Whether your office is in your home or in a designated office building, it must be both healthy and safe. Making this happen goes beyond just thinking about where to put cables (although this is, of course, important). It means thinking holistically about your health and wellbeing. Here are four tips to help.
Investigate your office for health hazards
Never just assume that your office building itself is healthy and safe. Buildings of any age can have issues. For example, older buildings may still have asbestos in them (learn more about why this is dangerous). Newer buildings may have low-quality ventilation.
Make a point of actively checking for these hazards. Then check again if your accommodation changes, for example, if you move house or if your business expands. If you find them then deal with them even if it’s not a legal requirement. It really isn’t worth taking risks with your health, even minor ones.
Check your cleaning routine
If you’re working from home then you probably have full control over how your office is cleaned. Take advantage of this and make sure that you use gentle cleaners as much as possible. Gentle cleaners have the fewest chemicals. They are therefore usually much kinder to your lungs as well as to the environment.
If you’re in an office building and have direct control of your cleaning, then you can specify what cleaners should be used. If you don’t, then try having a word with whoever does, e.g. your landlord. At the end of the day, you’ll still be paying for the cleaning service so you should have some input into it.
If you really don’t get anywhere, then consider just asking whoever runs your building to stop the cleaning and take care of it yourself. It may cost more but it can be worth the money.
Deal with clutter regularly
Home offices are often much smaller than the spaces we would have at work. Unfortunately, that means that even a little clutter can lead to them feeling confined, and oppressive.
The good news is that by staying on top of clutter and mess you can make sure your space feels as open and spacious as possible. One way to do this is to invest in a multi-level in-tray, as you can then group documents by whether they need to be actioned or filled away.
Dealing with larger items of clutter is crucial too, so that means if you replace anything like a desk, chair, or shelve, donating the old one to charity and getting it out of your space is the best approach. These days you don’t even need to go through the hassle of getting said items into your vehicle as there are Donation Pickup services that will come and collect them from your property. It really couldn’t be easier!
Another vital tactic is to make sure that you clear everything off of your desk by the end of the day. Indeed, this serves as another important health benefit, because a clear desk is much easier to clean down with antibacterial spray each night too!
Make the most of your windows
If you’re running climate control (e.g. HVAC), then you may need to keep your windows closed. You can, however, still benefit from the light they bring in. If you need to use window coverings then try to balance privacy with natural light. For example, you could use slatted blinds (vertical or horizontal) or even just privacy film.
Getting natural light into the office can do a lot for mental well-being. You may have noticed yourself that when days get shorter you start to experience the “winter blues”. As a bonus, it can also save you money on your electricity bill. When you can’t use natural daylight, try using daylight LEDs instead. These are both gentle and economical.
Bring in some plants
You may only be able to have flowing plants if you work in your own home office. Foliage plants, however, are safe for any office. If you’re worried about looking after them, go for succulents or even air plants.
If you really can’t manage living plants, then faux plants can bring a touch of cheer. You will, however, get more benefits from real plants. This is because real plants genuinely do clean the air. This is backed by science and can be very helpful in offices.