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A Vital Working Environment: Eating, Drinking & Relaxing

A Vital Working Environment: Eating, Drinking & Relaxing

, by Joris Lans, 7 min reading time

A vital working environment

Now that you're familiar with the pro's of a healthy lifestyle and the risks of an unhealthy lifestyle to your mental and physical health it's time to to get started. In Great Britain employees work between 40 and 44 hours per week. This blog is about people who spend most of their working days behind a computer.

Working from home

An office space doesn't necessarily have to be 'at the office'. We're gradually starting to work from home more and more.  We do this for different reasons. For example to be able to better organize certain caring duties such as taking care of the children and informal care, to be better at focusing on the task at hand, to lose less time traveling to and from work or because you have the flue and don't want to risk infecting your colleagues. Anyway, it's important your working environment contributes to your vitality. That's why we like to share some tips and tricks with you to make your (home) office a tad more vital.

To do this we take three vital ingredients for a good vitality

1. Eating and drinking
2. Relaxation
3. Exercising
1. Eating and drinking

Healthy nutrition contains the right amount and composition of much needed nutrients. By eating healthy employees take in the right amount of vitamines and minerals, which fosters their health.
1.1. The five basic food groups

The five basic food groups have been based on the advice of the Board of Health and describes the optimal combination of different food groups. The five basic food groups advises you to eat sufficient vegetables and fruit, whole grain cereals, less meat and more vegetable products, sufficient skimmed and semi-skimmed dairy, unsalted nuts, soft or liquid spreading and cooking fats and to drink enough water, approximately 1,5 to 2 liters a day.
1.2 80/20 balance

Un 'all or nothing' mindset is to heavy to handle for most people. That's why we assume the 80/20 balance. This means you have to eat as healthy as possible 80% of the time and 20% of the time you can eat whatever you like because eating is about fun too!
1.3 Mindset

Eating and drinking healthy doesn't mean you have to go along with every new trend or hype about nutrition. Healthy nutrition is a long-term and durable way of live instead of a rigorous, temporary adjustment to your eating pattern, only to fall back on your earlier unhealthy eating pattern.
1.4. Seducing

A vital mindset can be realized be making people aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The mere fact that you're now reading this blog contributes to this!
2. Relaxation

Relaxation is unwinding physically, mentally and emotionally. Relaxation stimulates physical recuperation and gets you re-energized. This contributes to your vitality. Unwinding on a regular basis is needed to reload your battery. At the office as well.
Relaxing environment
A comfortable workplace at home or at the office starts with a relaxing working environment. Here's how to achieve that:
2.1 Sufficient daylight

Because the earth is spinning around daylight is constantly altered in intensity, color and direction. The sunlight fosters our biorhythm and provides us with some essential vitamines. To take in as much daylight as possible you need a room with large windows, bright walls and mirroring surfaces in your working environment. This makes the sunlight bouncing off. If you don't get sufficient natural daylight in your workplace you Best Buy a special daylight lamp to compensate the shortness of light.
2.2. The right amount of fresh air

The Working Conditions act obliges companies to facilitate sufficient ventilation in a natural or mechanical way. This means the office must have windows that open. If we don't get enough fresh air during the day we get stuffy and stressed. That's why you should stimulate both yourself and your employees to take in fresh air on a regular basis, for example with a short walk after lunch or an outdoor meeting. If you work from home and you have a balcony or garden you can work outdoor, weather-permitted. Make sure you get enough fresh air by opening the windows or ventilation shafts.

2.3. Add some green to the office
Employees who work in an office filled with plants are generally more relaxed and more productive. Plants have a healing and stress-reducing effect and they help to purify the air. Study shows the presence of office plants can increase the overall welfare of employees by no less than 47% and the productivity by 38%.
2.4 Create some silence in the office
Noise disturbance is a much heard problem, especially in crowded bullpens which can lead to stressed out employees. Luckily this can be dealt with pretty easily by setting up rules about the amount and volume of noise in the office everyone is fine with.

Here are some rules to prevent noise disturbance at the office:

• Use headphones if you want to listen to music;
• Phone calls and meetings should be held in a separate room;
• Go see each other when you want to discuss something instead of talking or shouting out loud;
• Use digital forms of communication, such as Slack or Hang-outs to ask questions that are easy to answer.

Relaxed employees

Apart from a relaxing working environment, relaxation during and after work to keep the level of stress to an absolute minimum is equally important.

2.5 The management's workload

It's recommendable to invest in smart facilities and tools to ease work and keep the workload up to the mark. Employees should keep track off the actual working hours made by employees. If they're making structural unpaid overtime to get all the work done it might be a good moment to hire extra personal, minimize the workload or to outsource certain tasks. Employees should let their employer know in time that their workload is too high and come up with suggestions to prevent themselves from getting stressed out.

2.6 Working and private life should be perfectly balanced

It's important your working and private life are perfectly balanced. This means you should get your work done during business hours and not to have to work at home after business hours. This can be a challenge, especially for employees who are used to working from home. Google has carried out an experiment to deny employees acces to their online work environment in the evening, so they can't work outside business hours. Google concluded that this added to the employees happiness and overall welfare.

2.7. Means to relaxation

By determining means to relaxation at the office a good balance between working and relaxation is most important. The activity can't take too much time but employees need to be able to get totally free from their work. Popular activities at the office that offer the right balance between working time and relaxation are table tennis, playing pools, a game of darts and table football. When you work at home there's also activities to do to get free from your work, such as Wii-sports or playing games with your partner or children.
2.8. Activities

Joining activities with colleagues outside business stimulates your team spirit and helps you to relax. The first thing that comes to mind is off course the (Friday) afternoon drink. But there's plenty of other (more active) activities to think off, such as corporate yoga classes, an ongoing table tennis competition, visiting an escape room or partake in a local footrace with the whole company. You have to think out of the box here!
You'll read more about a vital working environment in the blog 'A vital working environment, exercising'.


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