5 Tips for Creating a Healthy Workspace

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

So many of us work in offices these days, don't we? And even if you don't, chances are you inevitably spend at least some time in your week in front of a computer doing some work-related admin for your job.

I started out as a teacher, so most of the time I was on my feet in a classroom. These days I'm much more office-based, but at least I have the chance to promote the best environment I can for the people who work for me.

I've been reading a bit lately about how to keep work spaces clear, healthy and toxin-free. So when Simply Health got in touch and asked me to team up with them on an Office Life project, I was keen to get involved.

5 Tips for Creating a Healthy Workspace

1. Plants

Green things produce oxygen and help to clean air of toxins ~ vital if you work in an air-conditioned space, surrounded by electrical equipment. Good plant choices for offices are those which have large leaves and don't require masses of water or care:
Spider plant
Rubber plant
Peace lily
Golden pothos
Areca palm

2. Essential Oils

A water diffuser is a great option, which also helps to keep dry air at bay. Apparently scenting your office with lavender oil is said to reduce computer errors at least 25%!

This is a good blend to use in the office, keeping people relaxed, yet alert:

2 drops of lemon, orange or bergamot oil
2 drops of grapefruit oil
1 drop of ylang ylang, rose or neroli oil

Multiply the blend by 4 and use a total of 20 drops

Another great way to introduce aromatherapy is using potted herbs, such as lemon balm or mint ~ they look relaxing and smell divine!

3. Wall Colour

If you're ever in a position to influence this, then get your ideas in quick! Choose your colours depending on your workplace motivations:

Orange ~ stimulates creativity
Yellow ~ intensifies the intellect & heightens motivation
Red ~ energizes
Blue ~ calms, fights physical & mental tension
Green ~ fights irritability & has a healing effect on the body

4. Natural light & ventilation

It's a good idea to arrange desks so that people have as much access to natural light as possible. Being near a window gives access to fresh air and allows you to enjoy the weather and light conditions outside (whatever they may be!)

5. Reminder Apps

There's a good range of apps available for your PC which prompt you to do (or not do) healthy things at set times during the day. A few good ones:

Eyeleo: reminds you to take breaks and suggests eye exercises. It has a 'strict' mode that locks you out and prevents you from skipping your break!
Big Stretch Reminder: prompts you to break and stretch your body
Awareness: plays the steady tone of a Tibetan singing bowl to let you know it’s time for a break
F.lux: adjusts the glow of your monitor, based on the time of day
Water Warner: lives on your desktop & reminds you to drink water

Some of these tips are already in place at my office ~ when we repainted I chose calming blue tones, we have a few plants around the place (I'd like to get more) and I've been using the F.lux app for some while now. Next up, I'd like to keep more on top of my hydration levels and perhaps introduce some essential oils.

What's your workplace like? Healthy or pretty toxic? 
What could you do to improve things ~ I'd love to know!

For more useful tips, visit the Simply Health blog.


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