Work Burnout is Real: 8 Tips to Create Healthy Workplaces for Employees
Unhealthy work environments can cause high levels of stress for employees which is why the responsibility for employers to create healthy workplaces is so important. In this article from guest contributor Adela Belin, you’ll learn tips for how you can support a healthy workplace, whether your team works in-office or remotely.
The onus for employers to create healthy workplaces for their employees isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
Think about this: have you ever experienced difficulty concentrating at work? Or do you often struggle with low back pain, headaches, or total exhaustion at your workplace? If so, you’re not alone. This a challenge faced by employees who work both in the office and remotely as well.
Nearly a third of employees (34% of women and 27% of men) experience high stress levels as a result of working in an unhealthy environment.
An unhealthy workspace can negatively impact your mental health and overall wellbeing. For this reason, every professional should focus on revamping and organizing their business office or home working space.
However, there’s a lot more that goes into maintaining a healthy working space than just getting rid of the clutter. It involves creating a comfortable space that promotes a healthy lifestyle and work culture.
In this article, we have put together eight effective tips to create a healthier working space.
1. Get Quality Desks and Chairs for Your Employees
Sitting down for a long period of time can lead to health problems such as pain in the neck or lower back.
To eliminate bad sitting postures that can potentially cause injury, you should create workstations in your office that consider ergonomics. This means replacing your traditional swivel office chairs with comfortable chairs with cushions and low-back support.
There are tons of ergonomic office chair designs that can help your team maintain the correct posture, so there’s no shortage of quality options to choose from. Check out this list from Republic Lab which ranks the 15 best ergonomic chairs out there.
After getting the right chairs, complement them by bringing in adjustable desks. These desks make your office movement-friendly because you can strike a balance between working while seated for some hours and standing up as you please.
Another benefit of adjustable desks is that they allow workers to position their monitors or laptops at eye-level, such that the neck remains in a natural position. The aim is to modify the workstation for comfort and health by reducing strain on any part of the body and allowing you to stretch, stand, and switch positions regularly.
With such a working space, you cannot suffer burnouts due to long hours of sitting.
2. Ask Your Staff to Keep Their Workspaces Clean and Organized
Did you know that 90% of American workers believe that clutter impacts their personal and professional lives negatively? This means that putting a focus on reorganizing your office space and keeping it clean is an essential step for creating a healthier workspace.
A good starting point would be to have your team sort through their desktop and drawers to remove extra and unnecessary supplies. You should shred old papers and only keep essential items. An easy way to declutter workstations and keep them clean is by using shelf and desk organizers to keep everything in place.
You should also clean the workplace often to protect everyone against allergens that can lead to discomfort and illnesses, as well as to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes sanitizing or wiping down often-forgotten items like keyboard, mouse, telephone, staplers, and chair arms with using antibacterial wet wipes.
3. Invest in Proper Office Lighting
Access to ample natural light and fresh air contributes to workplace wellness. To start with, working in a well-lit space reduces eye strain and headache, allowing your team to be more alert and productive during the day.
So, instead of tucking your team’s desks into corners, consider placing them near windows, but in a perpendicular position. This will promote good air circulation and reduce glare on your team’s eyes. If there are no windows nearby, you can optimize lighting by installing custom lamps with globes to provide the desired illumination and create the perfect ambiance for work.
Other than installing decorative office lighting, you can host outdoor meetings or take lunch outside whenever possible. Maximizing the usage of your outdoor space also goes a long way to making everyone happy, energized, and healthy.
4. Stock Up Your Workspace with Healthy Snacks
Whether your staff work in the office or remotely, another great way of creating a healthy workspace is by promoting healthy eating. So, once you’re done organizing and revamping your workspace, it’s time to stock up on some healthy foods.
You don’t want to sabotage your team’s health by only having leftover birthday cake or chocolate tubes in the breakroom. Instead, help your team to ditch these unhealthy dietary habits by stocking the break room with some healthy snacks like:
- Nut butter
- Toasted chickpeas
- Whole-wheat crackers
You can also consider enlisting the help of a service like Caroo that will deliver healthy snacks to your office or to your remote employees — wherever they are.
Sticking to a healthy and balanced diet not only helps with weight control but also enhances focus and improves employee productivity while working. It keeps your staff feeling great, more energized, and in a good mood.
5. Ensure Fresh Water is Readily Available
For the human body to function at optimal levels, it should be properly hydrated. When one stays dehydrated when working, there’s a decent chance that they will suffer fatigue and headaches, which reduce their overall productivity.
To prevent dehydration, you should always have plenty of clean drinking water near your team’s workstations. Doing so ensures workers do not resort to drinking too much coffee or other caffeinated drinks that do not hydrate the body. Remember that too much caffeine can cause digestive problems, anxiety, headaches, and even worse, unhealthy addiction.
You can also encourage your team to download apps that remind them to drink water, like one of the 20 recommendations listed in this article from Healthline.
6. Add Some Greenery or Offer a Plant Allowance for Remote Staff
Adding some green leafy plants to your workspace brings the natural outdoor cool to your workspace. They have a calming effect and improve the mood of most people.
So, if your workspace feels stuffy or full of dry air, bringing in a couple of natural plants will improve indoor air quality and make the space lively. However, if your team suffers allergies triggered by sensitivities due to some plants, consider getting an air purifier and adding artificial plants instead.
Worth a mention is that while plants have a therapeutic effect, adding too many can be overwhelming. Two or three plants near each workstation should be enough. Ideally, you can place one on a shelf and another on the desk or the floor.
For remote staff, you might also want to consider offering them an allowance for plants so that they can spruce up their home office as well.
If you’re looking for inspiration on which plants to include in your office, check out this Outback article: 5 Office Plants That Can Spruce Up Your Workplace.
7. Use Technology to Enhance Collaboration and Increase Efficiency
With the high level of innovation in today’s digital environment, we are moving towards a social yet virtual workplace future. Tons of tools for improving workplace communication and streamlining project management are rolled out every passing year.
Employees should use these new technologies to promote collaboration and support their daily workflow. Making good use of tools like Trello, Slack, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, Kanban, and Office 365, provides more control over work-life balance since employees enjoy greater flexibility in how they collaborate and communicate.
Technology also supports remote working, which is an essential element of a healthy working environment. You do not have to check into your office every day if you can complete your assignments and attend meetings while working from home. Providing this level of work flexibility makes employees happier, healthier, and motivated to work.
In this article from Outback, you can find an extensive list of the best tools to help your team collaborate and work more efficiently, whether in the office or remotely.
8. Invest in Your Team’s Development
A staggering 72% of employees want opportunities for career growth. This means that investing in your team’s development can make them feel appreciated, in turn boosting their wellbeing.
You can take up a virtual group training program as a team, such as:
- Emotional Intelligence: With the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) leadership training and development program, you can develop your team’s self-awareness and social skills using interactive, hands-on group exercises.
- Clear Communication: The Clear Communication training program can help your team become effective communicators and develop both verbal and written communication skills.
- Practical Time Management: With the Practical Time Management program, you can help your team learn to minimize distractions and maximize their time at the office so that they get the most out of every workday.
If your team works remotely, these programs are also available in a virtual format.
Not only will this do wonders for their wellbeing and morale, it will also help everyone develop their key professional soft skills.
Maintaining a healthy workspace is essential for improving your team’s productivity, whether they’re working from home or your corporate office. It also reduces operational costs related to employee absenteeism, medical claims, and workers’ compensation.
The good thing about creating a comfortable and healthy work environment is that it shouldn’t be costly or difficult. You only need to address key aspects related to ergonomics, diet, sleep, and a healthy lifestyle in general.
By following the above tips, you will enjoy increased flexibility, higher productivity, and ultimately lead a happier life both in and outside your working environment.
Learn More About How Virtual Team Building, Training, and Coaching Solutions Can Help Create a Healthy Work Environment
For more information about how you can support a healthy workspace with virtual team building, training, or coaching solutions, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.
Adela Belin – Content Marketer and Blogger
Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.