Most of us spend about one-third of our time at work, so it is no surprise that the work environment can have a big impact on our health. There is a lot that can be done in the workplace to help employees to be not only healthier, but more productive.
Here are a few tips:
Find ways to move more. More and more research is now showing that sitting for long stretches of time is not good for our health. Even short breaks from sitting such as a few minutes of walking every hour can have health benefits and make you more alert and productive when you are back at your desk. Look for more tips on adding physical activity to your work day in next month’s newsletter.
Make healthy choices easy. We tend to be creatures of habit, impulse, and convenience. When our workplace is filled with tempting, easy-to-access foods, we are more likely to consume those foods – so why not make those foods healthier? Strategies for better nutrition during the work day include replacing the candy bowl with a fruit bowl, ensuring adequate refrigerated storage space for employees to bring their own lunch, including healthier options in the vending machine and at office events, and making water an easy and inexpensive beverage choice. These “nudge” strategies tend to work much better than restrictions or penalties in the workplace.
Manage your stress. Stress is linked with a multitude of negative health outcomes and can drive unhealthy choices, yet our workdays can be filled with stress. In addition to taking regular breaks from your desk and surrounding yourself with healthy choices, consider implementing additional stress-relieving strategies. These may include creating a welcoming office environment that suits you whether it be lighting, music, or objects that invoke happiness or calm; taking a few minutes to connect socially with your co-workers each day – the feelings of social connection and support are important for managing stress; and developing stress-relieving practices you can implement in the office such as stretching, yoga, or meditation. Keep in mind that your life outside of work can help address stress in the office as well – regular exercise, supportive social networks, and adequate sleep are all important components of overall stress management.
Making fruit-infused water available in a common-area of the office provides employees with an alternative to high-calorie beverages and a reason to get up and move from their desk.