Most of us spend more time at work than anywhere else - so isn't it time we improved our workplace wellness?
A healthy workplace can improve the wellbeing of staff while enhancing organisational performance and productivity. There are many ways you can make improvements but the secret to lasting change is to keep it simple.
These are some healthier habits that we could all do:
Get a good start to the day
Many people skip breakfast at the start of the day, and then spend the morning snacking on unhealthy foods or drinking sugary drinks to tide themselves over until lunchtime. A quick, healthy breakfast can get you off to the right start, while kick-starting your metabolism to do a better job of digesting what you eat for the rest of the day.
Take a break
Studies show that taking regular breaks actually increases productivity by 6-11% throughout the day. Taking a very short break every hour can reduce fatigue by 50%.
Many of us have fallen into bad habits, such as eating our lunch at our desks or simply not taking any break at all. Make time to step away, in addition to taking lunch outside the office.
Being connected 24/7 for 365 days a year doesn't help – unplug, get some downtime and recover. If you ignore an email, nothing terrible will happen. The sun will still come up tomorrow morning!
Keep moving and exercise. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are a growing problem for businesses so anything that improves suppleness and flexibility helps. If you're deskbound, physiotherapists suggest "active-sitting" which simply means being active while you are at your desk.
Stretching is beneficial as it promotes circulation and reduces muscle tension. However, people that already have a pre-existing condition should consult a doctor before adding workplace exercise to their day.
People also need to be reminded that everyone benefits from being up and active, so encourage them to move around their environment (within reason).
Always take the stairs if they're available or if it's practical. It's easy to stick to and, over the course of a working week, it could make an important contribution to your overall activity levels.
Cut the stress out
A little pressure now and again won't kill us, but long-term stress can be a killer. Short bouts of stress give an energy boost; the chronic type is damaging, increasing the risk of insomnia, depression, obesity and heart disease. Relaxation, sleep, socialising and going on holiday are all things we deserve but don't always allow ourselves to have.
Get more sleep
A good night's rest can do wonders for your mood as well as your appearance. Sleep is incredibly beneficial. A lack of sleep has been linked to a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. So take a short nap if you need to - and don't feel guilty about it.
Here's to a healthier and happier New Year!
Copyright © 2017 Brett Hill, managing director, Health Insurance Group.