Simple Solutions to Make Working Environments More Comfortable
It has been said that people are the biggest asset of any business. Research suggests that the working environment can positively or negatively influence productivity by as much as 30%. Improving the working environment can lead to an increase in employee productivity (Holden, 2016 ¹). Silicon Valley giants like Google and Facebook are at the forefront of innovative office design. They have incorporated solutions like giant slides, games rooms, artificial grass, etc. into their work spaces to create working environments that are stimulating and fresh (Lawlor, n.d. ²). However, such solutions are not feasible or effective for every sector. Employers can make simple changes to various areas in the workplace to make the environment more comfortable, safe and efficient. Mentioned below are a few suggestions that businesses can employ to improve work environments.
Roughly one in four accidents reported annually to the Health & Safety Authority is a result of slips, trips and falls. These accidents can lead to employee and visitor injuries. The onus is on the employer to reduce the occurrence of such accidents and exercise control on problem areas. Control measures can include installing better grip surfaces, like outdoor rubber mats, in areas that get wet; installing hand rails on steps and steep slopes, placing safety signs in bathrooms and other areas that are slippery, etc. (Ibec. 2016 ³). These simple measures can help make the work environment safer and reduce the chances of work-related injuries.
Businesses do not realize the impact snack and food choices have on an employee’s productivity. The food a person consumes has a direct impact on their mental performance. Studies have shown that employees who have an unhealthy diet are less productive than employees who consume healthy alternatives like fruit, whole grains, etc. (McBride & Cullen, 2016 ⁴). Most office cafeterias have a vending machine that has unhealthy options for employees to snack on. Employers should remove such machines and offer healthier snacks, like fruit and salads.
Though some businesses require their employees to go out in the field, most employees spend the majority of their day at their workstation. If workstations are poorly designed they can be uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable can cause employees to be distracted and restless. By providing a comfortable place to work, businesses can increase employee efficiency (L'Essenziale, 2015 ⁵). To do this, businesses should invest in ergonomic furniture. If employees are required to stand for long periods of time, they should also be provided with anti fatigue mats. Organisations can purchase such mats, ergonomic furniture and other furnishings like industrial entrance mats from AJ Products. More information is available on the website.
¹ Holden, J. (2016) "Offices that empower staff raise productivity" Irish Times [Online] available from: http://www.irishtimes.com/sponsored/offices-that-empower-staff-raise-productivity-1.2678263 [accessed July 2016]
² Lawlor, K. (n.d.) "How changing your workspace can boost productivity" Business & Finance [Online] available from: http://businessandfinance.com/blog/guest-blog-how-changing-your-workspace-can-boost-productivity/ [accessed July 2016]
³ Ibec (2016) "Slips, Trips and Falls" Ibec.ie [Online] available from: http://www.ibec.ie/IBEC/ES.nsf/vPages/Health_and_safety~Workplace_hazards_and_health_issues~slips,-trips-and-falls?OpenDocument#.V5oR9tJ97cc [accessed July 2016]
⁴ McBride, R. & Cullen, M. (2016) "Are they linked?" NHFireland.ie [Online] available from: http://www.nhfireland.ie/Sectors/NHF/WWC.nsf/vPages/NHF_blog~healthy-eating-and-productivity-20-04-2016!OpenDocument [accessed July 2016]
⁵ L'Essenziale (2015) The Importance of Comfort in Office Workstations [Online] available from: http://essenziale-hd.com/2015/01/24/importance-comfort-office-workstations/ [accessed July 2016]
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