby, but if you are out of those or have a sneak attack cough, use your arm or instead of your hand. It is easy to forget after that you need to wash your hands and may find yourself continuing on with your work.
Stay at Home
Everyone knows the uncomfortable feeling of working in the same room as someone who is coughing a lung up or sneezing like they are having an allergic reaction. Your first response is to tell them to go home, but being the polite individual that you probably are, you usually have to suck it up and continue on with your work day or have to pop an Airborne in your water. If you feel like you might get people sick while you are working it is probably best to stay home. Most companies offer full-time employees sick and vacation days for a reason, so be certain to utilize that time off to rest and get yourself better. As the doctor always says, it is better to get rest and relax rather than trying to work through the normal work day’s stress and long hours. If you don’t have sick time, ask your boss if you can take a few hours off or have a half day at work. He/she will most likely understand as everyone has been in your position before.
Don’t Touch Your Face
This tip is perhaps the easiest to forget but is also the easiest and fastest way to get sick. Touching your face is one of those unconscious movements that you do not even realize you are doing because it has become such a habit which is why it is essential to try to make a conscious effort to avoid it. It may be tempting to want to rest your face on your hand as the day drags on but when germs get in contact with your mouth, eyes, or nose, you may as well get prepared to call in sick the next day.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
Your hands are the main carriers of germs and viruses, which is why they are the most important to keep clean. Form a habit (it only takes 21 days!) of washing your hands every time you eat food, after you use the restroom, after touching other people’s possessions, handling garbage, and blowing your nose. If you want to be extra cautious, prior to washing your hands get your paper towel pulled down and ready to use. Then proceed to wash hands for at least 20 seconds making sure to rub your hands together well. After, use your paper towel to not only wipe your hands but to turn off the faucet as well.
Exercise, Get Sleep, and Eat Healthy
You hear it from your doctor every time you visit them that eating healthy, getting a full eight hours of sleep every night, and exercising are the main deterrents of illnesses. It is advisable to get at least one hours of exercise in a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even if that means going on a short walk during your lunch break or spending an hour at the gym after work. The British Journal of Sports Medicine found in a study of 1,000 adults up to the age of 85 that people who are physically fit have fewer colds and, when they do get sick, have milder symptoms. Drinking eight glasses of water and eating a balanced meal are also advised. Pretending to be allergic to vegetables and fruit no longer applies once you are over the age of 5 so keep that in mind when selecting your meals for the day.
Follow these tips above and you may find yourself getting sick less often, or at the very least being more immune to your sick coworkers.