Designing a healthy office is important in fostering an environment where morale is high and people are productive. Employees are motivated to work as a team and focused on their tasks, instead of how to handle their aches and pains.
But what is a healthy office setting and how do you achieve a place where people are comfortable and productive?
Let’s start with the basics, like how you sit and do your work.
Ergonomics in designing a healthy office refer to the equipment designed to help people accomplish their tasks in a way that creates minimal stress on the body. Today’s height-adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs allow users to sit with proper posture so their eyes are focused on the screen at the right level while at the same time the joints in their bodies endure as little stress as possible.
Photo: OFS Impulse G2 Private Office
The strain on the wrists, elbows, knees and lower back is greatly reduced.
Ergonomic chairs come in an array of colors and shapes. But you should always look for quality lumbar support that adjusts easily to body weight and movement.
Since office workers sit for hours per day, a quality chair promotes physical health. But so does getting up at regular intervals.
Ergonomics applies to other areas, too, like talking on a cell phone.
Promote the use of speaker phone or the use of headphones to avoid cradling the phone on the neck and shoulders for prolonged periods. Tilting the head too much toward a computer screen or to one side of a shoulder gradually causes misalignment.
Designing a Healthy Office with Movement
Movement is key in design a healthy office. Humans are built to be active and if we remain sedentary for hours on end, then our bodies and minds are going to pay a price. After a couple of hours working at a desk, encourage your team to get up and move for about 10 minutes to 15 minutes.
This can be taking a brisk walk down a hallway, getting a drink of water, or taking a laptop and continuing to work at a lounge area.
Height-adjustable desks can be useful to promote movement as well since they make it easy to go from sitting to standing.
Photo: Humanscale eFloat Standing Desk
However, the main reason to get up and move around the office isn’t to burn calories but help the blood circulate. Don’t overlook this aspect of having a healthy workforce.
When blood is flowing well through the body, it also means that it’s circulating in the head, and that reduces foggy brain syndrome. And a clear head increases productivity.
An article in Harvard Health, “More movement, better memory,” notes that the center of learning and memory in our brain is the hippocampus. It’s located in the medial temporal lobe, a region that benefits from exercise.
Participants in the study were an average of 65 years old and enrolled in an aerobics class for 20 weeks. There was no change in the body mass index, but researchers “found that those who exercised showed a greater ability to rearrange and reconfigure nerve connections in their brain. This allowed them to better learn and retain information, and then logically apply that information in a new situation.”
Movement is healthy.
Indoor Air Quality
If you’re concerned about the smoggy air outside, then you’ll want to clean your indoor air. According to estimates published on Allwork.space, we spend about 90% of our time indoors where offices with poor ventilation will have air that is two to five times more toxic than outside.
- Regularly clean the vents used for your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system
- Open windows occasionally to boost indoor air flow
- Rebalance or adjust HVAC systems to increase total airflow to occupied spaces when possible
You can also bring nature inside and use indoor plants. They do their part in cleaning pollutants and freshening the air, and definitely help in designing a healthy office.
Photo: OFS Yelly and Kasura Seating
Light and Color
Designing a healthy office means creating an environment that’s good for both our physical health and mental well-being. There’s even a discipline known as chromotherapy, based on findings that color and colored lights can help treat both our physical and mental health.
Colors have their own traits:
- Blue signifies the intellect
- Red impacts courage and strength
- Yellow is an emotional color that represents creativity
- Green is for harmony, representing nature and balance
- Orange creates a sense of comfort because it blends the physicality of red and the emotional trait of yellow
In addition to colors, natural light is a proven mood booster.
Assess how you use colors in your work environment. Where can you maximize the flow of natural light? Are there barriers in the way of windows?
Using cubicles and clear modular walls in place of solid walls or other barriers can brighten the office space.
Photo: OFS Skara and Saven Rocker Seating
Now get some inspiration for how your office can look—make it more modern and bright, or tone it down and give it an industrial look. You can even make it appear homey and warm with a resimercial approach.
Photo: Source International Lore Lounge
The goal of planning office space and creating an upbeat look is to boost morale and guide your team in working at their best levels. This is good for the company’s bottom line, but it also leads to professional satisfaction for team members and keeps them engaged with your brand.
We’re Here to Help you in Designing a Healthy Office
The team at 2010 Office Furniture has more than 50 years of experience equipping Southern California’s leading corporations, centers of higher education, and small-to-medium sized businesses.
Contact us and share your space planning and office furnishing needs. We’ll be glad to share solutions.