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8 Ways to Make the Office a Healthy Work Environment

8 Ways to Make the Office a Healthy Work Environment

Full-time employees in the U.S. work an average of 47 hours per week, which means that a large portion of your life is spent at the office or commuting to and from.[1] This might be good for your pocketbook, but unfortunately, it could be terrible for your health. Not only is stress one of the number one causes of doctor visits but a whopping 80 percent of adults fail to get the minimum recommended amount of weekly exercise.[2]

When you put these two things together, it’s no wonder that heart disease is so common. Working in an office naturally contributes to living an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle. The good news is that there are ways to combat this problem and make the office healthier for everyone.

1. Use Breaks Wisely

Do you remain seated throughout your breaks? This makes an already unhealthy desk job even more detrimental to your health. Instead, spend at least five minutes of each break walking. Alternatively, you can do exercises in your office. It doesn’t take much space to do something simple like pushups or sit-ups.

To further improve the health benefits of your day, you can begin incorporating desk exercises into your work time. This may seem difficult at first, but the truth is that basic stretching exercises that can be done even while sitting down are simple and will make you feel better.

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2. Commit to Healthy Snacks

Sugar is the biggest cause of weight gain, so it’s time to get rid of the doughnuts and other sweet treats. Replace them with naturally sweetened food, such as brain-boosting blueberries or apples, which are beneficial to many parts of your body. Need a crunch to get through the day?

There are many companies that deliver unhealthy snack boxes to offices around the country, but innovators such as Snack Nation have begun making it easier to get better quality snack food deliveries. Trade in the junk for variety boxes that contain items, such as vegetable chips and pumpkin seeds.

3. Transform Your Meetings with Walking

Want to get the best possible input from your employees or coworkers while also making them healthier? Walking is one of the top ways to improve your cardiovascular health, and you don’t have to keep a brisk pace in order to receive benefits.

Additionally, studies have determined that people are 60 percent more creative and able to communicate more effectively when they are walking.[3] It’s truly a win-win for everyone to walk while discussing meeting topics, regardless of whether you go outside or simply walk through the building. Just make sure everyone can hear the person who is speaking.

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4. Take a Meditation Break

Some companies have begun having a shared meditation session during the day, but even if yours isn’t interested in taking this step, you can put aside a few minutes to de-stress and center yourself. A solid meditation session only requires 10 to 15 minutes.

If this is too much time, even five minutes can be very helpful for calming your mind and reducing stress. If you’re a beginner, there are numerous apps you can use to help you learn how to mediate, such as the Calm app.

5. Build an Office Gym

If there’s not already an office gym in place, consider asking the owner if it’s possible to include one. There are many ways to sell this idea to the owner or supervisor as a major perk for them too. For example, people who exercise regularly typically need almost $1,100 less in healthcare expenses each year.[4]

A nice treadmill will be in the same general price range, so even simply putting a couple of them in an empty room would more than pay for itself during the first year. When you put it in terms like this, it doesn’t make sense for any office that has some extra space to not have a gym.

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6. Keep Your Space Tidy

Simply looking at a messy desk causes an increase in stress levels for most people.[5] Reducing your stress is a vital part of building a healthier environment, which means you need to commit to cleaning your desk and office space at least once a week.

Doing this will also reduce your risk of losing something important. Studies have indicated that people judge their coworkers based on how messy their desk is, so you could actually risk losing out on a promotion if you don’t take steps to alleviate the clutter.

7. Make Sure the Air is Clean

How long has it been since the air filter was changed in your office’s HVAC unit? If you have no idea and your coworkers are frequently sniffling, it’s definitely time to look into making your indoor air healthier to breathe. Occupational allergies are very common, and they do much more than make people miserable.

In fact, research has found that reducing indoor air pollution and increasing ventilation helps workers perform at a higher level.[6] If you combine this with walking meetings, everyone’s work-related creativity could jump off the charts!

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8. Stop Eating at Your Desk

Do you tend to work through lunch? Unfortunately, this will make you much more likely to gain weight. By taking time to go to the break room to eat, you’ll be able to enjoy and digest your food better. You’ll also be more inclined to make a conscious effort to choose food that will actually leave you feeling full and satisfied. Another major reason to eat away from your desk at lunchtime is to avoid the accumulation of stress that builds up when you don’t occasionally step away for a break. Remember: stress is a major health issue, so make sure to take care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Improving your health doesn’t have to be as difficult as most people believe. If you’re still uncertain how to fit things like exercise into your schedule, be sure to look at how to make each day ultra-effective. Making a few simple lifestyle changes, such as exercising for 30 minutes a day and swapping out junk food for healthy snacks, can reduce your expenses, improve your quality of life, and extend your lifespan.

Featured photo credit: Alan Clark via flic.kr

Reference

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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