Promote holistic office wellness by helping staff move, sit, and listen. It’s easy to put it into the daily routine with a low cost and high potential returns. Here are three categories to use in evaluating your approach.
Office Wellness with Movement
Furnish your office for activity. Our bodies are meant to move and not sit in one place for hours at a time.
This write-up from Office Vibe shares important facts: up to 80% of Americans work in jobs that require little to no movement; and research shows that employee medical costs fall by $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs. Here’s what happens with a sedentary lifestyle at the office and at home. Pressure builds on the lower back and joints while key muscle groups can weaken. Blood circulation suffers and, ultimately, less oxygen flows to the brain. Office wellness that includes movement can be subtle. Show employees stretching exercises to do while seated. Encourage them to take a brisk walk down the hallway every couple of hours or scoot around the block outside during lunch. Install height-adjustable desks for individual offices and for workstations. Start getting used to it slowly by using it in a standing position for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
Wellness When Sitting
Sitting seems like a non-stress activity that shouldn’t have any impact on our bodies. Not true. Make no mistake that sitting without moving creates stress. Gravity is at work, plus the way we sit can aggravate key areas of the body like the neck area, lower back and hips. Employee wellness should focus on sitting with proper posture while using ergonomic chairs and workstations and desks with height-adjustable surfaces. Here’s why:
- Proper posture is when a person is sitting in front of a computer with a relatively straight back and not straining to see the screen. Leaning forward strains the neck because our heads weigh as much as a heavy bowling ball. That gradually pulls the vertebrae out of alignment and pinches the nerves running from the brain to the rest of the body. Blood flow is reduced and pain signals increase.
- Ergonomic chairs have a real-world benefit that adjust to the contours of the body and evenly distribute weight. They allow for natural movement, too. Not all chairs are quality ergonomic so look for those with lumbar support, waterfall seating to relieve stress on the legs and adjustments for armrests, height and tilt.
- Height-adjustable desks and workstations conform to individual needs so it’s easy to sit properly. This reduces the flare-up of ailments like carpal-tunnel syndrome.
Another danger to sitting is when people slouch on chairs or sofas and cradle a cell phone with their neck and shoulder. Remember, our bodies and the parts that make it are a whole. A daily repetitive motion like this can throw us out of alignment. That’s why stretching and regular intervals of movement are beneficial.
Another part of office wellness isn’t so obvious, but it can reduce stress a great deal. It’s listening properly. By nature, people want to have their voices heard and know that their ideas and opinions matter. Personal interactions are easily misinterpreted because personality differences come in such wide ranges. This is true in a family and it’s certainly true in an office setting. And as much as we sometimes try, we can never really fully separate our personal lives and needs from our work and professional lives. Broken relationships, sick kids, and other personal issues distract from the tasks at hand. Learning to listen well can reduce internal stress—that’s the jangling nerves that we don’t see. Executives, mid-level managers and hourly workers can all use reminders on how to stop, hear what the other person is saying, and repeat back what they’ve heard.
Having designated areas for quiet conversation and personal reflection is key. Semi-enclosed meeting pods and seating arrangements that allow for one-on-one or individual time provide focus and reduce distractions. Leave cell phones behind and don’t take a laptop to go online.
Achieving Holistic Office Wellness
Office wellness can easily be implemented in the everyday work setting. For ideas on how to plan and furnish an office for better office wellness submit your questions and needs to us! Our 2010 Office Furniture team of experts have a combined of five decades of experience helping start-ups, nonprofits and leading corporations throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.
Read Also: Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness
Main Photo: Global River Lounge
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Global