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If someone told you that sitting all day leaves them exhausted, your first reaction may be to laugh. That is unless you’re a desk worker who can understand the drain one feels after being sedentary for a long period of time.
Web developers, designers, writers, social managers and marketers – we all spend a lot of time at our desks and the energy drain that comes with sitting behind a computer all day is very real. So real, in fact, that many businesses from home-based startups to multi-billion dollar corporations are taking notice.
In a recent interview with Michael McTigue, director of digital media for GlaxoSmithKline, simple changes to the office setup left him and his colleagues feeling more energetic while they worked behind a screen. GlaxoSmithKline recently started a program to redesign their office space and give employees a more productive, healthier place to work. With more and more research coming out showing the risks of prolonged sitting, GlaxoSmithKline is not alone in their efforts.
In 2012, hundreds of studies were published showing the negative impact that sedentary behavior, such as that of a web worker, has on one’s health. Blood clots, obesity, increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes are only a few of the serious health risks. Lowered productivity and difficulty staying focused have also been named as potential side effects of a desk job.
Until recently, people who worked in a desk job, such as digital marketers, had no choice but to sit behind a screen to get their job done. But now, web workers have more opportunities to be healthier on the job. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Set An Alarm To Get Up Once Per Hour
With the fast-paced world of social media and digital marketing, many people who work online forget to stand up now and then and give their body a break. A simple change in position can increase blood flow through your body, lower pressure on your back and hips, and allow you to readjust so that your body can feel better.
Humans were not made to sit for long periods of time.
If you have difficulty remembering to get up at least once per hour, setting an alarm to remind you can help.
If your focus is dwindling, try boosting your blood flow with a quick set of squats, jumping jacks or any kind of movement. This is a great way to get the blood pumping so that you can regain a sharper focus and perform better and healthier at work.
2. Walk And Talk
If getting up regularly seems too difficult to try at first, then simply walking while you talk on the phone can be a great way to incorporate movement into your day. With hands-free headsets and cordless phones, we’re no longer tethered to our desks by that conference call or long-distance meeting.
Next time the phone rings, take that as your cue to stand up. As long as you’re engaged in a conversation, keep moving!
3. Invest In The Right Office Furniture
Try incorporating adjustable height desks into your office space. A standup desk allows a person to sit or stand whenever they choose. The result as reported by many organizations is that this type of office furniture increased employee energy, reduced pressure on back, hips and neck, and provided a more comfortable, productive way to work.
To take it up a notch, more and more people have discovered the ease and joy of walking while working at a treadmill desk. Although it may sound strange at first, with a slow and steady pace you can maintain your productivity at work while keeping your body in motion.
For web workers who frequently attend webinars, walking instead of sitting while taking in new information is a far healthier approach to being behind a computer. Being in motion can also improve memory retention and focus, making your webinars more productive, too.
4. Make Your Office A Little Bit Less Convenient
Small conveniences add up to more hours of sitting. For example, that trashcan underneath your desk could be moved across the office. This would force you to get up each time you want to throw something away.
When you force yourself to get up in order to perform a small task, you increase the amount of movement you get throughout the day. Move the printer, the pencil sharpener, the coffee machine – you may like having everything at your fingertips but you do so to the detriment of your health.
Eliminate the small conveniences around your office to force yourself out of your chair and out from behind your computer screen.
Making some small changes to the way you work on the web will allow you to be healthier and happier at work. Your focus improves, your productivity increases and your body will thank you with fewer aches, pains and exhaustion after a long day behind a screen.
Do you feel healthy at work? If not, what changes will you make to your office?