We all know how important the work environment is in terms of productivity, creativity and job satisfaction. All businesses strive, or should strive to achieve a healthy work environment for their employees. But what constitutes a healthy work environment? Literal health, as in good ventilation, natural lighting and lots of plants? Psychological health, as in job security and respect for employee values? Or is it supplying the means to get healthy, such as an onsite gym and a cafeteria serving healthy food?
One of the most important indications of a psychologically healthy environment is laughter. Colleagues who laugh together tend to work well together. Laughter is a sign of comfort within the work place and a bit of fun should be encouraged. Open-door policies that encourage free sharing of ideas are an important element in creating a healthy and positive culture in your business. Employees who are listened to feel valued, and also feel that they can make a tangible difference to the business, which enhances job satisfaction.
Optimise air flow in your office by removing as many obstacles as possible. That means that partitions or cubicles should be raised slightly off the floor and occasionally rearranged to shift air flow. Keep ventilation systems in good working order, have them serviced regularly and keep the filters clean.
Go green, literally, and invest in a few plants in and around the office. Placing a plant near your computer will help to absorb some of its emissions. It will also soothe your eyes when you look away from your screen (which you should do every 20 minutes), as well as brighten up the office a bit.
A growing trend is for businesses to provide facilities for employees to improve and maintain their physical health. Often this means that they install a gym on the premises for employees to work out before or after work, or even during lunch. An alternative for businesses that are too small to install an entire gym is to subsidise gym membership for staff. Another option is to have meetings on the move. Instead of sitting around a table in a stale room to discuss ideas, take the meeting for a walk in the (comparatively) fresh outdoors or perhaps try a standing meeting with a cup of coffee.