We recently moved into our new digs (yay!), so what a better time than now to share some ideas we have on how to create a healthier workplace. Let’s face it, we all spend a ton of time in the office so it’s important to be in a space that generates a positive, balanced, and productive environment. Below are six ideas to help create a healthier workplace which will essentially benefit your health, and the health of your employees, and company.
Add some greenery
Office plants not only brighten up your workspace, but they also clean the air around you. Office greenery reduces dust bacteria, mould levels, manmade toxins (from plastics, cleaning products, paint), and can reduce CO2 levels by 50%if a one plant to three employees ratio is maintained.
Cacti are visually appealing options for an office with lots of sunlight, as opposed to parlour palms, which require less light. Spider plants are known to be easy and more ‘kill-proof’, if your team struggles to keep plants alive.
Everyone loves snacks. Even better? Healthy snacks. Providing snacks can makeemployees feel happier, and treated or cared for by their employer. They also keep your metabolism and energy up, and blood sugar levels normalized. You don’t need to invest in an elaborate vending machine of coconut water and infrared peanut dispensers to provide this perk at work. Bringing in fresh fruit, granola bars, or veggie trays (even once in awhile, if you don’t have the budget to do it daily) are simple ways to introduce free, healthy snacks into the workspace.
Stand-up desks are all the rage in startup companies. Having a stand-up desk avoids the plights of excessive sitting, encourage better posture, and can help with chronic back pain. Don’t think you can fully commit? VARIDESK offers a cost-effective sit/stand workstation that can be adjusted up and down.
It’s always good to move around and break-up the day with quick walks/trips out of the office. Have a brainstorming session coming up? Team meeting? Taking meetings off-site, especially if within walking distance, incorporate a bit of fresh air, exercise, and a change of scenery in the day. Google conference bikes allow employees to move around campus while increasing social interaction, team bonding, and discussion. A do-able option? Take a small team meeting to a cafe or restaurant. Or, have brainstorming sessions outdoors or while on a hike. Or begin your day with a quick morning catch-up meeting while walking together around the block.
Team exercise adds fitness, fun, and social bonding to the workplace. Mid-day exercise is also (obviously!) linked to increased energy and productivity. Some bigger companies have on-site gyms, employee gym passes, or bring instructors on-site to lead teams in group exercise. Rebel.com recently hosted a team #ZenDayWednesday, where employees enjoyed 10 minutes of guided meditation. Splurge for an exercise video (or find one online) and some exercise mats and let employees know when sessions will start!
Stability balls for chairs
Swapping out your regular chair for a stability ball is more than just a fun and colourful change to office seating. Stability balls improve posture, can alleviate back or core strain, and increases core strength. Encourage interested employees to try one out, or buy in bulk from companies like Well.ca. If you’re worried you’ll go flying across the office, try a Gaiam balance ball chair, a mashup of the two. You can even incorporate your stability balls to your exercise sessions as previously mentioned!
Nora Cottrill is the Community Manager for Alongside. She has a Double Major in Psychology and Sociology, and a Human Resources Management Diploma. She believes that every interaction is an opportunity to encourage and empower.