As we know, more Americans have been working from home than ever before during this pandemic. Their workspace is sometimes their dining room table, sometimes the living room couch, sometimes the extra bedroom or bonus room with a pop-up table and chair pulled from the basement storage. And, depending on family dynamics, the work area at home may change every day. Now we’re seeing people-first employers invest in the furniture that employees are using at home, providing better ergonomics that support healthy productivity and wellbeing. Note that buying in bundles provides economical incentives. Some employers are providing stipends to invest in work from home gear, providing employees a perk and ownership to invest in what is best for their needs whether it be an ergonomic chair, a height-adjustable table, or task lighting to mention a few popular choices. Corporations like Groupon and Google are showcasing their efforts to support employees by investing in home-work environments and to show future employees they care. Here are some ideas to do this well.
Invest for Wellbeing, Not Just Perks
Furniture manufacturers are leveraging this trend and working to get in front of corporations to present the best work from home bundle pricing with an emphasis on great value and quick shipping. Like Amazon, with a storefront window shopping mentality, office furnishing and equipment suppliers have set up websites dedicated to selling products designed for the home office. They are making it simple with a one-click, contactless home delivery option, but are the best deal and the fastest way really the best?
Regarding the health of the employee, much is being overlooked when it comes to working from home. As a whole, we started to see how important ergonomics is to health and work productivity and how poor lighting causes eye strain. In our efforts to support employees’ health and well being and overall productivity, we must keep these things in mind before making the furniture that supports them just a perk.
Advocate for Transition Periods
Remember when we had time to decompress during the travels between home and work? Leaders need to consider how the lack of this impacts the employee. Lack of break periods can lead to more stress, lower quality sleep, and higher blood pressure. Incorporating a transitional period, a post-work walk, workout, or meditation, can substitute for the commute and offer the transition they’re accustomed to and crave. There are other health concerns, physical and psychological issues that have and will affect employees during this pandemic. Musculoskeletal issues, less movement, less changing of postures, effort required to add emotion to your day, if no commute. Social issues, meeting check-ins with colleagues and friends, easy access to food and snacking, more time spent behind a screen. All of these have effects on our bodies, our weight, and our vision. Advocate for transition periods and maybe that is a 20 minute “me time” suggestion for all employees to start and finish the day.
Build Time For Human Connection
People first employers have big concerns about employees’ overall mental health during this socially distant and isolating time. It is important to take a pulse on how employees are handling this extended separation from coworkers (and community) and the drastic shift in lifestyle for most. Substance abuse is a major concern when faced with isolation and change of lifestyle and the outcome statistics are unsettling. As leaders, we must create environments where employees enjoy working and feel connected. Incorporating self-care initiatives on a very regular basis and virtual water cooler conversations are a must.
At Commercial Office Environments, we are committed to taking time to listen and will research to learn the best options for you, partnering with you to be a people-first employer.