In a 2015 study, Americans outranked Australia, Sweden and Switzerland for average hours worked among the world’s largest economies. In a typical work week, American workers log an impressive 34.4 hour work week and nearly four in 10 workers report logging 50+ hours at their job each week.
While these numbers may not be shocking to some, it certainly concedes that workers are spending the good majority of their time on the job. As workplace injuries, like falls, trips and repetitive motion, continue to be prevalent and put some workers out of the job for an extended period of time, it’s important to make sure your workplace is a healthy one.
Here are six steps to creating a healthy workspace:
- Make it a Safe One
Whether you’re a licensed electrician or work in customer service, it’s imperative that your work area remain free of safety hazards. Always practice recommended safety guidelines for your position and continue to keep yourself up to date on new safety developments that may affect your field of work.
While it may sound hazard-free to provide customer service over the phone from your desk, keep in mind that repetitive motion, like carpal tunnel, can spring from a job which requires constant typing and hand movements. Be sure to take time out of your day to stretch your wrists and fingers and take necessary breaks to give your digits a time-out.
- Create an Ergonomic Workstation
According to OSHA, ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the workers’ body to fit the job. For some roles, making an ergonomically friendly workstation can be as simple as adjusting your seat height and arm rests, but this simple fix may not work for everyone.
Issues like backaches, vision problems and wrist-pain can all arise from poorly functioning work areas. Consider asking your manager for more ergonomically friendly equipment, like a standing desk or an adjustable keyboard, to help combat daily aches and pains. If they aren’t so keen on purchasing new equipment, there are small changes you can make, like improving your posture while seated and moving your computer screen at least 18-30 inches away, to reach ultimate ergonomic excellence.
- Make Your Space YOURS
Have some extra space in your cubicle? Try adding a small, low maintenance plant, like a succulent or cactus, to give your area an added boost. Plants in the office help contribute to less tension, anxiety and fatigue. Their effects have even been shown to increase productivity and provide a better working environment.
Not fond of plant upkeep? Consider decorating your cubicle with pictures of family and friends or hanging your favorite art piece to help make your space feel more you.
- Play Some Tunes
Listening to music during the work day has some pretty remarkable results – no matter what role you’re in. Studies have shown music makes work more enjoyable, allows for better concentration in a noisy atmosphere and evokes creativity.
Classical music may help boost your mood, while high-tempo songs might make you feel more in control and ready to take on the day ahead. Whatever the style, consider testing out a new playlist to make for a happier, more fulfilling work day.
- Don’t Stay Glued to Your Seat
It’s no secret that sitting all day can have negative ramifications on your body. Disc damage, poor circulation and strained neck can be effects of spending too much time in your seat. And even though your job responsibilities may tie you to your desk all day, sitting is not always required.
Remember to take your well-deserved breaks and make them count. Instead of simply moving from your desk to the break room, take advantage of this time and go for a quick walk around the building or down the road. Not enough time for a walk? Find a quiet space and practice a few office yoga poses or perform simple breathing techniques.
- Banish Thirst and Hunger
Healthy snacks are an important component of the work day. Grazing throughout the day, instead of eating three large meals, can help fight fatigue and increase energy levels. When asked by SnackNation what their favorite healthy office snack was, these professionals’ answers ranged from dried fruit to protein shakes.
Whatever your taste is for, be sure to keep a small supply of snacks and a reusable water bottle on hand daily.
Not all workplace wellness ideas are the same and not every option will work for you, but by incorporating some of these suggestions into your daily or weekly routine, you’ll be on the road to achieving a healthier workspace.