Workspace Makeover: 3 Steps to a Healthy Work Environment

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: April 4, 2016

Do you work an average 40-hour week, with one-third of your day spent sitting behind a desk? The workspace is often our “home-away-from-home”—and because we spend so much there, we want it to be conducive to good health and wellness. So, how can we make our work environments healthier?

1. Create an ergonomic workstation. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the goal of ergonomics is to “reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture and repeated tasks.” A well-designed workspace enables you to work comfortably without needing to sit or stand too long, overreach, or use awkward postures. When evaluating your current workspace, ask yourself questions that will address the overall set-up, along with your seating, desk configuration, keyboard usage, telephones and lighting. For instance:

  • Is your workstation arranged so that you are able to perform your tasks and maintain correct posture?
  • Is it possible to adjust your office chair? At the same time, does it provide support for your lower back and cushioning in the seat?
  • Do you experience a glare on your computer screen, which may cause you to assume an awkward position to avoid?
  • Are you able to rest your forearms, wrists and hands when using a keyboard?
  • Can you comfortably use your telephone with your head upright and your shoulders relaxed if you are doing computer tasks at the same time?
  • Are you able to adjust your lighting based on the needs of the tasks being performed?

A more comprehensive ergonomics checklist is available for download from osha.gov.

2. Clear the clutter. 

Taking control of your workspace means keeping it organized. The definition of organization varies from person to person, with one who thrives on a little “creative clutter” versus another who appreciates a clean desk at the end of the day. It’s important, however, to find your happy balance—one that enables you to be productive at work while keeping your stress levels at bay. Here are a few examples of how you can take control of office clutter:

  • Keep your workspace for just that—work. Find other places to eat lunch. The benefits of doing this far outweigh simply organizing your space. Eating elsewhere is an opportunity to move, to engage with colleagues, and even to increase job satisfaction.
  • If there is a natural flow to the work you do throughout the day, arrange your desktop, as well as in your files, in a logical fashion. Doing so enables you to keep from twisting every few minutes to find something you need.
  • To avoid trips or falls, make sure to organize electrical cords neatly, safely and out of traffic areas.
  • Disinfect your work surface regularly.

3. Take a brain break. 

The addition of physical activity, even if it is just a few minutes to stretch your legs once every hour, can go a long way in reenergizing you throughout the day. For instance:

  • Opportunities to walk are everywhere. Take a quick walk around the office or stroll up and down the stairs.  These short increments of activity can increase blood flow which, in turn, releases hormones that help us to manage stress, increase alertness and burn calories.
  • Stand up and stretch or walk in place at your desk without looking at your computer or other mobile devices.
  • Take a healthy snack break and enjoy items like low- or non-fat yogurt, unsalted almonds, crunchy vegetables or a handful of grapes. The American Heart Association provides a host of options for healthy snacking

For more information on making your workspace healthier, please contact us.

Disclaimer: The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of a physician. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to a physician.