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Published On: Tue, May 26th, 2015

Creating A Healthier Office Creates a Healthier Business

The human body is an amazing machine that has overcome every evolutionary obstacle to reach its current incarnation. However, as we made the shift from hunter/gatherer types to farmers, merchants, service, and the like, we have become more sedentary.

There is no other area in which this is so glaring as in the modern office environment.

Sitting is slowly killing us

Prolonged sitting has been known to cause a rise in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye-strain, joint problems, and even preventable diseases due to the spread of bacteria in a dirty work environment.

photo Tech News Flickr

photo Tech News Flickr

Taking frequent breaks away from the office desk is one such preventative measure to many of these issues, but the best solution is to simply stand. The corporate issued desk and chair is an easy way to throw together an office environment, but with so many health issues starting to appear from our sedentary lifestyle, new options like adjustable standing desks are exciting developments.

Benefits of this variance of the office desk include:

  • Mobility (which aids in fighting obesity due to long hours of sitting)
  • A significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease (which has been found to be upward of 125% increase in adults that sit for more than two hours a day)
  • Reduced chance of cancer (especially with breast and colon cancer)

But sitting is but one of the many issues we have with health risks in the office environment.

A healthy work environment leads to a healthy business. When employees are in great health, in an environment reduced of danger, feel psychologically safe and secure, and understand safety policies it naturally leads to an increase in productivity and motivation.

A few of these hazards that can disrupt a healthy work environment includes:

  • Cluttered areas such as in walk ways or ladders which could lead to trips and falls
  • Clumsy organization and usage of common workplace items such as failing to stack units in a uniformed manner to prevent falling, failing to cover/shield metal items that may snag, or even regular cleaning of the common rooms and bathrooms which can lead to bacterial spread (or worse).
  • A lack of ergonomic thinking when it comes to the placement of items at the desk which could lead to carpal tunnel, vision inducing issues such as using lights that are far too bright, and over-encouraging an employee to “power through” sessions when they could truly use a break.
  • Failing to adhere to regular inspections (such as with fire safety) will eventually cause problems which is the importance to adhere to OSHA requirements.
  • Doing without a regularly update safety policy which includes training for new and experienced employees to understand the dangers of the workplace and how to report them.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the psychological aspect should be taken into consideration. Every employee are living their lives; it can be difficult to understand when they are over-stressed and over-worked which could lead to accidents.

A healthy business is one where employees not only feel safe for their physical sense but also for their mental well-being. This may include:

  • Proper lighting in the parking lots along with security escorts
  • Break rooms which allow them to unwind completely
  • Holding regular support groups to talk about what’s happening in life
  • Increasing the time off when a person is injured (or simply can’t come in)
  • Removing sexism in the environment to ensure it remains hostile-free

By changing the “traditional” physical form of the office environment through new desks, lighting, layout, and design you will help keep employees healthy on a personal level. Going one step further to adhere to OSHA standards will eliminate the chance of accidents (and fear) from a disorganized work environment on the floor. Lastly, understanding and providing for mental well-being will keep the employees happy, productive, and alert.

What ways does your company strive toward building a healthy work environment?

About the Author

- Adam Lee is a financial writer who has insightful knowledge in dealing with different financial issues. He tries to help people to get out of difficult financial situations by contributing financial write ups to websites and blogs such as Moneyforlunch.com and Moneynewsnow.com

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