While some stress is to be expected in the workplace, excessive stress can interfere with performance and productivity, and can have adverse effects on the emotional and physical health of your employees. Ensuring employees have a stress free, inspiring, engaging and nurturing environment is a sure-fire way of improving productivity and overall business results. Here are the fundamentals of increasing the Zen in your workplace.
Efficiency and Ergonomics
A lot of unnecessary everyday hassle can be avoided by working smarter. This means analyzing how space is being used and figuring out how to make it more sensible, practical and natural. Various factors are at play, from patterns, workflows and team sizes to location and work to recreational area ratios. Workplaces that are designed around the everyday needs of employees will undoubtedly be more harmonious than some generic working space that does not take them into account.
Sitting is the New Smoking
This saying has been getting significant attention, and a sedentary lifestyle can do long-term damage to people’s health and quality of life. Providing a working environment where employees can move around freely and are encouraged to take walking breaks can curtail this problem. Many offices are turning to an exclusively standing desk office, but this can cause as many problems as it solves. According to this research post, standing fatigue can be a real problem in the workplace. To get around this, provide various spots where people can either sit or stand while working, or consider investing in activity permissive workstations.
The easiest way of improving air quality in the office is to add plants to your office. Humble indoor plants not only add a visual flare to space, it also makes it easier to breathe, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. A recent Harvard study found that employees perform cognitive tasks 61% better in green conditions compared to standard office conditions. Doubling the amount of ventilation in such a green space can improve productivity by more than 100%. Providing superior air quality will not only increase productivity, but also cut down on office colds and other airborne grievances that contribute to sick building syndrome.
Silence is Golden
The open office space has become the standard when it comes to office design, and is in many ways superior to old-fashioned office design. The one area where it falls short is noise: phones ringing, multiple simultaneous conversation and general background noise are the unavoidable companions of the open office space. Luckily, this can be curtailed using clever design and furniture solutions. Balance open and closed spaces, use surfaces that absorb noise and invest in furniture that reduces noise transition. Place meeting rooms and other communal areas as far away from workstations as possible, and if you have the space, opt for creating dedicated quiet spaces within the office.
Good health starts with good nutrition, and making sure your staff get their five fruit and veg a day is a smart move. Providing healthy meal options, free fruit and a juice bar will keep people healthy, happy, alert and awake. A focus on providing healthy food is becoming an industry standard, and many leading tech companies are going as far as hiring experts known as dietary interventionists to make sure employees are getting the right nutrition. You don’t have to go that far, but ensuring staff has healthy eating options on site is definitely a winning concept.
A great way to ensure employees have a satisfactory life/work balance is to get rid of the nine to five. Not everyone has the same biorhythm, and while some can function best in the morning, others would benefit from getting in a bit later. Technologically speaking, many jobs can be done remotely, so offering people the opportunity to work from home from time to time can break up the monotony and inspire employee loyalty.
No matter what your budget is, there are innumerable ways of making your employees more relaxed, healthy and productive in the workplace. The most important thing is to be in touch with their everyday needs, and to pay equal attention to aesthetics and practicality. This collaborative approach will ensure all the changes that you make are for the greater good, and will also minimize resistance to change.
About Philip P.
My primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business, and marketing. I’m an editor, writer, marketing consultant and guest author at several authority websites. In love with startups, traveling and helping others get their ideas off the ground.