Whether we like it or not, a great deal of our lives is spent in work and for many of us that means sitting at an office desk for eight hours a day. While this is brilliant for learning new skills, developing our careers and socialising with our colleagues, traditional working life can take its toll on our minds, bodies and souls. Sitting on your office chair, in front of a computer screen for prolonged periods of time leads to sedentary activity levels, impact on vision and a serious lack of fresh air. Some of us may even forget to eat and drink if our to-do lists are particularly demanding.
With this in mind, we’ve put together some expert advice to ensure you’re looking after yourself in the office, from mindfulness and ergonomics to feeding the soul sufficiently. To support our research, we surveyed 600 members of the British public to gain better insight into their ideal working environments and how office furniture can impact their physical and mental wellbeing.
Mindfulness is the practice of actively noticing the sensations, sights, sounds, smells and thoughts in any present moment. It is championed as being one of the most effective ways of dealing with pressure and anxiety which can often be particularly intense in the workplace.
Building stress-busting surroundings
A person’s surroundings is said to have a huge impact on mindfulness and mental wellbeing so it’s essential that you make your workspace somewhere you want to be. One of the most influential factors in alleviating stress through surroundings is by picking out the right colour scheme. In fact, we discovered that 65% of people would agree that the colour of their office furniture and surroundings affects their motivation levels. Of our survey respondents 43% said they associate the colour blue with relaxation, while 21% said green and 13% said purple, so consider these shades in your own palette.
Motivational quotes or company mantras on the walls is also a great way to boost morale as well as ensuring office workers are comfortable at their desks. Physical comfort directly impacts motivation and state of mind so giving office workers the chance to personalise their workspaces could dramatically boost efficiency. For example, 64% of our respondents would choose a light wood desk, while 44% would like to work with screen dividers over the 39% who prefer an open plan office.
Once you’ve thought about how you’re going to look after your mind more when working in the office, it’s time to think about how you can do better for your body and increase those all-important activity levels.
Staying Active in the Office
It won't come as a massive surprise to hear that 50% of our respondents said they can't find time to exercise when working full time.
Of the same 600 people, 63% agreed that if their workplace offered exercise classes they would find this beneficial. Although some workplaces do host exercise sessions for their employees to take advantage of before work, after hours or during lunch hours, they are still relatively few and far between. That means you might have to take matters into your own hands…
Doing some office yoga or light stretches at your desk can be a great way to get the blood pumping and muscles working throughout the working day. Other excellent ways to introduce more activity and physical movement into your office life are:
- Have stand up or walking meetings
- Use the stairs instead of the lift
- Walk and speak to somebody instead of calling or emailing
- Volunteer to do the coffee run
- Use your lunch hour to get in some extra steps
Paying Attention to Ergonomics
As well as making an effort to be more active during your working day, it’s also crucial to consider the ergonomic attributes of your office furniture. Our survey revealed that 40% of respondents aren’t sitting on an office chair that is modified to their personal physical needs or requirements. However taking advantage of the adjustable office furniture on the market will benefit comfort, posture and help reduce common problems such as back and joint ache.
Once you’ve digested our food for thought, you might want to check out our diverse range of office desks and office chairs to ensure you and your colleagues are sitting comfortably. From height-adjustable desks and kneeling chairs to a whole host of shapes and colours, we’ve got office furniture pieces for every preference.
So with those tips, you should have a better idea on how to keep your physical and mental wellbeing in check when working in the office. Now it’s time to think about how you can nourish your soul throughout the day by making sure you’re snacking savvy and taking regular breaks away from your desk.
Healthy Snacks for the Office
What we put into our bodies is extremely influential in our work output. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will ensure you stay hydrated and will boost concentration levels when the afternoon slump sets in.
The Importance of Regular Breaks
It is commonly advised that short breaks away from the desk frequently is more effective than fewer, longer breaks. Of our survey respondents, most (33%) said they take a break from their screens every two hours, with 18% admitting they leave it longer than that. Worryingly, less than 21% are getting anywhere near the recommended amount of non screen time—in fact 5% said they never take a break from their desks!
Experts suggest taking 5-10 minutes away from the desk or a change of activity after 50-60 minutes of continuous screen work if your role (or boss) permits it. This will enable you to realign your posture, stretch your legs, prevent eye strain and refocus on the tasks in hand. Shuffling your workload into a mixture of screen-based and non screen-based activities will allow you to take advantage of periodical breaks more naturally.
If you’ve got some of your own tips on looking after yourself when working in an office, share them with us on Facebook and Twitter. Maybe you’ve got a recipe for a healthy office snack? Perhaps you’ve got some inside intel on the best office plants to improve wellbeing and efficiency? Join the conversation online by tagging @Furniture_Work and using the hashtag #OfficeMOT.