By Hayley Robb, Building Kentucky
Many employees are migrating back to corporate offices and cubicles they haven’t seen in months, or for some, more than a year.
Remote work took multitasking to a new level and allowed many employees to regain a healthy balance in their lives. Working from home allowed more time for frequent mental breaks, walks or exercise during the workday and more time spent outdoors, where small gatherings and events were encouraged during the pandemic.
Here are five areas where some of those work from home (WFH) perks can be incorporated to improve your workday.
The right lighting is good for more than just selfies, it can increase productivity too.
Research from Cornell University found that workers in daylit office environments reported an 84% drop in symptoms like eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision which can cause distractions and problems throughout the workday.
Access to natural light was also the most-requested amenity in a recent Building Kentucky poll asking individuals what they would like to see most in their post-pandemic office spaces.
The color and temperature of lighting also play a key role in employee productivity. In general, warmer tones like yellow or orange lights tend to be more relaxing, whereas cooler, blue lights are optimal for working, waking up and concentrating. Try starting the day with a bright light to stay alert and then switch to a space with warmer lighting to help wind down and relax towards the end of the day.
By incorporating innovative furniture and technology into the workplace, employees can improve posture and focus daily.
Standing desks provide flexibility and allow employees time to reset throughout the day. However, another cost-effective and easy alternative is purchasing a detachable version that rests on the top of the desk.
The detached option is great for those with furnished spaces and less customization. A standing desk combined with workplace stretching makes for exemplary office ergonomics.
Coming back into the office isn’t easy for everyone. Luckett & Farley, the Louisville-based architecture firm, suggests making sure physical spaces meet individuals’ changing needs after a year spent at home.
The firm has made changes to many corporate offices to enhance function and design advising on things like what materials to use to improve cleanliness and high touch surfaces all the way to amenities that may attract employees to return to the office.
Here are five questions they suggest employers ask to ensure their space is post-pandemic work-ready.
Incorporate movement into your day wherever you can. Monotonous emails and weekly meetings can make this notion seem impossible but there are ways around it.
Consider transforming frequent internal, less formal meetings into walking meetings. Discuss matters while putting a little pep in your step. This will not only boost productivity but creativity too.
Research shows physical activity improves cognitive function making individuals more productive and focused.
Company-wide fitness challenges invite competition amongst the staff and can serve as motivation for movement. Equipment like compact treadmills or stationary bikes can also be stored in office or communal spaces to use in large webinars or less involved tasks.
Many felt isolation and loneliness during the pandemic, so returning to the office may be overwhelming mentally for some.
Outdoor happy hours and small networking events are a great way to introduce new faces and boost employee morale after a difficult year. Organized games and activities can keep the fun structured to avoid awkwardness but also allow just enough freedom for laughs and mingling.
C2 Strategic recently hosted a small batch of community leaders for a series of safe and celebratory bourbon tastings filled with trivia, chatting and office tours. The events served as an opportunity to gradually introduce social life back into company culture.
For more information on the work we do at C2 Strategic, visit our website at c2strategic.com.