Creating a Healthy and Productive Working Environment
Eight hours per day, 4 or 5 days per week: the average office worker spends tens of thousands of hours at work over the course of their career.
In our last blog post, we covered 5 ways to create a great office culture. Today, we’re building on these ideas and exploring some of the important steps that businesses can take to create a healthy and productive working environment for this culture to thrive in.
Because of the significant amount of time that people spend at work, employers have a duty of care towards their staff. Among other things, this entails going the extra mile to create the healthiest possible workplace environment. Here are some tips to help employers build a more productive work environment.
Adopt a holistic approach to workplace health
Health isn’t just physical; it has psychological components too. A holistic approach to health in the workplace means paying attention to:
- Physical health: Health and safety, ergonomic furniture, wellness amenities, etc.
- Psychosocial health: Relationships between co-workers, management style, communication, positive values, flexible hours.
- Development: Providing professional development opportunities and incentives to be productive and set new goals.
Champion positive core values
Another suggestion involves aligning the company’s unique values with those associated with healthy and productive workplaces.
Values are closely related to organizational culture, which plays a key role in creating a work atmosphere that’s positive and conducive to productivity. In other words, focusing on on well-being shouldn’t be a one-off, but part of the organizational ethos.
Some examples of positive core values that can contribute to a healthier and productive environment include:
Prioritize mental health
Lack of motivation, conflict with colleagues, or a poorly arranged office layout can have negative effects on physical and mental health. It’s important to remember that the changes and disruption to work routines caused by the pandemic have led to higher levels of anxiety, stress, and mental health disorders.
Fortunately, there’s a growing awareness about the importance of promoting mental health at work and having plans to support employees who are struggling. Being supportive involves:
- Making coping resources available (for example, informational sessions).
- Having a positive attitude that doesn’t stigmatize mental health issues, but instead ensures privacy and support.
- Being open to “mental health” breaks.
- Partnering with mental health professionals in the local area
Adapt to changing needs
The tools and resources that employees need to be happy and productive at work change over time. We’ve seen this happen recently with the implementation of work-from-home arrangements, which has brought to the fore new needs, concerns, and productivity blockages.
As an employer, ask yourself the following:
- What tools do remote workers need to be productive?
- What processes can improve motivation when working from home?
- How can communication be improved to ensure that it doesn’t lead to frustration or misunderstandings?
- How much is your business willing to invest in adapting to the changing health needs of employees?
- What systems can ensure health and psychological well-being when returning to the office after a long break?
Make physical changes to the workplace
Some barriers to productivity come from layout or design issues. In some cases, workspaces become outdated as more staff are hired or when different tasks and functions are added.
It’s useful to regularly assess how well your workspace fits current employees’ needs. Some things to consider include:
- Natural lighting.
- Indoor temperature.
- Uncluttered spaces.
- Indoor plants.
- Limiting noise or creating quiet areas
The benefits of investing in employee well-being are many: healthier employees are more productive, more engaged, more loyal, and help create a positive brand image. Try the suggestions outlined in this article to improve the workplace environment and your business productivity levels.
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