With medical studies showing the pitfalls of inactivity, employers are beginning to understand the dangers of letting their employees sit in a chair from nine to five every day. Just a few hours of inactivity can increase your workers' chances of contracting unhealthy diseases and gaining weight from being sedentary. While evidence shows that obesity isn't directly linked to activity level, increasing employees' activity level is certainly linked with positive effects.
Employers can be a great source of change in today's world, which is often focused around the passive environment of the office. Encouraging health in your employees is as simple as making the right design choices. Here are some tips for active workspace design.
1. Encourage use of the stairsYou should not make elevators inaccessible or stigmatized, as employees may have joint conditions or may not be able to use the stairs for a variety of reasons, but many healthy people use the elevator when they don't need to. The solution, then, is to make stairs more accessible and easier to locate. Don't hide your staircases behind doors and use them solely as emergency exits. Instead, make staircases exposed and connect them to different parts of the building. Just six to eight flights of stair-climbing prevents average annual weight gain in most adults. Make your stairs more prominent than elevators in a lobby and people will use them.
2. Move printers and equipment to central locationsHaving printers, photocopiers, and fax machines in central locations instead of on each individual worker's desk encourages a sense of community and saves electricity, but these aren't the only benefits. If employees just have to move a few feet to the printer, they will not burn as many calories and it's easier to spend an entire morning without even realizing they have not moved.
3. Make sure daylight is readily availableSome employers have a bit of outdoor property attached to their building. Having an outdoor space that is easily accessible allows workers to get some daylight and fresh air when they can. Make sure you can access wireless Internet (with password protection, of course) from this area. It could be a deck, plaza, trail, or picnic tables under a canopy – whatever the case, make sure employees are welcome to use this space. Windows, design choices that maximize daylight visible from employees' desks, and other factors help increase the daylight workers can see.
4. Change standard desks for better optionsActive design also incorporates furniture choices, to see some really nice designs Visit the Desk Centre website. If you have standard desks, think about changing them for ergonomic desks. These desks encourage activity and ensure your employees don't suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome from poor posture. Other types of desks include standing desks, where employees can easily type and work while standing or treadmill desks so they can work while they walk. These forms of activity help encourage creativity as well as activity.
Making good design choices that incorporate active design principles will help your workers' health. You can be the source of the change you wish to see in your office! Ensure office workers get up and moving by making these few simple design choices.