7 Ways To Make Work A Healthier Place

Robin Schwartz

7 Ways To Make Work A Healthier Place

Working professionals often find themselves wishing there were more hours in a day to take care of their needs outside of work. We spend so many waking hours at work, we need to be sure to make it the healthiest environment possible for us.

While most workers can take a couple easy steps on their own to ensure a healthy workplace, we may need to call on our employers to assist.

Step Away From Your Desk

If you realize you rarely leave your seat during the day, make a conscious effort to get up and move more. Eating lunch at your desk isn’t healthy to do all the time. You need to give yourself a break from work to avoid burnout. We all get caught up working through lunch sometimes, but make sure it isn’t a daily habit.

Find somewhere in your office, the building or even a public location nearby to enjoy your lunch free from distractions. If possible, set aside 10-15 minutes each day to talk a walk around your office or outside. Not only will you be giving yourself a much-needed break from work, you are benefiting your personal wellness.

Even if you can’t step away from your desk, consider whether you can stand up at it. Many employers are offering stand-up desk stations to alleviate some of the issues that may come with sitting all day.

Talk to your office manager or supervisor to see if this is an investment the company will consider. The benefits of stand-up desks can be cited if you need further support. These include: lowering the risk of weight gain and obesity, lowering blood sugar levels, reducing back pain, etc.

Eat Better At The Office

Office break rooms have served as the downfall of many well-intentioned dieters. Our colleagues are often dropping off endless supplies of donuts, cookies, day-old birthday cake, etc. You don’t often see an office breakroom with fresh bowls of fruit on the table or a daily salad option.

Avoid the unhealthy choices in and around your office by making a commitment to bringing your own lunch every day. Not only will you know what you are eating is healthier, you will also save a few pennies.

When the office celebrations occur, give yourself a reasonable limit on how much you can indulge in. If there are two birthday celebrations during the week, tell yourself you can only have cake one of the days.

Or, consider bringing in fresh fruit for your colleagues to share. If you really don’t have the will power to say no to the collection of goodies in the breakroom, just stay away! Avoid temptation by avoiding the breakroom whenever possible.

Check Your Set-Up

How you sit at your desk, where your keyboard is located and how your computer screens are tilted can have a serious impact on your health. Many large organizations have occupational health workers who may be available to complete an assessment of your workspace. If your company doesn’t have a team dedicated to ergonomics, ask if they would consider hiring a one-time consultant for everyone’s benefit.

An assessment will determine if a new (or better) lumbar support chair is needed, if you’re straining your eyes based on the location of your screens, or if you should change the location of your keyboard. It’s possible you don’t even realize the set-up of your desk is putting a strain on your eyes or body.

Take Preventive Measures

During certain times of the year, our health is at greater risk. Cold and flu season typically bring their own threats to the workplace. If your organization participates in a flu shot program, take advantage of it. If they do not, look into free or low cost flu shots at a local pharmacy.

If you prefer to avoid vaccinations or shots, keep your desk space armed with plenty of tissues and hand sanitizer. Our under-the-weather colleagues are touching door handles, copiers, elevator buttons, etc. Practice good hand washing and hygiene to keep yourself healthy.

In the unfortunate case you come down with the cold or flu, stay home! There’s nothing worse than listening to a co-worker cough and sneeze all over the office. It’s just a matter of time before it spreads. Respect the health of your co-workers and stay out of the office until you are better.

Watch Your Caffeine Intake

Many of us cannot function without that first cup of coffee in the morning. It is important to remember that caffeine is a stimulant your body can only handle in moderation.

Don’t be victim to the mid-afternoon crash because you visited the break room a half a dozen times before lunch. Sip on water or green tea in place of coffee.

Take The Stairs

If possible, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. If your workspace is all on one floor, take a longer walk to get your desk, the breakroom, the restrooms, etc. Even if you get stuck at a desk for the majority of the day, sneaking in a little activity when you can will help.

Use Your Vacation Time

Don’t be a victim of “use it or lose it” this year! Far too many American workers fail to take advantage of the time off they are given at their company. Even if financial constraints are preventing you from booking that summer vacation in Europe, schedule time off for yourself.

Have a “staycation” or simply tack days off on to the weekends so you don’t have to deal with a case of the Mondays.

Whatever you do, make a promise to yourself that you will utilize the time off you are given.

Staying healthy at work takes some dedication and practice.

Once you have created better habits in the workplace, you will see the benefits daily.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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