Two employees walking down some steps

Healthy habits in the workplace

On average, people spend roughly 50% of their total waking hours in the workplace during any given working day.

Creating a good routine whilst at work can have a huge impact on health and wellbeing.

Read on to discover some smart swaps you can make in the workplace to improve your health.

Working for a living

It’s estimated that 35% of your total waking hours, over a 50-year working-life period, are spent working (assuming 8 hours of sleep a night). Although the number of people working remotely is increasing, most people will spend their working day in an office or equivalent setting.

Due to this large percentage of time being spent in the workplace, it becomes vitally important that the habits and routines we adopt benefit our health and wellbeing. However, many workplaces are often full of traps and pitfalls, such as birthday treats, canteen convenience foods and workload pressures, that make it easy to forget the impact our daily choices can have on our long-term health.

Top tips

Just a few small changes to a daily routine can result in great health outcomes over time. Here are some of our top tips for improving your health whilst at work.

  • Share your Goals – If you’re planning on making any specific changes to work towards a goal, share those plans with a colleague or friend. This will increase your likelihood of sustaining changes and achieving your target, and it will also enable your co-workers to support you to do this.
  • Hydrate – It can be difficult to remember to keep hydrated at work; often it can be the last thing on your mind during a busy day. Try to keep a water bottle at your desk and aim to finish it at least once before the end of the day. If you find you are in and out of meetings, make a habit of always having something to drink at every meeting. Ideally, try to get most of your hydration via water intake.
  • Smart Snacks – We all know the feeling of an ‘afternoon slump’: that time when you feel that a snack is required in order to keep going until dinner time. Often, snacking can be caused by habits or boredom rather than real hunger; however, preparing some healthy, but still satisfying, snacks will mean that you won’t be damaging your health by partaking in your mid-afternoon pick-me-up! Look for low calorie, high fibre options; for example, popcorn, rice cakes, dried or fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Break up your Day – Working through lunch breaks and eating at your desk can be a challenging habit to break, but the benefits of taking some time to yourself are abundant. Getting outside and including some form of physical activity is the best solution, but even just taking yourself away from your desk has its benefits. When you come back to work following a break it can help you to feel refreshed and take a more positive approach to tasks.
  • Coping with Stress – We can encounter all types of different sources of stress at work and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ way to effectively deal with it. Explore different coping mechanisms that work for you and practice them! Be open and honest about workloads and tasks and always seek support if it ever feels like you are unable to cope, or if work life begins to interfere with life outside of work.

While we may ultimately spend over a third of our lives at work, it is also worth considering the importance of life outside of the workplace. Looking after yourself whilst at work will allow you to do the things you enjoy most.