Healthy habits at the workplace are crucial to productivity and success. Unfortunately, most people working in offices live a sedentary lifestyle with many sitting for 8-10 hours every day.  Consequently , many office workers develop ailments associated with a sedentary lifestyle and poor work habits. 

These health issues include chronic back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart disease, high blood pressure, and many more.

One of the biggest challenges employees face today is developing and maintaining healthy habits at work. However, you can achieve this if you take it one step at a time. Here are some  easy and effective ways to develop a healthy workplace. 

Start with an ergonomic assessment

How do you sit while working at the office? If you spend most of your work time behind a desk, you need to understand the importance of proper postures. 

Additionally, it is important to realize that no amount of yoga, massage, or physiotherapy can make up for 8-10 hours of poor  posture. 

To conduct an ergonomic assessment, start by examining;

  • How you sit at your desk
  • How your monitor is positioned
  • Where you place your arms
  • The furniture (chair) you’re using

Here’s a good posture checklist to get you started.

  • While sitting, your feet should rest flat on the floor
  • Your shoulders, ears, and hips should be inline
  • Your elbows should rest at 90 degrees
  • Your lower back should be fully supported and slightly arched
  • If you’re using a computer/monitor, your wrists should be in line with the keyboard and mouse

The checklist above gives you a good starting point to proper sitting and computing position. 

This will help you to improve physical comfort, reduce injury and improve your productivity.

Take the stairs 

It’s unlikely that you will have adequate time to exercise at work. You’ll most likely spend most of your day sitting behind a desk. However, you should use any breaks you take to stretch your body.

Elevators provide a convenient ride to and from your office. However, you don’t have to use them at all times. Any little movement you make while at your workplace is essential for your health. For example, a study revealed that taking a flight of stairs at work daily decreases your brain age by six months. 

Taking the stairs will raise your heart rate and improve your circulation. Additionally, it helps correct your posture and increases your flexibility. It’s one of the simplest and most practical exercises you can do at your workplace.

For remote workers, stand up and make a cup of coffee, walk around your backyard or up and down the stairs of your apartment. It doesn’t matter what you do: Get moving.

Take standing breaks

Your body is not meant to sit all day long, although our work sometimes forces us to do so. Sitting for extended hours is a major cause of back and neck pain. 

Take a break from work every 30 minutes to an hour, stand up, and do basic mobility movements like lunges and air squats. This simple exercise will help stimulate blood flow, boost your energy levels, and most importantly, reduce or prevent back and neck pain.

The good thing is that you won’t need much space to do these simple exercises. Also, you won’t be sweating hard after stretching your muscles.

Standing desk

A standing desk is an excellent alternative to taking standing breaks. Studies have shown that standing for at least 30 minutes every day has immense health benefits. It also boosts your energy levels and increases productivity. Again, you won’t experience back pain, hunched shoulders, or tired, achy legs.

The standing desk is a huge productivity booster, especially in the afternoons when many people feel sluggish.

Bring your lunch

Most employees will rush to the nearby restaurants to grab their favorite delicacies during lunch breaks. However, it is not easy to observe proper nutrition when eating out as most restaurant food contains a lot of sugar, calories, additives and preservatives. 

Consider bringing in your lunch to work to give you better control over your diet. Your lunch should contain veggies and lean meats, which are great sources of fats and protein and will fill your tummy. Additionally, veggies will provide carbs and fibre to help you stay awake, especially in the hot afternoons.

Also, bringing your lunch will help you save some cash in the long run.

Healthy snacks

There’s no way you’ll avoid snacking at your workplace. It’s a common activity to boost energy levels. However, chips and cookies are not healthy snacks. Nevertheless, most employees love them because they are readily available.

Well, according to a study by Havard, it’s important to eat at least three times a day to promote weight loss and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to snack on unhealthy options. 

Carry your own snacks to work. Think of single-ingredient snacks like nuts, apples, and vegetables as they contain minerals, vitamins, and the right amounts of fats and carbohydrates to keep you filled and focused.

Drink lots of water

Have a glass of water on your desk and take regular sips. Drinking lots of water will reduce the urge to snack on unhealthy snacks. Also, water prevents dehydration, which can cause fatigue, headaches, and concentration problems. Additionally, being fully hydrated reduces your urge to drink sugary drinks and caffeine.

Find a health buddy

It’s much easier to achieve goals as a team than individually. Therefore, if you want to create and develop healthy habits for the workplace, you need to associate yourself with co-workers who share the same goals.

A health buddy will help you find the motivation to develop and maintain good work habits. 

Identify co-workers who want to stay healthy at work, just as you. Find someone with whom you can share nutritious meals and snacks during lunch. Take stretching and walking breaks with your co-worker(s) throughout the day. This will also encourage other workers to embrace healthy habits and make the entire workplace a healthy space. 

Last word

It’s your responsibility to develop and maintain a healthy workplace. Healthy habits in the workplace result in increased productivity and greater overall success. If you’re sitting for extended hours, check your posture to prevent back and neck pains. Take regular standing breaks or get a standing desk to stimulate blood flow and boost energy levels. Additionally,  check on your diet and consume healthy snacks.

Your employer should also play their part in encouraging healthy habits for the workplace. This includes investing in proper equipment and furniture like ergonomic chairs and standing desks for employees. Also, your work schedule should allow you to take small breaks in between and stretch your muscles. If you feel that your employer isn’t doing enough to create or develop a healthy workplace environment, seek help from employment experts who can advise you on your next course of action.