We spend a large proportion of our week at work and, whilst certain jobs, such as manual industries and shift work, come with clear hazards in regards to health, we can’t always assume that our office-based role is a healthy environment to be in. A lot of office-based occupations come with high doses of stress, unhealthy habits and sedentary behaviour, which can all take a toll on us mentally and physically.
No matter if you work from a home office or in a corporate office cubicle, there are some things which you can do to make your workplace better for your overall health and wellbeing. If you want to make your office a healthier space, here are ways you can do this.
Try to sit less
Office workers tend to spend around 8-9 hours a day sat down at a desk. The human body isn’t designed to work in this way, which is why so many of us experience desk-work associated ailments and issues. Backaches, neck pain, cramp and tired eyes are all linked with working sat at a desk, so it is important that you take regular breaks throughout the day.
For an 8 hour working day, it is recommended that we walk or stand for at least two hours a day to avoid any long term health risks associated with too much sitting. Whether it’s offering to do the hot drink run, taking a phone call standing up or walking around the office or even just a few desk-based exercises every hour will help to counteract those common ailments.
Adding some nature into your office is a great way to promote feelings of wellness and inspire creativity. From a psychological perspective, plants also help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, with a recent study finding that when workers introduced plants to their workspace, they noted a 37% decrease in tension and anxiety and a 38% drop in feelings of fatigue.
Opt for leafy, green plants rather than succulents and cacti, as the spikes and sharp lines of these plants can subconsciously make you feel on edge and unrelaxed. You could also avoid flowers which have a strong scent as this can be irritating to your body for long periods.
A lot of desk-workers don’t realise just how unhealthy their daily eating habits are. One of the most important things is avoiding eating lunch at your desk. Not only does this give you a break from work, but helps to reset your mind for the afternoon ahead.
Offices are renowned for sweet treats and unhealthy snacks, so try to eat healthily when you can. Bring in healthy snacks, such as crudites, fruit and nuts and avoid prepackaged foods and snacks. Your digestion can suffer from sitting all day and a poor diet, so you might want to consider taking digestive supplements or probiotic capsules too.
When you spend a large proportion of time sitting at desk, this will naturally become cluttered and adopt a “lived-in” feeling. Some clutter is good, but an overcrowded and unorganised desk can actually cause stress. The more stuff you have on your desk, the more your brain has to work to constantly scan the space and keep track of it. Working at a crowded desk can become mentally exhausting, even when you don’t realise it.
Adding one or two personal items to your desk can make you feel comfortable and can reduce feelings of dissatisfaction and stress. Make sure these items are in your view, but keep the rest of your desk clear and organised.