Creating a healthy working environment

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Creating a healthy work environment for your employees is vital for ensuring you have a happy and productive workforce. This means focusing on the mental and physical wellbeing of your staff, and making sure the working environment doesn’t have a negative effect on people’s health. It can be difficult to know how to design the perfect working environment to simultaneously optimise employee productivity and wellbeing, but Bruntwood's Interior Designer, Vicky Peacock, has got everything you need to know as we take a look at some of the simple changes you can make to your working environment.

Comfortable space

It might sound simple, but creating comfortable space can easily be done wrong. Making sure employees can sit and work in comfort is vital, no matter whereabouts in the office they are based. Investing in ergonomic seating is vital tool: monitors should be at arm’s length and in direct sight line, and chairs should offer adequate back support. Also, make sure that people know how to change their chair position too! There’s no point spending money on great chairs if your workers can’t alter the arms and height to suit their needs.

Another way important way to increase comfort in the workplace is through lighting. “Introducing different levels of light can make a more visually enticing space,” explains Vicky Peacock, Interior Designer at Bruntwood. This can make a space more cosy, creating that ‘home away from home’ vibe we have all grown to love. “Giving workers the option of desk task lights can help them to focus,” says Vicky. “This gives people more control over their immediate surroundings, with the ability to alter the lighting to suit their needs at the time.”

Flexibility

Increasing comfort through flexibility isn’t just confined to the visual elements of a space. One of the key ways to increase worker comfort in the workplace is to introduce flexible working areas. Flexibility is becoming more and more important for workers; whether it’s across spaces, within an office, or working hours. “By introducing zoning into an open office, the ways in which people work in specific spaces can change,” says Vicky. “It can create private and quieter spots within an office allowing people to retreat away to focus on specific tasks.”

Offering various different types of spaces allows you to create these different spots for different tasks; you might want to include breakout spaces for teams to work on big projects, technologically-equipped meeting rooms for those all important presentations, or just some quiet areas for people to get their head down.

Connection to nature

There’s much more to biophilia than just plants (you can find out more in our blog with expert, Oliver Heath), but it’s a great place to start. Biophilia literally means ‘love of nature’, and it’s something, as humans, that we all have. Incorporating plants into the workplace not only makes it a more aesthetically pleasing place to be, but it’s also been proven to improve health and productivity. Creating this connection to nature within the workplace allows staff to have moments of recuperation, to help us work better and for longer.

Get active

Physical activity has been proven to have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing, so be sure to encourage an active lifestyle. While not all of us might have access to an on-site gym, there are still things you can do to help staff become more active. Consider offering reduced gym memberships or sign up for the Government’s Green Transport Initiative which provides tax -free bicycles.

In the office, you could think about incorporating standing desks to your layout. Having tea stations and meeting rooms dotted around the office will also encourage staff to move about throughout the day, even if it’s just to get up for a cup of coffee. Open plan offices are a great way to increase movement; “through being able to seek specific people out by walking around the office, people can communicate easier with each other, without being restricted to their desk,” says Vicky.

Creating a healthy working environment doesn’t have to take too much time or money. But providing the right space for can have huge benefits. You’ll improve morale, aid collaboration, increase productivity and have an all-round happier workforce.

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