Apart from at home, where you work is where you spend most of your time. For a lot of people that means the office. 8 hours of staring at a computer, hitting deadlines, and drinking lots of coffee.
With such a long time spent at work it’s important that you look after yourself as best you can, so we’ve come up with a list of office do’s & dont's to help keep your mind and body on track.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Ever since you were little you’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but increasing amounts of people are skipping this vital meal. A study in the UK in 2015 found that half of adults regularly don’t eat breakfast, double the number found in a similar survey just 3 years earlier.
If you skip breakfast, you miss out on the much needed energy boost to get you going in the morning, and can impact on happiness and productivity levels. Apart from providing us with energy, breakfast foods are good sources of important nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins as well as protein and fibre, and they are less likely to be compensated for later in the day.
Whilst they don’t need to be your best friends, cultivating workplace relationships not only helps you work better, but it improves your mental wellbeing too, so make time to speak, share and connect with your co-workers. Even if some days you feel like zoning out and keeping to yourself, proactively getting involved with discussions can improve your mood considerably. It also makes work easier, and you never know when you will need some help.
As a species, we sit too much, both at home and in the office. The very first study which highlighted the dangers of sitting used standing as its direct comparison. In 1953 the British Medical Journal was investigating why bus drivers were more likely to die from heart-disease than the conductor. Same job environment, same hours, except one sat all day and the other stood. They concluded it was the fact the driver was sat all day that was causing the health problems. Further studies compounded the issue.
A 14 year study by the American Cancer Society tracked the health of 123,000 Americans from 1992-2006, discovering a 20% higher mortality rate in men & 40% in women who sat for more than six hours a day compared to those who didn’t.
So how do you solve that? By spending more time on your feet. Sit/stand desking is a great way of being able to maintain productivity at a desk whilst giving your body what it needs. The trick is to build up your standing skills (much like weights at a gym). Biswas conducted a study with Finnish adults and concluded that adults should aim for 2 hours of standing a day at first, working it up to 4 hours per 8 hour day. Keep it in chunks too. 4 X 30 minutes chunks is manageable, and doesn’t put any unnecessary strain on your legs.
As well as standing, you really need to…
As the saying goes ‘variety is the spice of life’, and this applies when it comes to our posture too. Varying your position at regular intervals improves blood circulation, maintains your metabolism, keeps your muscles strong, and provides many more benefits to your body and mind. Just type “why is movement important” into google and you will find endless articles on the positive influence of keeping your body moving. The hard part is applying this knowledge in the workplace.
Conducting walking meetings, going over to see your colleague instead of emailing, eating lunch away from your desk, and making your own cups of tea are all great ways to add movement into your working day. There are also some great pieces of furniture which encourage movement.
HÅG have designed a variety of chairs, including the new HÅG Futu, which utilises the HÅG in Balance technology, providing a flexible yet stable working chair which helps your body to move.
It may sound stupid, but a majority of people don’t drink enough water during the day. The optimal recommended amount of water we should intake during the day is 2 litres (about 8 regular glasses), but this includes food and other drinks like coffee, despite what some newspapers say. Still, many people don’t take enough fluids during the day.
Headaches, fatigue, difficulties concentrating and increased anxiety are all symptoms of being dehydrated, which can have an adverse effect on your working day, so make sure you top up with water frequently, to stay happy and focused.
Richard Ferris on 18 Apr 2018, 17:38:41