Desk-Fit 360 Part 3 – Hey! Break it up!
In the 3rd of our 5-part desk-fit 360 series we discuss some important workplace habits.
Get up and move
Most of us are stuck at our desks for hours on end when for the most part we don’t need to be. Even in sedentary occupations, there are always opportunities to get up out of your chair, you just have to look for them. If you are taking a phone call or simply reading a document or article that doesn’t require you to be sitting and typing, stand up! Even a few minutes out of every hour will reduce some of the stress on your body and increase cirulation. Try to utilize other opportunities to move about too. If you work in a large office, instead of sending internal emails to colleagues go and talk to them directly. This is likely to be more productive than a long chain of interruptive emails. If you are conducting meetings with 3 or 4 people and don’t require much written material, why not have the meeting while walking!
Having a cluttered desk area makes it more difficult to achieve an ideal ergonomic set-up. It is also likely to increase stress and decrease productivity. As mentioned in the previous issue, if you must use a notebook, try to use as small a notebook as possible to decrease the space between you and the keyboard.
Spending long periods of time looking down at a paper document resting on the desk may be equally as harmful as looking down at a screen. All documents should be placed up on a document holder and kept as close to the monitor as possible.
It wasn’t until I began practicing in Tokyo that I became aware of the condition “broker’s neck”, a cervical spine injury which occurs as a result of pinching the hand-set between ear and shoulder. Luckily, this practice seems to be decreasing as people are becoming aware of the trouble it can cause (or perhaps because brokers seem to be a dying breed) but if you are someone who finds themselves doing this please consider using a headset or open mic.
The body needs water to perform basic functions necessary for survival and a lack of hydration may lead to decreased work performance. Try to consume at least 2 litres of water throughout your work-day. By keeping a 500ml bottle on you, you have at least 4 reasons to get up and go to the water fountain.
If you are reading this you no doubt already understand the importance of general exercise. Both the body and the mind are happier when moving well and moving often. Those who exercise regularly are less likely to take sick days and will have higher energy levels leading to better job performance. In terms of exercise modalities, there can be cases made for any type of exercise being the most advantageous for general health, weight loss or injury prevention. As far as lower back pain goes, the research shows that exercise is better than no exercise but all types of exercise are equally effective. The most important thing is to choose something that you enjoy doing and are likely to stick with.