You spend 40 hours a week (or more) at work, so it’s important to make your workspace and environment your sanctuary. From decorating your desk to finding ways to be more active throughout the day, let’s share some of our favorite workplace wellness ideas!
The first, and most impactful, workplace wellness idea is decorating your desk. Studies show that employees with plants at their desk are 15% more productive, different colors can enhance your mood (blue and red have been shown to improve brain performance), and surrounding yourself with inspiring items can help motivate you throughout the day. There are many ways to decorate your desk and it will depend on your personal preferences, but here are some tips:
- Eliminate clutter on your desk. If you don’t use it every day, put it away
- Include personal items, like pictures of loved ones
- Include work-related decorations, like motivational quotes or a fun calendar
- Try to get rid of any long cords you have under your desk. If you can’t get rid of them, use a solution to tuck them out of your way.
- Listen to white noise to increase productivity
- Make sure you have something to keep you warm if your office is chilly, such as a cozy blanket, a space heater, or fingerless gloves
- Invest in alternative seating options, such as a yoga ball, to help improve your posture. According to the Mayo Clinic, poor posture can cause headaches, back and neck pain, breathing problems, pinched shoulders, and jaw pain.
- Don’t be afraid to leave your desk and work in other areas of the office, such as a lounge or even the break room (if you don’t need to be deeply focused)
- Make sure to have a reusable water bottle handy to stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you feel lethargic throughout the day.
Being at work doesn’t mean you can’t prioritize your wellness. From being more active throughout the day to taking care of your mental health, these tips will help you feel better and, hence, work better:
- Incorporate natural elements, like plants or sunlight if possible. If you don’t work by a window, take short walks outside to get some good old Vitamin D. Workers in windowless environments reported significantly lower well-being compared to those in a sunny office, according to a 2014 study from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Keep healthy snacks at your desk (that way, you’re not tempted by the vending machine!)
- Invest in a standing desk or take a short walk around the office every hour or so. Research shows that walking around for five minutes every hour boosts mood while reducing fatigue and food cravings.
- If you’re stressed, try to incorporate short meditation or mindfulness practices into your day. Smartphone apps like Calm and Headspace make it easy. Even five minutes to yourself can change your day and increase your productivity.
- Take breaks to stretch or give yourself a quick head and neck massage.
- It may seem counterintuitive, but multitasking actually means you get less done. Try to focus on a few priority projects rather than a million little things throughout the day.
- Turn off distractions, including email. The most productive entrepreneurs (including Tim Ferriss in his book The 4-Hour Workweek) suggest checking email at certain times of the day, rather than having notifications always on. That way, you can address everything in bulk and focus on your priority projects (refer to the above tip).
- Have a screen-free lunch break
The happiest and most productive employees prioritize their work, but they also prioritize their physical and mental wellness.
The above ideas are great for employees to prioritize their workplace wellness, but creating a happy, healthy workplace depends on the employer, too. Improving your workplace wellness doesn’t have to cost a lot and will result in more productive employees that actually enjoy coming to work. Here are some ideas:
- Create alternative workspaces with comfortable seating, healthy snacks, and a view outside. You could even add a massage chair to really help your employees relax. There are countless physical and therapeutic benefits of massage therapy and taking a quick rest can help rejuvenate your employees throughout the day.
- Set up standing desks. If you don’t have the budget to provide every employee with a standing desk, create standing work stations that they can work at. As mentioned above, standing and moving more throughout the day is one way to stay healthy in the workplace.
- Plan team outings to help your employees get to know each other outside of the office. Things like team BBQs, scavenger hunts, or field days are a great way to get people outside and moving and will help your employees bond.
- Create fitness, yoga, or meditation sessions with the team
- If possible, offer flexible work hours. Some employees might be more productive at home or might benefit from a flex schedule.
- Think of various dietary restrictions/preferences when shopping for workplace meals and snacks and include healthy options.
Things like standing desks, team events, or desk decorations might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of a business, but these little workplace wellness ideas can help you feel more motivated, productive, and happier to come to work. Whether you’re an employee or an employer, investing in the space where you spend the majority of the week just makes sense.