Though several businesses have realized the viability of work from home arrangements, more and more organizations allow their employees to return to their normal office work arrangement, especially with the worldwide availability of COVID-19 vaccines.
Around 40 percent of companies who shifted to remote work during the onset of the pandemic are planning to have their employees return to their offices early this year.
Nonetheless, it will continue to be a challenge for companies to convince all of their employees to return to their offices. According to a survey, if given a chance, more than half of the workers prefer to continue working from home.
Considering the reluctance of most workers for fear of their health and safety, employers must put up measures that would not only encourage their workers to the usual office arrangement but also provide a safe, healthy and comfortable office environment.
Why Improve the Office Work Environment
It has consistently been proven in various researches that a positive work environment increases the motivation and engagement of employees. Motivated employees mean higher job satisfaction, increased company loyalty, and less likelihood of attrition. Employees working in a healthy work environment are less stressed, leading to higher productivity and reduced absenteeism.
In some industries, it also means lesser claims for workers’ compensation and medical expenses.
On the other hand, a toxic office environment provides the total opposite of the above-mentioned. One of the key signs that the office environment of your organization is toxic is the lack of proper communication among employees. Business outcomes are prioritized rather than the mental health and job satisfaction of employees.
6 Ways to Provide a Safe, Healthy, & Comfortable Office Work Environment
#1 Improve Lighting
Exposure to natural light is said to boost one’s mood, improve mental health and energy, and greatly impact the focus and productivity of employees. Unfortunately, though, not all office buildings get to enjoy natural light. In a survey conducted by Pots Planters & More, almost half of the respondents reported little to no natural light in their office.
However, this is not without a solution. If it is impossible to incorporate natural lighting into your office, consider installing LED lights as they can imitate natural light and are much cheaper than the others.
#2 Open Floor Plan & Ergonomic Office Furniture
Open floor plans are not just for modern-day houses. Modern work environments also embrace this concept as it promotes interaction and camaraderie and increases natural light and space. With this wider, open space, having ergonomic office furniture is a must. Many employees suffer from back and neck pains from sitting on their desks 8 hours or more a day.
Consider investing in ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and lumbar cushions to address the physical health needs of your employees.
#3 Put Some Plants & Infuse Scent
Just like natural light, having plants in your office helps improve the mood and productivity of employees. Apart from that, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, improving the indoor air quality of your office. From an aesthetic point of view, plants make the office environment seem welcoming and relaxed. It helps unload work-related stress employees feel.
#4 Offer Break Room Amenities
We all go hungry when working, but it does not mean your office has to provide elaborate buffets to satisfy your employees. Simple break room amenities can make up for it. Offer your team healthy snack options to keep them engaged and energized. Coffee, tea, crackers, dried fruits, and nuts are good options.
Providing enough storage spaces and multiple or a big refrigerator is also necessary for your workers to keep their lunch or snack foods. Other than that, consider contacting an appliance repair service company to have those faulty break room appliances fixed.
#5 Quiet Space
Work gets stressful most of the days, and sometimes your employees would want to unplug even for a few minutes while in the office. Though it does not call for you to overhaul a room in your office completely, providing a change of scenery would be great.
If you are lucky enough to have an outdoor space, designate such an area for your workers to get some fresh air, breath, and meditate for a while.
#6 Right Temperature
It can get too cold during summers and too hot during winters in an office. To remedy that, allow your employees to set the temperature according to their preference. Working in an environment with too much or too little humidity can distract employees. Also, have your HVAC system regularly maintained and tuned up to ensure quality indoor air.
Offer Office Work Flexibility
Not all jobs require office presence. Some, if not all, can be done remotely. With this in mind, consider giving options for your employees to continue working from home. Work flexibility is what almost all younger workers are looking for right now. As long as they can deliver results on time, why not?