Working in an office for eight hours a day can lead to back and neck pains, but there are many ways to change this. Here is how to be healthy at work.
Working in an office may have its benefits, but quite often it looks like the disadvantages of being in a work environment like this, outweighs the advantages. Even though the office workplace keeps you close to your colleagues and seniors and facilitates communication between you and the rest of the team, working in an office may not be as healthy as you think on an individual level.
Think about it. Spending eight hours sitting in front of a computer isn’t exactly the healthiest thing to do day after day. Your body needs to be movin’, and your mind needs a break from all the work that you are doing. Also, stuffing yourself with all the unhealthy junk that you get from not being able to leave the office is bad for your health. If you are working in an office, you know exactly what I am talking about...
To help you stay as healthy as possible, here are some work habits that you can practice when working in an office.
1. Bring Your Own Lunch
Eating out may not be the healthiest lunch option. So next time you find yourself looking through a fast food restaurant’s menu, you better put it back where you found it. Home cooked meals are likely to have fewer calories than the food you are ordering from a take-out, and it can help you keep your weight in check. Not only that but it can also help you to save up to $200 per month. Chicken and rice suddenly sounds like a better choice than a greasy burger with fries, huh?
2. Get Some Healthy Snacks
Apart from lunch, you should prepare some healthy snacks to take to work. Instead of relying on chips and cookies, go for fruits or various types of nuts that are healthier and more filling. To avoid the temptation of running to the nearest supermarket and getting your favourite chocolate bar, have some bags of almonds, apples or bananas sitting on your desk for your convenience. Snacks help to boost your energy and make you more productive when you start to get tired in the afternoon.
3. Take a Quick Nap
Staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day can be exhausting, so why not shut your eyes a little to help you relax? If you think that your boss won’t mind, and you are in desperate need of some sleep, you should ask him if you can take a quick nap on a couch or in a private room. This will make you more productive for the rest of the day and help you avoid burnout, though it isn’t something that you should do daily. Besides, not every employer allows napping at work. If you love taking your naps, there are a couple of companies you should consider applying for like Google, Zappos, Huffington Post and Ben & Jerry’s.
4. Try Out Smart Computer Habits
Sitting at a computer for an extended period of time isn’t beneficial to your physical wellbeing. It can be harmful to your eyes and may lead to pain in your shoulders, neck, back, wrist and elbow joints. To prevent this from happening, you need to take regular short breaks between tasks, take your eyes off the computer screen for a while and be constantly aware of your posture. Avoid slouching at the keyboard and position the computer screen at the levels of your eyes when looking straight. Make sure that you adjust your workstation according to your needs so that it’s easy to reach the keyboard and the mouse without making uncomfortable wrist movements.
5. Stand Up and Work
It’s not healthy to sit for your entire shift so you may want to try standing for a while. Standing at your desk for even 30 minutes can help boost your energy and make you more productive. If you don’t have a place where you can stand and work at the office, just make sure that you stand up and stretch your muscles at least once every hour. Since you don’t want to leave work feeling sore and exhausted, try these exercises that you can do at the office to keep you pumped and going.
6. Work Out During Your Lunch Break
Experts say that combining fitness and lunch is one of the best ways to incorporate exercise into a busy lifestyle. Mari Croze, a personal trainer at the Central Michigan State University Fitness Center, says that all that you need is a little bit of planning and some coordination. The best thing about it is that you don’t even have to go to the gym. You can take the stairs, go for a jog, a walk or cycle if that’s what you are into. Exercising in any way increases your endorphins, reduces stress and ultimately makes you feel better.
7. Work Outside
Who wouldn’t want to work outdoors right? If your job is more flexible and allows you to work at remote locations, the best thing you can do is take your laptop and go outside. Visit the nearest coffee shop, an outdoor restaurant or the park across the street. Being out in nature can reduce your stress and boost your creativity and as such help you produce better work. What’s not to love about working outside? If the weather is good, that’s another reason to go out.
8. Have Walking Meetings
Did you know that work meetings don't have to be in conference rooms? Instead of leaving your desk to restrict yourself to yet another chair, it’s better to have your meetings outside. Many successful entrepreneurs prefer to walk rather sit to discuss important company matters including Facebook’s chief Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey. These guys know that walking for meetings not only gets you off your chair but also improves your creative thinking. On TED Talk Got a Meeting? Take a Walk, business innovator Nilofer Merchang, says that ‘walking meetings’ can have a big impact on your life and health.
9. Make Some Time for Yourself
Everyone needs their time off – even during those eight hours at the office, so you should try to make some ‘personal time’ for you. During this period, make sure that you are away from your desk. So you can either walk to the kitchen to make your tea or coffee, chat with a co-worker or scroll through social media. This change of scenery will allow you to return to what you are doing with a fresh mind, less stressed and able to produce quality work.
10. Look Out of the Window
Research shows that looking at a tree makes you feel less stressed and improves your overall mood. If you are sitting next to a window and surrounded by a forest of trees, you are lucky. If you are working in the city, however, it might be harder to find a tree you can stare at during the ‘hours of need’ and this is when you want to get a chance to relax your eyes. Alternatively, you can buy a plant for your desk. A small bonsai tree for your desk may be just what you need.
If you are working in an office, these small but practical solutions can help you be healthier at work. You can start by cooking your own food, working outside or while standing up, working out at the office and scheduling walking meetings. You see, it’s so easy to stay healthy at work and the only thing you need is some proper planning.
Are you doing any of these? Let us know in the comments section below…