Early starts, late finishes, suits, ties, heals, short lunches, long meetings. Sit in a chair, at a desk, in your office (if you’re lucky enough to have an office). Air conditioning, fluorescent lighting, instant coffee, vending machines. Soar shoulders, bad backs, clenched jaws, no sleep, over worked, under paid, stress and anxiety. Most corporate settings breed discomfort.
In five years, most Baby Boomers will have retired and Gen Y (those born in 1980s to early 2000s) will dominate 42% of the workplace, according to mccrindle research. This means that people aged 20 – 40 will be making up large parts of the corporate sector. Young individuals will be at the mercy of their corporate careers, becoming older and more decrepit by the minute because they don’t understand the importance of wellness at work.
Just because you are a ‘Nine to Fiver’ and sit at a computer all day does not mean you should be exhausted, overweight, unhappy or unhealthy.
I’ve never worked in the corporate world. I had a couple of jobs after University where I sat at a desk from 9am-5pm, but it wasn't for me. I allowed myself nine months as a ‘Nine to Fiver’ and I never went back again.
But the corporate world must go on, and those working in it need to know that they have the right to a better quality of work-life.
How can you improve your corporate lifestyle? For starters, you need to want to make a change. There are small steps you can take to enhance your mental and physical well-being, so you can make your day at the office a little brighter.
1. Get up from your computer every 20 minutes and stretch. Touch your toes, reach your hands behind your back, whatever it takes. Just make sure you get a bit of movement happening. Being sedentary for hours on end is REALLY unhealthy.
2. Bring healthy snacks to work that keep you going. A handful of almonds, hummus with celery and carrots or a banana are great ways to keep your energy levels up.
3. Make sure your computer is at eye level to avoid hunching forward in your chair. Ergonomics is cool!
4. Bring a water bottle to work and drink all day long. We can often forget how dehydrated we get when we’re sitting in artificial air-conditioning for hours.
5. Step outside for fresh air every now and again to keep you connected to the outside world.
6. Don’t take things personally. If your coworker is having a bad day, that’s their problem, not yours. Feel sympathetic that something must be going on with them. Why not ask, 'Are you ok?'
7. Find a work buddy or have people who support you at work. We’re social creatures and often feel a whole lot better when we’re able to get things off of our chest. But check out number 8 to understand what kind of chatting you want to be doing to ease the tough times.
8. Don’t gossip at the water cooler. Speaking ill of other people only adds negativity to your life, not theirs. Nobody likes a gossip anyway.
9. Embrace failure as feedback. This comes up a lot, but I can’t stress how important it is to be okay with failure. Without it, we’ll never learn. You can also use number six to get you though failing at work, just don't take it personally and use the feedback you get to do better next time. If you don't get good feedback, as for it, nicely.
10. Meditate. It’s no longer just for hippies. There is hard scientific evidence that proves the incredible effects that meditation has on the brain. You can meditate at your desk. Start with a minute if it’s completely foreign to you. All you need to do is sit with yourself. It’s not about having no thought, it’s just about allowing yourself to connect with the present moment and by doing that all you have to do is breathe. Yes breathe! How simple is that? In through your nose and out through your nose allows you to tap in to what yogis have been doing for thousands of years. The more you sit and the more you breathe, the better you’ll get at it. Just remember that your thoughts are like clouds, allow them to roll in and fade away, don’t feed in to them and create a storm of thoughts. Just watch them fly by. Check this article out about Corporate Mindfulness and be sure to download the app Buddhify on your phone if you need a bit of extra help getting your chill on.
11. And last but not least, COFFEE. Stay away from too many cups at the wrong times! The best time to drink it is between 9:30am and 11:30am or 1:30pm and 5pm when your cortisol levels are lowest. When you drink it too early you crash and burn by the afternoon, and no body enjoys that. Read more at Forbes.com.
Put a smile our your dial the next time you head to the office by implementing these 11 easy tasks.
And if that doesn't work out for you, find a new job. More on that another time.