4 simple ways to make your work day better

Small things could be impacting your wellbeing at work, Medibank Medical Director Dr Cheng explains.

Written by Dr Kevin Cheng
Healthy strawberry lunch on working desk

Reduce your stress levels, keep your mind clear, and nourish your body with small changes to your workplace habits.

According to Medibank research*, 72% of Australians say employee health and wellbeing is one of the three most important elements of a good workplace, and more than one in four are concerned about the impact of their work environment on their personal health.

Medibank Medical Director Dr Kevin Cheng says there are a number of simple ways we can improve our wellbeing – and performance and productivity – while at work.

“Each and every year, we see Aussies make a plethora of New Year’s resolutions focused on fitness and health, yet most are based on dieting or exercise regimes,” Dr Cheng says. “With more than half of our waking day spent at work, it’s important to consider how we can better our health during this time too.”

Dr Cheng suggests the following tips for a healthier work day:

1. Snack mindfully and eat well

Bringing your own snacks and lunch to work can help you control the type of food you eat. If you find it hard to find time to make your own healthy lunch, aim to at least bring nutritious snacks such as fruits and nuts to maintain energy and concentration while at work.

2. Move around

Stretch out your legs and get your body moving throughout the day, even if it’s just a little. A recent study found that replacing sedentary behaviour with walking or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity significantly reduced the mortality risk for adults aged 45 and above.

Look for small ways you can add more activity into your day. Consider taking a walking meeting with colleagues, having a standing brainstorm or even simply taking the long route to the printer or water cooler. Many workplaces have also started introducing standing desks to counteract the negative effects of sitting for too long.

3. Take a break

For those working in an office, sitting at your desk for prolonged hours can often make you feel tired and sluggish. Try to take a walk every hour, stand up when you’re making a phone call, and don’t forget your lunch break. Taking a lunch break will not only improve your health, but also reduce your levels of stress and improve productivity.

4. Stay hydrated

Throughout the day, concentration levels may start to drop – and it’s tempting to reach for the survival potion of coffee, soft drinks or energy drinks. But one of reasons you might be feeling a dip in mood and energy levels is dehydration, making it hard to focus on the task at hand.

The trick is to stay hydrated with water. Get in the habit of carrying a water bottle around with you and sip at it throughout the day. If you want to mix it up, try coconut water, tea, or water flavoured with lemon or lime.

Small things can have a big impact on your wellbeing at work, Medibank Medical Director Dr Kevin Cheng explains.

Find out more about Medibank Corporate Health Cover.

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Medibank and Deloitte are lifting the lid on workplace wellbeing in Australia. Get insights from the Wellbeing@Work Index.

* internal Medibank data 2016

Written by Dr Kevin Cheng

Dr Kevin Cheng MBBS MBA FRACGP DALF is Medibank's Medical Director.

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