Posted by Jane Hurst:
There are several factors that contribute to a lack of productivity in the workplace, and one of those factors is not having a healthy work environment. Now, when we say this, most people would automatically assume that we mean an environment that is good for our physical health. Actually, a healthy work environment is a whole lot more than that. Today we are going to talk eight tips to make your work environment healthier, both physically and psychologically, which will also help to increase productivity.
1. Use a Standing Desk
We now know that it is not healthy to sit for long periods of time, many companies are bringing in standing desks for their employees. These desks allow you to be able to sit or stand as you please, so you can move around and keep your muscles active throughout the day. You can get a full sitting desk, or a unit that sits on top of your regular desk. Remember, it is also not healthy to be on your feet all day either. Strive for a healthy balance of sitting and standing, and remember to move around every once in a while.
2. Create a Comfortable Space
Even though you will be working closely on projects, it can be disastrous, at times, if you must work too closely. You need to figure out a way to create a team space that is just the right size: small enough for everyone to work closely, but with enough room for everyone to work comfortably. Everyone needs to have their own individual space, where they can have the tools that they use within reach, but still be able to look to either side and be able to work with other team members. Make sure that there is also lots of whiteboard space for brainstorming sessions.
3. Recognize and Reward
One way to keep the momentum up and 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, tedious, etc. Set milestones, and offer rewards at each milestone when it is achieved. It doesn’t have to be much. For instance, 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. Little things like these 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 there are remote workers on your team. It is not enough to simply work on projects together. In order to be able to establish a truly productive working relationship, you have to get to know one another. Start looking at ways that your team can be better connected. If there are remote workers, use HD video conferencing so everyone can take part in meetings, brainstorming sessions, etc. Begin these meetings with ice-breaker questions, such as “what is your favorite hobby” or “do you have any pets”. At each meeting, conference call, etc., you will learn more and more about each other and have a better personal connection that is going to help to improve productivity.
5. Bring in Some Plants
There are many ways that plants can help to create a healthier work environment. First, they help to improve the air quality, which is particularly important if your office is stuffy or there is dry air. Also, plants make any area cheerier, and they are going to help to put you into a better mood. Plants have a very calming effect on most people. The best plants for the office would be those that are green and leafy, rather than prickly plants such as cacti. Too many plants can become overwhelming. Try to keep it to a couple of plants, such as one on your desk and another on a shelf.
6.You Need Clean Air
A lot of people end up with occupational allergies, which are triggered by sensitivities to chemicals in paint, carpeting, furniture, etc. Symptoms of allergic reactions include rashes, irritated eyes, sinus issues, and headaches. At the very least, having bad air in the workplace can cause you to lose concentration. While there are some things that you can’t change at work, such as carpeting and furniture, there are things that you can do to help, including getting air purifiers to keep at various parts of the office, including your desk. This should have a HEPA filter to catch and filtrate dirt particles in the air.
7. Paint it Green
Studies show that the color green can be linked to the creative thought process. We need to be creative in our jobs, so having a lot of green around us can help. Obviously, you are likely not going to be allowed to paint your office walls. But, there are other options. For instance, you can bring in your own backdrops to hang, green ornaments, wall art, etc., so you are surrounded by a sea of green. Look for calming shades of green rather than bright shades. Sage and sea-foam green are both great options. You want shades that are going to help relax your mind and get you into a more creative state.
8. Encourage Conflict
This might sound counterproductive, but it is actually good to have some healthy conflict in the workplace. This is how ideas are born. Offer up an idea that is completely outside of the box, and see where the discussion goes from there. What might start out as sounding totally silly could end up being the best idea ever once your team grabs it and runs with it. 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. You just might be pleasantly surprised at what they come up with.