Lifehacker recently posed a question to readers: “Where do you go for your breaks?" The piece went on to encourage everyone to take a mid-morning break at work, suggesting taking breaks on a regular basis helps you to avoid “eyestrain, reduce the dangers of sitting for too long and boost motivation.”
While it may not be feasible for everyone in every profession to take regular breaks at work, I thought it would make for some interesting commentary. Let’s talk about breaks from an ergonomic standpoint.
Do you know what 2:30 in the afternoon feels like?
We've all been there, especially if you work in an office environment that forces you to be a bump on a log, or rather, a bump on a chair. Sitting all day long will tire you out you no matter who you are and what shape you are in. Read through some of our previous blog posts and you'll see that The Human Solution is a huge proponent of being active at work to avoid that 2:30 slump.
Do we need breaks?If you feel fatigued at work, you may not need to take several breaks away from your desk and caffeinated drinks shouldn't be your lifeblood. You probably just need to be more active! Don’t be a Sedentary Sam or Sally. Stand up, move around your desk or cubicle and get your blood flowing. Since I started working at The Human Solution and utilizing a standing desk and desk treadmill every day, I've noticed I have much more energy at work, and I also have improved focus and concentration. At previous desk jobs, I would find myself growing tired throughout the day and relying on too much caffeine. Follow our lead and take an ergo break. Read on to learn what I'm talking about.
Even just standing at your desk while working for part of your day instead of sitting all day has proven to have major health benefits. So if you're nearing that 2:30 feeling, it’s OK to take a break and recharge. You aren't productive if you are too tired to do your job. Although, taking a break doesn’t mean you have to leave your desk, sit back down in the break room, pop open a soda and watch daytime television for fifteen minutes. That is pretty counter-intuitive to your health and everyday energy levels if you think about it. Keep ergonomics in mind when you need to fight that never-ending second half of the day. A great way to do that is by standing and stretching in your work area. Standing and stretching can be done at your desk to avoid fatigue and jump-start your energy levels. It can work wonders, especially if you have to sit all day. Interested? The Mayo Clinic's Video Collection of Desk Exercises and Stretches is a great resource.
Instead of sitting at your desk and checking Facebook, use a break as an opportunity to stretch your legs and walk. Get up and walk to the kitchen and get yourself a glass of water or, a personal afternoon favorite of mine, a cup of hot tea. Step outside and smell the flowers for a minute if you are able. More and more, building management companies are incorporating patio areas and walking trails into their buildings that house several companies and hundreds of employees. If your office building has a walking trail, walk. If you can't go outside, you can always get a desk treadmill like all of us “Solution Humans” here at our office. Get to steppin’ at your desk and get your blood flowing!
You will be surprised how much better and alert you feel after just a few minutes of movement. You may even forget what that 1:30 in the afternoon feels like...wait, or was it 2:30?! It's easy to forget when you feel so good at work.
Learn more about how to create an active, healthy ergonomic office at TheHumanSolution.com.