Why Healthy Workspaces Are All the Rage

As a business owner, my guess is you spend 40 to 60 hours a week at the office. Your full-time employees probably spend about 40 hours a week alongside you. Considering how much time your team spends in the office, would you say you have developed a healthy workspace that promotes health and wellness? Or, does it (gulp) do the exact opposite?

The unhealthy workspace is the office environment we’re all accustomed to. It’s the office your parents and grandparents toiled in. Think fluorescent lighting, elevators, and desks where employees spend eight plus hours a day sitting. Then, there’s the vending machines. What would an office be without vending machines? The unhealthy office keeps its vending machines stocked with candies, sodas and cupcakes, and its cafeteria has few “fresh options.”

Fried foods, sugary pastries, soda fountains, canned fruits and veggies, hot dogs, packaged cookies and cakes, and other artery-clogging foods are in ample supply at company cafeterias.  And monthly meetings for employees? Those offer bagels, donuts, and muffins –calorie-laden carbs that lead to sugar cravings, obesity and low-energy. Need I say more?

Unhealthy Workspaces Take a Toll

The typical office promotes sedentary behavior, a poor diet, and unhealthy habits, all of which take a toll on us physically and emotionally. The unhealthy office environment negatively impacts employee health, and savvy business owners are catching on. These days, more companies are focusing on healthy workspaces that incorporate things like healthy snacks for employees and small company gyms.

Health and wellness in the office is becoming a priority in the business world; companies are now using healthy workspaces to attract top talent, to reduce sick days, and to improve employee morale. It’s a win-win cause. So, should your company jump on the bandwagon?

 “A healthy workplace is a place where everyone works together to achieve an agreed vision for the health and well-being of workers and the surrounding community. It provides all members of the workforce with physical, psychological, social and organizational conditions that protect and promote health and safety. It enables managers and workers to increase control over their own health and to improve it, and to become more energetic, positive and contented,” according to the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific. 

Healthy Workspaces Boost Employee Morale  

From the food they eat to exercise, health is technically the employee’s personal responsibility, but what’s the harm in creating a workspace that promotes a healthy lifestyle for the eight to ten hours a day that they’re working under your roof?

What are the possibilities...less obesity, fewer spinal problems, improved posture, more energy and better morale? Let us not forget, fewer sick days and more productivity – yes please! If you want to create a healthier workspace but haven’t a clue where to start, here are some ideas to get started, even if it’s baby steps:

  • Purchase sit-stand desks, which allow employees to stand, but when legs get tired or achy they can choose to sit.
  • Install vending machines with water and healthy snacks, such as nuts, cheese sticks, hardboiled eggs, and fruit.
  • If you have an office cafeteria or café, offer plenty of fresh salads and low-carb meals (e.g. veggies and meats).
  • Encourage employees to sit at their desks on exercise balls for 10 to 20 minute spurts, which engage the core muscles. Just make sure they pay attention to form.
  • Centralize printer stations to encourage employees to walk more.
  • Utilize ergonomic chairs to improve posture.
  • Offer healthy in-office snacks. Many of these can be purchased online through Amazon or at places like Costco.
  • When you provide a meal for in-office meetings, ensure you have plenty of 3X Weight Loss, Paleo, or Whole30®-friendly options – all popular diets that eliminate processed foods and combine fresh produce with healthy proteins. Believe me, your employees will thank you!
  • Use air purifiers with HEPA filters throughout the office to fight indoor air pollution and allergies.
  • Choose office spaces with lots of natural lighting.
  • Create an office space that encourages stair use and in effect, calorie burning.
  • Design your office with a walking trail inside the building.
  • Create an office that is abundant in natural plant life. 
  • When movement is not an option for employees, it’s much harder for them to incorporate healthy habits. But as a business owner, you can do a lot to promote your team’s wellness goals by creating a healthy workspace that incorporates mobility, good posture, and a healthy diet. Remember, the happier and healthier your employees are – the more productive they will be! Plus, you’ll look like a rock star in the process.

    Elainna Ciaramella is an independent journalist, business blogger, and ghostwriter for entrepreneurs and business professionals nationwide. She has written extensively on the topics of business, entrepreneurship, law, and medicine. She is well-versed in search engine optimization, content marketing, and social media. You can follow her on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and Instagram.

    Originally published on Wealth Builders NYC.