When was the last time you got up from your desk or looked at something other than a computer screen? If it has been longer than an hour, GET UP! Go take a walk around the office or grab a glass of water. Don’t worry; I’ll be here when you get back.
The human body was not designed for modern work conditions. It was made to be active for most of the day. Sitting at a desk, staring at a computer, followed by sitting in a car or on a train staring at a smartphone or tablet is negatively impacting our health.
Organization leaders should always lead by example. This is especially true with workplace health. Team members look to their leaders for cues as to how many hours to work both in and out of the office, when to take breaks, or stay home when ill. Taking care of your own health will foster the same behavior within your teams and will cultivate an environment that is more productive, happier, and healthier.
Our sedentary lifestyle is literally killing us. The human body was not designed to sit all day. It was also not designed to stare at digital displays and type on keyboards. Proper ergonomics is needed to prevent repetitive use injuries, such as carpal tunnel, and nerve impingements in the neck and back. The computer screen should be at eye level to prevent neck pain. If needed, raise or lower the chair’s height to achieve the proper positioning. Having cushioned mouse and keyboard pads will help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Placing your feet flat on the floor will help correct sitting posture and prevent back pain. If your feet do not reach the floor, use a floor stool.
Between computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions, the amount of time spent staring at screens is negatively impacting eye health. Blinking is reduced when looking at digital displays. This can cause dry eyes which can progress into chronic eye conditions. To maintain eye health, take frequent breaks. Take 15-30 second breaks every 5-10 minutes.
Every hour, get up and take a walk and stretch. It does not need to be a long walk. Even better, have walking meetings with team members to allow everyone to get up and moving. However, a simple walk to the restroom or to the lunchroom for water is sufficient. If you feel stiff or tense at your desk, do some simple desk stretches to get the blood flowing. Check out this video ( http://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/stretching-yoga/stretch-at-work) from Real Simple for a quick and easy desk stretch routine.
Even those who eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep will eventually succumb to a cold. This is where leading by example has the most impact. Too many people feel that they must go to work, despite feeling ill. Offices are prime breeding grounds for viruses and bacterial infections. When you are feeling unwell, STAY HOME! While at home, do not simply work from the couch. Take the time to rest, hydrate, and recover. Doing so will allow the body to recover quicker and will save your colleagues from sharing in your misery.
A healthy workplace is one in which management leads by example. Encouraging your teams to get up and move around during the day, providing ergonomic workstations, and staying home when sick will all make an enormous difference in productivity and overall wellness.
Michael Klein is a premier writer and speaker on all aspects of human capital. As VP Operations for KDS Staffing, Inc., he has achieved industry-leading success. Michael was awarded, The New York State Small Business Growth Award; presented by Governor George Pataki. Additionally, Michael has successfully grown and sold multiple firms. If you or your organization would like to discuss hiring needs, contact Michael at 646-350-3015 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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