Re-Aligning Focus at Work After the Holidays


In December, our focus shifts toward family, festivities and vacation time. We spend lots of time relaxing and — hopefully — recharging, before returning to work in the new year.

But when we settle back into work life, things can feel a little drab. If you’ve got the post-holiday blues, or are finding it hard to get back into the swing of things, here are a few easy ways to reignite your gusto.

Realigning Focus at Work After Holidays

  1. Create one work resolution. Nothing motivates like a new goal. Maybe you want to take a walk every day at lunch, or try a different position, or add three new clients to your roster. Give the goal some thought and, whatever you decide, track yourself to achieve it.
  1. Reconnect with your colleagues. Remember, you’re not the only one who took time off over the holidays. Chances are, your colleagues are struggling to get back in the groove, too. This is a perfect time to recharge your social life at work. Commiserate, collaborate and remind yourself that you’re part of a community.
  1. Get creative. Bring some zest to your existing work, and it will come alive. If you write press releases for a living, why not check out a webinar on creative writing? If your work isn’t inherently creative, think about adding a daily journal entry to your to-do list. Studies show that journaling sparks creative thought, helps you achieve goals and reduces stress.

Treat yourself. When we lack motivation, it’s important not to get down on ourselves. Instead, offer yourself rewards if you’re finding it hard to complete tasks. Every time you check an item off your to-do list, give yourself a treat. That could be a cup of tea,  a walk, a stretch or a chance to catch up with a colleague. When returning to work after a break, sometimes we need to take baby steps.

Treadmill Desks? See What the Buzz is All About


We’ve been discussing the impacts of prolonged sitting at work for some time now. While sit & stand desks and desk accessories have become imperative to helping people balance out their daily sit & stand routine, treadmill desks are not as popular but they are a viable option for those seeking to take their activity at the office to the next level.

Treadmill Desk Buzz

Here are some of the benefits of using a treadmill, according to a LifeSpan article:

Improves Mood & Reduces Stress

Exercise is a great way to release stress, whether work or non work related. Physical activity triggers our body to release endorphins which help us get into a positive mood. It can also help to reach your fitness goals since we spend majority of our day at work!

Fuels Creativity

A study conducted by Standford University; volunteers completed tasks while sedentary and while walking on a treadmill at a slow pace. On average, the volunteers using a treadmill were able to come up with 60% more different uses for their tasks compared to sitting. Creativity & exercise all in one!

Productivity Boost

Another study was done by University of Minnesota that indicated an increase in productivity and health for treadmill desk users. While there may be perceptions of the ability to walk a treadmill and focus could be difficult, this study suggests otherwise.

Promotes a Healthy Body

The “no brainer” here – walking helps us burn calories and stay in shape. So instead of waiting for the lunch break or the evening to take a stroll, you could get your steps in while working!

Lowers Blood Pressure

Walking (even at a light pace) helps increase blood flow which helps lower blood pressure. This is a huge health benefit for anyone suffering (or looking to prevent) high blood pressure.

Below you will find a response to a LifeSpan survey showing what type of improvement people saw by using the treadmill desk on an average of less than two hours a day:

Treadmill Desks Survey

Source: LifeSpan

There are even actual reviews of first experiences, like the one below:

The research and early adopters seem to be fairly satisfied with using a treadmill desk. Is this something that your workplace is considering for some of its employees? Would you consider walking at your desk?

First Sit and Stand Experience: A Week Long Study


Hello everyone,

Nem here, the Web Marketing Specialist. Hope your journey to a healthier workplace is going according to plan. As part of this month’s workplace wellness blog we thought it would be worthwhile to do a mini-study on myself, by myself (not sure if this one will be a part of any peer reviewed journals) with regards to the sit and stand workstations.

Sit & Stand Workstation Study

Many of us at our office got outfitted with these options and we’ve been trying to implement a good balance between sitting and standing. My personal goal was to reach a 50-50 balance. And as a little background on my daily activity; I do not do much moving around – my tasks consist mainly of working on the computer, unless we have to move tables, throw out old equipment or carry stuff into the storage room (Raf, the graphic designer and I are the internal moving team). The only times I get up are for lunch, grabbing coffee or restroom breaks.

 

 

Below is a chart where you will find my sitting vs. standing schedule over a week. You will notice I only hit that goal once during the week, and as a first timer using a sit & stand extension I think that is not too bad. Most of the time I would forget to stand (caught up in doing work) and then I would have to make up the time by standing for prolonged periods of time as opposed to doing timely and balanced intervals.

Weekly Chart: Sitting vs. Standing

Summary of my experiences during this week:

1. Making a daily schedule of when to sit and stand helps remind you to actually stand.

We all get caught up in our responsibilities and our brains have been basically wired to sit (if your job is computer heavy like mine) at work. I made a schedule for each day and followed it (for the most part) to gradually increase my standing time.

2. Doing short intervals between sitting and standing is much better than trying to stand or sit for longer periods.

When I would sit for too long, I tried to balance it out by standing for the same (if not longer) amount of time. Let me tell you, your feet get sore! It’s not too bad but at some point you start to lean on one leg, then the other to avoid soreness. I found myself shuffling my feet, anything but to stay stationary. We even got a Steppie (balancing board for your feet while you stand, it rocks left and right) that I used but it elevated me past my monitors so I went back to alternating my legs while standing. Short intervals > long periods of time.

3. My focus increased while standing.

Usually I would lock in and chip away at a specific task continuously. Perhaps it was the increased blood flow as the manufacturers claim, or it could have been the fact that when you stand to work it’s almost like raising your hand in class. You are put on the spot to answer (or ask a question) and “everyone” is watching. Probably a little subconscious trick of the brain to get you into another gear.

4. Another interesting thing I found is that if any of my colleagues near me were standing, we would be more collaborative (or communicative).

Being eye level with someone (as opposed to being separated by a cubicle wall) made it easier to ask a question directly while working instead of sending an email and waiting for a response. Actually the same case can be made for colleagues in different locations of the office. I found myself walking over and having a conversation (assuming they were not busy or in meetings) regarding certain tasks as opposed to just emailing back and forth.

5. First thing in the morning and first thing after lunch were NOT my standing times.

I would usually take the 1st hour after coming into the office and about 30-45 minutes after lunch to sit. Any other time of the day was fair game.


So there you have it – my initial experiences with the sit & stand workstation on the road to a healthier workday. I would love to hear if anyone else has had a similar or different experience using one of these. I would also be very interested in hearing from people who don’t necessarily work at a computer all day – do you find sitting breaks necessary sometimes?