Here are 6 simple workplace wellness tips that you can implement immediately:
Topics like standing desks, workplace wellness, and mental health in the workplace are on the rise, and for good reason:
- The average Canadian spends almost 10 hours of their day sitting, and spend 77-80% of their work hours in prolonged periods of sitting.
- 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health issue this year.
- Employers of all sizes have a responsibility to provide a healthy and safe work environment, including when it comes to ergonomic and psychological factors in the work environment under the Canada Labour Code.
So if you are a small business owner with the well-being of your staff in mind, making effective and affordable decisions around these topics can be challenging. Some questions or thoughts you might be having are:
- “Should I invest in standing desks for my team? How do I know they will work as intended?”
- “What do I know about identifying mental health challenges, let alone, how would I support a team member if I did?”
- “While a wellness program sounds nice, I don’t see how a fitness or yoga class would be compatible to our regular operations.”
At inHabit Workplace Wellness, we come across these questions and objections all the time. We agree that any new initiative to your organization needs to be compatible, affordable, and effective. We know that planning healthier workspaces are costly, implementing culture change takes time, and defining what workplace wellness means to your team is an ongoing conversation that can take a while to even start. Therefore, we have put together 6 simple, effective, and free workplace wellness tips you can implement immediately.
1. Take a (micro) break
Have you ever noticed how walking away from a task or problem helps you to have an ‘aha!’ moment?
Taking a short-break, of 1-5 minutes, once or twice an hour is proven to increase creativity and productivity. Some benefits have been shown to come from various activities even including taking a smoke break or watching a funny video, although not recommended. At InHabit, we see the micro-break as a great mechanism to encourage healthy habits that refresh and recharge the employee. Socializing, listening to music, getting outside, or simply using that time to sit quietly are all great ways to give the mind and body a break.
Research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology clearly demonstrates that breaks taken earlier in the shift led to better outcomes than those taken later.
2. Move around
Short stints of movement have been proven to increase both energy and attentiveness as a result of brief hyper oxygenation in the brain. Whether you sit, stand or labour, you probably are familiar with feeling stiff and sore. In order to keep limber, it’s important to move and increase blood flow in your joints, organs and brain. We encourage workers to start by stretching as if they just woke up from a deep sleep, intuitively letting their body guide them to find tight and stiff areas of the body.
3. Work the knots out
Massage is associated with a myriad of benefits, from relaxation, to pain management, creativity and even productivity. Not every workplace can afford to schedule in a visit from a massage therapist, nor does every employee take full advantage of their benefits package. When it comes to tight and sore muscles in the workplace however, we recommend workers take time to practice short periods of self-massage. By using hands, or a self-massage ball, workers can learn to target tight areas and provide themselves with some relaxation and increased blood flow on-the-go or on a break.
4. Take a deep breath - or several
One symptom of stress can be shortened or shallow breathing, which makes it harder to focus or to feel calm. By practicing deeper breathing, oxygen and blood flow increases throughout the body and the brain. It is suggested that there is a connection between breathing and increased alertness, and the right kind of breathing has been proven to effectively regulate the stress response of the autonomic nervous system. In other words, breathing can help you switch between fight, flight or freeze, to rest and digest.
5. Practice 20-20-20
If you’ve ever felt tension in your forehead, or just felt tired eyes, it could be sign that your eyes are strained. Relax your eyes by looking out a window at far distances, or simply spend a few minutes with your eyes closed. A great tagline to remember for eye health is the 20-20-20 rule where desk workers are recommended to look at a distance of 20 feet or more, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes to help the eyes break from viewing at a short distance such as a screen or document.
6. Don’t forget to hydrate
When dehydrated, we can feel fatigued and unwell before we realize we are even thirsty. Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee in the afternoon slump, start with a glass of water. To avoid negative effects of dehydration, keep a large vessel of water (preferably glass) within reach, set reminders in your phone, or research the many hydration apps for phones and smart watches.
Want to make effective use of these habits at your next meeting or at your desk? These tips are often the easiest starting point to see results starting today. inHabit Workplace Wellness helps workers and their employers to have more productive, healthy, and active work days. By providing healthy workspace tools and educating on healthy work habits, we help our clients to overcome common workplace stressors while working in an environment that promotes well-being. Our process focuses on ergonomic wellness, team wellness training, and healthy workspace design.
To learn more workplace wellness tips, download this inHabit Wellness brochure:
Written for: Olympia Benefits