You work in a modern open plan office with air conditioning, fluorescent lighting and you sit facing a computer screen all day long. No so healthy is it?
What can you do to make it more enjoyable and healthier for yourself?
1. When you are getting ready for work each day, make the effort to dress attractively or smartly (depending on whether you are male or female). Avoiding the sloppy look will make you work smarter and boost your confidence.
2. Keep your own working area tidy and organized but with personal things that you enjoy looking at. Color can make a difference to your productivity because studies have found that a combination of the colors green and red are the most productive while white, black and brown cause a drop in performance. The color of light also makes a difference with a yellow light increasing activity by a whopping 30%. Artwork and greenery are also big pluses. Greenery gives us a feeling of living and growing things – understandably – while at the same time promote healing and comforting. Any artwork should be natural and calming.
3. You will work more peacefully and productively if you can listen to music some of the time – not loud disruptive music but soothing, calm music. Use earphones so you don't disturb others. It will also give you some down time when you won't be bothered by colleagues.
4. Every hour, get up, stretch and walk around. Go and fill up your water glass from the water cooler as this will encourage you to drink more water. You need to make up that quota of at least 8 glasses daily for optimum health.
5. Many offices allow smokers two 15 minute breaks so why not take advantage of that break too. This is a good time to get some exercise to help your body and brain stay awake and more alert.
6. Do exercises from time to time while you are at your desk. Rather like those you should do on a long airplane flight or car journey to maintain healthy blood circulation. Keep your legs moving, particularly the calves; point the toes while making small circles with the feet or lower legs. Then you can really get the others talking by standing behind your chair, holding on to it and doing leg stretches!
7. Think about getting one of those exercise balls – they are great to sit on for part of the working day in place of your computer chair. They improve your posture by ensuring you sit upright at all times while strengthening the core muscles.
8. It is easy to fall victim to a vending machine in an office environment. Make a resolution never to support its unhealthy merchandise by sticking to the water cooler and bringing your own healthy snacks, fruit and veggies with you to work. When you start to feel a bit jaded, a healthy snack will pick you up by releasing endorphins in your brain – result instant good feeling.
9. Studies have found that having a friend at work is good for you and good for your job. So make friends, it will actually make you more productive and lower the stress levels. You will enjoy work more.
10. When it is your lunch break, make sure you get out of the office. If there is an open space nearby, head for that and if it has grass and trees so much the better. A sunny day will give you the chance of topping up your vitamin D levels by taking in some sunlight and if there is grass underfoot, kick off your shoes and feel the nature. Did you know that just 5 minutes of exercise in a park or other green space will benefit mental health. We spend so much time indoors in front of a computer screen, that we are all vitamin D deficient. We need more sun. Take this opportunity to exercise your eyes too.
I challenge you to try these 10 suggestions for a week and see the difference it makes.