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Monthly Archives: August 2013
Stress enters our lives from any number of places, relationships and situations, but the most common source is the workplace. If you’re feeling frazzled and stressed out at just the thought of heading into the office, there are some things you can do to kick that stress out the window. While there’s no surefire way to remove workplace stress completely (that would require you to work in a vacuum), there are quite a few steps you can take to at least minimize the situation.
If you’re like most of us, your blood is really 90% coffee. However, experts have determined that’s actually a huge contributor to workplace stress. While coffee (and other sources of caffeine) certainly give you that jolt to get you going in the morning, the situation is more complicated. You get an adrenaline boost, but caffeine suppresses your body’s natural relaxant production (a chemical called adenosine). This automatically makes you more susceptible to stress. Cut out the coffee (or at least cut down your consumption).
Get Out of the Office for Lunch
If you’re one of those who hangs around the office for your lunch break, you’ll find a lot of benefits in getting outside for a bit. You might consider eating lunch out, or if you can’t afford to or prefer to pack your lunch for health benefits, eat it outside on the grounds of the business. Getting fresh air and sunshine, plus putting a little distance between you and the job, can do wonders for your stress levels.
Take Breaks and Stretch
A lot of emotional stress is actually brought on by physical stimulus. If you spend most of your day hunched over a computer, make time to get up and stretch throughout the day. Most experts recommend getting up and taking a break about once per hour. Walk around the office, up and down the stairs, or just around your desk a few times. You’ll get your blood flowing and heart rate up, and that can do a lot of good for your stress levels. You should also take mini breaks (20 seconds per 20 minutes of typing, for instance).
A lot of the stress you’re feeling might not be due to external forces, but to something that your body’s missing. Vitamin C and B vitamins have been proven to reduce anxiety. Invest in a good multivitamin that contains high levels of vitamin C and all the B vitamins, and you might be surprised at just how much better you feel on a daily basis without having to do anything else.
Physical exercise is one of the best ways to beat stress (both physical and emotional). Physical exercise encourages your body to release endorphins, which automatically elevate your mood and make you feel better. Plus, there’s always the benefit of better physical health to be had as well.
Beating workplace stress is as simple as following these brief tips and making a few necessary changes in your daily routine.
Ergonomic chairs have become an essential part of the workplace. Chairs designed with proper ergonomics promote good health and comfort. They enforce the idea that the chair should adjust for you and not the other way around. However, ergonomic chairs can be quite expensive, especially the top-of-the-line, best ergonomic chairs. At the same time, you don’t necessarily have to look for a chair that brands itself as being ergonomic. You merely need to look for a few components that promote ergonomic design. By keeping an eye out for these features, you might find a chair with ergonomic features but at a price your pocketbook can appreciate.
Begin by looking for chairs with height adjustment
If you are confused as to what makes a chair ergonomic and why many of these chairs cost an arm and leg, you merely need to think of these seats as loaded with adjustments, especially height adjustment. Even if you see a chair in your price range that doesn’t say it is ergonomic, check to see if it features height adjustment. Height and backrest adjustment are key components of ergonomic design. They allow the user to adjust the chair to suit their lower back needs and their height. In the process, the back is happier and the legs can enjoy proper circulation.
Seek out chair mechanisms
A chair mechanism might be a foreign feature to you. However, if you look closely at the description of those fancy ergonomic office chairs, you will probably see this term mentioned. The chair mechanism controls how the seat and backrest move. It allows the chair to lock into any number of positions. Even if you can’t afford the most expensive ergonomic chairs, you can still look for cheaper options with this feature. Many ergonomic chairs come with a multi-function mechanism. This allows you to adjust the backrest to multiple angles, along with the pitch of the seat pan. You might also see chairs with a knee tilt mechanism. This helps you to keep your feet on the ground and thighs parallel to the floor when you do lean back in your chair. In the process, you experience better blood flow, which leads to less fatigue and discomfort.
Check to see if the seat slides
Another ergonomic component to chairs is the seat slider. You might only be looking for a chair in the $100 to $200 range. Even at this price point, you should be able to find chairs that have a seat slider. The seat slider allows you to adjust the seat to fit your height and width, rather than you having to try and fit into a chair that doesn’t exactly suit your dimensions. You can fit more comfortably into the contours of the seat as a result. The ergonomic feature of a seat slider adds more comfort and customization than a basic chair.
You might not have the budget to shop in the top-of-the-line ergonomic chair section. However, there are ergonomic chairs to suit all budgets. Even if you can’t afford the priciest chair, you can still seek out features in more affordable office chairs that promote ergonomic design.
Pressed for time? Most of us are. It’s a symptom of modern living. In fact, most of us are so pressed for time that we sacrifice our health in pursuit of “getting things done”. The problem here is that you really can’t afford to sacrifice your health. No matter how little time you have to invest in fitness and better health, it’s vital that you take immediate steps. Thankfully, there are quite a few ways to improve your health without sacrificing the little free time you have.
1. Walk during Your Breaks
You get at least a couple of breaks each day at work, including your lunch break. Chances are good that you spend those breaks sitting on your behind. Take advantage of this time and walk around the office, outside the building, around the mall or somewhere else.
2. Take the Stairs
If you work in an office building, chances are good you ride the elevator up to your floor. You can get in some extra exercise without sacrificing any free time if you just opted to take the stairs instead. While that won’t really be feasible if you work 20 floors up, tackling a few flights of stairs each day can do a lot for your health.
3. Healthy Lunches
Workday lunch breaks are usually rushed affairs. You might grab a burger and fries, eat them in the car and then head back to the job. You might be one of those who skips lunch completely. Both damage your health. You can improve your health by packing a healthy lunch each day (or opting for healthy meals at restaurants rather than greasy hamburgers and fries).
4. Snack Regularly
Do you notice your productivity and focus flagging during the midmorning and early afternoon hours? Rather than reaching for that energy drink or a cup of coffee, grab a healthy snack instead. Snacking helps keep your energy levels up, and by eating a healthy snack, you provide long-lasting energy for your body without the sugar or salt found in junk food.
5. Get Up and Stretch
Sitting for hours on end in front of your computer is a bad thing. It leaves you open to all kinds of health problems. You can combat that and improve your health by just getting up and stretching every now and then. Once every hour, get up, stretch your arms, legs and back, and get the blood flowing once more.
6. Sleep More
If there’s one area in our lives that we suffer the most, it’s in sleep. We try to cram so much into our days that sleep has to take a back seat. However, losing sleep does much more than just leave you feeling groggy and unfocused. A sleep deficit can lead to heart problems, high blood pressure and more. Get enough sleep every day – your requirements will vary, but make an effort to get six to eight hours of shuteye every night.
These six simple tips can help you improve your health without cutting into the little free time you enjoy.
Workplace happiness once seemed unimportant. Workers came in to do a job. Whether they were happy about it or not was irrelevant. However, it actually turns out that happiness in the workplace matters a great deal. Psychology Today indicates that it can have a direct impact on everything from productivity to worker retention and profitability. Smart employers need to ensure that their workers are as happy as they can be. While that doesn’t mean you need to “coddle” them, it does mean that smart businesses should take certain steps. Below, you’ll find eight important tips to improve workplace happiness.
1. Focus on Family
Your workers split their time between the job and their families. Of the two, their families are ultimately the most important. Show that you care and put the focus on your workers’ families first.
2. Build a Community
Your workplace should be more than just a collection of different people busily going about their duties. There should be a sense of camaraderie, a feeling of togetherness. Your workplace should be a community itself. Inspire a feeling of community by encouraging mutual goals, group events and fostering connections between your workers.
3. Share the Spotlight
Your employees work hard for you and you need to give credit where it’s due. If your firm experienced a jump in profitability, share the credit with the departments and employees responsible (after all, your company didn’t jump up in the ratings on its own; someone had to put in the effort).
4. Lead by Example
If you routinely take time off, or ask employees to do things that you wouldn’t do yourself, you’re creating a negative workplace. Lead by example. If you ask your employees to follow certain policies, do so yourself.
One of the factors affecting your workplace’s level of happiness might actually be the layout of desks, cubicles and equipment. Be open to change. Look into alternative layouts that foster better traffic flow, let in more natural light and open the space up.
6. Encourage Hobbies
Let’s be realistic. Your employees aren’t all work and no play. In fact, chances are their true personality shines through in their hobbies and extracurricular activities. Encourage your employees to explore other interests and don’t denigrate hobbies and other pastimes in the workplace.
7. Stock Snack Machines Smart
Most offices have some sort of vending machines on the premises. Chances are yours are full of soda, cookies, crackers, chips and other junk food. Make a shift and encourage healthier eating. Bring in vendors who can supply high quality snacks and healthy foods/drinks, and your employees’ morale will rise.
Break time equals less productivity, right? Wrong. If you actually encourage your employees to take periodic breaks, stretch, exercise and unwind a bit, they’ll be much more productive when they return to the job.
Following these simple tips will help you create a happier, healthier workplace and you might even be surprised at just how much that benefits your business.
Whether you’re looking for a more ergonomic workspace or are just sick and tired of the ages-old chair and desk combo, there are alternatives out there. You’re not limited to sitting in an office chair and using a standard desk. What’s more, there’s evidence that going a nontraditional route can actually help prevent you from many common musculoskeletal injuries sustained during long-term desk and office chair use, as pointed out by UCLA. Here’s what you should know about your options.
If you think a desk must be sat at to be used, you haven’t looked at the marketplace much in the last couple of years. More and more, standing desks are coming into vogue. That’s not just because of the “cool design” factor, either. It’s because standing at work can offer some serious health benefits. A number of studies have pointed out the correlation between standing at work and weight loss, as well as the ability to prevent many musculoskeletal problems that stem from sitting for long periods with poor posture.
Standing desks are exactly what they sound like. They’re designed to allow the user to do pretty much anything they could at a sit-down desk, but in a standing position. You’ll also find desks that can adjust to both standing and sitting positions, which is important. It’s impossible to do certain tasks in a standing position – typing for more than five minutes is better when seated, for instance. Any task that requires fine control or stable hands should be done when seated as well.
Office chairs are both a comfort and bane to workers. A good office chair can keep you happy and comfortable through a long day as a desk jockey, but a bad chair (or bad posture in a good chair) can cause serious back, shoulder, neck and arm problems. Ergonomic chairs can help, but many offices are now turning to alternative seating arrangements.
A good example of this type of seating is the ball chair. You can find these in two varieties – plain balls that require significant effort to balance and ball chairs mounted on a wheeled frame (like a regular office chair, but without the seat, arms or back).
What benefits will you find with these types of seating? For one thing, the lack of arms and back forces you to sit properly, which alleviates back pain and muscle strain. They can also help improve balance and force you to work your abdominal muscles to stay upright. Some office workers switch between ball chairs and standard office chairs depending on the task at hand. Transitioning to this type of seating does require some time and effort, and it should be done incrementally to avoid problems.
A nontraditional office space can offer significant benefits. Standing desks and ball chairs can help improve posture, alleviate the discomfort of musculoskeletal disorders and can even improve productivity in some instances. However, they’re not for everyone, so match your office furniture to your needs and your tasks.
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