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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.
With so many different ergonomic chairs on the market today, from Office Star and Jobri to BOSS and ergoCentric chairs, finding the right seating choice for your specific needs can be difficult. Ergonomics are certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach. An ergonomically designed work chair should be able to conform to your height, weight, and body type, and also be appropriate for your line of work and professional environment. A tall and heavyset man will probably need a different ergonomic design than a short and petite woman, just as an IT professional will probably need a different office chair than a laboratory technician. With so many different factors to consider, how does one find the right work chair? The following information should help.
Why are Ergonomics so Important?
Ergonomic design is a multidisciplinary field of science that considers various human factors with the goal of designing furniture, equipment, and tools that complement the human body and mind, ideally resulting in more productive workplaces and happier, healthier workers. The way people sit is a very important part of this. Sitting is not as sedentary of a position as one may assume. When a worker in any given field sits in a chair all day (or for a large chunk of their workday), they are also engaging in activities in that chair, which are all influenced by the way that worker engages with their surroundings – especially their chair. The following video is by Allseating a chair manufacturer that describes the cores needs in building your ergonomic workstation.
What Makes a Suitable Work Chair?
If you’re shopping for ergonomic chairs, the most important human factors to consider are the body dimensions of the individual who will be sitting in each chair. And this means all the body dimensions. An ill-fitting chair might be ideal for someone’s height, but not appropriate for their weight and body type, for example. This can lead to stress and strain, and ultimately injury, which could in turn leave a worker unable to work and an employer in hot water. There are other factors to consider, such as the costs of repairs and maintenance, in addition to the initial costs of purchasing the chairs. Avoiding repetitive stress injuries is worth the investment, but not if the company goes into the red from the costs of owning the chairs. Luckily, many manufacturers make some very affordable models that are also high in quality. The following video is for the ergoCentric Geocentric petite ready chair.
It All Comes Down to Body Type
Make sure to gather information about the heights of employees before purchasing new ergonomic chairs for the whole office. An ideal work chair will be roughly a quarter of the user’s height. While most employees doing similar jobs will probably be comfortable in similar or identical chairs as long as the seat and armrests are adjustable, there will also probably be a few outliers who will have special ergonomic needs and require somewhat different chairs. No one should be punished for being uncommonly short or tall, having a long torso or unusually sized limbs, or being otherwise out of the norm. To avoid repetitive stress injuries and find the ergonomic chairs with the best value, consider body type first.
We are all guilty of being glued to our computers and smartphones at the office. We work for hours on end, sitting in front of the glow of the screen without taking a break. When a person spends hours in one position working, they are not just hurting their physical health, but also their mental wellbeing. If you aren’t “taking five” at work periodically or even taking lunch breaks, here are a few reasons why you need to start doing so.
The Health Issue
Sitting for hours at a time isn’t good for the body. While you can buy a chair that is designed for maximum comfort for long workdays, you still need to get up and move around for your health. Just like on long plane flights, you need to move around for better circulation. Poor blood flow will only cause aches and pains in the body.
It might sound like a break won’t help with getting the job done. However, if you work for hours on end without a break, you might hit a few brick walls in the process. Breaks are key for actually getting things done. You become more productive if you take five minutes away from your job so the body and mind can refresh and tackle the task at hand.
Less Fatigue and Exhaustion
Our jobs can make us tired, especially we if never take a break from them. In today’s digital age, it can be difficult to unplug from the office. However, if you don’t get your mind and body away from your desk, you will only grow more fatigued and exhausted. Exhaustion can lead to other health problems down the road.
Jobs are stressful. We have deadlines to meet and tasks to accomplish. If you sit all day focusing on these tasks, your stress levels will build up. The mind and body need a break from work to avoid getting too stressed about projects, meetings, and to-do lists. Stress isn’t just mental, either. It can lead to physical health problems.
Recharge Internal Resources
When you don’t take breaks at work, your mind can never really recharge from the work you are doing. You need to detach yourself from work to recharge those batteries again. Walking around or simply taking a lunch break helps the cognitive resources to recharge.
Focus on the Big Picture
Many of us are guilty of getting lost in our work. We fail to see the big picture as a result. When you don’t take a break at work, you can lose perspective. Your relationships outside of the office can suffer, in addition to your health. A break at work helps you to see the bigger picture beyond the computer screen.
You might be working hard all day at your job, but that work isn’t always the best. Your product can suffer when you don’t take breaks. Fatigue can cause mistakes and errors that could be threatening to your job. Breaks allow you to catch mistakes more easily and produce a better product.
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.