Workplace Fundamental: Environment

Dr. Purushothaman
December 5, 2013

Mark Dobson, Workplace Incentives Partner

Workplace Fundamental: Environment

Another of the wellness fundamentals that we have previously highlighted is environment. That is making work a great environment to be in and work in.

This is different to occupational health and safety because that has an overwhelming emphasis on safety. It's great and something we should all be concerned with, however we're talking about ways to tap into the human spirit, rather than giving them a special mouse or armrest.

For example, sunlight, we all know that sunlight wakes people up. Sunlight helps to not only wake you up it provides you with vitamin D that you and we all need. Fluorescent lights do not.

Not every office can afford, nor is it practical, to smash down walls and create more windows. However this is just one example. There are other things that can be down that would have the same impact that you may not have previously considered.

Other examples include, but are not limited to, having green plants in the office. Not only do they look fresh and have a positive impact on people, but they also recycle the air in the office producing oxygen.

What colour are the walls in the office? Are they a deep, raging, angry red? Or are they a calming, subtle yet bright pastel yellow?

Is there access to fresh air? Do you have a fresh breeze through the work space?

What is the condition of the amenities? Whether or not there’s water available, food available, an ability to prepare food for lunch, are there vending machines with healthy food options?

All of these considerations as well as other physical elements of the workplace such as the chairs, desks, layout, is the workplace ergonomically satisfying, are staff likely to feel comfortable?

If you do not have a coffee machine at work, or a water cooler, or perhaps some plants, then try this little experiment: Get one/some.

The immediate reaction will be ooo's and arrrr's from staff and they can be a talking point at lunch, or throughout the day. They provide the ability for staff to have a brief rest whilst they fetch some water, a coffee or water the plants. Rest is important (see our article on rest).

You have managed to generate positive morale, discussion, an improved working environment and all for just the cost of a plant ($17) or something similar.

These small tinkers and tweaks to your work environment can make huge impacts. Many people actually have difficulty communicating at work. Its common for people to find communicating with others in a professional environment hard, what to talk about? How to start a conversation? This can lead to a lack of or total loss of a community environment feel in the workplace - which is essential for staff to feel comfortable.

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