Tips for Having a Healthy Workplace
Many people see their workspace as a dull, lifeless, gray place where they spend as little time as possible. And that’s because, for many, that’s exactly what it is! But we spend a huge amount of our life in our workspaces and there’s no reason they can’t reflect our personalities and lifestyles — we need to bring some of the outside in. Adding pictures, colors and objects that remind you of home and your life outside work can brighten your mood.
Decluttering, organizing, and accommodating your workspace to fit your life can do wonders for your mental health and mood. These tips can help organize a home desk too and take it from a cluster of junk drawers to an organized and useful communication station for the whole family. These desk hacks can be broken into two categories – those that can help improve your physical health and wellness and those that help make your desk more fun, functional, and efficient.
Hacks For Health
We all know we shouldn’t spend eight or 10 hours a day sitting and staring at a computer, but sometimes it’s impossible not to. When you can’t take the frequent breaks you should, try these tips to help keep your body healthy and aligned while sitting at a desk. Get a mouse pad with a wrist rest if you’re typing at a computer all day. Also, try to arrange your body so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle most of the time and your computer screen is eye level between 20 and 40 inches from your face. Lastly, your posture is very important to your desk health. Ideally, your feet should be flat on the ground and your shoulders squared, upright, and relaxed. When you’re feeling sore or tired, get up and take a walk, take the stairs whenever you have the option, or go grab some water. All are great for your body.
One of the worst parts about sitting at a desk all day is just that – sitting all day. Plus, the longer you work, the harder it is to make it to the gym after work. If your legs feel lazy in their chair all day, try a desk bicycle. There are different iterations but the most affordable is a set of pedals that sit under your desk and can be used to bike throughout the day. Keeping up a light pace or even going hard a couple times a day can burn extra calories and help concentration. Breaking up the day with stretching or simple exercises with weights can help the monotony and burn a few extra calories too. Studies show that humans in general sit down way too much. Over eight hours of sitting per day (add up all the time working, commuting, eating, watching TV, etc.) actually qualifies as a high level of sitting. This is what makes getting up and taking breaks so important. But another option is to get a standing desk if your workplace offers it. It’s much healthier to sit down as a break from standing instead of the opposite. Sitting on a fitness ball instead of a chair has become trendy but studies show that these balls do not seem to offer many health benefits. However, if it does not give you pain and you feel it improves your posture or mood, give it a try.
Fun Feng Shui
It’s amazing how cluttered we let our desks become and how much of a difference a neat and organized desk can make to our state of mind. A simple workspace with a computer, lamp and a few desktop accessories can become a clustered mess of cords and plugs quite easily. Luckily, there are ways around this. Neat freaks have developed hacks to hide the messiness of modern life, even with the simplest desk. Installing a pegboard underneath the desk allows you to wire cords and other unmentionables so they are tucked away out of site. Plastic desk grommets (you know them as the pieces of plastic that encircle a hole drilled through the desk) are a clean and attractive way to have the minimum amount of cord in site while hiding the rest away. Brackets, double-sided tape and nylon ties are more great ways to keep the mess out of site. This blog has some great examples of these methods in practice.
Work Up, Not Out
A clean desk can give us a fresh start each day but it’s hard to deny the papers, office supplies and odds and ends we need to run our days. One idea is to build your desk up, not out. Use shelving, wall hangings, and pinboards to not only get piles of things off your desk but to put them at eye level, where you’ll see them and utilize them more. This tip also works for drawer storage. Instead of a drawer full of junk, a sectioned and organized drawer will maximize space and minimize time spent digging around. Here is a good example of a desk that is built up, making the most of wall and desktop space. Pinterest has lots more great ideas and inspiration for office organization.
Make It Fun
The best thing to combat a gray, never-ending sea of cubes is to add some color! Make your workspace uniquely yours. Whether you hang up colorful wallpaper or fabric, your favorite team or country’s flag, bring in green plants in bright vases, or paint all your organizational tools pink and green (you might want to check with your boss before you paint the company computer magenta), do what you can to spice up your workspace. Remember, unlike your home, your desk at work doesn’t have to match the rest of your rooms or your home’s style. If you’ve always wanted a pink wall, try it out at work!