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15 Simple And Quick Office Stretches To Boost Work Efficiency

15 Simple And Quick Office Stretches To Boost Work Efficiency

If you work in an office, the chances are you’re spending a minimum of 8 hours sitting down – that’s 40 hours a week.

I mean, think about it. You might drive to work, sit down at your desk for at least 6 hours at work, drive home, and sit down to watch TV or read a book. Am I right?

And if you think that’s without it’s health risks, you’d be seriously mistaken. So next time you’re feeling a bit fidgety or you’re on your lunch break, try these 15 office stretching exercises. They’re simple, quick AND they’ll give you that energetic boost you need to increase your productivity – it’s a win-win situation!

1. Neck & Shoulders

Office Shoulder Stretch

    Hunching over your desk can strain the cervical spine and stiffen our shoulders. Try reaching your arms behind you, interlocking your fingers and lifting you arms. You should feel this stretch in your chest and shoulders.

    2. ‘Cow’ & ‘Cat’ Pose

    Cow and Cat Yoga Pose

      This is a yoga pose which aligns your spine and helps to improve extension and flexion in your back. Start on all fours (if you can find an empty space) and switch between arching your back like a cat and lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling.

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      3. Back of the Legs

      Office Leg Stretch

        If you don’t sit properly (and let’s be honest a lot of use don’t) you could be reducing the ability for blood to circulate properly, especially in your legs. Remaining seated, extend your legs and reach down towards your toes.

        4. Overhead Stretch

        Office Stretch

          This one should be easy, as it’s a natural stretch that we all do when we’re feeling a bit stiff and tired. Simply raise your arms above your head, interlock your fingers and push away from yourself. Feeling better yet?

          5. Wrist Stretch

          wriststretchdesk

            This one’s for those of you who spend all day typing! Simply stand up and place your wrists on the desk so they face away from you, and apply pressure until you feel the stretch. Hold for a few seconds, and then follow with some wrist circles.

            6. Thighs, Flexibility & Balance

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            xblack_dress_pant_yoga_pants_9.jpg.pagespeed.ic._TZX6z7B9x

              When you spend all day sitting down, you lose a lot of your mobility and balance. Using the desk for support, stand up and raise your leg behind you, grabbing hold of the ankle (or your shin if you cant quite reach). Lift the leg as high as you can keeping your knee bent at a right angle. Hold for a few seconds then repeat on the other leg.

              7. Single Leg Squat

              Single Leg Squat

                Start by standing tall on one leg with your other leg extended out in front of you. Slowly lower yourself into a seated squat position. Repeat and remember to swap sides!

                8. Low Lunges

                Low Lunge

                  You should feel this one in the front of your hip. Start on your knees, then bring one of your legs forward so your knee is at a right angle. Stretch your other leg back with your shin (or knee) on the floor, then lean forwards ever so slightly to feel the stretch (if you don’t already!).

                  9. Stress Ball Squeeze

                  Stress ball squeeze

                    An oldie, but a good way to improve productivity (and bust stress!). It’s also a good way to get movability your hands and forearms.

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                    10. Eagle Arm Twist

                    Office Back Stretches

                      Stay seated and extend your arms in front of you at shoulder level. Cross your right arm over your left, raise your forearms and twist your palms inwards. Hold, and then repeat with your left arm over your right.

                      11. Forward Bend

                      Forward bend

                        Stand several feet behind your chair. Raise both arms overheard and ‘hinge’ forward from your hips, keeping your back straight. Hold on to the back of the chair to keep steady for a few second, then rise back up to stand straight.

                        12. Standing Leg Raises

                        Leg Raise

                          Start by holding onto the back of your chair (be careful if it has wheels!). Lean forward slightly and stick your butt out and hold your tummy in while kicking alternate legs towards the ceiling and lowering back down again with control. This will not only help to strengthen the leg muscles (which waste away when sitting), but also help lengthen the back.

                          13. Seated Hip Stretch

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                          seated hip stretch

                            Sit towards the middle of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place one ankle on the opposite knee and sit tall. Maintaining a straight back, tilt forward at the waist until you feel the stretch.

                            14. Spinal Twist

                            Seated Twist

                              Keeping seated with your knees in line with one another, place your left hand on your right knee and twist your entire upper body to the right, looking behind your shoulder. Hold, then twist back and repeat on the other side. This keeps your spine flexible.

                              15. …Now You’re a Pro Do This!

                              Office Yoga

                                It’s okay, you don’t really have to do this – and quite frankly I don’t even know how that’s humanly possible! It does look impressive though…

                                Featured photo credit: Alisa Matthews via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on July 13, 2020

                                How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

                                How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

                                Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

                                If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

                                1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

                                The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

                                Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

                                For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

                                The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

                                2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

                                Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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                                As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

                                Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

                                3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

                                Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

                                  This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

                                  We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

                                  Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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                                  When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

                                  Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

                                  4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

                                  Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

                                  For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

                                  Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

                                  5. Make Decisions

                                  For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

                                  If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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                                  If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

                                  Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

                                  I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

                                  This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

                                  The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

                                  6. Take Some Form of Action

                                  Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

                                  The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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                                  It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

                                  Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

                                  The Bottom Line

                                  Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

                                  When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

                                  More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

                                  Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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