9 Unhealthy Workplace Habits
Learn about 9 common unhealthy workplace habits and how to overcome them. Expert advice from Healthline.com.
9 Unhealthy Workplace Habits (And How to Break Them)
If you 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. However, with just a few adjustments, you can break the bad routine and be healthy at work.
A messy work area can cause stress and lead to inefficiency. Furthermore, the 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 everything in its 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 (besides your bed at home). That’s why it’s so important to sit at your desk properly. Adjust your chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Adjust your computer screen so that your eyes are even with the top edge, and angle the screen so it’s tilted slightly upward toward your eyes. Your elbows should also be at a right angle when typing on your keyboard.
Even if you sit with perfect posture, you shouldn’t do it for an extended period of time. Your body and mind will fall asleep, much like when you skip a meal. Once per hour, get up for a walk or a stretch. This will wake you up and get the blood flowing through your body (and to 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 for those involved. Avoid known gossips in the office, and if you do intercept a rumor, keep it to yourself. Keep any potentially embarrassing stories out of the work environment—that includes happy hour with co-workers. What happens outside the office should stay out of the office.
Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks will help your mind remain sharp and your energy high. They can also keep you satiated 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. When your sweet tooth starts acting up in the afternoon, go for a low-sugar granola bar or a small piece of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.
While snacking on junk food is bad, skipping lunch altogether is even worse. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of work keep you from breaking up the day with a healthy meal. Not only can forgoing lunch affect your energy levels and your ability to think and focus, but it will more likely cause you to overeat at dinnertime.
Eating at Your Desk
Being diligent about eating lunch and healthy snacks throughout the day is a good first step in reshaping workplace eating habits. Making sure not to eat at your desk is the second part. Lunchtime is a chance to give yourself a much-needed mental break during the day. And if you don’t keep your workspace clean (see Slide 2), 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’ll be less likely to munch on unhealthy snacks. It’s tempting to seek an energy boost from soda, but try a cup of tea instead if you need an afternoon pick-me-up.
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 and do your best to set boundaries between home and the office. For example, don’t take work calls after hours, and make your evenings fun and fulfilling enough to take your mind off your busy day.