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.
A new type of work station is swiftly making its way into businesses all across the world with its inherent ergonomic benefits. Ergonomists have long recognized the benefits of postural changes for many years now, and with this concept in mind, sit stand workstations are quickly becoming a must-have option for workers everywhere. These workstations allow for both sitting, standing, or a combination of both depending on the workers preference. With the option for sitting or standing, workers can quickly transfer from the sitting to the standing position throughout their shifts with minimal effort. As more people recognize the benefits of standing, the demand for sit stand workstations has dramatically increased. What was once a scarce item to find is now an affordable option with new product innovations being introduced each year. Sit stand workstations have numerous benefits including improved health, increased productivity, increased flexibility, and affordable pricing.
Working at a typical computer desk forces the user to use the same set of muscles and joints on a consistent basis. The cumulative damage caused by sitting in a fixed position for eight hours or more a day is not only a threat to your physical health, but also to productivity. Research indicates sedentary sitting contributes to health issues and may even reduce lifespan. Contrarily, other studies have proven that changing positions throughout the day can help keep physical stress and work-related injuries from occurring. This can easily be achieved with a sit stand workstation that allows you to determine when your body needs to take a break from sitting and move to the standing position. Standing helps avoid the compression of the spine that can occur from long-term sitting, reducing the risk of back pain. Not only does standing reduce back pain and other work related strains, but it also helps stop obesity. Standing burns more calories than sitting and can assist with weight control.
Often times while working people may find themselves concentrating more on the aches and pains they are experiencing from sitting in a poorly designed office chair than their actual work they need to be focusing on. This not only leads to unproductive employees but also leads to unhappy employees which ultimately leads to a higher turn over rate and a low employee retention rate. Having the ability to stand increases energy, improves your thought process, and encourages team work. It also engages your mind; movement and activity that requires skill and balance not only helps our aging bodies but requires us to concentrate. Movement also increases circulation, providing a better blood flow to the brain for an improved attention span.
One of the greatest benefits sit stand stations provide is increased flexibility in movement and positioning. When seated in an office chair, it requires one to exert energy and effort to stand up when needed. On the other hand, it requires little energy and transition to go from a seated to standing position with the help of sit stand stools and drafting chairs. Drafting chairs are essentially office chairs with foot rings and an extended cylinder that are specifically designed for extended height desks. They are commonly found at sit stand stations and are typically a more affordable choice than more specialized sit stand stools. Ergonomic sit stand stools with seat angle adjustment allow the user to effortless transition for the seated to the standing position in a quick fashion that can not be achieved with a traditional office chair. Standing encourages a more dynamic approach which carries over to seated working.
Sit stand work stations and desks have historically been somewhat scarce and expensive, with limited options available. Expensive pricing and limited supply is now a thing of the past. As more people become introduced to the sit stand workstation and realize the benefits of standing, the demand for sit stand stations has sky rocketed, and so has the supply and market innovation. Prices are slowly coming down with the amount of amount of competition all working against each other to provide customers with the most affordable seating solution. Sit stand stools are also becoming an increasingly desired seating option for sit stand work stations and are also becoming a more affordable option. They are around $300 which is less in comparison to an ergonomic chair you’d need for a typical computer desk.
If you are considering making the transition to sit stand workstations for your office environment, take into account all of the aforementioned benefits as well as the overall well-being and productivity of your employees. Not only will your employees be more healthy, they will also be happier with their job and more motivated to work hard. New workstations are merely an investment in your employees and their health, with the increased productivity it will quickly pay off.
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