Are You Less Active Than Your Grandpa? You might be if you work in an office.

standing desks keep you young

We think of our grandparents to be at a stage of life where a sedentary afternoon spent sitting down is understandable and acceptable. Yet with the growth of digital technology at the workplace, sitting still for long hours is no longer reserved for the elderly.

Recent research from Edinburgh shows that many desk jobs lead office workers to spend up to thirty minutes more sitting down each day than members of our  retired population. That means most of us with desk-bound careers are more sedentary than those over 75.

The study revealed that middle-age men especially vulnerable to senior-level immobility, spending close to half an hour longer in their desk chairs every day of the work week. Working women under 45 are not far behind their male cohorts, spending only six minutes less than seniors sitting away the work day.

Don’t Let Your Body Take an Early Retirement

Take short, active breaks. Go for a walk. That pedometer app on your smartphone comes in handy for helping you realize how little you move. Use it to motivate extra steps throughout the day.

Engage with a standing desk workstation all day long. Standing up gets the blood flowing and keeps the body stimulated. When you feel that two PM slump coming on after lunch, stand up and work. The body intuitively associates stillness with sleep. Standing up with a sit-stand desk prevents you from nodding off like grandpa.

Stretch, bend, and move in place. You don’t have to run a marathon around the office to stay active. Use micro-movements like stretching exercises to stay flexible and keep feeling productive.

 

The Benefits of Micro Breaks

micro breaks with standing desks

What are micro breaks? Rather than take a long lunch or 15 minutes during the day, imagine a short five-minute rest from work that could involve a variety of activities. It’s like the joke: “I told my doctor it hurts when I do this. My doctor said, then don’t do that.” It’s actually that simple. Stopping what ails you helps your body bounce back. You can also apply micro breaks to specific deskwork related issues.

A Break from Wrist Pain Relief

Typing and data entry tasks 8 hours a day can inflict long-term pain on wrists, including the lasting effects of carpal tunnel. Take 5-second micro breaks every 30 minutes. If you use extra padded wrist supports for your keyboard and mouse, you may extend your typing periods to 45 minutes before taking a micro break.

Simply Stand Up

Sitting glued to your computer terminal eventually leads to back pain and leg pain. Standing up for 5 to 10 seconds every 30 minutes keeps your muscles from becoming frozen in their sitting positions. If you feel that 5-10 seconds is an absolute loss of productivity, incorporate a standing desk into your routine. Recent Smooth Lift standing desk technology makes it easy to rise and sit easily throughout your day, making micro breaks effortless.

Take a Break and Stare

Long periods staring at your computer monitor means your eyes are probably adjusting too much to the screen’s illumination and possible glare. Most likely you will feel eye strain and headaches later and not relate it to your long day engaged with your flat screen.  Take micro breaks to literally stare off into space for 5-10 seconds every 30 minutes to help your eyes adjust to something more than digital two-dimensional space. Do you notice dry eye? Working at a computer actually reduces how much we blink, which can lead to eye dryness.  Your eye refresh micro break will do wonders.

Need More Micro Break Ideas?

Creating A Corporate Wellness Strategy: Six Key Points to a Healthier Employee

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Research has revealed that healthy employees are not only more productive but also save a company money in healthcare costs.  A study by Harvard University researchers who reviewed 36 studies of corporate wellness programs found that for every dollar spent on wellness programs, the company’s absenteeism-related costs fell about $2.73. One meta-analysis of 42 corporate wellness studies also found a 25% reduction in sick leave and absenteeism, a 25% reduction in health costs, and a 32% reduction in worker’s disability costs and compensation. These significant findings have led many HR specialists searching for the ideal wellness program to fit their company.1

Selecting a Wellness Program Provider Who Customizes

Whatever program you choose, it is important that the wellness provider has the flexibility to adapt to your company’s needs. Health guidelines and motivational wellness objectives have to fit workers within every specific company. Goals that are set too high can discourage employee engagement and expectations set too low can fail to inspire. All wellness program parameters, however, should include some form of these six key points which have produced some of the most successful wellness outcomes for corporations.

Redesigning the Workplace for Wellness

Incorporating sit-stand workstations and ergonomic upgrades into the office contributes to greater productivity and comfort–all of which improves mood and energy levels. Adding healthy snacks to workplace cafeterias and break rooms can also help transform a  grazing mentality to greater awareness about nutrition. Offering performance incentives such as a FitBits and pedometers and organizing company sponsored “group walks” also integrates wellness into the corporate culture.

standing desk usage

Seeing the World in a Healthy Light

Much of wellness is helping employees become enlightened about their personal health. By offering cholesterol screenings and BMI evaluations, employees can learn where they are falling short in terms of healthy choices. Many may not even visit a doctor regularly. Educating staff on healthy guidelines in terms of cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar is the first step toward a healthier life for a company’s workforce.

The Perks of Prevention

Helping employees take preventative steps for better health may include offering free seasonal flu shots, recommending certain age-based tests like colonoscopies or gender-based tests like breast exams. Defining how often they should consult with a physician for regular exams makes healthy living a year-round goal that not only benefits them but also reduces absenteeism and keeps healthcare costs low for a company.

Stamping Out Smoking

Though smoking has drastically declined over the years, there are still many who remain shackled by the unhealthy habit. Punishing them with higher health insurance costs only keeps them on the fringe of wellness. Instead, offer free cessation programs with counseling and incentives to help them embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Ending Obesity

Obesity continues to be one of the leading causes of many serious diseases in the US. Many employees struggling with a weight problem may wish to lose weight but may not know where to begin. Weight loss programs including Zumba classes, nutrition consultation and even discounts to weight loss clinics and fitness centers can help motivate employees towards a fitter life.

Diffusing Unhealthy Stress

Extreme stress can offset all the efforts of even the healthiest individual. Providing methods of stress management including meditation, yoga, or professional assistance with personal matters outside the workplace all contribute to the well-being and loyalty of your employees.

 

  1. https://www.bcidaho.com/_assets/Employer/2010-Harvard-Wellness-Program-Meta-Study-Health-Affairs.pdf

Light Exercise at the Office: Organizing for Workplace Health

standing desk for office health

Organizing the office for better health only requires some initiative and open communication with your fellow office associates. May is Global and Health and Fitness Month­­—the perfect excuse to get everyone at work standing and walking for better health. It all starts with education.

Spreading the News about Sitting Too Much

Informing your colleagues about the many ways a sedentary office day can impact health is the first step toward motivating them to wellness actions.  Send out emails to colleagues letting them know about the detriment of sitting all day  at your desk including how prolonged sitting is associated with a significantly higher risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Muscle and joint problems

Some have gone on to say that the office chair is worse for your health than smoking!

Informing the Office About the Benefits of Walking

Now that you have educated them on the bad stuff, let them know about the good stuff.

Walking for about 20 minutes a day can cut your risk of heart disease by as much as 30 percent.

Get Everyone Involved in an Office Walking Group

  1. Send out office email notifications regarding time and day so everyone can get involved easily walking together outside on nice days
  2. Have a set schedule with a destination in mind. Plan a walk at a local forest preserve during lunch hour or a walk around the office park before work starts in the morning
  3. Suggest walking apps. App pedometers ( many are free to download) have been found to encourage physical activity by offering real-time information on calories burned and walking distances achieved. You can also get competitive and make it fun. See who burns the most calories in half an hour!

Give Insight on the Benefits of Standing at Your Desk

Standing is another low impact approach for improving health at the office.  Along with informing the office staff about standing desks, also inform HR on the health benefits that sit-stand workstations can bring to the workplace.

Share the research: Employees who have used standing desks regularly report an 88% increase in productivity and a 69% reduction in discomfort at their workstation.

Learn more about the 7 health benefits of a Standing Desk 

Programmers and Sit-Stand Workstations

programmers and sit-stand desks

As a programmer, you can spend 7-10 hours a day focused on coding, which also means all that time seated at a traditional computer workstation. The unhealthy impact of chronic sitting can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Standing is an ideal solution for healthier work at a computer. However, if you decide to stand at work, what equipment should you consider that specifically fits your profession?

Sit-Stand Workstations That Adjust Easily

A static sit-stand desk forces you to either stand entirely while working or take a break, while some adjustable sit-stands may require interrupting your task to make the manual changes to height. When as a programmer you are engaged with a piece of intense code, that may not be an option. Select a sit-stand workstation that easily adjusts from sitting to standing positions, so no focus on a task is lost. Smooth Lift Technology sit-stands feature that intuitive adjustability so you need only rise while grasping the lift adjustment lever, then grasping the adjustment lever once again to lower the desk back to a seated position. Make sure your sit-stand also has a good spectrum of height adjustment options, which is especially important for tall programmers.

The Flexibility of Multiple Monitors

As a coder you definitely need more than one monitor, so converting to a sit-stand desk shouldn’t mean a compromise.  Make sure your standing desk offers the option for multiple-monitor arms.

Storage Space

Changing over to a standing desk also shouldn’t mean giving up on other advantages of a standard computer workstation, like storage space. Storage space and work surfaces are still essential, so having a standing desk designed with added work and storage spaces allows you to incorporate a hot cup of coffee, notepads, pens and your smartphone into your standing workspace.

standing desk with workspace

Cord Management

One of the big advantages of a static workstation is that all the wires running to your electronics stay still. With a standing desk, continual movement up and down can lead to stress on power cables, tangled cords, and sometimes accidental unplugged peripherals as you change position. Check your sit-stand for cord management design features so that wires move seamlessly with your changing position.

Why Employees Prefer Better Office Equipment Over a Foosball Table

Sometimes, workplace perks aren’t always about more fun and games for employees. In a survey of  1,200 full-time office workers conducted by Versta Research, 78% would prefer better office equipment over downtime entertainment like a foosball table. The eye-opening study reveals a desire for less frustrating experiences that come with inferior office machines.

 

automatic shredders preferred by employees

This is good news for employers, as it shows a genuine motivation for greater productivity. Employees are willing to giving their opinion on what they think will make the an office more efficient. The same study also revealed that 59% of employees believe that more up-to-date technology would be among the best ways to increase efficiency.

Where Office Equipment Falls Short & How to Improve it

Business machines like paper shredders are usually ignored until they break. This can mean a loss of productive work hours when an employee needs to contend with a shredder issue, such as a paper jam, or is working with a shredder that has limitations, like a short run time or restrictions on what it can shred. If a machine has shredding restrictions, employees may be forced to spend time removing paper clips and staples from documents prior to shredding.

Being proactive as a business owner or office manager means identifying weak performing equipment and replacing it with something better.

 

Upgrading to an Automatic Shredder and its Productivity Perks

  • Automatic Shredders like the AutoMax™ 500CL boosts productivity by offering a hands-free shredding experience. Simply load the drawer, press start and walk away.
  • With continuous run time, there is no delay in shredding caused by waiting for the machine to cool down.
  • The 500CL also features a JamGuard System™ that prevents interruption due to paper jams, ending forever the frustration of extracting half-shredded documents from the jaws of the office shredder.
  • No more need to sort through pre-shred documents, either. The 500CL also automatically shreds stacks of paper with wrinkles, staples, plastic credit cards, CDs/DVDs, junk mail and even documents with paper clips

 

For smaller offices, AutoMax automatic shredders also come in more compact models designed for small businesses and even home offices.

 

Learn More about improving productivity in the workplace.

 

Know the Four Stages of Your Office Files and Always Stay Organized

Bankers Box document life cycle

The documents in your business actually have a life cycle, passing through different stages of development. Understanding these phases gives you a better grip on records organization for your business, improves overall workplace productivity and gives you the peace of mind of an orderly office.

Stage 1: Active Files

Active files are always in use, need to be  kept close at hand and play a daily and often critical role in your workplace.  Active files are never stored or archived, of course, yet they still need to remain organized so that in the flurry of a bustling office they do not become lost or accidentally discarded.

Active File Solutions

Depending on the number of active files used, different types of filing systems keep records accessible and organized.

Open Sorters for Shared Active Files

Sorters display critical files openly for shared office use, while labelled shelves on the sorter maintain organization. Policies regarding shared active files may include a sign in and sign out process to track important documents around the office.

Bankers Box sorters for active files

Desktop Organizers Keep Active Files Handy

If files are not shared, a desktop organizer can provide easy and quick accessibility for specific documents used exclusively by certain employees. These types of organizers also offer the flexibility for managing different document types from binders of information to folders of multi-page records, to single page documents.

active file organizers

Managing the “In-Between” Nature of Semi-Active Files

Semi-active documents are those that are no longer vital to the everyday operations of the business, yet need to be retained for legal reasons. These types of documents are the most likely to become lost or accidentally discarded as their lack of importance to everyday business puts them “out of sight and out of mind” until an incident occurs in which they are required and they are nowhere to be found.

Basic and Extra Space Saving Systems for Semi-Active Files

Storage for those types of files still keeps them accessible, yet out of the way, most likely in a records room or in an office.

Only have a few files? Use the basic space-saving solutions that stack two units high for desk side or in the back of an office for infrequent access and storage.

semi-active file storage

Have lots of semi-active files? Use an extra spacing-saving solution, stacking 5 units high, storing quite a few semi-active files and always keeping them ready for unexpected and urgent office needs.

semi-active file drawer system

Archival Records Storage

Archival documents lose their semi-active urgency yet still have importance and need to be retained long-term. These may include tax documentation, employee records, including past employees, and long-term legal documents such as contracts.

Archival records may be stored on or off-site. Using the flexibility of storage boxes allows easy access to these files even though they are in storage. The lightweight design also allows the boxes to be easily transported and stacked , whether in a large records room or in a storage unit. They can be labelled for quick identification when they need to be opened up as well.

The average business purchases up to 12 of these Bankers Boxes a year to archive important documents. Maintaining a retention policy helps keep these documents from simply taking up space without a purpose. Know what files are put in archival storage, how long they have been there and when it is determined that they should be destroyed, especially if they contain any confidential information.

Records Destruction

Most documents reach the document destruction stage. Here are the list of the most common documents, outlined by the IRS, that are ready to be shredded by a business after archival storage.*

  • Business Income Tax Returns and Supporting Documents.-7 years
  • Employee Tax Records- 4 years
  • Human Resources Files 7-10 years
  • Bank account and credit card statements- 7 years
*IRS http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p583.pdf

 

 

Adding a Sit-Stand Desk to Your Home Office

home office sit stand desk

The daily office grind, doesn’t change if you are managing a small business out of your home or working full-time from a home office. Much like a desk job in a corporate setting, sitting down all day can compromise your health.  In fact, as Marc Hamilton a physiologist and professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. indicates: “a man who sits 60 hours at a desk job but still works out for 45 minutes a day five times a week still has a sedentary lifestyle.”

Making the Change to a Sit Stand Workstation

Sit-stand desks are a healthy option to the traditional workstation in that regular standing and sitting throughout the day provides the flexibility and movement that can encourage calorie burn and minimize the weight gain that comes with a excessive sitting, and the great benefit of having one in your home office is that you don’t need to make a request to HR. Newer sit stand designs come fully assembled so they are easy to set up. Most importantly new Smooth Lift Technology makes it easier to transition from sitting and standing and back again throughout the day.

Customizing Your Home Office with Sit-Stand Workstations

Personalizing your home office to fit you is one of the great benefits of working from home.  Select a Sit-Stand that has full adjustability. The Lotus Sit-Stand features 22 different height settings and 17″ of vertical adjustment so that you can position your workstation for personal comfort.

So Many Computer Cords to Manage!

The high-tech nature of the modern home office may mean tangles of computer cables. Choose a sit-stand with cable management options so your home office looks uncluttered. The Lotus also features a device charging slot which allows your entire workspace to move freely with you-no cable strain or tangles.

Working with More Than One Monitor

If your home office profession requires multiple monitors, you will need to find a sit-stand workstation that accommodates that need. The Lotus offers the option of a dual monitor arm kit that transforms your sit-stand into a multi-screen workstation-perfect for programmers!

Learn more about Lotus Sit-Stand Desks.

 

Seven Productive Tasks You Can Perform in 15 Minutes

15 minute productivity tips

Given the opportunity, many of us will focus on major projects and put aside the minor tasks. Eventually, these smaller “to-dos” become “must-dos” that cut into our time better spent on the big picture assignments. With 15 minutes to spare, here are everyday tasks you can easily complete. But how can you get that precious 15 minutes?

 Your 15 Minute Office Hack

The average office worker spends about 15 minutes a day shredding. Using an automatic shredder, which does the shredding for you hands-free, you can get lots done.

Respond to email-Answer those emails that have been lingering in your in-box.

Organize your desk-It only takes a few minutes to transform a desktop nightmare into an organized work space.

Send a thank you email to someone-It’s not an email that requires your immediate attention, but a courteous gesture that you now have time to do!

Update your calendar-Things change, which means so does your calendar. Make sure cancelled meetings are removed, which can make time for other tasks.

Organize your computer files-Your computer desktop can becomes as cluttered as your real desktop. Take fifteen to organize folders and word docs so you are not staring at a wall of square icons.

Review your voicemail-If that red dot of unanswered calls is staring at you, your fifteen minutes is the perfect time to delete unwanted messages and return calls.

Take a break-15 minute breaks actually improve productivity. While your automatic shredder is shredding away, you can take a few minutes to stretch, breathe and simply meditate.

Learn more about  productivity in the workplace with this infographic