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Top tips for a healthy workplace

by Jasmin Cook (Inverell Office) | Sep 26, 2016
We all want to be happy, healthy and headache-free at work. Here are some tips for preventing injury and promoting a healthy lifestyle at the office. 

• Prevent eyestrain by practicing the ‘20-20-20’ rule. For every 20 seconds every 20 minutes, take a break from the screen and look 20 feet away. Blink more. People looking at a screen blink far less than under normal conditions. Lowering computer monitors can also relieve you from straining your eyes to get a closer look. 

• Eat smart. A balanced lunch will help fight that afternoon slump and prevent weight gain. It takes 20 minutes for your body to realize it’s full. If you feel hungry, get up and move around, drink water or chew gum to see if cravings go away. Keep your blood sugar stable by eating healthy snacks like fruit, nuts and yoghurt.
 
• Ease those computer-related headaches. Take a break from computer. Walk around and do an activity that doesn’t require your head and eyes to be fixed in one position for an extended period. Try neck stretching exercises but make sure you do it gently and slowly so you don’t overstrain your neck. Keep your fluids up. Sorry caffeine fiends, coffee isn’t included.

• Keep moving! Sitting stationary for prolonged periods can be detrimental to your health. Immobile muscle can lose ability to metabolize fats and sugars as efficiently, increasing the risk of high cholesterol, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Take breaks throughout the day to stand, stretch or walk around. 

• Good posture is key for avoiding muscle aches. The top of your screen should be level with your eyes when seated with proper posture. Your eyes should be looking downward at an angle of 10 degrees. This reduces strain on your neck. At the same time, don’t think you need to be locked in one position for hours on end. Be flexible with your movement. Cross your leg, raise your arms above your head, or do a spinal twist. Get your blood flowing!

• Keep your posture correct by doing chin retractions, also known as ‘giving yourself a double chin’. This exercise will help you straighten your posture and don’t worry about looking silly, no one is going to take your photograph. 

• Mental health is also important. Take a quick break to focus on something non-work related that relaxes you. Mental breaks have been proven to increase productivity and lower stress levels. Don’t be afraid to laugh! Studies have shown that laughter relieves tension, improves your mood and even boosts your immune system and blood flow.  A good excuse to look at memes in your free time.

• Optimize your environment. Going for walks on your lunch break can make a big difference to your physical and mental health. So can the decision to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Install a pedal exerciser under your desk. Look for ways you can be more physical in your office space. 

• Flu season is upon us! Healthy eating, exercise, avoiding stress, getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated and quitting smoking, have been shown to reduce your risk of catching a cold or flu. There is also the option of the flu shot. Prevent cold and flu transmission by covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, washing your hands, and cleaning office surfaces regularly. Infected staff should avoid coming to work to reduce the risk of contaminating workmates. 

• Practice healthy food habits. Healthy eating has many benefits such as reduced risks of heart disease and cancers, elevated mood and energy levels and reduces anxiety and stress.  A good reason to increase our intake of veggies and fruits. Offices provide great opportunities to change food habits. Work as a team and act as a support network for each other. Set goals for having less junk food in the office and more whole foods like fruit and nuts. Select healthy options for team meetings. You’ll all be feeling fit, fabulous and most importantly, healthy, in no time. 
 
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