The topic of work wellness was rising in popularity before the word ‘pandemic’ became part of our daily vocabulary. Our well-being on the job not only directly affects our productivity and how we feel about our companies and jobs, but it has a measurable impact on the overall health of the employee. Work wellness contributes to less stress and positively impacts collaboration, focus, creativity, innovation, and much more. And it doesn’t require a fancy wellness program. Instead, simple tweaks to your workspace can pay dividends in output and morale. Read on to learn how with these eight easy tips.
Tip #1: Include natural light as part of your lighting plan.
Natural light has the potential to boost energy levels, reduce stress and improve moods. In addition to supporting mental health through increased Vitamin D, studies have shown that exposure to daylight can impact energy levels, metabolism, and even sleep quality through its effect on our circadian rhythm.
If you’re fortunate to have a window in your office, let that mood light in. If you don’t, you can still reap the benefits by spending an hour working from another touch-down space in the office that does or spending part of your lunch hour outside for a dose of Vitamin D.
Tip #2: Fully utilize adjustable furniture to support good posture.
You most likely inherited your chair on your first day on the job. Have you ever taken the time to adjust it to fit your body? If not, invest the time to do so. Ergonomic chairs support good posture and alignment, reducing back and neck strain from sitting for long periods in the wrong position. Get to know the levers and knobs beneath your seat by experimenting with the adjustments they provide. An ideally adjusted chair should allow you to sit straight with your feet flat on the floor, keep your neck in a neutral position, and let your arms parallel the floor.
Tip #3: Dial in the right amount of lighting with dimming.
Working in poor lighting can challenge your overall well-being with such issues as eye strain, headache, fatigue, low mood, poor focus, and decreased motivation, to name just a few. Incorporating a dimmable task light into your workspace is an easy fix that provides a range of focus-enhancing illumination that you can match to the task at hand.
Obviously, we have a lot to say on this topic. For more lighting tips and downloads, visit the Resources section of our website.
Tip #4: You do you when it comes to temperature control.
It’s hard to concentrate (or type with any accuracy) if your fingers are so cold that they’ve lost feeling. Or stay awake, for that matter, if you’re too warm. So if you work in a shared space, outfit it with what you need for climate comfort. Whether that means keeping a fleece jacket ready, employing a small space heater, or a personal desk fan within reach, regulate the temperature in your space for optimal comfort.
Tip # 5: Add plant life and natural elements to your desk landscape.
Biophilia is a fancy term that describes our innate connection and fondness for all things of nature. Surrounding yourself with reminders of mother earth, specifically plant life, can boost mood, improve air quality, and reduce stress levels. Don’t have a green thumb or a window seat? Natural artifacts such as beach stones, seashells, or pinecones can also spur favorite memories and lift spirits in a zen way.
Tip #6: Reset with a mindful moment.
Feeling overwhelmed? Find a quiet spot (away from your desk is best) and try the “Mindful Moment’ exercise. While taking five deep breaths, focus on each of your five senses. In each inhalation and exhalation, observe what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. This brief meditation can do wonders to recharge your creativity and focus.
Tip #7: Support your mood with aromatherapy.
Did you know our sense of smell is the most powerful sense we possess for harnessing our brain activity? The practice of aromatherapy can help support our well-being by keeping stress and anxiety at bay while allowing us to remain focused and improve mental function. Adding an essential oil diffuser to your workspace enables you to match scents to a menu of desired moods or mental states. Try lavender or eucalyptus to tame anxiety or de-stress. Boost your energy and mood with citrus scents or geranium. Need to focus? Rosemary and peppermint oil will do the trick.
Tip #8: Conquer audible distractions with a soundtrack of your own.
Noise distractions can happen whether you work in an office or elsewhere. By stashing a pair of earbuds or noise-canceling headphones in your desk or work bag, you can mitigate disruptions when they occur with your favorite playlist. Can’t work with music in the background? Try white noise apps like SimplyRain, which drowns out annoyances with an adjustable rainstorm between your ears (complete with thunder, if you wish). Or, search Spotify for binaural beats – an auditory illusion your brain creates when it hears two tones with slightly different frequencies simultaneously. Although not yet scientifically proven, binaural beats have been associated with lower stress, increased focus, boosted mood, and heightened creativity in some.