GUEST POST: A guide to creating a comfortable workplace

Today we have a guest blogger at The Employer Handbook. It’s Peter Ames. Peter Ames writes this piece on behalf of Office Genie, a desk and office space market place in the United Kingdom

(Want to guest blog at The Employer Handbook? Email me).

As an employer, it is essential to create a working environment in which your staff can to work in comfort; not doing so could result in you breaching United States workplace regulations. The following are just some of the basic issues to consider when thinking about creating a working environment that’s comfortable for all.

Check your thermostat.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) state the temperature in an indoor workplace should be between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, to check the temperatures across the whole of your office and not just take the thermostat reading as definitive!
If these criteria are not met, the employer is responsible for arranging a viable solution. This could include things such as shift-rotation or remote working in extreme weather; even as simple as purchasing a heater when the mercury plummets in wintertime.

How clean is your air?

The OSHA states the humidity in a workplace should fall between 20% and 60%. Furthermore, working in an environment with poor air quality can pose a serious risk to health. A recent report in the United Kingdom found 42% of workers had taken time off due to allergies in the last year; 27% said symptoms got worse at work.

There are a whole host of ways you can improve the air quality of your office, and most of them are as simple as opening a window. It is also good practise to make sure everywhere (but heaters and air conditioning vents in particular) are free from dust. If your workplace is particularly damp (something that could lead to respiratory problems in employees if mould begins to grow) you can also invest in a cheap de-humidifier.

Is everyone sitting comfortably?

Sitting awkwardly in an unsuitable chair day after day can contribute to workers developing conditions such as scoliosis later in life. It is therefore essential you follow the OHSA’s guidelines on chairs to ensure workers are sat comfortably at their desk.

The OSHA require chairs to have adjustable backrests, an adequately size seat, and for any armrests to be rounded at the edges and made from a soft material. It is also advisable that chairs are stable on a five-legged base

Do you have enough space?

There have been a whole host of studies in recent years into the ideal size of an individual’s workspace, and naturally this will vary from office to office.

Around 15 square feet per person is said to be an adequately sized area in which to work. Here at Office Genie we also recommend you allow 50-75 square feet per person when considering how many people you wish to fit into an office space.

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