15 Easy Ways to Be Healthy At Work
By Charles Trivett
I don’t know about you, but I ate a LOT during the Christmas holidays.
In fact, I pretty much gave up on exercise and healthy-eating sometime around mid-November (“Christmas is coming, I said…)
So this week, I’ve been researching some of the best ways to stay healthy at work and I’ve come across some brilliant suggestions to aid physical and mental wellbeing, both individually and as part of a team.
Hence this blog post…
1. Put the cake down.
In fact, just don’t bring the cake into work in the first place!
Instead, swap it for some healthier snacks like…
- Carrots (yum… how appealing).
Switch your full fat milk for skimmed and sugar for sweeteners.
If you really, really need something sweet, have a little nibble of dark chocolate.
Click here to find out more about some of the great (tasty) superfoods you could take to work with you.
2. Do “secret” desk exercises.
Isn’t it a bit cringe-worthy to start busting some moves at your desk?
Not if you can do it secretly! Check out these three examples of secret exercise moves you can do at your very desk… (Try them out now if you like.)
Sit up straight (at your desk). Simply lift your legs so that they are in line with your hips and hold them there for a few seconds. Then lower them and repeat.
This is (apparently) great for your “quadriceps.”
These are pretty self-explanatory. Sit up straight (at your desk). Clench your bum, hold for a few seconds and release. Then repeat and so on.
And you’re on a one-way trip to perkier bum cheeks!
(You can perform a similar type of exercise to work your abs…)
Sit up straight (at your desk). Place a ream of printer paper (or similar) between your legs. Squeeze your knees and legs together and hold for up to a minute (do what you can) — you should start to feel your inner thighs working.
This hurts a heck of a lot more than you would think!
3. Health and fitness schemes.
If you have the power, then setting up one of the following schemes is a brilliant way to encourage employees to keep healthy and fit! If you don’t have that power, you could still always make the suggestion…
Gym membership contributions.
Gyms are bloody expensive and that definitely puts a lot of people off joining them. But if you made a monthly contribution it’d be one less excuse.
This is actually one of our perks here at Coburg Banks.
The cycle to work scheme.
Cycling is all the rage at the minute (you must have noticed).
And encouraging your employees to ride into work instead of driving is a great way to boost health, fitness and to do your bit for the environment!
Click here for gov.uk guidance on how to set one up.
Offer healthy food benefits.
Being sat at a desk all day has its own dangers.
Especially when there are temptations all around — fast food, sweets, snacks and cakes etc.
So why not offer some more healthy alternatives?
- Free fruit.
- Salads and wraps in the cafeteria, rather than fast food
- Swap birthday cake for ice lollies! (Or any of the other things on this list.)
It’s actually fairly easy to come up with healthy options.
Turn it into a game.
Why not create competitions and/or games to encourage your staff members to get fit?
Wearable technology makes this easy these days!
You could use activity-tracking tech (like an Apple watch) to record how far your staff members are walking and give a prize to the team that walks the furthest…
If you’d like to find out a bit more about gamification and how it can help HR in general — click here.
4. Start a company sports team.
This really is a great way to build relationships across the team and, because each player had made a commitment to their co-workers (and boss) they’re much more likely to keep it up (especially if you enter a tournament).
- Five-a-side football?
If you’re a particularly big company, you could even set up matches between teams.
5. Start a company exercise class.
The best time to get your exercise done (apart from before work) is straight afterwards — the moment you sit down on the couch, it becomes so much harder — so why not get everyone from the office involved?
Whack on a video, take it in turns to run the class or even hire a professional, it’s all good exercise.
Of course, you will need some space (and permission) for this.
6. Start a club.
If you don’t think your office would be into team sports, you could always start a club instead.
What about running? Badminton? Or Tennis?
Again, this is great for keeping fit because the added (friendly) pressure from co-workers will spur you on.
7. Take part in a charity event.
The best way (in my opinion) to make sure you follow through with your fitness regime is to sign yourself up for some kind of sports charity event — like Tough Mudder or a Half Marathon.
Once that first donation comes through, you’ll feel far too bad to drop out and you’ll be spurred on to train and do better.
8. Morning exercise.
Watch this video…
In Japan, it’s perfectly normal to do a pre-work workout, to make them feel alive, awake and more productive for the day.
Could you get your co-workers to join you with morning exercise?
Read more, here.
Obviously, you’re going to have to ask permission for this one, but if your office is looking a bit drab, then why not redecorate?
Colours like blue, green and yellow are known to boost energy and keep you (and your employees) more energetic and healthier for longer.
And I’m pretty sure an “employee painting party” would go down pretty well; engaging staff and bringing the team together (as long as you make it fun)!
10. Standing Desks?
I’m sure you’ve seen all the hype about the treadmill desks but let’s be honest…
- They’re not cheap.
- They probably get you all hot and sweaty
- And a little bit distracted, surely?
Standing desks are a much easier way to increase fitness and boost productivity. Give them a try.
11. Team “I QUIT.”
If you’re part of the “smoking crew” and know of a fair few people who want to quit but can’t quite find the willpower, then why not do it together?
The encouragement (and judgement) of your peers, every day will help you to stay on track and keep those nicotine urges at bay.
12. Take your breaks.
We all know that in order to maximise productivity, it’s important to take a break.
Yet still, we don’t. Why is that?
You’ll get a lot more done, feel a lot healthier (mentally and physically) and your results will speak for themselves.
13. Open the curtains.
Do you work in one of those dark, dingy offices, with people who prefer to block out the outside world and refuse to open the curtains? STOP!
Natural light boosts mood, energy and productivity. And studies have shown that employees exposed to light are more likely to be healthy and to sleep better.
14. Go green.
Scientists say that having plants in the workplace, will offer an external stimulus for our brains; it gives us something else to focus on for a while and basically gives us an (unconscious) rest.
Along with that, I’d say that plants make us feel a little more at home and relaxed, boosting our mood and comfort levels in general too.
Kit out your desk area with some greenery and you’ll feel healthier and more productive too.
15. Allow Puppies!
Apparently, pet-friendly workplaces actually boost productivity!
Bringing your pooch to the office will reduce stress (you try feeling stressed when you’re stroking little Frank the pug) boost job satisfaction and make you feel more loyal towards your business.
And that’s a pretty obvious recipe for an engaged, hard-working and passionate workforce.
There you have it!
Some great (and mostly easy) ways to boost health and wellbeing at work, for yourself and the rest of your team!
If you’d like some more ideas, I highly recommend reading this blog post from SnackNation: 121 Proven Employee Wellness Program Ideas For Your Office
If you’d like to read more light-hearted articles like this one click here to check out the rest of our blog!
Charles heads up Coburg Banks’ IT Division, and has worked in recruitment for nearly 20 years. His knowledge of how to optimise and get the most from a recruitment campaign is second to none, and he now works with a select handful of clients in maximising their recruitment ROI.