7 Tips For a More Healthy Workspace
Written by Maddie Stocker
We are the screen-dependent generation, from our computers at work to televisions at home and checking our phones before bed – we are never far from a backlit device, and they are terrible for our eyesight. The only way to mitigate against the risk of long-term damage is to ensure that you’re in a well lit environment. Having a desk lamp is not enough; your workspace needs to be lit from all angles to avoid squinting.
Focussing on one thing for a prolonged amount of time is also harmful for your eyes. It is best to ensure you have visual stimulation in your surroundings that will allow your eyes to focus on objects at varying distances to avoid eyestrain. Your eyes are muscles, just like any other, so it is important to ‘exercise’ them. Imagine doing a lunge and staying in that position without moving, you are only exercising one set of muscles in one way and after a while the stretch becomes a strain. It is the same for your eyes. We suggest trying to sit near a window or having artwork around to look at (but not procrastinate on!).
People work differently; some prefer absolute silence whilst others find they are more productive with a bit of background noise. Whether it’s the radio or just the humdrum of the world outside, studies have shown that a small amount of noise regularly throughout the working day is beneficial. Have you ever been awake at 3am and its been so silent that you hear a beeping / buzzing noise – that is your senses working overtime. It’s a quirk of our evolution that we’re programmed to be alert for any potential dangers so if you do prefer the library silence, make sure you break up the hours at your desk with a bit of music or be good and give your mum a call!
The air we breathe is getting less and less pure, fact. Especially for London commuters like us the need for cleaner air has never been more apparent. But most people aren’t aware that the air in our offices is almost as unhealthy and the air on the tube. We breathe out C02 and over the course of the day this builds up and, amongst other things, makes you sleepy. So, keep your productivity high and health boosted by throwing open the windows and getting a breeze running through the office to clear the air and keep you refreshed (and for all those who are perpetually cold – put a jumper on!).
Food gives you energy, and as we all know there are good sources of food and bad. Snacking is a workplace necessity – it alleviates boredom and is a great motivator so keep your office healthy by swapping out the biscuits. At Maple HQ we have (nearly) ditched the custard creams for a fruit bowl – but there is a sneaky packet in the cupboard for emergencies. Healthy snacks are the way forward and personal favourites in the office include dates, grapes and cashew nuts – all delicious and not so uber healthy that you crinkle your nose at the thought of them.
Got a headache? – drink water, tired? – drink water, bored? – drink water. It is a well known fact that no one drinks enough water so use it as your procrastination. We are supposed to drink 2 litres per day so build it into your new healthy office regime. Ditch the diet coke for good old tap water and you’ll see the benefits.
Finally, and most importantly, make sure your day is peppered with human interaction. We are social animals and as such our ‘healthy’ is as much about our mental well being as it is our physical health. Working in isolation can be necessary at times but can lead to loneliness. So, take 5 minutes to ask someone in your office if they got up to anything fun over the weekend or could recommend a good programme on Netflix. Chatting to a co-worker, even for a short amount of time releases serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for mood balance) a deficit of which is linked to depression. Who knows, you might find out that the people you work with are actually quite fun!