Like it or not, home offices are projected to be our sanctuary for the short term, and possibly long term, as well as healthcare officials, have expressed uncertainty as to when Canadians will be able to resume businesses as usual. With Alberta declaring a state of emergency, more offices are being shut down and a large headcount of employees are working from home. Schools, academies and daycares have shut down all physical operations, leaving students learning online, and academic staff working from home. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to make a home office.
With the abrupt impacts of COVID-19, entire school systems have been pushed to move academic curriculums online overnight. Alberta has undergone a fast and sudden migration towards online learning, without any previous plan or precedent. We’ve put together some tips to help both parents and schools ease into this new transition.
By Dr. Lauren Gant, PhD, CPE, WELL AP, Human Factors & Ergonomics Manager, Allsteel
Staying healthy is on everyone’s mind today. Our focus at the moment has (rightfully) been on disease prevention, however, it is important that we do not lose sight of promoting holistic wellness. We cannot overlook our physical health and mental wellbeing, especially in a climate where anxieties and stress levels may be higher than normal.
Many workers have suddenly found themselves being asked to work from home. Here are some tips for you to take care of yourself during your time working from home, ensuring that you are able to continue to be happy, healthy, and productive.
Two major drivers are changing the ways that we work in the 21st century:
Technological advancements and the shift towards the Agile Workplace.
The Impact of Technological Growth on Space Allocation
As technology continues to evolve, organizations look to develop and deliver workspaces that are aligned with the new ways we work. Sterile cubicles and inefficiently designed offices are making way for inviting workspaces that allow for collaboration and flexibility.
As open workspace concepts replace traditional office settings, more and more businesses look for solutions to address the challenge of noise issues and disruptions that follow close behind. In order to provide productive and happy environments for their teams, walls came down to encourage opportunities for collaboration and camaraderie. However, some might argue that the absence of walls only added more distraction than productivity. For every team member who appreciates the ability to collaborate with their neighbour, there is another who sees open workspaces as a fishbowl – and hinders work performance.
As workspace design trends skew toward open-concept office layouts, more and more companies embrace the added benefits that come along with it. A concept popularized by tech start-ups, it is renowned for its unconventional approaches – from team breakout spaces to rooms designed to balance visual and acoustic privacy. However, companies also rave about the hidden value of an open-concept office layout: their teams thrive in work environments that encourage collaboration and creativity.
As the modern worker spends more time in front of a screen and under dim and excessive lighting conditions, research evidence is indicating that eye strain and visual stress problems are also trending as a workplace issue. Getting ahead of this curve and offering workers solutions for reducing eye strain can do more than keep your team clear and focused – it also helps keep an eye on your bottom line.
The modern worker cares about their workspace – key perks might include open plan designs and unconventional breakout spots, or consciously syncing it with a healthy lifestyle. They want to work for companies that care more than just staying competitive in their industry – they want to work for companies that also care about keeping their workers healthy and productive.
As our population grows larger and larger as well as younger and younger, classrooms are evolving from an assembly line of rows and columns of chairs to a dynamic student-centered classroom. Modern classrooms now approach education differently with inclusive learning environments that reflect how teachers teach and how students learn. Due to increasing classroom sizes, teachers rely on technology and flexible classroom environments more than ever. It fosters collaboration and critical thinking skills plus meets the diverse needs of the modern student.
The workforce is changing hands, and a new generation of digital learners and workers are informing how modern offices reflect the individual identity and company culture. Workspaces that promote strong mental health can have a strategic impact on success. Happy workers equal productive workers. And productive workers thrive in environments that encourage collaboration and creativity – adding up to a positive effect on your bottom line.