Every workplace, whether you’re in construction or a call center, has its share of office illness. You (hopefully) enjoy working with your co-workers and would like to keep everyone healthy and happy. After all, who would want to go to work everyday next to someone sneezing and coughing, spreading their germs everywhere?
You spend about one-third of your day, five days every week working, all the while trying to stay healthy even when those around you are sick. So what can you do to promote a healthier work environment for all?
Start a health challenge. Invite everyone to pack healthy lunches, walk on their lunch breaks, and/or partake in other fun activities that will boost their immune systems. Bonus: You’ll improve office morale too! Sweeten the deal by offering incentives for participants.
Encourage movement during breaks, meetings, and even while actively working. Studies show that exercise helps to keep your body healthy. This is because it helps the lymphatic system to clear out toxins, which weaken your immune system. Your lymphatic system takes out your body’s trash, so to speak, working through vessels similar to your cardiovascular system.
However, unlike the cardiovascular system, there is no pump like your heart, so your body counts on you to eliminate the waste through active motion. If you can’t exercise or work out while working, no problem. Just take walks throughout the day.
Bring in some green. Plants, that is. Research has found that plants in the office can increase concentration and reduce stress, which leads to improved productivity. Healthy workers are productive workers.
Plants can also improve indoor air quality, which may be five to 100 times more polluted than the great outdoors. Eartheasy.com lists indoor pollutants that affect health as “formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs, including benzene and trichloroethylene or TCE), airborne biological pollutants, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, pesticides and disinfectants (phenols), and radon.” They mention using indoor plants such as Boston ferns, bamboo palms, and philodendrons to combat indoor pollution.
Replace or adjust office items that aren’t ergonomically designed. Proper posture can drastically reduce back pain and other health issues that stem from poor alignment. With just a little adjustment of office chairs, desk height, and keyboard and monitor placement, you can greatly impact a worker’s well-being and productivity.
Using comfy floor mats can reduce strain on the back and feet from standing or walking on hard floors. Floor mats used at entryways can also help prevent work injuries by keeping hazardous materials away from working areas.
Just as important as following the tips above is what you do after you get home. Medical professionals know that to leave the germs at work, they need to change out of their clothes that may have picked up pathogens (harmful microorganisms) as soon as possible. Perhaps you should too, especially if any of your co-workers have a cold. Everyone can benefit from this simple way to stop the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses.
For more tips on keeping your work family healthy, stop by our Fairless Hills office or give us a call at (267) 202-6433.
Have you tried implementing any steps to create a healthier work environment? What worked for your workplace, or what didn’t?