“The true enemy for many is the daily grind of commuting.” That’s according to Mark Dixon, CEO of flexible office provider IWG. And he has a point. People were only too delighted to give up their commute during the pandemic; for many, the resulting time and cost savings were the biggest perk of working from home.
As winter sets in, it gets harder and harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the working day. With seven or eight hours in front of the computer, you’re bound to feel tired, have sore eyes and fall into the trap of staying sedentary.
Luckily, there are small and easy changes you can make to your day to ensure you create a happy and healthy working environment.
Tidy work area
A messy desk makes for a messy mind! Try to tidy everything away at the end of each day so you come in to start afresh and you know where everything is. Write a list of what needs to be done the next day – this will hopefully make you feel organised and confident that you’re on top of everything. If necessary, don’t be afraid to tell everyone to keep their own work area tidy too!
Drink enough water
Keeping hydrated is one of life’s general tips, but it has a noticeable effect in the workplace. Keep a bottle of water on your desk so you have a constant supply and you’ll find it easier to get the recommended eight glasses a day! Tiredness can be caused by dehydration so if you’re feeling a little weary, reach for the water bottle and not for another coffee. If you find water rather boring to drink, consider adding some cucumber or lemon to it to jazz it up a bit.
Chocolate, sweets, Easter eggs, cakes – they’re everywhere in the office! Of course everyone needs a treat now and again but the sugar highs and lows you’ll get from all these sugary snacks won’t help in the long run and will lead to an afternoon slump. Try and keep some healthy snacks to hand as well – bring in some fresh fruit, carrot sticks, nuts or savoury crackers in from home, and some dark chocolate for the after-lunch sugar cravings!
Make your own lunch
Making your own lunch can be a lot healthier and save you lots of money. You could make a batch of roasted vegetables and couscous on a Sunday night and it would last you most of the week, or make some soup for the colder months. You can then treat yourself on a Friday, or do some midweek cooking to mix things up.
Take a break and move around
It is very easy to stay sitting at our desk without realising the day going by, but it’s so important to get up and walk around every so often. Working long hours is stressful both physically and mentally so try and give your body and brain a rest. Try and fit in at least 10 minutes of fresh air when you can, even if it’s just a walk around the block – you will be able to think more clearly when you get back to your desk. If you’re stuck with a problem or having a mind blank, getting up and moving around can change your perspective and clear your head.
Get a good night’s sleep
We all know sleep is essential – it will help boost energy levels and improve concentration levels. But it can be hard to sleep soundly when you’re stressed at work and have a lot on your plate. Try to have at least an hour before bed without checking your emails or being on your laptop. Get into a good book, have a relaxing bath or listen to some music to help you switch off and wind down. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
Chat to colleagues and have fun at work
It doesn’t need to be silent in the office all the time. When appropriate, spark up a conversation with colleagues and make the workplace feel less formal and more comfortable. Work doesn’t have to be boring either; after all, you’re probably spending more time at work during the week than at home with friends so you may as well make that time enjoyable!
Give your eyes a break
Most people will spend 90% of their working day looking at a screen, which can be hard on your eyes. Try and think of something you could do which doesn’t involve your computer for 5 or 10 minutes. A general rule is to look away from all screens for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.
It can be hard to find the time to exercise when you’re in a job which has long hours but try your best to do something active during the day. It’s a great stress reliever and can boost your energy levels. Try walking to or from work (if you can) a couple of times a week, join the gym or find something else that you enjoy – maybe there’s a netball team you can join with a friend?
Work hard, play hard!
It’s important to reward yourself after a hard week at work, it’ll give you something to look forward to throughout the week and keep your spirits up. Why not go for a drink with colleagues after work before meeting with friends? It’s good to spend time with them in a non-working environment and talk about non-work related subjects every now and again, keeping that all important work-life balance!