A lot us have bad habits that we need to break. Some of us show up late to work, swear a lot, procrastinate, complain incessantly; others chew with their mouths open, gossip, have poor hygiene habits, make noises throughout the day with pen tapping, chair swiveling, non-stop foot kicking, etc. While you’re reading this, you might nod your head and think about a coworker who has some of these really annoying habits, but the truth is, you’re guilty of some bad habits too. Whatever the case is, it’s time to break free of those bad, unhealthy workplace habits. Because, believe it or not, some of these unhealthy habits can have a detrimental effect on your well being, or even your ability to get promoted and ahead in your organization.
MINDLESS NIBBLING ON FOOD
Here’s a fact: the more stressed you are, the less chary of you will be about what your eating patterns are. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research that delved into the effect of mental stress on food choices, more than half of the participants opted for unhealthy food over a healthier option on completion of a complicated task that involved memorization. Researchers attributed this behavior to the participants’ lower levels of processing resources after spending so much of their energy on cognitive tasks.
Your office pantry is always going to be full of something for you to snack on. It’s either Betty’s home-made cupcakes and brownies or Sheila’s lasagna and experimental kale bread, office celebrations, birthday parties, and an endless list of corporate events. While it’s a good sign of healthy workplace relationships and employee engagement, it’s not that good for your body.Moreover, the ubiquity snacks on virtually every corner of the office, vending machines, café and coffee shops, makes it even easier to mindlessly eat various food purchases that don’t break the bank. Let’s just say, if you’re binging on high-calorie junk food every now and then, it’s not going to work out either for your waistline or your health.
Take control. You can curb mindless eating by making sure that your desk drawer is only filled with healthy, nutrient-rich snacks to nibble on, such as carrots and cucumber slices, yogurt, almonds, hummus, cereal bar and smoothies.Swap chips or cookies for a real bowl of salad. If you’re too stressed out about something, take a walk or call a friend instead of eating.
Another fact: Americans spend 6-8 hours in sedentary positions. If your job requires cognitive skills, chances are you have already started inviting health issues by chaining yourself to the chair 9-5. Chronic sitting leads to back pain troubles, in addition to serious health consequences such as obesity, diabetes and heart problems.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the more time you spend sitting during the day, greater the chances of dying from various causes, including cancer and heart disease.
There’s an app called Take A Yoga Break available on iTunes for iPhone and iPad. You can set the timer on the app, and it reminds you to stand up and do one of the 30 yoga movements at your desk. You can also go out, get some fresh air and come back, if you’re too shy to do yoga in the office.
Slouching and rolling like a fur ball in our chairs makes us feel relatively comfortable. It all started in high school and got worse when we were handed personal laptops and cabins. It also gives a bad impression, but we usually don’t care because we’re modern day white-collar slouches. It’s true that slouching and poor posture isn’t a conscious decision, but more of a result of our surrounding environment over the years, but it’s bad for you.
The many adverse effects of slouching include:
Blocked Digestive System
Here’s what you can do. Place your monitor such that it is at an eye-height level so that you don’t have to tilt your neck while working. Make sure your chair is ergonomic in design and placed correctly.
Did you know that a lot of your posture is supported by your abs? You can tighten those up with some Yoga or pilates and improve your posture.
TOXIC MORSELS OF GOSSIP
Gossip is more or less like love. It’s all-pervasive, and common at every level of an organization. The more you step towards dealing with it, the more you get sucked into it.
It’s sometimes the hardest thing to resist, especially if it’s coming from a coworker who also happens to be a good friend of yours. The source could be a coworker who feels frustrated, bored or lonely, and decides to share personal or private, unsavory information about a fellow coworkers as a way of attracting attention, alleviating stress, or creating excitement. Or, it could be a slip of the tongue or an exaggeration of the truth. Even if we do everything we can to stay away from such toxicity, we may sometimes lose judgment about boundaries around appropriate conversations, and be a part of it.
Toxic gossip can lead to:
Employee engagement issues
Turnover issues, and sometimes even,
Liability issues (think about harassment)
The bottom line is, trading juicy tidbits can have destructive effects and one must stay away from it at all costs. If not, avoid it completely, one can choose what kind of private information to pass on during a conversation with coworkers. Moreover, practice the art of changing the subject. We can always keep workplace relationships warm and friendly, without having to share private details. Commit to a goal of always engaging yourself in positive gossip.Set your boundaries around professional relationships at work and respect that of others too, don’t spread the news you overhear.
Lunch is for punks! We’re sometimes so engrossed in our work or busy in a meeting that it all becomes just too easy to miss lunch. Did you know that by skipping lunch will only exhaust your cognitive capacity? Besides your glucose is going to take the lead in deciding how productive you are for the day. You will experience the following while working if you continue skipping lunch on a daily basis:
Increased heart rate
Today, in many industries, lunch breaks are getting as short as 20 minutes or sometimes even non-existent. According to a survey by Right Management, only one in five workers today take their lunch breaks away from the desk.
Take a real break. At least a 15 to 20 min break will help your cognitive functions to recuperate and sustain concentration and energy levels all day long. If you’re lucky enough to work close to a green, natural space, you can choose to have your lunch break out in the open.
MINDLESS WEB BROWSING
What is the first website you visit in the morning as soon as you hit your desk?
Mindless web browsing is something we all do unless we’re chained to a time-consuming project. We surf through a series of websites every day, some are specifically chosen for procrastination purposes while some help us scrape through our levels of self-esteem (social media sites). Sometimes, the increasing languor and indolence pushes us into deleting those promotional emails from our inboxes. It is in fact a soul sucking habit we all are slaves to when we are under stress.
Even when you’re in the midst of doing something productive or exciting, that feeling of boredom somehow passes through layers of extreme focus and makes you want to open a tab and check that website.
You will only get a few hours to perform your basic tasks during the day, and may be even get a certain feeling of accomplishment but the truth is, you haven’t really exerted any mental activity except may be during those hours.