As humans we have a limited number of hours in our time bank. Money unfortunately won’t increase the balance, so it is up to us, to ensure that every minute is spent well, in both senses of the word.

A healthy lifestyle will of course go some way to adding hours back into that time bank but if you and your staff spend 40 hours a week sitting in an office it may be difficult to control your activity levels and environment. Did you know that working for 40 hours a week equates to 22% of the total time you have in a year?! Spending almost a quarter of your total time in an unhealthy environment can be detrimental to both your physical and mental health.

According to a report from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, “Workplace Wellbeing relates to all aspects of working life, from the quality and safety of the physical environment, to how workers feel about their work, their working environment, the climate at work and work organisation.” For more detailed information on this, visit https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/well-being-work-creating-positive-work-environment

The fastest and easiest area to address is the physical working environment and it can immediately improve health and safety, as well as wellbeing and morale. But what should you be looking out for?

Ergonomics

Are desks, monitors and chairs at the right height? Are they adjustable? Are staff being forced to sit at uncomfortable angles? Are ergonomic aids such as wrist and mouse rests available?

Light

Are screens facing windows or light sources? Are there any glares? Could monitor risers, laptop stands, adjustable monitor brackets or even privacy screens help?

Temperature

How is the temperature controlled in your building? If it’s automated, is it doing it’s job? Are there any drafts? Is there air conditioning? Can staff turn on a fan or open a window if it gets too warm?

Noise

Is the building very noisy? Do staff find it hard to concentrate? Could acoustic panels or privacy screens be used to provide a noise buffer between areas? Would noise cancelling telephone headsets be useful in open plan offices?

Activity

Can staff take regular breaks from their screens? Could sit-stand desks or converters be utilised so that your staff can alternate positions during the day? Can they fit in a walk on their lunch breaks? Does the business support to bike to work scheme?

Hygiene, Health & Safety

Are sanitiser stations provided? Is the building cleaned regularly? Does this include your employees workstations and communal water stations? Are there first aid kits available and people that know how to use them? According to a 2018 independent.co.uk article;  “The average desktop harbours 20,961 germs per square inch and that’s in addition to 3,295 on the keyboard and 1,676 on a mouse and a staggering 25,127 on the phone.”

Breaktime

Is there access to healthy snacks and fresh filtered water? How easy is it to avoid high sugar, high fat foods?

These are just a few of the areas that you can look at to see how your work environment could be improved for you and your staff.

In a lot of cases, addressing physical and environmental issues can go a long way to improving mental health. Obviously, having a visible and active HR function always helps, along with clear guidance on processes and procedures.

There are also many Employee Assistance and Mental Wellbeing Programmes available that can be implemented in your business for minimal cost and which will provide key services for staff such as counselling, advice and workplace mediation and support.

If you would like advice on the types of products we have available to improve working environments, get in touch with the Stacked team now.

Get In Touch
References:
https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/digitalisation-and-occupational-safety-and-health-osh-eu-osha-research-programme/view
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/average-desk-germs-toilet-seat-kitchen-keyboard-mouse-phone-a8237431.html
  • 8760 hours in a year – 365 x 24
  • 1920 working hours in a year = 40 hours x 52 weeks (less 4 weeks holidays)
  • 1920/8760 = 0.2191 (22%)