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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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