How often do you hear the words ‘I can’t believe the time, where has the day gone?’. Many of us spend the majority of our waking lives at work (whether that be in the office or home), so it’s no surprise that workplace environments and culture can affect our wellbeing. It can be easy to forget that we need to look after ourselves both mentally and physically, especially at work, to avoid illness in the long term.
The modern-day work environment now includes long periods of sitting down, grabbing fast food on the go and straining our eyes at a computer screen without breaks. Even once you’ve clocked off, it can be hard to switch off, with employees able to check emails and take work calls even once the working day has ended. While long hours might seem manageable in the short term, increasing pressures and a poor work/life balance can quickly lead to stress and burnout. Being happy and healthy is proven to result in better productivity.
We've put together some easy tips to introduce wellness in your working day, so you can help create a healthier, more productive work culture:
Improve your environment
Adding plants, working in more natural light or having a relaxing break-out area can really help contribute to the overall wellbeing of the office. Plants can help reduce unwanted noise levels, help eliminate toxins in the air, increase levels of positive energy, help reduce stress, and can even lower blood pressure levels. More exposure to natural light also affects workers’ quality of life, vitality, daytime function, and sleep, while a break-out space will encourage relaxation and social interaction.
Avoid the temptations of the office treats
Processed foods can be tasty but the sugars and e numbers can leave your mind and body feeling sluggish. Buy or make your healthy snacks at the beginning of the week and prepare a portion every morning to have ready to reach throughout the day, rather than reaching for those office snacks or rustling through the kitchen cupboards. The availability of healthy snacks will help improve your diet and keep your stress in check.
Don’t have your lunch at your desk
The ‘al desko’ lunch has, unfortunately, become the ordinary in today’s fast-paced world of work. Eating and working at the same time means that your brain is distracted so before you know it, you’ll have finished your meal without realising if you’re actually full or not. This can result in overeating and potentially, in the long term, obesity. Head to a different seat and practise some mindful eating, so that you can feel truly satisfied after your lunch.
Go for a walk at lunch
Studies have shown that getting out and about can have a positive impact on your concentration and creativity to your overall enjoyment of the work you do. Walking is linked with a whole host of positive effects on both physical and mental health. Just 10 minutes of brisk walking per day can reduce health risks and help improve your basic fitness, which is great news for both your body and overall sense of wellbeing.
Take regular breaks
Sometimes going for a lunchtime walk is not always doable. However, just taking a few minutes and getting away from your desk to stretch your legs can keep you from getting groggy. You could even set an alarm to remind yourself to take those all-important breaks. When you are reminded to take breaks, you return to your desk more clear-headed and motivated. Get your team involved and have a group stretch and breathe for a minute in the office or on zoom.
It’s so easy to not drink enough water when we are busy and focused on getting our work done. Many of us turn to tea or coffee to stay alert during the day and rely on their caffeinated effects. It’s important to stay alert but in reality, the effects of hydrating water are actually more beneficial. Try to gradually cut down the number of teas and coffees you consume throughout your day and replace it with water or herbal teas. Herbal teas are packed full of benefits as they are loaded with powerful antioxidants. When your body is fully hydrated and functioning at its best, you will feel great and perform even better!
Encourage connections with colleagues
Feeling supported and appreciated at work can go a long way to improve performance and productivity. Studies have shown a clear connection with the hormone oxytocin and positive social interaction; release of oxytocin evokes a feeling of contentment, lessens anxiety and includes a feeling of calmness. Instead of emailing your colleague at the end of the office, get up and speak to them or arrange a video call.