If this is your year for achieving great things and boosting your productivity, make 2017 the year where workplace health is a priority in your business, and in your working life.

Workplace health, commonly associated with good ergonomics, can enhance creativity and morale, both critical factors for success and improved productivity in the modern day office environment. 

The shift to ergonomic work environments is embraced by exciting tech companies and even government departments, who are leading by example with green star buildings that promote positive work practices. To the outsider, it can look as though employees are given free reign to play all day with chill-out rooms fitted out with bean bags and video games. However, companies embracing healthy workplaces are using carefully thought out strategies to get the best from their workers.

A healthy workplace with good ergonomics designs the job, and the workstation, around the individual, not people around the job. The company ensures the equipment and environment sustains staff over each hour, day and year. Increasingly, companies are investing in good ergonomics, not simply for the health and happiness of their staff, but for the improved benefits to productivity, reduction in sick-days, and of course, a happier working team.

You can easily modify your existing workplace  –  whether it is a shop floor, factory or office – which can help to maximise the capacity of the person doing their job. Here are just a few:

Natural light:
Unless you are running an underground mine, providing access to sunlight should be a given. Hiding staff away in windowless rooms means their circadian rhythm loses its reference point – the sun. The circadian rhythm is a biological system that keeps us awake during the day and sleeping at night. Studies show that workers lost 46 minutes of sleep at night if they worked in artificial light only. Meanwhile those who were worked in a windowed area showed no incapacitation either mentally and physically and were better able to handle the demands of their job.

Read more on natural light: 
CNN – Daylight office workers 
The Conversation – Secret to health benefits of sunshine is more than Vitamin D
Psychology Today – Exposure to natural light improves workplace performance

 

Task Lighting:
Task lighting boosts productivity, eases pressure on energy bills and promotes concentration. Designing the workplace so there is natural light and task lights on each workstation lets individuals turn on their own light as needed rather than suffering glare from overhead fluorescents. It is a simple act of giving individuals power over their immediate area, preventing discomfort that comes from one-size-fits-all lighting approaches which rarely succeed.

You might be interested in learning more about the Atom Led Lamp from Bad Backs’   

Read more on task lighting from Human Scale 

Standing Desks:
Standing desks are in vogue on the office furniture scene. Even primary schools are encouraging kids to stand up in class and take to a stool when they need to sit. Teachers are educating new generations that sitting all day dramatically increases our chances of developing type 2 diabetes (and rushes the onset of many other deadly illnesses).

Standing at work definitely helps decrease blood sugar after meals, uses more muscles in the body which in turn increases energy levels and the brain’s power to focus. Yet, standing desks are good only when used correctly, that is, when frequent movement forces postures and positions to change at regular intervals.

You might also be interested in checking out the Jesper Sit Stand desk from Bad Backs’

Read more on Standing Desks:
Huffington Post – the benefits to consider 
Authority Nutrition: 7 benefits of a standing desk
Daily Mail, UK: Primary school introduces desks allowing children to stand while they’re working 

 

Breaks and movement:

Workplaces that actively prevent sedentary diseases in the long term reap the short term benefits of having an employees engaged body and mind. It is counter intuitive to many office cultures but increasing breaks and giving employees opportunities to move around through the course of the day boosts productivity, rather than taking away “time” from the job.

To make the day pass by in an ergonomic way, schedule your workers into different tasks at frequent intervals. This stops the mind from going into auto-pilot and forces the body into varied postures. For pure desk jobs, get your employees taking micro- breaks even if it is simply fetching a glass of water from the kitchen every twenty minutes or conduct that 10a.m. meeting walking up and down the hallway. If your workplace has the space, encourage brief stretching workouts or get staff engaging their body by taking the plank position by their desks.

You might also be interested in checking out some of Bad Backs’ fitness products, including bakballs and Comfitt Sticky Yoga Mat

Read more on breaks and movement:
UNSW – Health and safety: Work breaks
Breaking Muscle – Working out isn’t enough: advice for desk workers