Think about how much you sit in one day. Don’t only think about the time spend in front of a computer screen but also the time you sit in your car, to eat, and relax. For many people that can add up to over 13 hours a day assuming you sleep 8 hours a night. The list of health risks from sitting too long at your desk can go seem endless. Some on this list include being overweight or obesity, unhealthy blood-sugar levels and type 2 diabetes, increase chance of heart disease, and not to mention posture and back problems, muscle degeneration and leg disorders.
You can always improve
Even for those who are physically active (moderate to intense physical activity, 4+ day a week) you still can increase your health by sitting less during the day. Even for those who work out for an hour at the gym, shower, then eat, and head to the office, your body has absorbed the majority of the nutrients from your breakfast. So, while you work at your desk, it starts to regenerate and heal the micro-tears and micro-trauma into your poor posture with hunched shoulders, curved spine, and collapsed hips.
It sounds simple to just get up and move; however, the reality is that it takes time and effort. Many recommend five minutes of standing for every 30 minutes of sitting. Look into using ergonomic chairs and height adjustable stand up desks in the office when you are thinking about the health of your office. It will also give each employee more space for office exercises. While you stand, work on short and easy body stretches that will help your blood circulation, muscle tension, and posture; from head rolls to feet rotations and back arching and eye rolls, get the office standing up and moving.
There are countless fast and easy office desk exercises that can be done at your desk or anywhere in the office at any time that will begin to undo the stresses on sitting bodies. Remember to listen to what your body says and don’t try to push the limits of your body.
- Lay down on your back with your feet hip width apart and feet flat on the ground. Make sure your knees are always above your ankles. Keep your arms alongside your body and palms facing down.
- Inhale and press your feet into the floor and life the hips up rolling your spine off the floor.
- Press into the arms and shoulders to life your chest up and engage your legs, buttocks to lift your hips higher if need be.
- Take 4-6 deep breaths and release by exhaling and slowly rolling your spine back to the floor.
- Stand with your feet flat on the ground with slightly wider than shoulder width apart stance and toes pointed slightly outwards.
- Keeping your feet flat on the ground, squat until your buttock is as low as it is comfortable to go and keeping your back straight and arms resting on your knees.
- Feel the stretch through your legs, back, and groin.
- Take 4-8 deep breaths.
- Find a wall or immobile chair to support yourself with one hand and face straight ahead.
- Start with small swings with one leg going forward and back like a pendulum, keeping you posture tall and your core engaged.
- Gradually work up the pendulum swing, keeping your posture tall and your core engaged and remember to keep your hips relaxed.
- Do about 20 swings per leg.
Office fitouts are an investment. A better, more though-out office design offers clear returns that don’t necessarily cost more. Focus more on increasing your organization’s productivity and success rather than only individual performance. Office management is not just implementing peace among your co-workers or maintaining office movement but also includes maximizing concentration for your office employees. When considering your office design ask yourself:
- Who are our employees, and who will they be in the next 5 years?
- Who else uses our space? (visitors, clients, community members, etc.) and why?
- How do we want others to perceive us when they enter our space?
- What extent do you value flexibility and choice over how we work?
- What are our current sustainable productivity attributes?
Just like any office, there are constant phone calls, email alerts, and random chattering. Especially recently where open office trends are common and ideal for collaboration; however, that puts privacy and focus in jeopardy for your employees. Usually in an office, every 11 minutes are interrupted and it takes roughly 23 minutes to get back on task.
Designating specific areas with more seclusion will allow your employees to have the option to hide for an hour for remote work or for those who just need a change of scenery. If you have limited walls in the office, try using free standing partition screens. Partition screens create a shelter from visual and audial distractions to help provide an enhanced sense of psychological security and the flexibility to arrange privacy according to your office layout. Even adding a mix of textures with various furniture pieces will inspire richer vocabulary and creative environment.
Windows and natural light help stress management and cognitive performance in the office. A study compared employees who worked next to a blank wall, employees who worked next to a window and employees who worked next to a simulated video of the same outdoor image. The results showed that the blank wall and video seemed to have the same effect. This instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems, or the biophilia hypothesis, has confirmed that a physical or a visual connection to the outdoors have an influential impact on state of mind and stress levels. Instead of having your office glare with fluorescent lights, try replacing them with warmer, more natural glow.
All who enter the office want to feel welcomed and seem as if they are contributors to the organization. For some employees, the office is their second home so culture is important for their level of satisfaction. Although games and work outings are perks, the development of culture in the office happens more organically. Positive culture can inspire more cooperative interaction and teamwork which increases production, quality, and service. Although it can also have the opposite effect, the culture and dynamic is what makes everyone who walks through the doors feel a part or contributor to the company. Each office is unique with its employees and culture, so encourage personalization. Each employee should have the freedom to customize their workspace according to their personal work preference. It adds character and dynamic to the office which makes it more welcoming to your clients.
When you are designing your office to stimulate communicate and improve productivity, be sure to have a goal. If you are considering redesigning, do you want higher productivity or stimulate more creativity? Maybe create a deeper office culture or integrate departments together? Create flexibility that will make it possible for employees to move around the office because the availability of endless combination will create a more dynamic and collaborative workspace.
Growing Digital Workspace
Remember to balance the digital and physical spaces in your office. The more people share online, the less people tend to have physical interactions. The digital workspace in an office enhances human to human collision through file-sharing, emails, messaging, and other communication tools. Research indicates that interactions and engagement decrease as the physical distance between work groups grow and online engagement increases.
Think about implementing workstations for multiple employees or larger office lunch tables to move employees closer together and increase interaction. If an employee developed an improved approach of doing a particular job or task but doesn’t tell anyone, she increases her personal productivity but no one else’s. Closer desks will allow collaboration that will benefit the organization as a whole rather than individual personal improvement. A personal drop in productivity can have a positive outcome on group performance. An unassigned seating office has been a popular practice within offices to increase department integration; however, it has proven to drop energy levels. Although an office can save money by integrating departments closer together, team communication has a risk of decreasing and loss in revenue. Remember, office fitouts are an investment.
In a socially transforming world that we find ourselves within, the dynamics of the working attitude and employee expectations are changing. Whereas ones salary still has a substantial pull on where and the way an employee works, there is a growing factor that is starting to dictate more and more working trends and this of course is the idea of a ‘working culture’.
A company’s working culture could be the most important factor in moving towards success, why you ask? Because ultimately workplace culture fits into and impacts everything in your business, from your business strategies, to the happiness of your team and from your company leadership to the working environment that you surround your company with.
Many people, including myself, have been in a position of job opportunities, where perhaps one job offer pays ‘X’ Amount where as another job offer might be paying ‘X times 2’. However you find yourself wanting to work in the environment that is paying you less, and that reason is the working culture in that job. The job that pays less might still give you more, if you know what I mean. This job makes you wake up every morning, buzzing, excited to re-join your team for yet another day of achieving your company’s goals and visions. The job that pays you in positive emotion not always necessarily something tangible, and that’s what it should do, that’s what an awesome workplace culture does.
Here is a checklist for what should be in your workplace culture, or if not, you can use them as tips are just take ideas from each of these points. And just a bit of a disclaimer, these tips by no means will turn your workplace into an efficient paradise but are rather just some ideas that I have personally seen can make a substantial impact on the productivity of the business but also on the overall happiness and atmosphere of your work place.
Hierarchal and lateral leadership
When in a position of authority, one should be clear and enthusiastic about what goals that they and their company are trying to achieve. You can tell a lot about a workplace culture by talking to a company executive and asking questions about the way they want to run their office as well as the strategies that they are trying to employ. While giving your employee the respect and acknowledgment of their contributions to the company, you develop a confident and comfortable atmosphere in a relationship that used to be about bosses and their grunts and by breaking down that boundary, everyone will feel a lot more relaxed when approaching you as well as being a part of such a congruent team every day.
Having said that, leading people below you is a relatively easier than leading someone over whom you have no authority. But that doesn’t matter, an awesome workplace enjoys the transition of leadership around an equal office (in terms of position), and comfortably allows for everyone to take charge at different times even if it is to give you some tips or maybe redirect your line of thinking. Constructive.
Office satisfaction over salary
In such a material world, inherently dictated by currency, the goal and overall effect of a great workplace culture would be for the office experience to be enticing enough for each worker to happily show up every single day. Yes, employees need to sustain their lives through their salary but if you believe in workplace culture, then that will provide a metaphorical dividend which often translates into tangible results. Accordingly, JasonL feels that a happier office means more productive workers and bigger results.
A melting pot of culture and character
You want to belong to a working culture that is diverse as it is encouraging. Take care and put thought into the people that you hire, their ages, abilities, nationalities, backgrounds and characteristics will all add different dynamics to your business and working environment. And if you want them to gel nicely then you need to consider the impact they will have on your current employees, your business and of course endeavouring to reach and surpass company goals. A clash of opinion or character is never enjoyable for anyone in your office, even those not involved.
Something that you have probably heard 100’s of times by now is the absolute pivotal importance of communication within a business. While it is very important, it is just as influential as other workplace factors. The key to effective ongoing communication is to associate it with positivity. By doing so, it compels your employees to do it more, to do it earlier and to do it well! Communication has a multitude of effects, which is why it is emphasised so much on everyone’s ‘list’. Communication enhances a positive working atmosphere while strengthening inter-office relationships that ultimately adds to your working culture and overall success.
Now, these points can seem daunting or disheartening to some people who maybe have not prioritised working culture, but don’t fret. As I have said, these points aren’t the be all and end all of workplace success but merely aim to inspire you to take pride in your working culture. It makes potential prospects want to be a part of this happy team as well as helping you or people in positions of authority to be clear about what they want to achieve and with what type of atmosphere they want to achieve it with. These are just a few pointers and believe me when I say that there are a lot more ways to improve a working culture but those are a few that I and JasonL like to emphasise.