Many of us spend a good part of our day at the office. Therefore, it is not only a space where we develop our working life, but also a place that plays an important role in our well-being. Since, a healthy office or a sick office will influence the performance and health of those of us who work there.
This is how the state in which they are, has a central role in the spread of diseases. But as much as offices can spread disease, if managed wisely, they can also help us fight it.
Here are the main aspects that we must take into account to ensure that our office is healthy:
Lighting is undoubtedly one of the key aspects when we talk about any environment and in the case of offices, it is even more. This is because office work requires long periods of time in front of bright screens, usually with fixed eyes.
Therefore, improper lighting can cause an unwanted bounce of light on the screens, which in turn can result in certain conditions. Among them: headaches, eyestrain, dry eyes, and other visual problems. Without neglecting that this can also decrease our productivity.
An excellent option is to use natural lighting as much as possible. For example, placing desks near windows. Well, various studies, including one conducted at North-western University (USA) indicate that workers who have nearby windows are 20% more productive. But, in addition, they sleep better than those who are further away, in closed and artificially lit spaces.
This is believed to be due to exposure to natural light. Which increases our energy levels and inspires us to be more creative, in addition to contributing to lower stress levels. In case this option is not feasible. Good artificial lighting that is warm but not excessive can also improve our mood and avoid vision problems.
Although it may seem like a minor detail to many, the colours we use in the office also have an effect on our environment and mood. And it is that various studies have shown that in the workplace our field of vision must have harmony. Since our body and senses react to colour almost automatically.
For example, red or purple walls stimulate adrenaline production, increasing energy levels and creativity. Pale blues have a calming effect, and yellows and greens provide joy.
Therefore, excesses of colour or their incorrect use can cause stress, tension and visual fatigue. With the addition that our work performance will also decrease. The best recommendation for a healthy office is to use neutral and soft colours, as well as a balanced combination of colours. That will help us to visual rest, and to reduce the levels of tension and stress.
The sick building syndrome is a group of diseases caused or stimulated by indoor air pollution. And that can affect 20% of its occupants. Some of the problems that can cause it are poor ventilation, temperature decompensation, suspended particles, poor lighting, gases and vapours of chemical origin and bioaerosols, among others.
Thus, as the quality of the air we breathe must also be a factor to take into account, if we want to have a healthy office. What makes good ventilation with or without windows necessary, to avoid unhealthy spaces and diseases. Although it is also possible to complement this mission with techniques such as aerobic disinfection that helps to combat dirt and bad odours in the environment.
Organization and cleaning
The organization and regular cleaning is a point in which everyone in the office has to support. Since the more organized the work environment and the fewer objects, papers and other unnecessary elements we have in view, the greater the harmony that the office will transmit.
Something that can help you have greater mental clarity, be more motivated and increase productivity up to 15%. By accessing the elements more efficiently and having what we need always at hand.
But the benefits are not only limited to productivity, it also has a positive effect on our health. Allowing us to enjoy a greater sense of well-being. Just by avoiding the accumulation of dust and dirt, a healthier workspace is achieved and allergens are eliminated from the environment.
Although we do not realize it, noise is always present in every activity we do on a daily basis. And when it comes to office work, there are a lot of things that cause it. From conversations, to the sound of telephones, printers and photocopiers. As well as the sounds coming from computers are a clear example.
All these sound stimuli can alter workers, negatively influencing concentration, problem solving and memory. But it can also be detrimental to physical and mental health, having adverse effects such as headaches, stress, fatigue, sleep disturbance or decreased hearing, among others.
Therefore, in this sense we can take several measures to achieve a healthier office, among them are:
- • Use office furniture with curved surfaces, as they help reduce noise levels. Although it is also very important to consider the materials with which they are made. Well, some of them facilitate the bouncing of sound waves, so it is convenient to avoid them
- • Provide telephone headsets to those who need to receive calls at their desk.
- • Put noise-generating devices such as fax machines, copiers, or printers in a separate room. And further away from areas that need concentration.
- • Do not use tall furniture, since in the absence of visibility it is possible that workers tend to raise their voices, having the feeling that they are alone. But instead, if they can see the people around them they will be more likely to speak a little lower.
- • Turn off or disconnect electronic devices that we are not using to prevent them from generating background noise that is also harmful and annoying.
Update of equipment
It is no secret to anyone that the use of old equipment leads to increased noise generation. As well as it implies a higher energy consumption and a greater generation of electromagnetic energy that is harmful to our health. To that we must add the stress they produce due to their slowness and malfunction.
Therefore, an equipment update is necessary, at least once a year. This will not only allow to increase productivity by reducing the times to carry out the work. But it will also have repercussions on the health and well-being of workers by being more motivated and less stressed.
Suitable ambient temperature
Along with lighting and noise, ambient temperature is also part of the factors that affect health and well-being in the office. That is why an inappropriate temperature can lead to some health problems that end up affecting our work performance at the same time. In addition to the discomfort that this generates in the workers.
Although within the thermal sensations of each worker there is subjectivity and it can be difficult for everyone to be satisfied. It is possible to reach a comfort point in which there is a low percentage of dissatisfaction between 5% and 10%.
In this sense and in order to avoid sudden changes in temperature. The recommendation is that it be kept between 23ºC and 26ºC in summer, which is when air conditioning equipment is used. While in winter when heating systems are usually used, the ideal is to keep it between 20 ºC and 24 ºC.
Since we spend approximately eight hours in the office. For better ergonomics it is necessary that the furniture we have adapts to us and the work we do. In order to prevent injuries and illnesses at work, caused by stress and physical stress. Derived mainly from repetitive movements or improper postures.
For all this, office furniture and chairs play an important role in our well-being and for a proper choice it is best to seek advice from an expert on the subject.