Quick question: how would you rate the mental health in your office?
Let’s hope you score pretty high, because most wouldn’t. The American Psychological Association reports that 47% of Americans are concerned with the amount of stress in their lives. This shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, since most full-time employees in America work 47 hours a week.
Are you seeing the problem yet?
Not only does stress make for a miserable workplace environment, it’s a proven productivity-killer. The most stressed-out offices are the least efficient offices. And, judging by the current statistics, odds are that nearly half of your office is dangerously stressed out.
The good news is that there are easy, affordable solutions to your office stress problem. We compiled a list of 5 of the best ways to boost mental health and productivity in the office, so that you can be on your way to a happier, more efficient workplace.
1. Allow multiple breaks throughout the day
It may sound counter-intuitive, but breaks actually improve performance throughout the day.
While many people believe that you have to get “in the zone” and grind out the day, the opposite is true. The problem with working without breaks is that your brain doesn’t get a chance to recharge. You become depleted—mind, body, and soul.
Breaks have been proven to improve stamina and (especially with all the sitting in most offices) lessen the aches, pains, and headaches employees feel throughout the day.
Researchers have also found that the best results come when you do something you actually enjoy during your break. So put your cell phone away and pick up a book for 15 minutes. Go outside and listen to your favorite song with no distractions. Do something mindful and fun while you’re at work.
After all, it’s good for your health.
2. Focus on a (healthy) lunch break
There is an entire website called “Sad Desk Lunch” devoted to the utterly depressing display of microwave bagels, Tic Tacs, and tupperware containers full of bland salad that employees consume alone at their desks every day.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. As few as 1 in 5 employees get a real lunch break, and even if they do, they’re often not eating the healthiest food. We recommend you take at least 20 minutes for a proper lunch break.
But while you’re at it, don’t stuff your face with a half pound of french fries and a salted caramel milkshake (as tempting as that is). Go for a high-protein lunch, full of things like meat, fish, eggs, or nuts and high-antioxidant foods like blueberries. Meanwhile, take it easy on the complex carbs. This will make sure you don’t get that terrible two o’clock crash.
3. Choose the right lights and colors
You know those horrible, phosphorescent lights that make that low buzzing noise? Not only are they ugly, they’re terrible for your productivity and mental health. Psychologists will tell you, two of the biggest components of our mood are the lights and colors around us.
What does that mean for your office? Make sure you fill it with lights and colors that make people feel at ease and productive. Exposed bulbs are bad. Warm, muted colors are good.
Natural light is also fantastic, if you can swing it.
4. Let there be naps
While some might baulk at the idea of “siestas” at work, sleeping on the job is actually a proven technique for a healthy workplace. According to a recent study, naps at work improve productivity and safety, while creating a happier workplace culture.
Google and other companies have already taken the lead on this, investing in nap-pods, where employees can steal an at-work nap.
5. Get a massage at the office
Corporate chair massage is a real thing. And with good reason. With so many employees sitting hunched over the computer for hours on end, bad posture and backaches are part of workplace culture.
Massage counteracts the negative effects of bad sitting by easing tense muscles. It’s also been known to ease anxiety and depression, both of which are workplace culture and productivity killers. And if you hate getting sick at the office, massage even boosts the immune system. It’s no surprise that a lot of startups are getting monthly massages for employee health.
So if you think your office could use a little more productivity and a lot more happiness, give us a call at Selah Bodyworks. Invest in the mental health of your office today!
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