Easy Ways to Reduce Office Stress and Create a Welcoming Atmosphere

Easy Ways to Reduce Office Stress and Create a Welcoming Atmosphere

The Dangers of Office Stress

Office stress is the greatest threat to employee health and productivity. Short tempers and walking or sitting with slouched shoulders are signs that someone is under stress. Work comes with a lot of stress, especially for companies trying to grow and win market share. Putting together a wellness program is a good idea, but here are easy ways to reduce tensions in the office.

Reduce Clutter

Some people are naturally better at organizing desks and drawers than others. Ask them to share their tips for keeping a desktop or workstation clean and neat. Provide adequate storage for personal belongings and work-related materials such as brochures and office supplies. Use modular open plan benching units that are easily configured like Staks Open Plan Desking by First Office.

Listen

Society is noisy, especially with social media newsfeeds that broadcast opinions on every subject available. Encourage people to take personal social media breaks. In open office environments, personal phone calls and impromptu conversations add to the chatter. Create listening spaces with modular units like the Co-op Lounge by Arcadia or Coact Modular Lounge by First Office. Both help define a meeting space without creating barriers.

The executive team may be used to giving orders, but company leaders and managers should also develop listening skills to hear and address concerns that employees have. Maintaining eye contact, absorbing concerns, and re-stating what the person has said are important steps to listening well. Don’t be too quick to offer solutions. Someone may simply need to share what’s on their mind regarding their work or personal life in order to process. Once they talk about it, the subject can be done. Note action steps that need followed up on and make sure they agree.

Create Shared Experiences

Stress will increase if an employee feels isolated in trying to overcome a problem. Create an environment within departments or across the company where it’s okay to share concerns and invite solutions.  Give credit and recognition to employees who come up with innovative ideas.

Move to Alleviate Office Stress

Encourage people to get up and move on a regular basis. This could be to stretch at the desk or walk down the hallway or outside around the block.  Install a treadmill near a break area for people who want a walking break. Encourage exercise with discounts on gym memberships and have the team post their favorite places to walk and hike.  Ergonomic chairs and height-adjustable personal desks and workstations are also key in reducing office stress. Proper posture when sitting and typing keeps the head and neck balanced and aligned so there is less stress on knees, elbows and wrists.

Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Encourage people to drink plenty of water throughout the day and reduce the amount of sugary and fatty foods they eat. The body adapts to many conditions and people eventually won’t realize the toll that chronic inflammation takes.  Let people know that they’re in an environment dedicated to helping with office stress, where they can also take control and be empowered to help .

Use Office Plants

Indoor plants create a pleasant atmosphere, help filter the air, and even absorb sound. Researchers have found that using office plants reduced blood pressure and employees felt alert. Plants can be used to define personal and departmental work spaces in open office environments.

Reduce Your Office Stress

We’re here to help!  Share your needs with us here for creating an office environment that’s free of office stress, and help create a welcoming atmosphere for your company.

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Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness

Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness

Although important, health and wellness isn’t just about weight loss or getting flu shots. It’s really about knowing what makes us thrive physically, mentally, and spiritually – what energizes us.  Southern California’s image is one of beaches bathed in glowing sun and rugged mountains for skiing and hiking. Yet, the reality that we experience is much different. Meeting hard deadlines at work and braving congested freeways create high levels of anxiety and stress.  An effective approach to holistic office wellness cares for the whole person, and promotes overall well-being.  Read on below to learn some holistic office wellness tips for the body. Most of these are easy on the budget and can help make the week a little brighter and the mood a bit lighter.

Staying Physically Well

  • GET FLU SHOTS:  Remember that staying healthy is an important of part of practicing holistic office wellness.  Encourage employees to get a flu shot every fall. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that vaccines prevented 5.3 million influenza illnesses in 2016-2017. A person who says they’re healthy and don’t need a flu shot should still get one. Without the vaccine, they can infect others who are vulnerable.
  • REDUCE EYE STRAIN: Working on a computer for hours without a break will strain the eyes.  So will texting, web-surfing and catching up on social media on mobile devices. Dry eyes, blurred vision and not being able to see colors clearly are symptoms of eye strain.  Use screen displays that are large and clean. Improve lighting to eliminate glare on the screens. Reduce air-borne irritants like dust and take regular breaks.
  • USE ERGONOMIC FURNITURE:  Our physical comfort directly affects our holistic office wellness.  If we are not comfortable, then we don’t feel good and we can’t perform well.  It’s important to understand that how we relate to our surrounding environment includes our posture when sitting at a workstation and in a chair, especially while working for long hours at a time.  Reducing strain on the joints and sitting on quality chairs that support the body’s natural positioning keep the focus on work instead of aches and pains.  Use ergonomically designed chairs and height adjustable desks to adapt to various physical needs of the body.
  • STAY IN MOTION:  Staying active doesn’t only mean hitting the gym for an hour.  Periodic movement throughout the day helps the joints and muscles stay limber. Blood circulation benefits as well, which in turn can help keep the mind and thinking clear.  Stretch even while at the desk every 30 minutes and take brief walks during lunch. Take the stairs instead of an elevator or install a treadmill where employees can walk while reading.
  • RELAX THE MUSCLES:  Find a local masseuse to stop in at the office once a month (or more often if possible) to give 10-minute massages.  Ask a personal trainer to demonstrate exercises that can be done at a desk.
  • EAT AND DRINK WELL:  Food is very when practicing holistic office wellness.  You wouldn’t put kerosene in your car’s gas tank because it would hurt the system. What we eat and drink can slow us down mentally and physically. Get momentum going by bringing in fresh produce and keep a generous supply of water.  Bring healthy eating into the office. Have a local chef cook a pop-up meal and serve it in the lounge area. Or once a year, have an office cook-off using dishes with organic ingredients.

Following a Holistic Office Wellness Regimen

A well-coordinated holistic office wellness effort will reduce employee absenteeism and help boost overall positivity and productivity.  If you are interested in designing an office space that’s conducive to holistic office wellness, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: Harnessing the Benefits of Collaborative Workspaces

Image Source: Groupe Lacasse Quorum

Create an Office Wellness Plan for Optimal Thinking

The Quest for Office Wellness

Office wellness often focuses on how well we are physically. But it’s important to remember the importance of how well we also are mentally.  An effective holistic effort that sheds light on how clearly we think and make decisions is a skill that’s known as executive function. It’s how well we plan, concentrate, and handle different tasks that get thrown our way during a typical working day. An office space that is planned well contributes to a higher level of executive function than a space that’s cluttered. Read on for easy-to-implement ideas to keep the mind working at an optimal level.

Focused Thinking

Being aware of what slows us down mentally is an important aspect of office wellness.  Social media, news topics of the day and office gossip are distractions that can bog down a worker. Family stress, low morale at work, and poor health also bring employees down.  We can often see if someone is physically sick or if they’re hurting. However, mental wellness is a different matter.  It’s impossible to read the mind, emotions and mental wellness of a person.  This is where executive functioning comes into play.  It’s the brain’s way of practicing concentration, tackling priorities, and helps prevent eventual burnout.  To optimize executive function in the workplace, make sure to:

  • Keep workspaces clutter free with combined desk and storage solutions.
  • Maximize communication and workflow between departments.
  • Provide forums for asking questions on important topics.
  • Encourage employees who are struggling in their personal lives to seek outside counseling from a faith community or clinician. Health providers may also offer counseling services.

In Southern California, there are various schools of psychology with graduate students needing to earn hours. They usually provide counseling at greatly reduced rates while working under the guidance of fully licensed therapists.  Consider hiring grad students for your staff to maintain office wellness.

Channeled Energy

Meetings have a remarkable way of taking energy among a team and depleting it.  To channel energy effectively and efficiently in meetings and maintain a positive vibe, make sure to:

  • Keep group meetings or one-on-one sessions on point and as brief as possible.
  • Make sure the setup of conference tables and chairs is spacious or use a more relaxed lounge seating arrangement.
  • Don’t lay blame on someone in front of others or spring tough topics on people.
  • Ask for input to gauge reasons for negative data like missed sales numbers.
  • Schedule ahead for a monthly birthday celebration or milestone moment.
  • Provide comfortable areas where people can linger and chat away from desks and workstations.

Creative Down Time

Ask your staff what inspires them – a book, movie, or a simple experience like a walk they took recently. Maybe it’s cooking or playing sports.  Focusing on down time with your staff definitely has it benefits.  It contributes to optimum executive function and office wellness.  Consider:

  • Once a quarter try to schedule in an inspiring activity that builds up the team.
  • Offer a cooking class, a beach trip or museum outing to a place like the Getty Museum or the Huntington Library and Gardens.
  • If goals are met and work is done well, create a certificate for the individual to take off a couple of hours and do something of their choosing nearby.
  • Turn a workstation or lounge area into an Idea Center. Allow people to post notes there on how they get through challenging times at the office or home. Invite them to submit problem-solving ideas for the company.

Design for Office Wellness

Everyone can benefit from a holistic approach to office wellness. Planning the office space and using quality furniture is important in creating a pleasant and productive atmosphere.  If you are interested in designing your office to promote executive function, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read Also:  Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness
Main Photo: OFS Brands Yelly Table

Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: OFS Brands
Storyblocks

Make Office Ergonomics Your Next Smart Move

Make Office Ergonomics Your Next Smart Move

What is Office Ergonomics

Keeping employees well and productive isn’t just about giving lectures on how to stop smoking or regulate blood pressure. Physical movement is one of the keys to keeping an office staff healthy.  It impacts work-related absenteeism (since prolonged sitting or standing stresses muscles and joints which can lead to musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs), and can overall affect a company’s performance.  Oftentimes, office movement is directly related to office design and the furniture utilized by the staff.  Conditions like unwieldy office chairs can cause ailments, and existing health problems to persist and worsen. That is why addressing the issue of office ergonomics come is so important.  Office ergonomics apply the science that lies behind the interactions people have with their environment, so personal well-being and office efficiency occur at a peak level.

Don’t Just Sit (or Stand) There

Sitting for long hours or standing for long periods of time will stress the body’s joints. Poor posture aggravates muscles and joints.  One very common example is an employee working in front of a computer screen.  Ever pick up a heavy bowling ball? A person’s head weighs between 10 pounds to 14 pounds. Leaning forward to glance at the computer screen with gravity pulling down on the head will gradually strain the upper two vertebrae out of alignment. This will pinch the nerves in the brainstem, an area located at the bottom of the neck and shoulders, which ultimately will cause health problems for the employee.  This risk, however, can be alleviated through regular movement, proper workstation arrangements and chairs that flex with the body.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll – or at Least Stretch

When the topic of movement in the office is brought up, most workers think the main reason is to burn calories. But that’s just one of the resulting benefits.  Moving, even small stretching exercises, maintains a healthy blood circulation and is important for the health of the muscles. You can also promote movement by adding some key types of furniture to your workspace.  Height adjustable desks (for both collaborative spaces and individual offices) as well as a conference table that can double as a ping-pong table are effective office additions that can help keep employees moving.  It’s important to note that the key is to avoid being in one position for too long. Standing while working, which helps with movement, should still be done in brief amounts of time, perhaps intervals of no more than 15 to 20 minutes.

Workstation Standards that Raise the Bar — For Best Office Ergonomics

Proper workstation set up is, according to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), “the first step in combating musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the office environment.”

OSHA standards are:

  • Aligning joints in the neutral position
  • Chairs adjusted correctly for the individual user
  • Backs supported
  • Computer monitors, keyboards, and accessories like a mouse are at the right height for the user

This is why adjustable office furniture is so important. Individual pieces can all be adjusted independently.

Sit On It with Confidence

Every office has people with a range of postures.  Chairs that don’t conform well to sitting positions can result in tight shoulders, breathing that’s constricted, and tightness in the thighs and throughout the legs.  That is why it’s important to have ergonomic chairs that allows users the freedom to move naturally while in a sitting position.  Ergonomically designed chairs like the Cherryman Eon Chair and 9 to 5 Seating’s Vesta Chair have lumbar support and an advanced tilt feature,  which helps these chairs to work well at conference tables and for individual office use.

Image Source: Humanscale

Checklist of Wellness Activities for 2019

Checklist of Wellness Activities for 2019

Mission: Wellness Activities

Make wellness an office priority with this checklist of wellness activities for 2019.

1. Move Often

Benefits:

  • Regular movements keep blood circulating well and prevent joints from stiffening. Movement can also clear the mind.

What to Do:

  • Stretch every 20 minutes while sitting at the desk
  • Use height-adjustable desks and tables to alternate standing and sitting throughout the day
  • Go for a brief stroll every few hours
  • Play games like ping-pong or have a magnetic dart board set up in a break area
  • Use ergonomic chairs that allow the body to move naturally

2. Drink Water

Benefits:

  • Water lubricates the joints, flushes out toxins in the body and helps battle tooth decay by maintaining saliva production. It also helps the immune system and delivers oxygen throughout the body.

What to Do:

  • Provide small bottles of water in break rooms and near lounge chairs
  • Place reminders in departments encouraging the team to “stay wet”
  • Provide packs of sugarless gum to chew and stimulate saliva production

3. Eat Well

Benefits:

  • Food is a personal issue for many. Don’t throw out doughnuts for every meeting but realize that eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits boosts energy, reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and promotes healthy bacteria in the gut.

What to Do:

  • Have a vegetable tray with dip for office meetings
  • Invite departments to take turns providing something like apples or grapes as snacks in the breakroom
  • Ask a local store to provide a discount if enough employees buy their produce there
  • Have a local chef do a healthy pop-up lunch with the staff seated comfortably

4. Go Green

Benefits:

  • Plants provide a visual break in an office while refreshing the air. They can also raise humidity levels to soothe workers with dry and itchy skin.

What to Do:

  • Have employees bring in a favorite indoor plant
  • Use plants in hanging baskets or potted plants on tables as area dividers
  • Place small plants every several feet on open bench seating to provide personal boundaries
  • Use ficus trees to define departments in an open office

5. Offer Exercise Incentives

Benefits:

  • Staying active outside work becomes part of a healthy lifestyle. Moderate walking or running reduces stress and is foundational for those managing their weight.

What to Do:

  • Offer small rewards for those who have the most creative walk or run in a month
  • Provide up to 10% off gym memberships or yoga classes (not to exceed a certain amount)
  • Offer aerobics or yoga on-site
  • Install a multi-use conference table for ping-pong breaks

6. Evaluate Company Culture

Benefits:

Work by its very nature is challenging. Competitive environments come from companies striving to be their best and please their clients. Providing ways for people to decompress is important. Leadership plays an important role in this by:

  • Listening
  • Allowing time for constructive feedback
  • Adjusting as necessary

7. Wellness Activities for 2019 – Designing a Healthy Office

Many factors contribute to a healthy workplace.  Now that you’ve read the checklist for wellness activities for 2019, consider that a well-designed and furnished office space also promotes success.  Looking to design an office workspace that promotes health and well being?  Let our experts help you!  2010 Office Furniture has more than 45 years of experience working with some of the most prominent companies in Los Angeles and Orange County, including Southern California Edison, Irvine Chamber of Commerce, The Honda Center, UCLA, Bunim Murray Productions, Hollywood Park Casino, Living Spaces, W Hotels, Sony Pictures Studios, Dignity Health and more.  Share your project with us today and talk to us about a complimentary space planning consultation.

Read Also: How to Create an Experience-Driven Office Wellness Program
Main Photo: National Collete Lounge
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: National