Tips for Staying Healthy at Work
When was the last time you got up from your desk or looked at something other than a computer screen? If it has been longer than an hour, GET UP! Go take a walk around the office, grab a glass of water. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back.
The human body was not designed for modern work conditions. It was made to be active for the majority of the day. Sitting at a desk staring at a computer followed by sitting in a car or on a train staring at a smartphone or tablet is negatively impacting our health. In our final article of this series shares tips to keep you healthy in today’s sedentary world.
Organization leaders should always lead by example. This is especially true with workplace health. Team members look to their leaders for cues on how many hours to work both in and out of the office, when to take breaks, or stay home when ill. Taking care of your own health will foster a culture that is more productive, happier, and healthier.
Our sedentary lifestyle is literally killing us. The human body was not designed to sit all day. It was also not designed to stare at digital displays and type on keyboards. Proper ergonomics is needed to prevent repetitive use injuries such as carpal tunnel, and nerve impingements in the neck and back. The computer screen should be at eye level to prevent neck pain. If needed, raise chair height to achieve the proper positioning. Cushioned mouse and keyboard pads help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Placing feet flat on the floor will correct sitting posture and prevent back pain. If feet do not reach the floor, use a floor stool.
The amount of time spent staring at screens between computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions is negatively impacting eye health. Blinking is reduced when looking at digital displays. This can cause dry eyes which can progress to chronic eye conditions. To maintain eye health, take frequent breaks. Take 15-30 second breaks every 5-10 minutes.
Every hour, get up and take a walk and stretch. It does not need to be a long walk. Even better, have walking meetings with team members to allow everyone to get up and moving. However, a simple walk to the restroom or to the lunchroom for water is sufficient. If you feel stiff or tense at your desk, do some simple desk stretch to get the blood flowing. Check out this video (<- INSERT http://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/stretching-yoga/stretch-at-work) from Real Simple for a quick and easy desk stretch routine.
Even those who eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep will eventually succumb to a cold. This is where leading by example has the most impact. Too many people feel that they must go to work, despite feeling ill. Offices are prime breeding grounds for viruses and bacterial infections. When you are feeling unwell, STAY HOME! While at home, don’t simply work from the couch. Take the time to rest, hydrate, and recover. Doing so will allow the body to bounce back quicker and save your colleagues from sharing in your misery.
A healthy workplace is one where management leads by example. Encouraging your teams to get up and move around during the day, providing ergonomic workstations, and staying home when sick will all make a huge difference in productivity and overall wellness.
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