There is, rightly, an increase in the awareness of the importance of employee wellness going on in offices across Georgia these days. But did you know that the office your employees work in could make them sick?
How? Here's a look at some of the most common unseen health hazards in the average workplace and what you can do to remedy the problems and create a healthier workplace for everyone, yourself included.
Clear the Air
It is far from unusual for an office environment to trigger what are known as occupational allergies. These are sensitivities to chemicals in carpeting, paint and even office furniture, that lead to productivity crushing headaches, nausea, rashes and more.
A 2015 Harvard study was also able to demonstrate how poor air quality in the office could hamper creative thinking and productivity. This study found that offices with increased ventilation and lower levels of air pollutants could be directly linked to improved employee productivity and performance.
While you may not have the power to change the building's ventilation system, or replace all the office furnishings to help solve the problems caused by the unseen health hazards that poor office air quality cause you can let in some fresh air by keeping windows open or if that's not an option, consider adding air filters – with HEPA filters to extract the maximum amount of pollutants – near employee desks and work spaces.
Something else that can improve the quality of the air in the office is the addition of plants. But they can do more than that. According to psychologists the addition of a plant or two can boost both creativity and mood and inspire a greater sense of wellbeing.
We are not suggesting that you fill your office space so full of greenery that it looks more like the local garden center than a working office, but a plant of two in the corners of open spaces – and actively encouraging employees to add one to their desk if they would like, can be an easy way to bring a little more of the beautiful outdoors in. Just avoid flowers with a strong scent, which can be distracting or irritating
Adjust the Lighting
Though you may not realize it poor quality lighting can be one of the biggest unseen health hazards in the office of all. Poor office lighting can lead to eye strain, headaches and even neck and back pain, due to the employee continually having to strain to see what they are doing properly.
According to another study from Harvard University, being exposed to daylight helps keep stress levels down and regulates circadian rhythms. If the natural light in your office is insufficient to work by – which is likely to be the case – consider the temperature of your office lighting.
Cooler, bluish light is generally good for analytical thinking, while warmer bulbs are better for socializing and interaction with other people, so change the bulbs in various areas of your office accordingly.