Whether you're working from home or in the workplace, this guide is filled with simple modifications you can make to enhance the well-being generated from your work space. It also includes energy hacks and tips to keep your mind and body healthy even when you're spending a full day at work.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon for many of us to be working from a make-shift office at home- whether it be from your dining room table or a DIY stand up desk.
Here are some simple adjustments you can make to your workspace set-up to achieve the following benefits:
reduce musculoskeletal disorders
improve quality of work
increase long-term safety
If you would like to support your workforce to set up an ideal work space, whether in office or at their homes, Med-I-Well Services provides virtual ergonomic assessments and workspace consultations to help create a workspace that enhances your employees' overall well-being. Get in touch to learn more!
BIOPHILIC OFFICE DESIGN
Bring the outdoors in? The concept of biophilic design is to provide the benefits of nature by bringing outdoor elements into your office space. Here are some ways to apply biophilic design into your workspace.
Natural Light: If you have control of where your workspace can be set up (i.e. working from home), try to choose a location where you can access natural light and see the outdoors. Natural light is a major player in your sleep-wake cycle - helping you to feel awake and energized leading to increased productivity.
Add Colour: In nature, you can find the widest spectrum of colours. To reproduce the benefits of colours in your workspace, you can go as far as changing the paint colour of the walls, or simply choose wall art and office supplies that add in a pop of colour. Studies have shown that certain colours can produce specific benefits -for example, one study showed that the colour orange produced a positive impact and increased energy levels amongst employees. Another study showed that blue had the best overall benefits.
Incorporate Natural Features: Look for items made of wood or stone to add some of those natural textures into your workspace. These items can help to create the calming ambiance that nature produces to promote decreased levels of stress and increased feelings of relaxation.
Add in Some Plant Life: The most obvious addition when bringing outdoors indoors is plants! Choose one or more plants to add greenery and enjoy the benefits of increased oxygen levels.
Benefits of a Biophilic Design
Improved concentration levels
Decreased mental fatigue
Increased energy levels
Greater staff retention
ADDING LIFE (& OXYGEN) TO YOUR WORKSPACE
Green thumb or not - there is a plant out there for everyone. Here are five different office plants that require minimal care but produce lots of benefits!
Snake Plant: You can choose the variety that grows several feet high to keep on the floor, or a dwarf variety for your desk. These plants require little attention - water once a week and little light!
African Violet: If you have access to natural light, you can add this pop of colour to your office space. Leave in a spot that receives indirect light and water so that the soil remains slightly moist.
Bamboo Plant: Growing a bamboo palm indoors does not require a lot of work. When soil feels dry, water until it is moist. Ensure it always has proper drainage.
Aloe: This one needs lots of access to natural light so an office with a window is ideal. The aloe plant is a succulent meaning that it only needs watering once every few weeks!
Spider Plant: Can be placed in a bright to moderate light room. Wait until soil dries out to water (approximately once per week watering).
INCORPORATING ALL FIVE SENSES TO OUR SPACE
Like all things in life, it's the small things that matter. This concept can be applied to your office space to make it an optimal setting for productivity, personal well-being, and comfort. Enhance all of your senses by incorporating simple items into your workspace and by incorporating actions throughout your day to help increase your energy, productivity, creativity and mood.
Sight: Take the time to get some photos printed of your family, friends, happy memories, or anything that brings you joy to promote good feelings during your work day. Incorporate aspects of biophilic design by choosing photos of nature. Studies show that nature photos inspire feelings of "awe" which promote creativity, motivation, and productivity.
Smell: Diffuse essential oils. Many studies have been done on the benefits of essential oils on mood and energy levels. Here are some of the findings: - Citrus oils, such as orange and grapefruit, are great for boosting energy levels. - Peppermint oil has been shown to improve concentration levels and memory function. - Lavender oil can be used to promote relaxation during a stressful work day
Touch: Keep a stress ball nearby. They are small, easy to store, and inexpensive. In moments of stress, the physical act of squeezing a stress ball can help you to reset and refocus by transferring that mental stress into a little bit of physical exertion.
Taste: The food you eat throughout the day will be extremely impactful on your overall productivity levels and well-being. Choose whole foods (i.e., chicken vs. chicken nuggets, apples vs. applesauce) that fuel you to optimize your day.
Sound: Many studies have shown that playing classical music helps to relax your mind and focus on the task at hand, resulting in better memory retention. Similar results are gained from listening to nature sounds, which can be anything from the sound of a rainfall or river to the sounds of a forest.
ADD MOVEMENT TO YOUR WORK DAY
Your work days are busy and it can be difficult to carve out extra time to incorporate movement into your day. There are always "fringe" moments that provide ample opportunity to be active.
For example, while waiting for your coffee to brew, perform body weight lunges. While you are waiting for a meeting to start, perform wall squats. Or if you are on a phone call, walk around your workspace. See below for some examples you can implement in your daily work life to improve your muscular strength, overall health, and energy levels.
There are countless ways to optimize your work space and work day! With so many things out of our control right now (e.g., kids' school schedules, public health measures, etc.), it's important to focus on what we can control to enhance our well-being. You are probably spending 1/3 of your day at your work space so it is a valuable investment of your time to LEVEL IT UP for improved energy levels, mental health, and productivity.