Best Practices in HR

Follow Us:
Robyn Whalen
  May 19, 2019

Make These 7 Easy Investments Today for a Healthy Workplace

When you consider the office space you work in, does it have a good feel to it?

This may seem like an interior design or Feng shui question, but it actually has everything to do with employee health and a healthy workplace.

Healthy work spaces = healthy employees.

That converts to fewer sick days, higher morale, and a lower turnover rate.

Below, we share seven easy ways to create a healthy workplace that won’t break the bank that could be implemented as soon as today.

The best part? 

Follow-through on these ideas will produce immediate results.

1. Invest in Quality Furniture 

You have to have furniture anyway, so you might as well make sure it increases employee productivity. First and foremost, work spaces should be ergonomic. Plenty of health issues start with too much sitting during the work day or uncomfortable work stations.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), these tips will help employees maintain a comfortable (and safe) computer workstation:  

  • Upright sitting posture when seated 
  • Top of monitor at or just below eye level
  • Head and neck balanced and in-line with torso
  • Shoulders relaxed
  • Elbows close to body 
  • Lower back supported
  • Wrists and hands in-line with forearms
  • Adequate room for keyboard and mouse
  • Feet flat on the floor

For workers who complain about too much sitting, consider standing or convertible desks to decrease back strain and encourage mobility. For employees who do need to sit, proper seating ergonomics will result in fewer workplace injuries.

2. Set the (Mood) Lighting

Take a look around your office. How does the lighting look? If it’s reminiscent of dark scenes from a horror flick, it’s probably time to shine a little more light on the issue. A recent study showed 68% of employees are dissatisfied with office lighting. 

Here are a few reasons to consider upgrading your light fixtures: 

  • Proper lighting (“cooler lighting”) increases worker productivity 
  • Dim lighting may cause eye strain, headaches, and drowsiness
  • Harsh lighting can cause eye strain and even migraines
  • Natural lighting is best and better for vision

Consider alternatives for indirect light sources like lamps with dimmers and daylight-mimicking bulbs.

3. Color Employees Happy 

Think of your favorite store. Other than the products sold, there’s probably a whole ambience that you love about it, right? Colors play a big part of that, and a ton of research conducted shows the positive effects particular paint colors have on people. Use your best judgment for picking colors based on your industry.  

Perks of adding the right paint to office walls: 

  • Studies have shown colors affects mood and productivity
  • Paint is an easy and inexpensive upgrade
  • Smaller offices can seem bigger when painted light colors
  • Larger offices may feel cozier when painted dark colors

Pick colors based on industry and tasks. For example: Neutral colors are best for serious industries; blues and greens are calming; yellows and oranges encourage energy and creativity. 

4. Create a Relaxing Break Room

You want your employees to love being inside your company building as much as possible. Investing in a quality break room can improve employee morale and creates a “positive reason” for going to work. Millennials especially expect modern and fun spaces to unwind in.

A welcoming break room will: 

  • Be a place to decompress
  • Provide a “getaway” from a desk to work in a new space
  • Have essentials like a fridge, sink, and paperware 
  • Give employees the option to bring food to save money and eat healthier 
  • Demonstrates supportive corporate culture

Break rooms are great way for employees to gather together for conversation, laughs, and even quiet moments. Management should frequent the break room as well to engage with employees to build open lines of communication easily and freely.

5. Give Out Healthy Snacks 

Healthy snacks are a must for building a healthier office space. When employers move past just providing vending machines and instead offer high-quality food, it supports a healthy lifestyle and workforce.

Snack freebies will: 

  • Shows employees you care about them
  • Boost employee happiness 
  • Demonstrates financial stability that the company can afford high-quality snacks
  • Are easy to automate with online delivery services

When given the opportunity, most employees will take up a healthy snack option if it’s available. Snacks like roasted seaweed, granola bars, bananas, oranges, and other fruits are healthy options to offer to employees.

6. Make Mental Health a Priority 

Over 44 million Americans are dealing with mental illness, making it a high probability some of your employees are struggling with it as well. A mentally healthy workforce is good for business, and providing resources for employees is an important business practice to consider. 

Ways to provide mental health support: 

  • Partner with local veterans groups for PTSD support
  • Sponsor a Mental Health “PTO” day 
  • Offer access to private counseling 
  • Send out an email list of mental health resources

Let your employees unwind mentally. During a Mental Health PTO day, employees must spend the day doing something fulfilling like spending quality time with friends or family, volunteering, taking a fun class, etc. Offering support increases employee productivity, helps support the community, and creates a sense of community goodwill. 

7. Encourage Group Activities  

We are born to be social beings. So it’s only natural that group activities would benefit employees in numerous ways. Encourage camaraderie, boost morale, provide “stress-outlets,” and demonstrate supportive company culture with group activities. 

Ways to gather your employees: 

  • Wellness challenges 
  • Host department or company-wide lunches or celebrations each quarter
  • Sponsor family group activities (bowling, BBQ, beach days, etc.)
  • Team building 
  • Volunteering (nursing homes, area clean-ups, etc.)

Gather your employees in fun ways to build the best connections. Invite everyone to ensure no one feels excluded from company-wide events. 

Happy and Healthy Employees are the Best Employees

Are the changes worth it? Absolutely.

Content and healthy employees are your best branding and marketing. Keeping this in mind will help you create quality workplace wellness programs and resource offerings for a healthy workplace. 

Plus, some of these office changes may have insurance benefits, too. Check with your insurance reps to see if they offer a discount for healthy office spaces.

Some other points to remember: 

  • Happy employees are the ones who want to stay longer – It’s much cheaper to keep the good employees you have than to find and train new ones. Especially when you consider the number of open jobs has been higher than the number of people seeking work.
  • Quality talent expects quality work spaces – When you create a corporate culture that cares, it will carry over into community goodwill. 
  • Build up a healthy office space budget – If your budget doesn’t allow for all of these improvements at once, incorporate what you can’t tackle now into your budget planning. When your budget grows, considering hiring a professional like a painter or interior designer to save time and money.

Above all, track your success by conducting employee surveys. You can also monitor sick days and workman’s comp claims to see how these office changes are changing employees’ lives. 

Want healthier and happier employees? Get started today! Schedule a free consultation to learn more about Beata, a comprehensive employee wellness program.

Host an Employee Wellness Day