Amazing as it may sound, in the UK alone 141.4 million days were lost to sickness in 2018, and 27% 0f these were for ‘Minor Illnesses’, defined as coughs, colds, flu, nausea etc. Just check out the stats:
This is a huge loss of productivity, and a highly expensive issue for UK businesses. As such it’s vital that company’s proactively do all they can to improve the well-being of their staff, and look at ways to make sure your staff are comfortable, healthy, and engaged while at work. There are various ways to do this, and we’ve detailed our top five tips for helping your office staff to remain at work, and working productively. So check out our 5 tips below to make sure you can make a healthier office in 2020 and improve your business performance!
Get the right desks.
While it may sound obvious, it is vital that staff who spend a lot of their time sitting at a desk are given one that correctly meets their needs. According to the Office of National Statistics, musculoskeletal problems (which include back pain, neck and upper limb problems) resulted in 30.8 million days being lost in 2016. By using standing desks employees can alter their position, helping them avoid back and neck pain associated with sitting in the same position for prolonged periods. Check out a review of the best ones here.
Improve your staff’s diet.
Some problems are simple to fix. By helping your staff avoid junk food and unhealthy snacks their health and mood can be positively affected. This in turn leads to higher productivity and better service to your clients. One simple way to cut out the cookies is to replace them with an office fruit box. There are companies up and down the country who will provide a regular delivery of high quality fresh fruit, and the costs aren’t high. Factor in the savings made on sick pay and lost time and it’s a clear winner.
Pick your office chairs carefully.
While it may be tempting to just go for the cheapest chairs, or the ones that look the most stylish we wouldn’t recommend this at all. With staff spending so much time sitting down it’s vital that you engage the services of office furniture professionals who know exactly what they’re talking about and get office chairs that are ergonomic, provide enough support and comfort, and come in at the right budget. Important features to look out for include lumbar support, adequate cushioning, good quality castors, arm-rests, and height adjustment.
Improve the environment.
This perhaps sounds simple, but by making sure that your office has fresh air and enough natural light to feel pleasantly airy can make a huge difference. Being cooped up in a stuffy, dark ‘box’ of an office can have highly adverse effects on your employee’s mood, leading to loss of productivity, days taken off sick, and a dip in your office’s culture. Biophilic design emphasises the need for humans to remain connected with nature, and depriving them of this sub-conscious need can be very detrimental to the health of your staff.
Adding plants into your office can have instantly have a hugely positive effect on your staffs well-being and mood. Office plants will remove toxins from the air that cause Sick Building Syndrome, and also help maintain a healthy, comfortable level of humidity in the office. The HSE describe symptoms of SBS as “dry or itchy skin or skin rash, dry or itchy eyes, nose or throat, headaches, lethargy, irritability, or poor concentration, and a stuffy or runny nose.” However, office plants, as well as looking stunning, can help overcome these issues and keep your staff healthy and working to the best of their potential. For some ideas, check out our recommended planting choices for desk plants.
See below for the chart again, showing which given sickness reasons could instantly be improved by the above recommendations:
For more ideas or recommendations to create your healthier office for 2020, get in touch with our team and we’ll be more than happy to help.