Remember when the healthiest tip for upgrading your 9-5 desk job was to get an ergonomic chair? We’ve come so far since then yet, we work longer hours and as it turns out: prolonged sitting is detrimental to our health. More than ever before we’re in need of superhero-type proactive ways to fine-tune our workstations for optimal health and true wellbeing.
The average US office worker spends at least 10 hours each day just plain sitting. The overwhelming majority of that time is spent in front of screens: the computer screen and other monitors during the work day as well as the television at home after work (not to mention the umpteen times each day our eyes glaze over digital screens from smartphones to tablets).
Since it doesn’t appear that we’ll be getting rid of computers, smartphones, sitting workspaces and the traditional 9-5 job any time soon, we need real tips for how to create a health-space that has us living our best life.
5 Tips for Boosting Workspace Health & Productivity
- Standing Workstations: Standing work desks and treadmill desks as alternate workstations can be a real option for you. Ask the crazy ergonomics guy at work what is involved in making a case that sitting is bad for your back. Some employers will take a note from your chiropractor as justification to outfit your office for alternately sitting and standing. There are many cool options for standing and walking workstations.
- Computer Glasses: Blue light is real and it can negatively affect your health. Of the full spectrum of light that emits from devices, blue light penetrates deeper into the eye than any other color light. It is cause for eye strain and headaches but also interrupted sleep and even the culprit for age-related macular degeneration. Blue light-blocking computer glasses stave off the debilitation of eye strain and help maintain a proper sleep rhythm by blocking that blue light. You’ve taken control of your body with yoga. You’ve added goji berries and matcha to your diet. Now you can easily add stylish and protective blue blocker daytime glasses from SafetyBlue. No more spending time nursing your eyes back to health after a long screen day.
- Here Comes the Sun: Consider turning off the fluorescent lights (if it’s an option) and adding a desk lamp affixed with a full spectrum light bulb—sometimes called SAD lamps because they help allay seasonal affective disorder. With improved mood, you can live your best life. We’re only beginning to understand how much proper light and lack thereof can deeply impact our overall wellbeing.
- Move that Body: You have to move. Being sedentary is the first sign of declining health. Add a foot machine below your desk, get a fitness watch to encourage movement or set timers to get you up and active. Unfortunately, the US culture has it that we have to be inventive about incorporating movement into our days—we’re not all working the land and growing our own food…we have to plan for and include movement in our days.
- Clean the Air: Indoor air pollutants are in the list of the top five environmentalproblems associated with poor public health. Often a workplace doesn’t have the option to open windows or circulate the air, but you could add a small air purifier with a HEPA filter on your desk to clean the air you breathe so much of the day. Certain varieties of plants like dracaena and peace lilies naturally purify the air, too, which in turn enhances health.
While there is progress in the healthy workspace realm don't forget the power of walking out from behind the treadmill desk to get a truly healthy perspective.