Written by Lavlet Forde, MA. RP.
We all spend a lot of time at work. When one considers how much time we spend at work, it is helpful to question if our office workspace is beneficial to our wellness and the clients we work with. Using the WELL Building Institute Standard, here are a few simple tips to help create a wellness office workspace that is beneficial for all.
What is the WELL Building Institute Standard? It is evidence-based health and wellness intervention. The standard created from best practices in both design and construction. The purpose of a WELL-Certified space is to ensure that the built environment will help to improve nutrition, mood, comfort, fitness, sleep and performance of its occupants.
Understandably, not everyone can have a perfectly designed Well-certified space, but here a few guidelines and tips to recognize key factors to consider how to include wellness in your physical office space.
AIR – Recognizing the importance of clean air and regularly ensuring that air quality is good. This can be done with a few simple steps, consider installing an air purifier in your individual office space or in the main office area and most importantly remember to change the air filter regularly! J The importance of good air quality will support the health and well-being for all.
Nourishment – Having access to healthy food options within the building and allowing individuals to make informed dietary choices, can lead to improve health and well-being for an individual. How can this be incorporated into a work environment? At George Brown College we have the Good Food Market – it is a weekly market that is set-up at our college and students, staff and faculty have the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at a reduce fee.
Light – Don’t have access to natural light in your workspace? Not sure if the light in your office is helpful or harmful to your health? WELL design looks at several different factors to ensure that proper lighting is in a workspace. Illumination guidelines minimize disruption to the body’s circadian system, enhance productivity and support good sleep quality. If you do not have access to natural light, consider installing a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lighting in your workspace. There are many different options for SAD lighting, fluorescent light bulbs, desk lamps etc.
Fitness – Working in an office often means that an individual is sitting a lot. There has been quite a bit of research on the effects of “sitting disease” also known as sedentary lifestyle. When considering how to incorporate a fitness-WELL design principle into your space it should be included with the focus of integrating physical activity into everyday life and allowing for opportunities of an active lifestyle that would discourage sedentary behaviours.
If you have access to a gym at your office or nearby consider using it. Partner-up with a colleague or go solo to the gym, or consider taking short walks in your building throughout the day and climb those stairs. Consider setting an alarm on your phone or computer and schedule short stretch sessions – there are so many YouTube videos, apps and other resources to make fitness integration to be fun and interactive.
Think about it and consider making a few changes…
These are just a few suggestions, if you are beginning to think about your office space and considering how wellness can be incorporated into it, that is a great first step. Next step try to incorporate one or two small changes to make your office workspace be beneficial to you and your client’s wellness.
Lavlet Forde is a counsellor at George Brown College and recently was on professional development leave to create a wellness program for George Brown College. For more information on wellness and your workspace, please feel free to contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org