A 2015 survey reported that adults in the UK will spend around 47 years of their lives working, equating to 97,760 hours at work. The same survey also noted that, on top of this, Britons will accrue 9,024 hours of unpaid overtime during their life’s career – equating to an additional four hours work a week.

These long hours at work and persistent work-overload can lead to ill-health. The HSE statistics for work-related stress 2018 cited 595,000 workers affected by stress at work, and 15.4million working days lost in 2017/18 due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

Employers have a duty to support employee welfare. Our January Blog on Employee Engagement highlighted the correlation between a healthy, happy workforce and productivity. However, employees themselves also have a responsibility to look after their own wellbeing at work.

Since we spend so much of our lives at work, it’s important to look after ourselves to ensure we can keep working efficiently and productively.

Changes to how we work don’t have to be major. Implementing small changes to our working day can have a positive impact on our wellbeing.

Take a look at some of our suggestions below:

  1. Plan a proper lunchbreak – working continuously without a proper break is detrimental to wellbeing and productivity and is not sustainable long-term.
  2. Take time to eat your lunch slowly and mindfully – to aid digestion and for the body to absorb nutrients.
  3. Exercise regularly – exercise is great for physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
  4. Get outdoors – the wellbeing benefits of getting out into the fresh air (preferably a green space) is uplifting and re-energising. Consider walking to work or going out in your lunchbreak.
  5. Stay hydrated – keep a bottle of water beside your desk and remember to drink throughout the day.
  6. Keep a stash of healthy snacks at work e.g. dried or fresh fruit or nuts – that way you’ll be less tempted to hit the snack machine.
  7. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks – these give you a blood sugar ‘high’ and can then deplete your energy levels, leaving you feeling tired and lethargic.
  8. Make sure you are sitting correctly – sitting hunched over your desk can cause fatigue and muscular aches. Consider booking a DSE Assessment to have your workstation assessed.
  9. Add in stretching exercises ‘at your desk’  – to help relieve tension that can build up from sitting at your desk for long periods. The HSE recommends taking regular short breaks to reduce fatigue.
  10. Work on a positive mindset – “Happiness is mostly a choice. You can choose to be happy at work. It sounds simple, but it’s often difficult to put into action… So, think positively about your work. Dwell on the aspects that you enjoy about work and avoid negative people and gossip.”

Most of us know how we ‘should’ be looking after ourselves, but it often takes a crisis to prompt us into taking action. Why not start by considering which of these changes could help you? Then decide how you will implement them for your own wellbeing at work. Good luck!