Bad Habits You Need To Stop To Improve Your Work Health
We all have bad habits. Perhaps you gossip or lack punctuality. Maybe you bite your nails, say ‘like’ after every word, or crack your knuckles. But did you know there are certain workplace habits that can negatively impact both your physical and mental health? Here are the problems and how to fix them:
1. You’re snacking more than you need to
From biscuits for the morning coffee break to packets of rice cakes for the afternoon slump, many office workers keep a stash of snacks in their desk drawer. And while it’s important to eat frequently to sustain your energy levels, you may find you’re consuming more than you need. Recent studies found that female office workers consume up to 10,000 calories worth of desk treats every year.
If you find yourself reaching for something every thirty minutes, move your treats and snacks away from your desk and find a place for them in the work kitchen (that way you have to walk to get something). And swap high sugar treats like chocolate and biscuits for healthy options like fruit and nuts.
2. You’re surrounded by germs
From coughing colleagues to eating at your desk, recent research has revealed that the average desk contains more than 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. The average desktop harbours 20,961 germs per square inch – and that’s in addition to 3,295 on the keyboard, 1,676 on a mouse and 25,127 on a phone. A dirty desk puts more than two thirds of office workers at risk of sickness.
Clean your desk regularly with sanitiser and fresh cloths, wash your hands between touching your keyboard/phone/desk and handling food, and where possible, open windows and allow fresh air to circulate through the office.
3. You’re not taking your full hour for lunch
Various studies have found that workers are not taking enough breaks during their working day; the average lunch break was found to be just 28 minutes. And when a break is taken, it’s often spent eating a sandwich at our desks or reading over presentations for afternoon meetings. But research shows that not taking proper breaks during the day is a big mistake. People who take time off during the day are more productive, less stressed, and less likely to burn out. We are not productive for eight hours a day; a recent analysis found that people tend to very productive in the morning and peak at 11am. After about 4pm, productivity levels started to decrease.
Breaks are key for a productive working day so make sure you’re taking your full hour at lunchtime. Eat a protein-rich lunch and spend the remaining time doing something relaxing; whether it’s chatting to a colleague, taking a power nap, or going for a 10-15-minute walk outside.
4. You’re working more than you should
Research from IrishJobs.ie found nearly 40% of workers don’t take their full allocation of annual leave. More shocking, a third of people who take their full holiday allowance admit to working while they’re away.
Annual leave is vital time away from the workplace for you to switch off and recharge. Use what your entitled to.
5. You’re sitting too long
A four-year study by Columbia University Medical Centre found sitting for prolonged periods of time can make you twice likely to die prematurely. A similar study by Cambridge University found that one in six deaths per year is caused by a 9 – 5 office lifestyle.
Speak to your manager or supervisor about introducing standing desks. If this is not possible, try to move once per hour – whether it’s a walk to the kitchen, printer or to a colleague on the other side of the room.