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Love your workplace

Local business Aston and James are running a 3-month awareness campaign to educate local businesses on the importance of active movement in the workplace to encourage wellbeing. The campaign’s called Love your Workplace, and features blogs, advice, discount offers and free trials on products designed to improve wellbeing at work.

This article gives you an overview of the importance of workplace wellbeing, along with some practical tips which you can implement today for a happier, healthier working you.

Written by: Darren Aston

Sedentary office working is seriously damaging our wellbeing and happiness

We all strive to be happy in our workplace. It’s where we spend a vast proportion of our week. However, studies show that 47% of us are unhappy in our current working role. That’s a lot of time to be gloomy.

Our working environment has a massive impact on our wellbeing and happiness. Many of us are working longer hours, skipping lunch breaks and sitting down for up to 10 hours a day which contributes to our feelings of frustration and inertia.

It’s steadily being recognised that sitting at a desk all day has a serious impact on health. A staggering 60% of us claim that sitting for too long has affected our performance at work. It’s costing businesses money; a whopping €73 billion annually across businesses in Europe through employee absenteeism. It’s in everyone’s interest to tackle this growing problem.

Our bodies are designed to move. Sitting for prolonged periods of time means our muscles are inactive and our metabolism slows down. This leads to a greater strain on the heart, increases the risk of blood clots, cancer and obesity, and increases our susceptibility to mental health issues.

Fall in love with your lunch break again

Many of us find it hard to take a lunchbreak. Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day. The UK has the longest working day in the whole of Europe, with the average lunch break lasting just 34 minutes. All too often employees feel unable to take their full hour, regularly grabbing a sandwich at their desk instead of taking a proper break.

Working through a lunch break is counter-productive. It’s a fact that we can only concentrate for a maximum of 90 minutes at a time. Skip lunch and you lose some essential quality down time away from your computer to reboot and come back refreshed for the afternoon.

It’s not necessary to need to eat super food salads and hit the gym every lunch time. But it is imperative for workplace wellbeing and happiness that regular breaks are taken to improve state of mind, physical health and productivity.

A walk around the block, a quick meet up with friends or even a lunchtime art class will help give bit of midday revitalisation.

Be a more upSTANDing you

It’s recommended that we move around for 2 – 4 hours per working day. Standing up promotes calorie loss and works the muscles leading to better health and wellbeing at work, and as such improves productivity.

Polls have shown that the Scandinavians are the happiest workforce in the world. It’s the only culture to have a specific word for workplace happiness: arbejsglaede. These nations recognise the health benefits of movement incorporated into office working and actively promote them to their employees.

So how can you incorporate more movement into the workplace? It may be as simple walking over to a colleague instead of emailing them. You may consider taking the stairs rather than the lift, or if you are really pushed for time simply take a few moments for some deep breaths, stretch your arms, legs and back whilst still at your desk.

There are also many new and innovative products now available which help promote movement, such as the Fellowes Lotus Sit-Stand workstation and the Elev8 desk ranges:

Fellowes Sit Stand work station and Elev8 desk image to go here along with testimonial. Possibly in a light blue background to help lift this from the page.

You can see these revolutionary products in action and try at Aston and James’ dedicated furniture showroom in Witney.

Straighten up your act

Recent research conducted by Fellowes has revealed that 48% of workers suffer from back problems, 42% from neck problems, 39% from fatigue and 38% from headaches caused by sitting at a desk incorrectly or for too long. As well as it being essential to move around more, it’s also essential that your workstation promotes good posture to prevent unnecessary ailments. Here are five tips to ensure your workstation is a healthy one:

Tip 1: Ensure your seat is pushed as close to your desk as possible, and that the chair supports your curve of your spine. A chair that can tilt may help you.
Tip 2: Avoid slouching as it causes your lumbar spine to lose its natural curve. This can result in strain on your lumber discs leading to lower back pain. Your head should be balanced and not craned forward.
Tip 3: Ensure your keyboard is not too far away, and use wrist supports if required.
Tip 4: The screen should be adjusted so the top is at eye level and approximately at arm’s length.
Tip 5: Your feet should be flat on the floor. If not, a footrest should be used.

Are you looking for more guidance? Aston & James can assist your local business with free DSE (Display Screen Equipment) Assessments and give advice on the best ergonomic office furniture for your needs.

As local leaders in workplace wellness, Aston and James are available to answer any questions you may have on wellbeing in the workplace. You can get in touch via any of the means below:

SitStand Testimonial

Having always been an outdoor personal trainer, purchasing an office desk and setting up an office was the last possible job on earth that I thought I would be doing! Well that’s the way things seemed to have developed over the years! Not that I’m complaining as I do the job I love and have a passion for it.

Being a preacher of all things health & wellbeing related and a firm motivator for people to ‘get off their backsides’, the Sit Stand desk was right up my street. The ordering of my new desk was actually a very exciting experience… I was thinking what exercises can I encompass while writing an email; maybe I could put it on auto so that I could do endless squats up & down, up & down all day long! The option of having the desk at a range of heights gave me such good flexibility in how I laid out my new office. I normally would work at my breakfast bar which had a really nice height so wanted to replicate this.

I have been using the Sit Stand desk for nearly a year now and it’s absolutely brilliant. The way in which you can work and keep your body’s key functional muscles active is of huge benefit. Being stood up actually encourages you to move more whether that be to the printer, or in my case going downstairs and making a cappuccino and giving the dog a good nuzzle. These Sit Stand desks work. They encourage you to think about your body. Human beings are not built to sit down all day long. We already spend 40-50% of our time lying down asleep so I cannot recommend these Sit Stand desks enough.

Tom Alden – TLA Fitness