Tuesday, December 20, 2016

5 Ways to Stay Healthy at Work

How to stay healthy at work
With the New Year just around the corner, a lot of us are starting to think about how to improve our jobs, health, and life. Since the average American works about 8.9 hours a day, making adjustments to our habits at work where we spend a fair amount of time can have a positive impact on our health.

Not only does being healthy feel good, but it goes hand in hand with having less stress, greater productivity, and fewer missed days of work. If you're starting to consider how you can stay healthy at work, you’re not alone. Here are 5 tips to follow to be healthier and feel better at work.

1. Stand Up and Get Moving

If you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk, it can really wreak havoc on your body. In fact, sitting for too long can cause a list of problems, including increased risk of heart disease, muscle degeneration, strain on spine and neck vertebrae, and more. For those sitting in an office, this news can be worrisome, but thankfully you can do a couple of things to be healthier at work.

According to Cornell University, taking microbreaks by getting up and moving every 20-30 minutes can improve comfort, boost work performance, and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. If staring at a computer screen gives you headaches, microbreaks also help reduce eye strain. The break doesn’t have to be long either as even just a minute or two of standing up and moving around can make a difference.

To encourage your employees to get up and move, you can hold stand-up meetings. The stand-up meeting format is pretty simple; it’s a team gathering that lasts about 5 - 15 minutes long so employees can have time to effectively communicate with one another. The practice is meant to be short and sweet to promote closer working relationships. It gives team members the time to touch base, anticipate the next steps of their current project, and ask for help or collaborate if needed. Stand-up meetings get your employees moving while they build cooperative skills.

2. Drink More Water at Work

drink water to stay healthy at work
Think of drinking water like putting oil in your car: you need to have enough oil to make your car run efficiently, and the same is true with your body. Staying hydrated boosts your metabolism and helps you burn calories more efficiently. Drinking more water at work can also be beneficial if you are dieting. Our bodies sometimes have difficulty differentiating between hunger and thirst, so next time you feel a craving, grab a bottle of water instead of a snack.

Water is important for your digestion as well. Chronic dehydration can lead to health problems. Not getting enough water allows calcium and other minerals to build up in your urine that are difficult for your body to filter out. These minerals can form into crystals that make painful kidney and urinary stones—ouch!

To stay healthy and hydrated at work, carry an insulated bottle with you and fill it occasionally throughout the day. On average, you should try to drink a half ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weigh. For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds should be drinking about 75 to 150 ounces of water per day.

3. Wash Your Hands Frequently 

Keeping your hands clean is necessary to avoid getting sick and spreading germs around your workplace. Many diseases are easily spread by not washing hands regularly with soap and water. If you think quickly rinsing with water is enough to clean your hands, think again!

Staying healthier at work means practicing good hygiene. To wash your hands properly, you first need to wet them under running water. Apply soap and lather the palms and back of your hands, between fingers, and under nails. Remember to scrub your hands for about 30 seconds to get rid of dirt and germs. If you're in a pinch, hand sanitizer might help with keeping your hands germ-free, but nothing beats good old-fashioned soap, water, and elbow grease.

4. Say No to Poor Posture

sit up to stay healthy at work
If staring at a computer screen gives you a headache or makes you tired, maybe you should consider sitting up straight. Having poor posture means your muscles have to work harder to hold your body upright. Slouching also puts strain on pressure points in your neck and shoulders, leading to tension headaches and fatigue.

To reduce these problems, try to straighten your spine when sitting so your ears are lined up with your shoulders. Relax your upper arms and keep your elbows close to your body so you can comfortably reach the keyboard. You should also place your feet flat on the floor. Sitting properly will help reduce stress on your body and keep you more energized throughout the workday.

5.  Go Ergonomic in Your Office

You should try to make your workplace as human-friendly as possible. Spending long hours doing repetitive tasks isn’t good for the body and can lead to work-related musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel, tendinitis, and lower back injuries. To prevent injury, employers should provide ergonomic furniture and office supplies that help reduce strain on employee’s bodies.

Ergonomic products that can help employees feel healthier and better at work are readily available. For example, wrist rests for keyboards and computer mice can help prevent carpal tunnel. There are seat cushions and lumbar supports that can be added to office chairs to help correct posture and help reduce lower back pain. If you are primarily on your feet all day, anti-fatigue matting can help reduce stress and pain in the lower legs, knees, and back.

Being healthier and happier at work is a goal that most of us would like to accomplish. By remembering to take care of your body by drinking more water at work, moving more often, and utilizing office supplies that make the workplace more human-friendly, it’s possible to make a positive impact on health and wellness in the workplace. Staying healthy at work could be your New Year’s resolution this year!

Interested in finding a working environment that is conducive to your health? Want to get talented staff who mesh well with your health-conscious company culture? We can help! J&J Staffing has been helping employees find jobs and employers recruit staff since 1972. If your looking to make a change, contact us today.