The average person spends 90,000 hours -- or around one third of a person's life -- at work. And that number may be increasing: More than two-thirds of Americans work more than 40 hours per week, which has translated to a 400 percent increase in productivity per worker. It seems like we're all one project away from living at the office.
This places extra importance on creating healthy sets of routines that help us handle stress and the hectic pace of our lives. Yet so many of us compromise healthy boundaries for the sake of work. It's easy to eat fast-food, skip morning workouts or neglect sickness. In addition, most of our work is done sitting down and in front of a computer - which leads to additional healthy issues. It's a vicious cycle - and it isn't serving us long-term.
I'm always considering ways to keep my mind, body and soul healthy and performing at optimal levels. Since we spend so much time at work, I've started to focus on the best ways to create healthier habits in and around work. Here are a few that might work for you and your team.
1. Get on your feet and be active
Fostering activity is a great way to create an office full of healthy people. One option is to spend more time on your feet with a Varidesk standing desk and an anti-fatigue mat. It helps improve posture, keeps you from sitting all day, and makes you more inclined to move around.
2. Hold healthier meetings
Companies hold 25 million meetings each day in the U.S., and your company is likely no exception. The worst part is that executives don't think more than a third of meetings are effective (I'm one of them). You can kill two birds with one stone by instituting walking meetings.
This is a great way to get people on their feet and their blood flowing. It feels good to get outside and I've found that it actually makes my meetings more productive. I think the change of scenery also helps spur creativity and helps sustain higher levels of energy throughout the day.
3. Provide nutritious snacks
Snacking is a common way of taking in calories throughout the workday. I'm willing to guess that a large percentage of snacking is to satisfy a craving. It's imperative to keep a healthy (or as healthy as possible) variety of snacks around the office.
An easy way to cater to lots of different tastes is to provide curated snack boxes. I've seen more and more places using SnackNation, which allows you to select boxes full of healthy snacks that meet different dietary needs -- like dairy-free products or kosher foods.
4. Make clean drinking easier
For some reason or another, coffee (or any for of caffeine) has become a badge of honor in the work world. Grabbing a coffee or Red Bull might make us feel better temporarily, but they both lead to crashes and dehydration.
The solution is to promote the consumption of water. Supply your team with reusable water bottles they can keep at their desks and provide filtered water that tastes good. You can also consider apps and other tools to remind everyone to drink enough water.
5. Offer more active stress relief options
We can't ignore the fact that people still need outlets for letting go of stress. The old standby for many employers was a TV in the break room, intended to serve as a stress-free haven during the workday. Luckily, there are there are a couple ways to make TV a more active stress reliever. One is to set the TV up in the workout room, enabling people to use exercise while watching. The other is to use the TV to create a gaming room, where "active sedentary entertainment" offers physiological and psychological benefits that passively watching TV does not.
Many companies use creative solutions to release stress. You can consider competitions with wearables and the amount of steps people take - promoting more exercise. Another option is a punching bag with gloves or a room with yoga mats. Lastly, a garden area can also bring stress relief for those who like to connect with nature.
If you're going to spend a third of your life at work, you must embrace the routines and resources that keep you healthy and happy. There's no sense in giving up your health, and your performance, for the sake of more work hours. This goes for your team as well. Endorse healthy workplaces and invest in the health of you and your team. It's worth it.