Remove the hidden blocks that are reducing your staff’s productivity
Managers and business owners use all sorts of tactics to make employees more productive. From investing thousands into the best, quickest technology to incentivising good work – there are many tried and tested ways to keep staff working well. But how about health? Read on as we explore the effect of healthy offices on productivity.
Is your workplace unhealthy?
Unhealthy workplaces can’t be put down to one specific factor. There are a number of different ways that they can become unhealthy:
Air pollution – Indoor air pollution can be caused by chemicals from carpets, paints and some cleaning products. Poorly ventilated offices put employees at risk of a range of health problems. Where your office is located can also effect the air quality, with locations around large cities invariably recording the highest air pollution rates.
Noise pollution – Noisy working environments contribute to stress, as well as being a nightmare for employee concentration and productivity. Echoes can be distracting in some offices.
Diet – ‘Cake culture‘, unhealthy lunching and constant snacking, can lead to poor health in employees.
Exercise – Long periods of uninterrupted sitting have become ‘the new smoking’ for your health, which is made worse by the ‘al-desk’ (lunch at your desk) trend.
Work balance – It might seem logical to make employees work as much as they can in the time you’re paying them, but overdo it and this can have an adverse effect on their work rate.
Getting on the right track
To move towards healthy offices, consider which of these areas needs work and make some small changes. Firstly, work balance. Studies suggest that humans go through spells of full focus and fatigue every 90 minutes or so. Without a break, they will stay in the depleted, fatigue mode.
Essentially, you will get more out of employees who work at 100% for two 90-minute spells than those working at 75% for 180 minutes. So, it’s better to take a short break to walk, get a drink or eat something healthy every 90 minutes.
That leads us into exercise and diet. Breaks are a great way for employees to move about. It doesn’t have to be vigorous – stretches or a short walk are enough. As well as having benefits for employees’ long-term health, it has been proven to stimulate brain activity.
Similarly, with food, employers and employees can both benefit from healthier choices. High-fat and high-carb foods are bad for productivity because they cause energy levels to spike. They can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol in the long run. Replacing these with healthier options will pay off for everyone.
Air and noise pollution
Air and noise pollution can also be a simple fix. Open the windows where possible to let clean air into your workspace. Air purifiers are also a good way to remove pollutants from the air. For a green solution, office plants act as natural air purifiers, absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen into the surrounding environment while looking highly attractive at the same time.
To reduce the stress caused by noisy working environments, consider breaking the office up with partitions or walls. Again, office plants can help reduce noise levels in workplaces, either on their own or as part of a green partition wall. You can read more on how office plants can reduce background noise here.