Setting up a Healthy Office Environment – Ambiance & Calm
Its all about seating - make sure that your chair is comfortable and has adjustable height and arms. When you are sitting straight with feet flat on the floor your arms should be at a 90-degree angle when typing on the computer. If you are having to strain or stretch to reach your computer then you are putting stress on the back and shoulder area. Chairs can certainly be expensive but in the long run it will cost much less than spending time at the chiropractor.
Vegetation – Green plants do more than just enhance the beauty of your surroundings, many actually clean pollutants out of the air as they add oxygen and humidity to the indoor environment. New findings suggest, however, that they may add more than just color and interest. Ivy, one of the smallest of houseplants, does an excellent job of cleaning the air of toxins, especially benzene and TCE. The humble potted Chrysanthemum is another goodie.
Lighting - Studies suggest that natural light increases human productivity and reduces fatigue and stress. By simply replacing your antiquated fluorescent tubes with full-spectrum tubes, you can instantly enhance your environment and your well-being! Full spectrum lighting emits a natural, balanced spectrum of light that is the closest you can get to sunlight indoors. Based on years of study it has been shown they can ease eye fatigue, improve your mood, reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels, slow aging of the retina and reduce glare.
Smelly, smelly, smelly - Aromatherapy is the practice of using plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being. Not only does the aroma of the natural essential oil stimulate the brain to trigger a reaction, but the natural constituents of the essential oil are drawn into the lungs and can also supply physical benefit. Scenting your office with Lavender essential oil is said to help reduce computer errors. There are many “recipes” on the Internet to use during the cold and flu season when “office-air” can be extremely contagious.
Feel good images - Add a few photos, paintings or postcards that remind you of a good experience. Don’t go crazy with adding personal trinkets. You don’t want to add too much clutter. But a few images that can take your mind off stress and add inspiration to your day will help calm the mind.
Colors - Scientific studies recognise that colors bring about emotional reactions to individuals. Our reactions and attitudes to colors differ from person to person. Colors that are useful in the office are: orange – stimulates creativity; yellow – intensifies the intellect and heightens motivation; red – energizes; blue – calming, fights physical and mental tension; green – fights irritability and has a healing effect on the body. For the office, use colors that you are drawn to as these are the colors that will benefit your health.
Feel the rhythm - Music can affect emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities and cognitive skills. Music can provide mental stimulation while performing monotonous tasks, which can help to reduce stress levels in the office. Some people, however, find music in the office intensely annoying, especially if it is too loud or inappropriate.
Take a break - Even the most focused person needs a break at least twice a day. Change of scenery also helps with emotions. One of the best ways to eliminate stress and recharge the body is to go outside for a ten-minute walk. Focus on your surroundings and take deep breaths. This will give you a renewal of energy and will also aid in vitamin D production. Walk by yourself and focus on clearing your mind.
Organisation - It is an excellent idea to look into Feng Shui for the office. Feng Shui is basically an environmental science and gives advice on how to create environments in which we feel comfortable and supported. For example, water energy plays a significant role in Feng Shui. Having a small fountain in your office can give a sense of calmness and peacefulness. Keep your office clean and organized. There is no excuse for clutter.
Pets are great stress reducers - You’ve probably heard that dogs create a playful work environment, that they help with the creative process and help banish a negative mindset. Employers and employees are acknowledging the advantages and benefits of a growing office trend that allows pets in the workplace. According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol.