This article is about ways to improve the health and well-being of employees while in the office. A post by Kristina Meya, Junior Marketing Coordinator at Congrex Switzerland.
Starting at the ground and working our way up, we begin with the feet. It goes without saying that good footwear is essential in a job where a lot of time is spent walking or standing. Congrex allows its employees to wear sneakers at events instead of expecting them to cover an entire exhibition area in a pair of high heels. It is also quite common these days for many people to suffer from cramps in the soles of their feet, and they often won’t notice when the cramp first starts. This is caused by overloading the plantar fascia, which is the tendon on the underside of the foot. A simple solution is to provide employees in the office with a small fascia ball. This is used by rolling the soles of the feet over it – something people can do while working at their desks.
Now that the feet are more relaxed, we can move on up to the legs and hips.
Lately, there has been a lot of talk and articles telling us that ‘sitting is the new smoking – a serious threat to our health that we should all be aware of. Of course, most of the time, sitting is unavoidable in an office job, but a simple and effective solution is to spend at least some time working at a ‘standing desk’. This doesn’t mean that all the desks in the office must be thrown away and replaced – having a few placed around the office for everyone to use is enough to start with. Congrex has several standing desks in their offices that anyone can work at and even has a meeting room equipped with a large standing-height table. This means that every employee has the opportunity to work in a standing position for at least an hour or so per day. Standing for a while can also ease stress on the lower back, neck and shoulders.
Another important part of employee well-being is general fitness. There are many ways to help employees improve their fitness. For example, a company can offer to pay half of its fitness subscription or provide in-house exercise classes during lunch breaks. Congrex is trying another approach by no longer holding some one-to-one staff meetings in a meeting room but combining meetings with an outdoor walk (if the weather is good enough.)
Let’s continue with the core and spine. As previously mentioned, sitting is part of everyday life in the office, but human beings are made to be mostly in motion, and spending a long time in a sedentary position is not ideal, even if it is necessary to keep still to use a keyboard and mouse and focus on a screen. Sitting like this for extended periods can lead to tension and soreness in the muscles, and the best way to deal with this is with ergonomic chairs. These should support the lower back, not restrict blood circulation and help the seated person change position easily.
Another important area located in the middle of our bodies is the stomach – healthy and nutritious food helps us concentrate, keeps us active and gives us energy. Large companies may want to offer only fresh food in their cafeteria and provide a selection that emphasises healthy options like fish, vegetarian meals and salads. Smaller companies can work with external partners and have balanced cuisine delivered to the office. But it is not only lunch that plays an important role! Congrex provides its employees with fresh fruit at all times, using fruit that is grown locally and organically, so employees are more likely to snack on an apple instead of a chocolate bar.
Almost at the top, we now briefly look at the shoulders, arms and hands. Ergonomic office chairs have already been mentioned, but many people still become extremely tense, especially in their neck, and one of the most effective solutions is massage. At Congrex, we have found the Silax pressure point massage technique to be very effective. A session lasts about thirty minutes, and no oil or lotion is needed. Employees can have a massage by a professional therapist during working hours and at a highly reduced price. A single session can relieve tension that might have affected concentration and lead to headaches, and greatly reduce an employee’s ability to function. In addition to shoulders and arms, many people also complain of pain in their hands. An ergonomic keyboard or mouse can help alleviate this problem.
Last but not least, we reach the head, with two suggestions: A well designed and furnished office can work wonders and, especially in times when so many people prefer to work from home, encourage them to come into the office. Two things are essential for a pleasant office space. These are sufficient natural light for everyone and a selection of real plants. In some countries, there are laws stipulating the minimum amount of daylight that offices must have, and if necessary, this has to be augmented with lamps that simulate daylight. There are no such laws regarding the amount of plant life there should be in the office, but they have been shown to promote well-being and motivation and even reduce stress. In addition, they add oxygen to the air and can reduce humidity, and at the same time, filter pollutants from the air and thus help to create a pleasant indoor climate.
But it is not only our eyes and lungs that need to be cared for but also our brain, which needs variety to function at its best. For this reason, Congrex offers its employees the opportunity to participate in further training and courses, and Congrex will even cover the entire cost. Employees have the opportunity to look for something that will support them in their work or in an area they would like to improve. This increases their motivation and, at the same time, enhances their well-being
With this article, we hope to have provided some ideas to support more employees in their everyday work and help make them healthier, happier and more motivated.
Author: Kristina Meya, Junior Marketing Coordinator at Congrex Switzerland