FeaturedSusty Living

The Employee’s Guide to Incoperating Susty Work Habits in an Unhealthy Office Environment

Susty Work EnvironmentApple Ring Campus. Web. Wall-Street.com. Jan 2017

“Living a Healthy Life is living a #Susty Life.”

Most of us work in environments that could indirectly cause severe illnesses. The leading cause of this is stress. As common as this word is, it could be the root cause of some of the deadliest diseases.

So yeah, stress can actually kill you.

But even if it doesn’t, stress as a result of your working environment can really mess up your health and productivity in the office.

It’s rather unfortunate that most employers are oblivious to this truth. They believe that if one is not being ‘productive’, can’t do the 9-5 nonstop-no-blinking work, such a person is seen as incompetent. But that is sometimes not the case…

Take your seat in the office for instance, how comfortable is it? Can it make you relax as well as sit up straight? How about the desk? Do you have to bend forward to use it? Is it the right height for you? Does it have a space to stretch your legs?

These issues might seem basic but they form the basis for how productive your work life is, how stressed you’d be, and if that stress could end up killing you or nah.

Studies have shown that access to natural light and ventilation helps to reduce stress and also increase productivity by 6%. It also helps to reduce the number of sick leave staff takes in a year.

An office without Nature – be it in form of plants, an aquarium, park, etc will most likely have a medium to high level of stress among staff. It has also been proven to have an effect on an employees’ overall well-being. But because everyone possesses some level of stress, the effect seems normal. This shouldn’t be!

But on the other hand, an office with Nature helps to release a hormone called endorphin. This hormone helps calm one down, reduces stress and clears one’s mind.

Why do you think an organisation like Google is so damn productive? It’s simply because their working conditions are awesome! I would have added Apple’s new ‘Ring’ looking office (which I love by the way) as another instance, but Norman + Foster, the architects behind the design made the offices open plan – an office design approach that the staff and employees, in general, are starting to hate. Their dislike agrees with research on open plan office spaces, that have shown that open plan offices don’t aid productivity, as it increases distraction. It also prevents workers that hate themselves, from avoiding each other.

But since I like the Apple Building that much, I’d still talk about it anyway!

The new Apple Building, for instance, provides access to natural light from anywhere within the Building. It also has a massive concentric park. Furniture has been custom-made to aid productivity. The plants that’d epp the workers’ health and well-being have been carefully selected, thus creating an interesting Biophilic environment. What type of environment do you think cool ideas for the iPhone, iPad and other expensive gadgets we don’t need but want would evolve from??

Anyway, back to how stress will kill you…

So maybe your office is not so bad in terms of its effect on your health but it sure can have an effect on your productivity. The unfortunate truth is, you can’t do much about it in terms of changing the office design ( I understand this is debatable) but you can still work on your stress levels by doing the following:

⁃ Ensure you take 10 mins break after every 50mins of work. This has been proven to be effective. Such break will help your body and mind rejuvenate. In one Oil Company we all know, for instance, the system shuts you out for 10mins after working for 50mins.

⁃ Get a small potted plant beside your desk, especially the type that has a nice scent. It will help you feel calm even under normal office work pressure.

⁃ As part of your break time routine in the office, find a Green space to look at or walk in. If there is none around, search ‘green spaces’, or ‘plants’ on Google and study them. It will work more magic than you know.

⁃ Smile often. Be nice – even with the person that is sitting on your promotion. This will make you feel lighter and make your work easier.

⁃ Learn to say no – even to your Boss. Don’t be too nice and end up helping everyone else do their work when yours is still pending. In the case of your boss, you should have had your specific job descriptions laid out by him as at the time of your employment. If he gives you something outside of your job description, you could ask him like this, “Sir/Ma, this is outside my job description, would you still want me to do it?” He might still say yes, but he’d think twice before giving you tasks like that at other times – hopefully.

⁃ Work hard for a promotion and get that Corner Office as a reward. Asides the initial sense of achievement, you stand to get access to Natural light which will help you work better.

⁃ Eat well and sleep well. You’ve heard this so many times I’m sure. So don’t you think it’s high time you started doing it?

⁃ Finally, as much as you can. Do not take work home! Leave office wahala in the office.

Like I’ve emphasized, these are basic #Susty steps you could take to better your Work Life while you’re an employee. So when you finally become an employer and own your office, you’d know how to make it look and feel #Susty.

Adios !

Ezekiel Bassey
Bassey Ezekiel is an Architect with a load of passion for Design and the Environment !