Office workers typically spend five hours and 41 minutes sitting at their desk. But, research commissioned by Public Health England has found that workers should aim to spend at least two hours of their working day on their feet, and eventually as much as four, to lower their chances of contracting severe medical conditions.
Aside from the obvious physical benefit, keeping the blood flowing at stand-up meetings and by walking to colleagues’ desks to communicate rather than relying on e-mail, office exercise can have a positive effect on morale, confidence and creative ability.
Here are a few ideas to get you moving:
We’ve all been there – the moment in a meeting when everyone’s mind goes blank and you’re struggling to think of something, anything, to pick up some momentum again. A change of setting and a change of pace can work wonders. Installing whiteboards in a little-used area of the office can serve as a creative Mission Control, where colleagues can come together to create mind maps and spider diagrams to drive the succession of ideas forward.
Stand up for meetings
If you’ve scheduled a quick catch-up with a group of colleagues, instead of sitting around a table, you could conduct a standing meeting. Keeping everyone on their toes means that you’ll keep the blood pumping and be more likely to conduct business in a prompt and efficient manner, getting the job done quicker and allowing you to move on to the next task without the fear of dragging it out.
Going up in the world
Those who are wary of the sedentary working week might want to try out a standing desk. Studies indicate that those who spend their office hours at a standing desk tend to feel less sluggish than they did in their normal office chairs – a welcome boost particularly after a filling lunch when productivity tends to deteriorate later on in the afternoon. Choosing the right workstation for you is vital when you need to beat the blues of sitting at a desk day in, day out.
Stretching your productivity
If you feel daunted by the challenge of a chair-less workday, but are keen to feel the benefits of a more physically active day away from the desk, why not go for a brisk walk at lunchtime? You could go alone or take some colleagues along for a chat. There are other ways to get exercise into your working day too, like taking the stairs instead of the lift, taking messages to colleagues rather than emailing them, or simply just stretching your legs by taking a short walk regularly. You don’t need to join a gym to become active!
If everyone in your office is sitting at a desk, there are some simple exercises you can do while sitting which may help you get you moving. Office Tai Chi offers some simple and useful exercises that can be implemented by everyone working within your office. If you want to add an element of fun into it, you could introduce some form of competition among co-workers on who is doing their daily exercise the most.
To get more mentally active, you can’t stay within the same determined slog for the entire day, so take opportunities to get away for a few minutes. Join a friend for a coffee break and a catch-up, or get involved with the water cooler chat. Even just popping to the newsagents for a drink can give you that feeling of a well-earned break.
Staying active in and around the office where possible, both physically and mentally, can be a real morale booster – and a happy workforce is a productive one.