By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
Will taking breaks at work increase productivity? Yes! Sitting behind a desk all day is unavoidable for many in the workforce. Programmers, architects, or stock brokers are often hunched in their seats for long stretches. By day’s end, they’re stiff, a little bit achy, and eyes sting from the blue glow of the computer screen.
But take heart for your heart! Desk-centered occupations don’t mean you’re chained to that comfy office chair, in fact taking breaks at work increases productivity. Here are eight tips for staying healthy and pain-free while plugging away on your keyboard:
- Take Breaks
In fact, you should schedule breaks. They don’t need to be long; a five-minute break every two to three hours offers the chance to get up and move. And did you know maintaining a regular schedule with work “sprints” and short rests increases productivity?
- Try “Deskercise”
Some companies are investing in exercise ball-chairs and mini-exercise bikes for under the desk so employees can keep moving throughout the day. But even without these snazzy tools, you can stretch, do leg lifts, and inverted crunches while you work.
- Walk It Out
Your legs are your best friend for exercising at work. Use them instead of the wheels on your desk chair while filing. Suggest a walking meeting with your colleagues; increased blood flow sparks creativity and you might even feel more alert when the meeting is over. If you can’t walk, run, or bike to work, park your car farther out and take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators.
- Eat Smart
Schedule meals as you would breaks to remind yourself of the importance of refueling. Tempting as it may be, avoid eating lunch at your desk. Take this break as an opportunity to switch gears; listen to a podcast or read a book or magazine for pleasure while you eat. And yes, you should pack your own lunch.
- The Water Cooler Isn’t Just for Gossip
During scheduled breaks, refill your water bottle. If it’s full after a few hours, you’re not drinking enough. The short walk to get more water adds a few more paces to your day and the water keeps you more alert than that extra cup of coffee. If the AC is cranked in your office, swap the chilled water and hot coffee for an herbal tea; peppermint is known to increase focus.
- Team Up
Many companies, coworking spaces, and office buildings host intramural sports teams, providing the perfect opportunity to get moving with your colleagues. There’s something about employer-sanctioned outings that make joining less intimidating.
- Let Them Eat Cake
But you don’t have to. Once in a while, that’s a treat. Snarfing a slice at celebrations for employees birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions is bad for your health and waistline. Raise your water bottle in honor of your co-workers.
- Adjust Your Monitor
Both the brightness and placement of your monitor are the key to good desk health. The top of your monitor should meet your eyes, so you’re looking slightly downward when viewing the middle of the screen. This small switch will help your posture and mitigate the occasional backache. Adjust your screen to give a warmer light or switch off blue-light altogether, which reduces stress on your eyes.
Additionally, here’s how an office seating plan can also increase productivity.