There are some jobs that have inbuilt hazards such as construction and those that require manual labor. Yet, even office jobs can have health problems associated with them, which is why it is important for you to make sure that your office building is as safe a place to be as possible.
As an employer you have a duty of care to your employees, and that might mean putting some rules in place to keep everyone healthy and safe at work.
Take Breaks – If your place of work is full of people sitting at desks for hours at a time, it’s important that you try to get them all to take breaks. Even getting up from their chair every hour or so and taking a quick stroll around the room is enough to stop them from getting sick. It is also much better for their concentration and productivity levels if they take a break every now and then. Let everyone have many break times and allow them to go and get some fresh air if they need it. You’ll find that even if they are sitting at their desks for less time, they’ll actually get more done. If no one is keen to keep getting up and wandering around (busy people may not want to be distracted, even if it is good for them), then you might want to consider standing desks as an option. They’re not for everyone, and standing all day has its own set of problems, but switching a few seated desks to standing ones and then creating a hot desk environment can help everyone out.
Increase Ventilation – People working in offices can often develop occupational allergies. These are allergies that relate to the chemicals used in carpet cleaning, the materials that make office furniture, even the paint on the walls. They can trigger headaches, rashes, general feelings of malaise. Even if the physical problems don’t manifest, you may find that your concentration levels are much lower than usual. If possible, increase the ventilation through the office so that no one has to breathe in the allergens and pollutants. If this can’t be done, open up your windows to allow some fresh air into the room.
Green Walls – Studies have shown that green is the ideal color to have on the walls if you want to enhance creative thinking. So if your office walls are a lovely shade of green, your office workers should be more productive. Make sure it’s not a shade that is too bright or garish. It should be calming and quiet, like seafoam or sage. If green isn’t your color there are other options, but stay away from red as it can make tempers fiery and cause office disagreements.
Add Some Plants – Plants in your office can also inspire creativity, plus they bring a general sense of well-being into the room. Don’t have too many, especially if you only have a small space, but a few dotted around the room or even on people’s desks can have a dramatically positive effect. If you would like to include plants in your office décor, they should be leafy ones. Steer clear of cacti as these don’t promote a very relaxed feeling, and don’t have anything that smells too strongly either as this can be distracting.
Allow Personal Items – It’s important to allow your employees to display personal items on their desks or in their workspaces. These reminders of home can reduce stress and make workers feel more satisfied in their jobs. Cluttered desks can make people feel more stressed though, so it might be wise to limit the number of photos and knick knacks that can be brought in from home. Three or four things should be enough.
Go Out For Lunch – When people eat their lunch at their desk it can be an issue. From a practical point of view, it leaves mess on the desk and over the computer, which doesn’t make for a very pleasant working environment. However, it can also lead to overeating because there is a tendency to continue to work if you’re still at your desk, and if you’re working, you’re not concentrating on what you’re eating, and that can mean you don’t quite realize when you’re full. A rule that says people can’t eat at their desks might sound strict, but it’s the best thing for them. Going outside is the best idea; they can eat lunches brought from home in a nearby park, for example, or even buy lunch at a local café. If there is nowhere for them to go for lunch, then create a breakroom so that they at least have a change of scenery.
Keep The Outside Clear – It’s not just the interior of your office that needs to be kept safe for the health of your employees; the outside is just as important. If there are steps, for example, they should be kept clean and free of trash that could otherwise be a trip hazard. When it’s wet, you should invest in mats so that your staff can wipe their feet and reduce the chances of slipping. When it’s snowing, you’ll need to keep paths and parking areas safe; find out more about how to do this safely at http://www.hightechlandscapes.com/commercial-services/snow-and-ice-management/. Go outside and take a long, objective look around to see if there is anything that might be a risk. If so, remove it or change it so that it is safe.
Look At Lighting – If possible, you need to allow as much natural daylight into your office as you possibly can. Try to arrange the desks so that everyone can see outside. Being exposed to sunlight keeps your stress levels at a minimum and keeps your circadian rhythm ticking along as it should – both of these things ensure a healthier, happier workforce. If there are no windows or you can’t get everyone sitting near one, then change the bulbs in your office. Color temperature ranges from warm to cool, depending on which type of bulb you use. Using a cooler (whiter) color temperature can help the brain work faster.