As I was sitting at work all day yesterday banging away at the keys on my keyboard, I found that oftentimes I forgot about anything but the task at hand. This got me thinking about how to improve health and wellness in the workplace and how talking about it could benefit not only me but others as well.
At the time, taking a break from what I was doing didn’t even cross my mind until hunger pangs started to kick in, or I had to go to the bathroom. I was so focused on what I was doing, I didn’t think about how working behind a desk all day may be affected my health.
Physical Activity and Eating Right – On the Back Burner
Whether you work in an office with set break times, or you set your own schedule, demanding schedules in your busy workplace may often leave you feeling like you have little time to fit in any exercise, or even eat right.
According to Sodexo, whom I’ve partnered with to help discuss this topic, studies show that good eating habits can increase attention spans, improve memory and boost well-being. Students who maintain healthy diets, it’s said, are 41 percent less likely to perform poorly in school. Organizations with an eye toward more productive employees will often offer restaurant vouchers and serve up healthy options in the corporate cafeteria.
Sodexo also states that encouraging physical activity and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle can also impact health and productivity. If you are looking to improve health and wellness in the workplace, research shows that whether organizations provide onsite exercise facilities, subsidize gym memberships, offer access to health coaching or simply encourage employees to get up and walk, wellness programs can reduce sick days by 45 percent. Some forward-thinking companies and universities even provide nap rooms to recharge tired minds and keep individuals on track and focused.
While working at home may allow me my own personal “nap room” anytime I’d like. It is actually getting up and using it that is the hard part. So how can you take better care of your body when you have a busy schedule? Check out these quick tips to help you get started.
How to Improve Health and Wellness in the Workplace
Sometimes your mind simply needs a break. Use a website like Do Nothing for 2 Minutes to give yourself a quick mental break and recharge your thoughts. The great thing about this program is that if you touch your mouse or keyboard the timer starts all over. This is a great time to get up from your chair and do a few quick stretches as well.
Eating right and exercising are key to keeping your health in tip top shape. It is fitting in the exercise that can be difficult. Using an app like Break Timer (Chrome extension) can be an easy way to remind yourself that taking a break is crucial to your health. Break Timer allows you to set up customizable breaks, reminds you to take them, and uses a countdown timer.
There are some simple and effective workouts you can do right in your office once you have your break time figured out. This video shows exactly how to do them using nothing more than your office chair! If you prefer to target specific areas of your body, Lifehack.org offers these 29 exercises you can do at or near your desk, each targeting a specific area on your body.
While eating right is always a priority for me, it can be very easy to give in to the temptation of that delicious bag of chips in the office vending machine if I’m not prepared ahead of time. The easiest way to avoid indulging on those not-so-good-for-you treats is to be sure to pack your own lunch and snacks.
When you are first starting out it can feel a bit daunting to think about planning and preparing a meal and snack for each day of the week, but as you go along you will find it becomes easier and easier, and eventually you may no longer need a list or menu ideas. To get you started in the meantime, here are 50 healthy work lunchbox ideas.
So how do you work to improve health and wellness in the workplace?
Have you implemented any of the above ideas already?
Let us know on our Facebook page, we’d love to hear your thoughts!