You Spend 8 Hours a Day at the Office, Why Not Healthy It Up?

Most people spend at least eight hours a day at work. Depending on your office environment, that could seem like an eternity or it could fly by in a second. Job satisfaction counts for something, obviously, but it’s far easier to cope with an uninspiring task list when your surroundings are conducive to a healthy, happy mindset.

Take my last full-time gig for example. As the satellite office for a UK-based company, our crew of four didn’t need much in the way of leg room. With that in mind, head office decided to rent us an office in a coworking space.

A good idea, were in not for the fact that the space in question was run by a couple of hipster boys who didn’t have a clue what the smooth running of an office environment entailed. General cleaning was sporadic, the kitchen sink appeared to manifest dirty dishes and the toilets flushed only when Mars and Saturn were in alignment.

HOW DO YOU CREATE A BETTER OFFICE ENVIRONMENT?

When you consider that staff who don’t enjoy coming to work cost U.S. businesses $300 billion per year in sick time, days off and on-the-job mistakes, it’s a no brainer that keeping your employees happy will positively affect your bottom line.

Creating a better office environment means more than an increase in profits, though. Productivity, creativity and morale will go up as well. Moreover, staff who believe their employer has their best interests at heart are also more inclined to go the extra mile.

If your work space is less than ideal, here are some suggestions to take to your boss or implement yourself.

KEEP IT CLEAN

There’s a clear link between office cleanliness and employee happiness. If your work environment is clean, bright and uncluttered, you’re going to be happier. Ask your boss to spring for an office cleaning and maintenance crew to give the place a makeover.

Have them replace light bulbs, scrub countertops, clean out the office fridge and dispose of broken equipment and anything else that no longer serves a purpose. If your boss isn’t keen you could either rope in your colleagues and do it as a team or simply focus on your personal work space.

SEEK OUT NATURAL LIGHT

When it comes to promoting health, wellbeing and productivity in the workplace, nothing beats natural light. We humans don’t do well in windowless cubicles, we need light and a healthy dose of vitamin D —the sunshine vitamin— if we’re to thrive.

If your office doesn’t have natural light you might want to petition your boss to buy a SAD lamp. Also, make a point of getting out the office during your lunch hour to get your daily dose of vitamin D.

THE HEALING POWER OF PLANTS

Research has found that having potted plants in the office is good for your health. Among other things, they are said to reduce fatigue, stress and various physical ailments, too. In a follow up study, results showed that more plants meant less sick leave.

Which is not to say you should turn your office into a jungle. However one or two pot plants will definitely stand you in good stead. Just make sure they’re not high maintenance.

According to Dr Bringslimark, who headed up the study, foliage plants may be better than flowering plants as they produce more oxygen and help decompose toxic substances in the air.

HEALTHY LUNCH AND SNACKS

People have a tendency to eat poorly when they’re busy. But that’s exactly when you shouldn’t be indulging in junk food. Your brain needs healthy, nutrient rich food to function optimally. If you make your lunch ahead of time you’ll be less inclined to buy donuts from the coffee cart.

A lot of companies keep tea, coffee, cookies, etc. on hand for their staff. While a nice gesture, it’s not the best approach for optimum productivity. After all, who’s going to say no to a mid-morning cookie (or three)?

Instead, ask your boss to provide healthy snacks like fresh fruit and raw nuts. Sure, they’re not nearly as much fun as donuts or Oreos, but they’re also not as bad for your waistline or blood sugar.

START A LUNCHTIME WALKING CLUB

In his latest book, The Blue Zones of Happiness, Dan Buettner advocates joining a walking moai. Walking Moais are groups of 5 to 8 people who walk together at least once a week for 10 weeks to interesting destinations throughout the community.

Originating from Japan, the term ‘moai’ means coming together for a common purpose. You could institute something similar at your workplace as a way to connect with your colleagues, move more and get some fresh air.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

45 comments

Jim V
Jim Ven12 days ago

thank you

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Jim V
Jim Ven12 days ago

thank you

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Jim V
Jim Ven14 days ago

thank you

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Jim V
Jim Ven14 days ago

thank you

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Jerome S
Jerome S14 days ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S14 days ago

thanks

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Paulo R
Paulo R16 days ago

ty

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Marija M
Marija Mohoric16 days ago

tks

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s17 days ago

Thank you

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iskrica knezevic
iskrica knezevic17 days ago

Thank you

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