The average worker’s lifestyle has become alarmingly sedentary. The morning commute behind the wheel only leads to more hours sat at the office desk. And once home, leisure time is filled with even more sitting and relaxing. The process has become an endless cycle of rinse and repeat.
This ever-more common lifestyle carries an abundance of health problems, from diabetes to coronary heart disease.
But with office jobs becoming the norm, does this have to create a division between health and work? Thankfully, the barrier between the two is being lowered with more companies investing in wellbeing and office design that increases physical activity.
Here, Mark Brown, Owner of Lismark Office Products, offers some healthy ideas for employees to incorporate into working days at the office and ways employers can encourage healthy habits.
- Walk to work.This isn’t always possible for everyone so if you live too far from work, try parking within a reasonable distance. This will mean you’ll have to set off twenty minutes or so early in the morning, but it will give you a rejuvenating and thought-clearing walk before you get to the desk – a perfect way to start the working day
- Get out of your seat. Sitting for long periods of time can lead to future musculoskeletal issues. Set a reminder on your computer to get out of your seat once an hour. It can be anything to get you up: a short walk to the kettle, a meeting with a colleague or just a five minute break to stand and stretch
- Stay hydrated. Your body becomes tired and sluggish when you’re dehydrated. Monitor how much you’re drinking every day, set a reminder if you have to. Health experts recommend we drink two litres a day
- Snacking and office jobs go hand in hand. Instead of delving your hands in packets of crisps and chocolate, how about a swap for fruits, nuts and seeds? If you’re one who needs a mid-afternoon coffee pick-me-up, try swapping it for a banana or green tea.
- To improve your mental health at work, try to enhance the area that you find yourself in. It’s your manager’s responsibility to oversee the total office design, but add some greenery to your desk, get as much natural light and air as possible and keep your workstation decluttered.
The realisation that healthy employees take less time off work, are far more productive and have higher retention rates should be enough to encourage office managers to invest in creating an environment that promotes health.
From fruit baskets to flexible working, in-house yoga sessions to gym memberships, there is an abundance of options for businesses to support staff wellbeing. One often overlooked way of creating healthier workspaces is carefully planned design and office furnishing. Here’s a few other ways employers can help.
- Sit-stand desks. Whether a worker is in pain through sitting for too long or just wants to give their metabolism a boost from being more active during the working day, sit-stand desks offer a great solution that is both ergonomic and movement friendly
- Create a breakout area. A breakout area is an informal space that employees can use to escape the busyness of the office for phone calls, breaks and casual meetings
- Bring in some greenery. Adding potted plants and trees to your office creates balance and reconnects the workforce with natural surroundings. Studies have found that plants in the office reduce stress and increase productivity.
- Refurnish with ergonomic chairs. Ergonomic chairs support posture by reducing pressure on the hips, back and neck. A good ergonomic chair will be adjustable, to allow for better control and customised settings.