Fri-yay! It’s here. But don’t let that warm, comforting hug of two days of freedom fool you; the risks of work related stress and mental health issues are higher than ever right now. Recent national reports suggest that we lost 17.5 million days to mental health problems last year. On the flipside, presenteeism is also on the rise, with almost half of employees reporting attending work when unfit to do so. Something needs to change in the collective consciousness, and with the support of employers, we can take back control of our happiness. Here’s how; our 5 IDEAL ways to look after your workplace wellbeing.
Exercise is one of the key elements to living a healthy lifestyle, physically and mentally, and as such, it can have a positive impact on your workplace wellbeing, too. However, if you’re sat at a desk all day (the risks of such a sedentary lifestyle are well documented) it can be difficult to incorporate exercise into your workplace.
Change up your daily routine, and ask support from your seniors to do the same. You could suggest walking meetings as this can increase your productivity and energy levels. Or, use your lunch break as an opportunity to go for a jog or a walk. If these aren’t viable options, you could aim to exercise before work. Rather than getting public transport or driving, you could walk, cycle or jog to work instead. If that’s implausible time wise, get off the bus or train a stop or two early, and walk the rest of the way. Anything which gets you a little out of breath does you wonders.
Eating well at work can be difficult to maintain, sure, but in the holistic, all encompassing approach to health, it makes a huge difference. Stay organised by preparing your work lunches in bulk and including plenty of fruit, vegetables and protein. The money saved on swerving the shop-bought lunches is a welcome added bonus. Give your brain a break from work, too, by eating lunch away from your desk; we all deserve a little time, so insist on this even if your boss has other ideas. Giving yourself a break away from your desk can help to lift your mood and improve your workplace wellbeing; productivity is the beneficiary, so remind management of this.
Yep, the irony’s not lost on us that we just mentioned productivity, but we’re attacking this thing from all sides, yeah? Let’s be honest, though; the corporate world’s fixation on constant growth and improved efficiency of employees can place undue pressure on the proletariat. Indeed, many workplaces can prioritise production over their employee’s wellbeing. If you’re asked to do something that doesn’t feel safe, then refuse. Having an accident at work can have implications for years to come, especially if you make a personal injury claim. Should you find yourself in this position and in need of guidance, you can find injuries in the workplace advice here to make the process of claiming easier.
You make some of your closest friends in the workplace. That sideways glance over the computers, those uncontrollable giggles during a meeting, all of those lunches shared and coffees brewed for each other…though you didn’t choose each other, workplace friendships can become the most meaningful bonds around.
This is crucial to workplace wellbeing; you’ll probably spend more time with these people than your loved ones during the week, so put the effort in, find common ground and nurture it; in doing so, you’ll have support, commitment and someone to turn to in more difficult times.
Sounds a bit dull we know, but as they say, a tidy desk equals a tidy mind. So, de-clutter your workspace, streamline your surfaces, and reap the benefits. Having a tidy environment to work in can make you feel more at ease and can make your brain feel a little less jumbled, too. Ensure that you keep your desk tidy by organising paperwork into the correct folders, clearing rubbish and keeping it free from dirty mugs. You could also add a living plant to your desk as this can help to cleanse the air around you and boost your productivity. Grr, there’s that word again. Regardless, you get the picture.
Here’s a little more advice on sticking it to that sedentary lifestyle; our 5 IDEAL ways for office workers to stay fit and healthy. Check it out, but no before and after pics, please!