One of the major wellbeing issues that have emerged recently is sedentary behavior. This has been identified by VicHealth as the number two issue that negatively impacts workplace wellbeing. Stress is still number one. Sedentary behavior is quite simply when we sit for too long. The solution is easy. Move.
Unless you move some things start to happen, or worse still, not happen. From an emotional perspective the body starts to ache. Pains start to be felt in the fingers, arms and shoulders, and often turn into a headache. Legs and feet can cramp and stiffen and did I mention that your bum gets sore also? Lower backache is right up there as one of the major reasons why people visit a doctor.
At a mental level you’re brain starts to slow down and even malfunction. It gets easily distracted by anything from email alerts, to thinking about going home (even if it’s still morning), and the next thing that you should be doing, even though you haven’t finished the last. It can also make bad decisions about the type of food that you eat.
And at a physical level you will put on weight. You start to feel lethargic, and your movements become slower and of course productivity decreases. Left long enough you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, have one or two of your legs removed due to gangrene, go blind, and die undergoing kidney dialysis if you aren’t eligible for a kidney transplant. I don’t mean to be an alarmist BUT the above is real. I learnt all about this first hand when I spent a month in a Kidney Dialysis Unit as a therapist last year. More than half of the people didn’t have to be there. So what can we do about this?
Tip Number 8. Scatter your workload.
Scatter your workload…actually and not literally. Since the dawn of (business) time, there has been a push on efficiency, and rightly so. Improved efficiency leads to higher productivity. As a businessman of more than 40 years you won’t get an argument from me about that. Lean Thinking was one of these efficiency processes. It was about having everything at your fingertips, being able to move from left to right in a systematic manner, and have things labeled so you could find them faster.
Unfortunately, it’s not until we implement these ideas, that we found there was a down side. We weren’t moving.
We need a balance. What can we do to provide efficiency but stop people sitting for prolonged periods of time? The answer could be to scatter things around the office so that people have to move.
Here are 5 simple ways to scatter your workload.
- Place the printer in a remote location. Often when we print something it is at the end of an activity, so this provides a break between one task and another.
- Place mobile phones in a remote location. This has a dual effect of not having distractions as we work, along with having a clear delineation between office, and out of office calls.
- Implement a “no eating at your desk” policy. I’ve covered this in an earlier blog, but in this case it’s all about getting up and moving, rather than food appreciation.
- Have a “no internal emails” day. The same with this one as above, but it’s really about moving the legs and body, and building relationships. Remember that “motion creates emotion”.
- Have a coffee break. If you can, go to a local coffee shop outside of the building. This adds the extra element of getting some fresh air.
About the Author
Merv Neal is an ex TEC member and has been a TEC speaker since 2010. As a Director of Holistic Services Group, he specializes in assisting businesses of all types and sizes to create and then implement their Workplace Wellbeing programs. For more information you can contact Merv on 0408 552269