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There are plenty of common habits carried out in the office setting that can prompt poor posture if you do not monitor your form. After a while these habits can become second nature, developing bad posture and damaging your spinal structure. Here are some important instructions that you need to keep in mind to maintain the ideal posture and eliminate impending physical issues.

Identify the Early Signs of Poor Office Posture

These are some of the early indicators that you may need to change up your day-to-day habits:

  • If the level of pain you feel routinely increases at a certain point in the day or week. This could be caused by bad and prolonged posture starting to take its toll and may be an indicator that something needs to change.
  • If there is pain in your neck and it is making its way down your back over time. Damage to the spinal structure from bad posture begins at the top of the spinal chord and works its way down.
  • When you feel pain at first, but then it disappears once you change your position. This is almost certainly due to your posture.

Whether these early indicators define your experience or not, here are a few tips that will help prevent or eliminate physical issues due to posture.

Know What Counts as Good Posture

Align your ears, shoulders and hips. According to many healthcare sources including spine-health.com, the ideal posture can be achieved by keeping your ears, shoulders and hips all in a straight line when you are sitting or standing for an extended period of time. Experts claim that you may feel a small amount of discomfort at first because the spine is being strengthened and acclimated to the right posture, but it will disappear in short time.

Also take note of your tendency to lean to one side, hunch over your desk or cross your legs and try to avoid these unbalanced postures.

Get Up and Move

When your muscles get tired, it leads to slouching and bad posture. In order to combat this, you need to change your positioning frequently and one way to do this effectively is to take a break from sitting altogether. The consensus in the ergonomic world is that if you have a sedentary job, then getting up to walk around and stretch every half-hour for about 2 minutes or so will go a long way in preventing posture related issues.

Avoid Over Protecting Your Posture

At the end of the day, your spine was made for movement so eep your overall posture aligned but relaxed. Developing stiff and/or unnatural postures will only cause further complications down the line.

Get Yourself an Ergonomic Workstation!

Perhaps the most significant preventative measure against bad posture in the office is a workstation designed to keep you upright and healthy. Ergonomic desks and chairs like ours were created to keep all users – no matter shape or size – healthy and productive with features like lumbar (lower-back) support, adjustable height and swivel motion design.

Check out our office furniture that can help have you make an ergonomically correct workstation or visit the CBD blog for more tips.

In a budding small business, it is important to get off to a good start and make a meaningful impression on costumers. Be economical and ecological. A greener workspace allows for a reduced ecological impact and improved productivity in the office. All too often, we forget to execute simple tasks in order to conserve energy and save money. Make it a priority. Take time to reflect on your company’s current footprint and plot strategies to aim towards a more environmentally friendly establishment. Consider these few points in getting started, and share them with your colleagues. Go green!

Let the Natural Light In
A well-lit working environment is important, but aim to use artificial lighting sparingly. On average, artificial lighting encompasses forty percent of total electricity usage in a standard office building. In addition, there seems to be a strong relationship between excess artificial lighting and minor health issues, as well as a correlation between natural lighting and increased efficiency amongst employees. So, keep the shades open and reduce the use of strong overhead lighting, which may contribute to headaches and eye- strain. Light colored walls and furniture will best reflect natural light, making the office appear larger and encouraging efficiency.

Implement “Task Lighting” and Purchase Fluorescent bulbs
Strong overhead lighting is often unnecessary. Set a plan to utilize adjustable task lighting in order to illuminate specific reading areas. Task lighting not only directs the light towards specific tasks enabling concentration, but also increases contrast and focused visibility for employees. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent. They last up to fifteen times longer and absorb only one-quarter of the energy. Observe your surroundings and take initiative. Turn off all lights in an empty room and, of course, remember to switch off all lights in the office when leaving for the day. Find our more about task lighting and other lights on our cubicle terminology page.

Digitize
In today’s technological era, there is no excuse for overusing wasteful materials. Excess materials contribute to clutter and a disorganized environment. Studies indicate that the average person wastes about four hours per week searching for papers, contributing largely to unnecessary stress and stunting concentration and creativity. Whenever possible, digitize. Categorize information into labeled desktop folders and communicate via email. Convert documents to PDF’s to efficiently share with colleagues. Digital planners, calendars, and reminders are useful tools to stay organized as well. The more you aspire to digitize, the less paper and wasteful materials you expend.

Put off Printing
Regardless of valiant efforts to digitize, all offices require purchasing paper. When shopping, choose recycled, chlorine-free paper to save money and energy and buy in bulk. When you must print, format double-sided documents and choose a smaller font to conserve. Avoid color printing whenever possible. Utilize software programs, such as GreenPrint and EcoPrint2, which locate and delete that pesky waste space at the end of documents, such as advertisements or web page listings. Aim to reuse misprints and scraps as notepaper. Recycle printer cartridges and purchase recycled new ones.

Unplug
When a machine is not being used, don’t just power it down—unplug! Simply switching the off button may send the machine into “standby” mode, still absorbing power. Neglecting to do so not only wastes energy, but also racks up your expenses. When leaving your desk for a moment, set your computer monitor to sleep mode instead of setting a screensaver. You’d be amazed at the positive impact on your electricity bill and reduced ecological impact.

Monitor Office Temperature
Even in the summer, cranking the air conditioning in the office to full-blast is not usually necessary. Monitor temperatures and find a comfortable setting, or instead of using central air conditioners, try purchasing portable ones. Portable air conditioners will enable you to efficiently fluctuate temperatures in certain areas, while saving energy in unused or unnecessary areas. Portable fans are an option as well, as they consume much less energy than installing a central air conditioning system. Of course, if weather permits, open the windows! Fresh air and sunlight will positively transform the office environment.

 

We’ve all been there. It’s eleven AM on a Wednesday. The walls of your cubicle seem to be closing in on you. Your eyes are glued to the clock. You want to bolt for the door. But of course, if you did, you would find yourself searching for another job. So, with a pained look on your face, you slump in your chair and proceed with the usual routine. Fortunately, simple lifestyle changes in and outside of the office will ensure a happier workday. The things you surround yourself with throughout the day have a greater impact than you may think. Even the most dull and dreary jobs can be remedied. A happy workday begins with a happy mind!

1. Wake up just a little earlier
I know what you’re thinking—NO WAY! Who wants to give up those last precious moments of rest before starting the workday? But, your morning determines your day. So, get to bed at a decent time. Resist that Netflix urge. Set your alarm thirty to forty minutes earlier than your usual routine requires. Bolting out of bed, skipping breakfast, or bypassing your morning hygienic routine leaves your body with insufficient time to wake up. Waking up a little earlier will leave you with the necessary wiggle room to relax and prepare for the day with minimal stress. Plan to prepare yourself a hearty breakfast as an extra incentive to get out of bed.

2. Be Nice to your Body
Make sure you’re feeling nourished at work. If your stomach is rumbling you are more likely to feel irritable or unfocused. It is never productive to make important decisions while your body is hungry or dehydrated. Keep a water bottle filled throughout the day and drink more than you think you should. You’d be surprised what some cold water can do for your mood and overall productivity. Have a mid-afternoon snack to hold you over after lunch and before dinner. Healthy choices are always the best decision. Snack on fruit, yogurt, or wholesome bars. A satisfied stomach fuels a happy and sharper mind.

3. Sticky notes, sticky notes, sticky notes!
The world’s most versatile invention—the sticky note. The possibilities are endless. Think of them as colorful little reminders to maintain a positive energy and mindset throughout the workday. Jot down inspiring quotes or funny sayings that just make you feel good. Who’s your ultimate role model? Capture his/her voice and wisdom on a sticky note. Share this insight with others. Leave colleagues little reminders saying, “don’t forget, meeting at 11!,” or friendly notes reading, “stop by my cubicle later to chat!” This is an effective way to stay organized, get up on your feet a bit, and maintain a more personal relationship with your colleagues. Who doesn’t love personalized notes (not to mention on fun, colorful paper)?

4. Make Someone’s Day
Studies have shown that smiling more actually makes you feel happier throughout the day. Friendliness breeds positive energy. Bring this energy into the workplace. Be social with your colleagues. Set aside petty rivalries. Remember, you’re all on the same team. Be nice. People don’t forget it. Not only will this attitude create a more enjoyable and comfortable working environment, but also, will potentially open doors for you down the road professionally.

5. Create a Minimal-Stress Schedule
Plan ahead. Construct a list of objectives for the day and make sure you achieve them. Go at your own pace. Don’t be a slacker, but be realistic. You know yourself and your work habits. Prioritize important projects and avoid lingering on small tasks and trivial details. If you get stuck, move on. When you fulfill all your goals for the day, go back and perfect them. Always stash your cellphone and other distractions in your desk drawer. Aim to be your most productive self!

6. Take Breaks
Working diligently throughout the day takes a major toll on your mind and body. Leave room in your schedule for a mental break. Rise from your chair regularly. Find excuses to walk around. Refill your water bottle, break up your printing and copying tasks to retrieve your work sporadically throughout the day, or simply take a quick lap. Find a quiet room to be alone for a few minutes. Clear your mind. Get outside and stretch your legs. Enjoy a short walk in the fresh air. Absorb the sunshine. Briefly close your eyes and breathe. Listen to a soothing tune or calm ocean sounds—whatever transports you to your happy place.

7. Ask for Help/Lend a Hand
We all run into obstacles at work. It’s okay to ask for help. Rather than a sign of weakness, asking thoughtful questions is actually a chance to better yourself (and yet another opportunity to be social with colleagues). Be open- minded. Accept constructive criticism. Try to see things another way, and schedule regular brainstorming exercises. Conversely, always be willing to offer guidance and helpful advice to others. This back and forth process of sharing and swapping ideas will fuel creativity and teamwork in the office.

If you are like most office workers, this is the first month of the “I’m going to be healthier next year” resolution effort or “Time to get back on track!” game plan. From our experience, January can be one of the toughest months to stay motivated. Unfortunately, reverting back to bad habits at work is many times the cause for the wheels to fall off.

We wanted to offer some basic but effective ways that you can stay motivated and stick to your goals. Rather than trying to develop and share crazy, unrealistic ideas for staying healthy in the office, we decided to poll our own office staff – as well as some of our customers’ teams – to learn about some simple, practical approaches.

Give these a try, and let us know how they work out for you. In the meantime, do you have advice for maintaining a healthy office lifestyle? If so, tell us your secrets below!

1. Pack Your Lunch – After You Eat Dinner

Portion control is key to any diet. While health and fitness experts may disagree about whether to eat six smaller meals instead of three large meals per day, everyone agrees that managing your portions is crucial.

A few people we talked to found success packing their lunch after dinner the previous night. The theory? It is like going to the grocery store when you are hungry: Expect a high bill, because everything looks delicious. If you pack your lunch after you have eaten and are satisfied, it is easier to plan out your meals and think about smaller portions.

2. Bring a Cooler to Work

This is a very simple concept: Bring a cooler packed with all the food you have planned to eat during the day, and then only eat what’s in your cooler. Period.

Someone has a smorgasbord of leftover holiday candy that they are trying to pawn off? Politely decline. It’s someone’s birthday? Be that guy or girl – wish them happy b-day and many more, and pass on the cake.

Bringing a cooler also allows you to eat healthy snacks that are meant to be chilled whenever you want while simultaneously avoiding the crowded, funky-smelling office refrigerator.

3. Be Active, and Plan to Be Active

There are little things you can do throughout the day to be more active and burn more calories. These include taking the stairs when possible to meetings or parking a little further away from your office building’s front door.

However, many people are actually planning to be more active, as more and more reports are being published about the dangers of sitting all day at work.

One way you can maintain an active office lifestyle is to block your time to include taking “walk breaks” throughout the workday. You can also try to stand while on conference calls or when talking on the phone to break up lengthy times you are sitting. Being conscious about these elements can help you plan better to be active.

4. Stretch to Beat Stress

Daily stretching has various benefits, and battling stress is one of the major ones. Stress can cause us to be in a bad mood, tightens our muscles, and challenges our immune system. And let’s face it – stress and work go hand in hand.

Taking time to stretch 3 times a day for 10 minutes can do wonders for our bodies. Since it is an exercise, stretching boosts endorphin levels, which helps us feel better in general.

So rather than throwing your keyboard or screaming at your co-workers, take a deep breath, stretch your body, and let the anger melt away.

5. Drink. Water. All. Day.

It’s no secret: Drinking water is crucial to our health. You have heard the old recommendation, “drink 8 glasses a day.” We started to wonder…why is this so difficult?

Answers we received included “it’s just boring”; “it’s annoying to keep filling up bottles”; and “there’s no taste”. Imagine that! (Adding fruit to your water can be helpful, we have found.)

Like any routine, it takes time to get in a groove. So start by trying to knock back a bottle every hour or two. Your body will thank you for it!