Working in an Office? You may not be as fit as you think!
Do you work in an office? Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm? Working long hours at a desk and computer screen? If so, this may be having a negative effect on your health without you realising! Just doing a quick google search will show you that there are many theories out there that suggest that office workers are among the unhealthiest in the workforce and that sitting all day at a desk and computer can lead to illness and disease and here are some of the most popular theories:
- Regular slouching at your desk can lead to posture problems and health issues in the future.
- People who rush to work and skip breakfast leave their bodies in a constant stressful state every morning.
- Poorly ventilated rooms and recirculated are can cause lung problems.
- Office workers are more prone to heart disease i.e. from very little movement all day followed by relaxing at home on the couch after a long day at work
- Eye strain from staring at screens all day can lead to long-term vision problems
- General Illness from bacteria that builds up on a person’s desk – this is magnified when a person eats regularly at their desk!
Here at Tracey Solicitors, we decided to test these theories and implemented a 6-week office health and wellbeing challenge which helped to help boost office morale, fitness, wellness and general wellbeing.
How did our office challenge work?
The winning team pictured here on the day of the final! From left to right: Jen, Aisling, Emilia, Zoe and Maria
We split the company into teams of 6/7 people. We have 30 in our office and made 4 teams. Over the course of 6 weeks, each team participated in weekly challenges in the office for which they would receive points on the leaderboard. The idea would be that the team with the most points at the end of the 6 weeks were the winners.
Homework outs became part of everybody’s daily routine!
In addition to this each team had the option to win bonus points for any additional physical activity they did outside of work – this could be going for a walk, run, swim or gym session.
Office Challenges gave the whole event a level of enjoyment. Here we have Eoin and T.J. battling it out to see who can keep the shuttlecock in the air the longest!
During the course of the weeks, the teams were given challenges of simply eating a healthy lunch during the week, team walks at lunchtime and also some fun in office games to help boost morale and help teams get their bonus points in.
We ordered in some delicious and healthy juices and smoothies from SiSu Juices, a great way to start a Monday morning!
Throughout the weeks, we had also ordered in some healthy treats to the office such as healthy fruit platters, smoothies, healthy breakfasts and put a ban on chocolate into the office for the 6 weeks, to encourage a healthy lifestyle!
Dom, Elaine, Monika, Caoimhe, Donna, T.J. and Sharon setting out on one of the lunchtime walks strengthening their teamwork and communication skills!
The aim of the game really was to get the office moving, thinking healthy, eating healthy and demonstrating a positive attitude and help bring the office even closer together.
From this challenge, we bring you our top tips to improve your health at work!
1. Drink more water
Drinking more water can have a surprisingly positive impact on your working day. You know that 3 pm slump we sometimes feel? This can be a direct result of dehydration – if you want to avoid the midday slump then always have a bottle of water on your desk. A good way to do this is to aim to drink 1 litre before lunch – 2 glasses at lunch (500ml) – and another litre between 2 pm and 5 pm and continue this at home ensuring you have 2-3 glasses before going to bed.
2. Avoid unhealthy snacking at work – Sugar is NOT your friend!
Ciara in our office decided to ditch the chocolate for a healthier strawberry and peanut butter rice cake!
In many offices, there is that one place where you know you can grab a treat of some chocolate that somebody brought in or brought back from their holidays – while tempting, your general wellbeing will not appreciate it. Excess sugar can overload and damage your liver, it tricks your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism which can lead to metabolic dysfunction, which can cause obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure and increases your risk of other diseases.
Avoid these treats and replace them with healthy treats like fruit. Nuts are a good source of energy and because they release energy slowly you may find that you do not have the craving for the chocolate that you once had. Top tip here is to keep a bag of nuts at your desk to avoid unhealthy snacking.
3. Portion control at lunch
Zoe decided that a salad and fruit would be a better lunch option for her!
While eating a healthy lunch is great for your wellbeing, it may be the case that you are not eating unhealthy food at lunch but eating too much of it, leaving you with a full, sluggish feeling for the afternoon. If losing weight is your goal, it can be a simple as eating fewer calories that you are burning. Which brings us to our next tip.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercise doesn’t have to done in the gym – Sarah walked to and from work each day as part of her daily exercise!
Exercising regularly has many benefits that are not limited to weight loss. Regular exercise can help boost self-esteem, sleep quality, mood and energy and reduces the risk of depression and stress.
A gym may not be for everybody, if you can, join a gym that has a starter program to help guide you on your path to a healthier lifestyle. For those in Dublin, Energie Fitness has a great fitness program with excellent trainers to help you change your lifestyle.
If joining a gym is not feasible, then simply getting into the habit of going for a walk or run in the evenings or exercising at home (plenty of YouTube videos out there to help you).
It takes just 2-3 weeks to create a new habit, why not get started today!
5. Get social!
Monika, Rosie, Jacqui Nikita and Pauline heading out on one of their lunchtime walks!
Socialising is a proven way to help a person feel better and has a very positive effect on mental wellbeing.
- Connect with people in the office – organizing an office challenge can help do this and boost team spirit and moral.
- Get an office gym buddy – going to the gym for a quick spin class with a colleague can be a great way to combine a socialising with exercise – you may find that the lunchtime gym session will be something you want to do rather than something you feel like you have to do!
- Create a weekly office newsletter, one that contains funny office stories, one that everybody can contribute to – this is a great way to increase office morale.
- Motivational Mondays – you would be surprised just how effective reading a motivational quote on a Monday morning can help your mental health and set you up for a positive start to the week.