Does your job involve sitting at a desk and looking at a screen for eight hours? Is your daily to-do list so jam-packed that ‘workplace wellness’ can’t even crack the top 10? Wish you could find a way to make wellness at the office part of your routine — but just not sure you have the time?
A full day of being in a seated position working on a computer can be surprisingly exhausting. And in between meeting deadlines, juggling multiple job duties and trying to find a work-life balance, figuring out how to stay healthy at a desk job can be downright frustrating.
Discovery Health Services is committed to supporting wellness at work for everyone, from healthcare heroes to manufacturing mavens to overworked office staff.
If you’re looking for inspirational and motivational wellness activities for the workplace, you’re in the right place! Read on for our tips on at-desk exercise, nutrition that fuels productivity and other healthy desk job habits.
The Importance of Wellness at the Office
What is workplace wellness exactly and who benefits from it? In a nutshell, everything your company does to promote the mental and physical health of its workers comprises your employee wellness package. That includes the group health insurance plans on offer, as well as less obvious benefits like flexible scheduling options, ample coverage for vacations and paid sick days — which can be minimized through a variety of wellness activities in the workplace.
Measurable data tells us that promoting wellness at work helps employees feel valued and be more productive while reducing turnover, absenteeism and health care costs. If your workforce includes a lot of people sitting at desks, your goal of higher productivity and lower call-offs requires wellness work ideas tailored to their needs.
How to Stay Healthy at a Desk Job
Sitting seems benign — but a largely sedentary workday can contribute to a host of long-term health problems. Help your staff head off illness with these ideas for at-desk workouts and other strategies for better desk job health.
Get Moving Every Hour
For every hour spent working on websites or spreadsheets, take five minutes to move your body. Periodic activity boosts your circulation, metabolism and mood. Walking to a colleague’s office or cubicle gets you moving, but it can also improve negative work environments by creating a sense of camaraderie and connection with colleagues. Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible, park a bit further from the building and find other opportunities to stand up and engage in physical movement multiple times throughout the day.
Invest in a Standing Desk
Physically healthy employees are any company’s greatest asset. Help yours stay on top of wellness at the office by investing in standing desks. With ergonomically adjustable heights, these desks allow workers to alternate between standing and sitting while staying focused on their tasks. Offering this type of accommodation to those who want it is a great way to show you’re investing in your employees’ physical wellness at work.
Practice Better Posture
A simple way to prioritize your own mental and physical wellness at work is to practice better posture. Adjust your chair for optimal lumbar and back support, then check in with yourself periodically to assess your position. Are you leaning forward with your elbows on the desk? Has your back crumpled into a slouch? Have you crossed your legs and leaned to one side? Take a few seconds of mindfulness to bring your awareness to your posture. Breathe in deeply while elongating your spine and dropping your shoulders, then exhale slowly. Attending to better posture can help alleviate chronic neck and back pain, as well as promoting focus and a sense of well-being.
Sneak In Some Stretches
Noticing a tight feeling between your shoulder blades? Getting cramps in your feet or legs at your desk? Feeling stressed but don’t have time for a walk? Stretching your arm, hand, neck and back muscles can be a discreet way to protect your desk job health. It’ll stimulate blood flow and help dispel stress. Whether you wiggle your toes, clench and unclench your buttocks, shake out your wrists or simply raise your hands high above your head, a simple stretching routine can be an incredibly healthy at-desk exercise for clearing away that mid-morning or post-lunchtime fog.
Upgrade Your Nutrition
One of the most important tips for how to stay healthy at a desk job is developing a lean, nutrient-rich diet. Those tempting high-carb or fatty foods really work against you when you’re sitting for long periods. Include plenty of fruits and veggies in your snacks and lunch to help feel full longer while making sure your body is nourished with all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs. If you’re concerned about getting all your nutrition from food or looking to stave off seasonal viruses, you can also give your immune system a boost with supplements, like vitamin B12 injections. Upgrading your food choices can go a long way toward protecting your desk job health.
Take Advantage of Workplace Wellness Programs
Does your workplace offer discounted gym memberships? Are there other types of wellness activities in the workplace you can take advantage of, like a lunchtime walking group? Most employers understand that creating a structured and accountable wellness program supports a healthier bottom line — but you have to take the initiative to get yourself involved! Talk to your company’s HR department, look up the benefits on your company’s website or get the lowdown on workplace wellness programs from your colleagues. If you can’t find the support for wellness at the office that you need, say something! Management will appreciate your insight into the types of wellness activities you want in the workplace. Plus, you may discover benefits and wellness work ideas you hadn’t known about.
Workplace Wellness Programs from Discovery Health
Wellness at work is a top priority at DHS. From medical talent management to on-site flu vaccinations to coordinated public health crisis responses, we’re committed to helping you create and maintain a culture of workplace wellness. Contact us today to see how our services can support your workforce with wellness work ideas that generate measurable results.