Question: do you have any suggestions for a healthier workplace?

Cara asked the following question: “In our company we have all recently moved into a large open-plan space. Being winter people have their windows shut tight and their heaters on, and the past few weeks people have been dropping like flies with coughs, sniffles and flu. Do you have any suggestions for a healthier workplace?”

Thanks for this question Cara. Sadly, while open-plan offices can be ergonomically beneficial (more natural light, open air etc.) they can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses!

While this is not really my level of expertise, here as some general tips to help prevent the spread of “office-sickies”:
– all employees need to wash their hands more often and regularly to prevent the spread of germs – especially if they are sick!
– if someone is sick, they really should be at home getting better, rather than making everyone else sick! Send them home for a more productive and healthier office!
– using the heating function on the air-condition unit just provides a warm place for bacteria to live and is constantly blown around the room. Ask employees to rather use wall heaters or electric heaters vs the heated air-con.

Here are some tips to staying happy and healthy in an office environment:
– keep physical. Climb the stairs, use your lunch break to take a walk around the block – do whatever you can to keep your body moving (don’t just sit in front of a PC all day!)
– set an outlook calendar alert to remind you to take a “screen break” every two hours. This is standard procedure in some countries! Starting at the computer screen for too long can cause eye strain, headaches and dizziness. Remember to look away regularly and step away from the screen every 2hours.
– don’t eat your lunch at your desk. Little bits of food falling into the keyboard, grease on your telephone line… they just breed bacteria which can lead to food poisoning and general feelings of being unwell!

Hope this helps and good luck with the rest of your colleagues!

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