By Wendy van Wyk Registered Biokineticist

Happy new year from all of us at Ergonomicsdirect. We thought we would kick off 2021 with a blog about healthy workplace habits. Let’s set a trend for the year by trying these super 7 health tips:

1) Move more!

Sitting all day is a health risk. Prolonged sitting and sedentary behaviour can cause obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, increased cholesterol and poor circulation.

Invest in a standing desk to alternate sitting and standing while at work; if you can’t get a standing desk, make changes to your habits at work. Stand while on the phone, take regular breaks and walk around- walking meetings are great!

2) Talk more type less

Along with a host of other digital channels, email has an important role in communicating. These have fundamentally changed how we communicate. Expressing emotion through digital channels can be challenging at times, which is why face-to-face communication or verbally speaking to someone telephonically is important.

Often if you ask a colleague who is having some difficulties with another colleague if they have picked up the phone and tried to verbally address the matter, too often the response is “no.”

Next time you are preparing to dash off an email, ask yourself if this situation could be better resolved through a phone call? If yes, then pick up the phone and build a relationship.

3) Curb the caffeine

It’s very easy to drink too much coffee –this adds up to a lot of caffeine during the week, and can possibly lead to increased heart rate, headaches, and anxiety.

Consider switching to decaffeinated. If you don’t mind the taste difference then this is a good option. Another option is changing your morning coffee to green tea – it’s a healthy alternative and, once you get used to the taste, it’s a nice, refreshing drink in the morning. The best option however is to simply cut down on the number of coffees you have and try water instead.

4) Stop snack attacks

Snacking – at work, at home, and on the go – isn’t going anywhere. Substituting a better alternative is not only much, much easier, but also more likely to produce positive results and create dramatic behavioural change.

How we snack affects how we eat generally. Data from one worksite wellness study found “that the choice of snack foods affected both diet quality and BMI”. In other words, the more nutritious the snack, the better the meal choices later.

5) Invest in ergonomics

Ergonomics is important because when you’re doing your job and your body is stressed by an awkward posture, extreme temperature, or repeated movement, your efficiency is affected.

Your body may begin to have symptoms such as fatigue, discomfort, and pain, which can not only negatively impact your health but also your comfort and productivity.

6) Work smart not hard

Working too much, for long hours, has many negative effects on our health. Working long hours often results in a culmination of health risks such as high blood pressure, bad diet and stress. In a study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology, it was found that employees that worked overtime regularly were 40%-80% more likely to die of heart disease.

Know when to go home and monitor your hours. There are always going to be those days when you have to work late, but there will equally be days where you could just get the work done the next day.

Working from home with flexible hours can help to ease the pressure by giving you the option to work without distraction. It may also be the case that you’re more productive at certain times of the day.

7) Empower yourself

Personal empowerment means taking control of your life. True personal empowerment requires you to set meaningful goals to identify what you want from life, and then take action to achieve those goals and have more impact on the world around you.

You need to develop your self-awareness, so that you understand your strengths and weaknesses. You also need an awareness and understanding of your goals—and how these differ from your current position. Achieving your goals may require you to change your behaviours, and even your deeper values and beliefs.

Wishing all of you a healthy and prosperous 2021- please stay safe out there.

Yours in Ergonomics


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