Creating a Healthy Work Environment

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Creating a Healthy Work EnvironmentWhether you work from home or at an office, your surrounding environment plays a big role in the quality of your daily life. Making sure that your work environment is emotionally and physically healthy is essential.

I had a work environment that was not very good for my health. During that time, I ate a lot of processed food from the Shoppettes on post and was dealing with a lot of stress from the workplace. Both of which, I later realized, were bad environmental factors for me that caused me to be irritable and depressed. This affected my life so much that my husband and I realized that something had to change. One great thing about being a military spouse is that if something isn’t working out there’s always the opportunity to make different choices at the next duty station.

When I switched jobs and started eating better I became a new person. I wanted to go out and do more and started interacting more with people on post. All in all, changing my environment helped me to become a better version of myself.

Here are some ways you can create a healthy work environment:

  • Work physical activity into your day.  A quick walk increases productivity and happiness at work and just five minutes walking outside boosts your mood.  If you’re in an office you could walk to your co-workers rather than calling or sending an email.  If you’re at home, you could extend your dog’s potty break to a walk around the block.
  • Create a comfortable workspace. Follow these steps to ensure your setup is ergonomically correct so you’re not straining your eyes or your body during the long hours you’re at work.
  • Build calming elements into your workspace. If you have the flexibility, situate your desk to face a window looking onto green space, or paint the surrounding walls a calming color. You could also place a small vase of fresh flowers, bright accessories, or happy photographs close by.
  • Remove distractions.  Make a space to work and keep unnecessary things away so you can focus on the work at hand. In the office, consider having just one project out at a time.  At home, spend a few minutes tidying up before you begin work so you don’t feel pulled in more than one direction. Check email and return phone calls at designated times.
  • Take a break.  Take time away from your desk so that your brain can recharge and then be prepared to get back to work. Try choosing stress-busting activities for those moments you just can’t handle it anymore.  For maximum productivity, consider working for 90-minute intervals and then taking a break.
  • Set a good example. The workplace is fraught with nutritional peril…birthday cake, lunches out, that co-worker with the bottomless candy bowl. Don’t be pushy, but set a good example by making good choices and other people will notice. If it weren’t for working with Michele and Leslie I don’t know that I would eat as healthfully as I do now. They slowly introduced new teas for me to try and shared leftovers with me for lunch. They were great about answering questions and dragging me to kickboxing classes. Those slow changes helped improve my eating and workout habits. Now that I don’t work in the same office with those two, I am trying to be the one making a healthy impact in my current job. I like snacking so I have brought and offered my healthy snacks to co-workers. They are often slow (like I was) to try something different, but I think they don’t mind. I have also learned how they like to stay healthy and so we enjoy encouraging each other to keep those healthy workout habits.

How do you create a healthy work environment? I would love for you to leave your tips and tricks in the comments below.