Let’s start with a rather daunting fact: the average worker spends a third of their life (or 90,000 hours!) at their workplace during their lifetime. Despite this, we expend far more time and energy thinking about how to improve our home environment than we do our working one.
A poor working environment can negatively impact mental health leading to stress and depression as well as affecting physical wellbeing through weight gain, insomnia and potentially different long-term illnesses.
So, what can you do to improve your working environment and create a happier, healthier version of you?
Don’t Sit Still
In today’s working world more and more of us work in sedentary jobs that require little movement throughout the day. If your routine involves driving to your workplace and sitting for most of your working day, it’s likely you’re at risk of suffering some of these risks of a sedentary life such as weight gain, low mood, heart problems as well as neck and back pain.
There are a now a wealth of apps and devices to allow you to track the number of steps you’ve taken throughout the day, with people who take under 5,000 steps a day considered to be living a sedentary lifestyle and at risk of the health problems associated with this.
You’ll be amazed how a few simple changes to your daily routine can boost your number of steps – take a walk at lunchtime; choose the stairs over the lift; and even consider parking further away from your premises and walking into the office.
Get your Daily Dose of Natural Light
The amount and quality of light in your workplace affects your mood and energy levels. Of course, you cannot always control this where you work, but if it’s a sunny day don’t hide inside over your lunchbreak!
Natural light sources or even blue-tinted lighting can increase serotonin levels – the chemical that makes us feel awake and productive – making you more energetic for your day-to-day tasks . It might be worth mentioning the potential benefits of natural or blue-tinted lighting to management as they will ultimately benefit from an alert and productive workforce.
Staying hydrated in extremely important for a variety of heath reasons. Dehydration increases stress levels, reduces concentration and even decreases memory function, so ensure that you drink enough water throughout the day (roughly 1.2 litres) – increasing the amount on hot days or after physical exercise.
What’s more, regular dehydration has also been linked to long-term health issues such as weight gain, skin problems and even bladder, colon and breast cancer.
Declutter your Workspace
You may think you are a creative type who thrives off a disorganised workspace, but it’s more likely to be causing stress as your waste time and energy looking for things rummaging around your desk!
There are several useful tools for decluttering your desk and clearing your mind at work: manage papers into ‘to-do’ and ‘completed’ sections; organise unsightly cables using cable management tools; and ditch piles of scribbled notes and reminders in favour of a wipeable notice board.
Due to the rise in popularity of tidying guru Marie Kondo, people are becoming more aware of the negative energy ‘too much stuff’ can bring, however It’s not just at home where clutter can cause issues with mental health. Declutter your workspace to create a harmonious, well-organised workspace worthy of all the long hours spent there!
The tips above can help you feel happier and healthier in the workplace – allowing you to work more productively and ultimately helping you feel better in your life outside of work as well.
If the tips aren’t working or you are unable to change an unhealthy, stressful working environment, it may be time for a change of job – your health is much more important in the long run!