There are many factors that contribute to productivity in the workplace - and a healthy work environment is one of them. What's a healthy work environment? It's one that provides employees with both a physically and mentally safe workspace. Here are eight tips to make your work environment healthier and, in turn, increase your employee productivity - and happiness.
1. Use a standing desk.
It's typically not healthy to sit for long periods of time. But getting frequent activity at work isn't always ideal. To compromise, many companies are bringing in standing desks for their employees to allow employees to sit or stand as they please.
Companies can choose between a full standing desk or a unit that sits on top of employees' regular desks. But remember: It's also not healthy for employees to be on their feet all day. Encourage a healthy balance of sitting and standing and frequent movement around the office.
2. Create a comfortable space.
An ideal space for teams to work is small enough for everyone to work closely but with enough room for everyone to be comfortable, too. To create such a space, ensure that everyone has their own individual space where they can have the tools they use within reach while still being able to look to either side and work with other team members.
3. Recognize and reward employees.
One way to keep spirits high is to recognize your team and offer rewards for project milestones. Any project is exciting at first, but over time, it can become more and more difficult and tedious. Set milestones, and offer rewards for when each milestone is achieved. The reward doesn't have to be much: you might send out an email to tell the team how great they are doing and that they have reached a milestone. Maybe you might want to treat the team to coffee or lunch. Small gestures really do matter - and they do a lot to boost team morale.
4. Keep your team connected.
It is important that your team be connected, even if you have remote workers. In order to be able to establish a truly productive working relationship, employees have to get to know one another. Consider the ways your team can be better connected: If there are remote workers, schedule virtual meetings so that everyone can participate, and begin these meetings with ice-breaker questions such as, "What is your favorite hobby?" or "Do you have any pets?"
Ice-breaker questions can help your employees learn more about each other and establish better personal connections that will ultimately improve their productivity.
5. Bring in some plants.
There are many ways that plants can create a healthier, more comfortable workplace: They help improve air quality, which is particularly important if your office is stuffy or has dry air. Plants can also make an area cheerier and help put you into a better mood. The best plants for the office are those that are green and leafy - steer clear of plants, like cacti, that could prick people. Also, too many plants can be overwhelming, so strategically space plants around the office, such as on tables and shelves.
6. Provide clean air.
Poor air quality can interrupt concentration - but at its worst, it can cause physical harm. Some people develop occupational allergies, triggered by sensitivities to chemicals in paint, carpeting, and furniture, with symptoms that include rashes, irritated eyes, sinus issues, and headaches.
While there are some things that your company may not be able to change, there are things that you can do to help, including adding air purifiers to keep throughout the office. Be sure to choose purifiers that have a HEPA filter that catches and filters various dirt particles in the air.
7. Paint your workspace green.
Studies show that the color green is linked to creativity. Employees often need to be creative in their jobs, so having green around can be inspirational and motivational. If you can't paint your company's office walls, you can bring in backdrops to hang or decorate with green wall art.
Look for calming shades of green rather than bright hues - sage and sea-foam green are great options - or any colors that will help relax your mind and get you into a more creative state.
8. Encourage conflict among employees.
This might sound counterproductive, but it is actually good to have some healthy, respectful conflict in the workplace; it's how some ideas are born. Encourage employees to offer up outside-the-box ideas, and see where the discussion goes from there. For example, ask your team to write something on an index card that is related to the idea. Collect the cards, and then pass them out to the team, making sure that no one gets their own. Have your team read the ideas, and respond to them. This exercise could spur some new, unique ideas.