Being Healthier on the Job
9 Unhealthy Workplace Habits (And How to Break Them)
For people who work in an office environment, sitting behind a desk and staring at a computer screen likely makes up the bulk of your day. The stress and demands of the job keep you focused only on your work and not on your physical well-being. This can lead to 40 hours of poor health habits each week. But with just a few adjustments, you can break the bad routine and be healthy at work.
An unkempt work area can cause stress and lead to inefficiency. Furthermore, your desk, phone, and computer are notorious for harboring germs. Once each week, clean your workspace with antibacterial wipes. Organize your desk in a way that minimizes strain on your body, and keep things in their place. If you need help, look around the office at coworkers’ desks, and ask them for tips.
You probably spend more time at your desk than any place other than your bed. So when you’re sitting in front of it, it’s important to do it properly. Adjust your chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees and arms are at a 90-degree angle. Adjust your computer screen so that your eyes are even with the top edge. Angle the screen so it’s tilted slightly upward toward your eyes.
When you sit for an extended period of time, your body and mind will fall asleep, much like when you skip a meal. Once per hour, you should get up for a walk or a stretch. This will wake you up and get the blood flowing through your body (and your brain). Take every opportunity to get away from your desk. Instead of calling a coworker or sending an email, walk across the office to deliver the message in person.
Drama in the workplace not only hinders productivity, it can also affect office morale and cause stress and psychological problems for those involved. Try to avoid known gossips in the office, and if you do come across personal information about a coworker, keep it to yourself. If you are out with colleagues for a night on a town, keep any potentially embarrassing stories out of the work environment. What happens outside the office should stay out of the office.
Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks are encouraged to keep your mind sharp and energy high. They can also keep your appetite satisfied so you don’t overeat at lunch or dinner. But grabbing a bag of chips or raiding your neighbor’s candy stash does more harm than good. Instead, try a piece of fruit or handful of almonds in the morning. And when the sweet tooth calls in the afternoon, go for a low-sugar granola bar or a small piece of dark chocolate.
While snacking on junk food is discouraged, skipping lunch altogether is just as bad. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of work keep you from breaking up the day with a healthy meal. Not only can this affect your energy levels and your ability to think and focus, you will be more likely to overeat at dinnertime.
Eating at Your Desk
We’ve encouraged you to be diligent about eating lunch and healthy snacks throughout the day, but you should not eat them at your desk. Lunchtime is a chance to give yourself a much needed mental break during the day. And if you don’t keep your workspace clean, you could be sharing your meal with the germs that collect on your computer keyboard and phone.
Soda vs. Water
One of the most plentiful resources in the office is usually the one that gets ignored the most. Drinking water should be a constant part of your workday. Not only does it keep your body and mind working efficiently, it also curbs your appetite so you will be less likely to munch on unhealthy snacks. It’s tempting to seek an energy boost from soda, but if you need an afternoon pick-me-up, try a cup of tea.
Long Work Days
It always feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get your work done. But a healthy work-life balance is essential to keep you energized and productive. Try to limit your work hours to a manageable number, and do your best to set boundaries between home and the office. Don’t take work calls after hours, and make your evenings fun and fulfilling enough to take your mind off your busy day.