Establishing a balanced home life can take time and effort to create, but translating these healthy habits to the office is a different matter entirely. At work, we tend to act as a collective, and if your office has some bad habits that fail to prioritize health then you may be setting yourself up for poor results. As we continue to learn more about how our physical and mental health is intrinsically linked, here are 6 ways you can take a proactive approach to establish healthy habits in the workplace.
Optimal office layout
It might be hard to believe that your office design can have such a significant impact on your health, but office planning is an area that is gaining momentum in many Fortune 500 companies as there is a direct correlation between design and employee output and overall morale. Smart office design allows for greater collaboration, quiet zones and even open or green spaces that can provide reprieve in a busy week. Modern office design can even replace older infrastructure that was working against the productivity of the team, whether it be poor airflow, temperature, lighting or any issues present in old office designs. Consider a fresh working environment to combat mental fatigue.
Kitchen and dining considerations
The office is never going to be as comfortable as home, but if you can furnish the space with a table and chairs to eat and kitchen facilities to refrigerate and store food – then you are going to have a content workforce. You can even take this basic offering further and have an office coffee machine, blender, and any specialty appliances that will encourage your employees to eat well and not just conveniently. Many modern offices are also subscribed to fruit box deliveries for their team to enjoy, so consider this contribution if you are striving for a healthier workplace.
Encourage physical activity
Regardless of whether your role is sedentary or not, there are still ways you can move your body throughout the day and keep accountable for physical activity. This could be achieved through a regular walking group, a step-count challenge or even a pledge to use the stairs on certain days of the week instead of the lifts. By building healthy habits into your 9-5pm workday, you can make these activities and their benefits available to your entire workforce.
Prioritize mental health
An anxious mind can lead to issues like productivity and even physical health, and workplaces should have strategies in place that support each and every employee. Offering mental health days is a great initiative where members of your team can take a day off to unwind or work through stress, but if you can’t expend that sort of leave, there are other ways to show you care. Consider starting a book club with content that covers complex issues and how to relieve anxiety. You can also have an email thread where you recommend mindfulness podcasts and inspirational videos to keep your team engaged and positive.
Your office furniture
Most chairs and desks will work for sending out some quick emails, but how do they stack up for a full nine-hour day at the office? Quality office furniture is essential in providing a healthy environment for your employees – so resist buying the cheaper alternative. There are many ergonomic tests you can do to assess whether your workstation is fit to purpose, and you can also ask your Human Resources team about what your company can offer its employees and start the process of ordering better, functional office furniture.
We would all like to get to the gym on our lunch break, but the time it takes to get dressed, commute to the gym, work-out and get back into your work gear? This can easily become a two-hour activity. Instead, allocate a day or time where you repurpose one of your office spaces (could be a meeting room, locker room, or even a foyer) to be used for recreation. Your employees will feel encouraged to do some yoga, pilates or some core workouts within the office and be back at their desk in no time at all. This is a very easy way for employers to show how flexible they can be in providing healthy habits for the workforce.
Habits don’t happen overnight, and usually, they can go against old rituals and feel impossible to form. Anything you can do at work to solidify these habits will go a long way with your team, so start thinking creatively about how you can implement some holistic changes.