Why your health is important to your employer as it is you (or should be)

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Where would ‘To Increase Productivity at Work’ be in a list you were making of reasons to stay healthy. Pretty far down? Fair enough. You probably want to stay healthy for you and your loved ones. But health does equal productivity – and that’s something your employer should be very aware of.

Research from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University and the Center for Health Research at Healthways in 2013 showed that employees who ate healthily and exercised regularly had better job performance and lower absenteeism.

It’s no surprise really that exercise and a good diet can improve concentration and energy levels (the research found that people who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least four times a week were 20 percent more likely to be more productive); what’s more surprising is that there are employers out there not making it as easy as possible for staff to make healthy choices at work.

Since being better at your job is likely to make you happier and more successful, it’s worth thinking about simple things you can do to increase wellness:

  • Everyone’s talking about mindfulness… but not everyone has integrated the benefits into their working day. Trying to stay present, focusing on one task at a time, and giving every task your full attention will mean you’re less stressed and more productive.
  • Drink more water. We all know how important staying well hydrated is, but it can easily get forgotten.
  • Get outside. Going for a walk or run in your lunchbreak, no matter the weather, is one of the easiest and most effective ways of increasing fitness and coming back to the office feeling more energised and positive.
  • Eat right. You know what gives you energy and what gives you an afternoon slump. Plan ahead to bring healthy snacks and meals to work to avoid temptation.
  • Remember your posture. Office workers are notoriously at risk of aches and pains, most commonly from slumping over laptops. Pop a post-it on your computer to remind you to get those shoulders back!
  • Time coffee breaks. Many of us couldn’t get through the day without a caffeine injection, but a cup of coffee as soon as you wake up might be overriding your body’s natural waking process, messing with your circadian clock. According to studies, including one by Kenneth Wright, a sleep and circadian physiologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, it’s best to wait a couple of hours before that first flat white.

 

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