Wellbeing

How to design your workspace for optimum energy

- February 21, 2024 3 MIN READ
lizzie williamson smiling arms outstretched

Did you know that by modifying your workspace and introducing elements that encourage movement, you can create an environment that supports your wellbeing and energises you throughout the day. Lizzie Williamson explains.

The modern workspace makes it easy to sit and sit and sit.

Imagine your typical set-up – the desk adorned with neatly organised items, everything conveniently within arm’s reach. Your computer sits prominently, the screen glowing with endless tasks and distractions. Your chair is comfortable and seemingly moulding to your body’s shape, making it hard to resist. The water bottle sitting on your desk ensures you never have to leave your seat for a drink. And why bother getting up for a phone call when your trusty device rests right next to your keyboard, always ready to connect you with the world?

Oh, and let’s not forget about the messaging apps that keep you glued to your screen, chatting away with colleagues without ever needing to rise from your seat. It’s as if the workspace itself conspires to keep you firmly planted in a sedentary cocoon.

The typical work environment is meticulously crafted for convenience, making it effortless to stay seated, immersing yourself in work while unintentionally neglecting your body’s need for movement. However, just as policymakers changed the environment to discourage smoking, we can change our workspace to encourage movement.

Here are five strategies to transform your workspace into an active hub

1. Items Slightly Out of Reach

Embrace a simple yet highly effective strategy by strategically placing everyday essentials just beyond your immediate reach. This subtle adjustment prompts you to rise, stretch, and actively retrieve items, injecting bursts of physical engagement into your workflow. For an added boost, consider placing your phone in a location that requires you to walk over to get it. This not only incorporates movement into your day but also encourages short breaks away from your desk.

2. Infusing Subtle Movement Cues:

Surround yourself with visual cues that inspire movement. Decorate your workspace with motivational quotes, movement-inspired artwork, or photographs that emphasise the importance of staying active. Creating a vision board that reinforces your commitment to movement can serve as a constant reminder of your wellness goals. Additionally, use cue cards to prompt movement directly at your desk. Display stretches or exercises that can be discreetly done during short breaks, providing consistent encouragement to infuse movement into your workday.

3. Elevate Your Workspace with Active Accessories:

Take your workspace to the next level by incorporating tools designed to encourage movement. Consider adding lightweight dumbbells, resistance bands, or stress balls to your work environment. Transform ordinary items into exercise aids, seamlessly integrating micro-exercise sessions into your routine. Whether squeezing a stress ball during a phone call or performing subtle resistance band exercises, these active accessories add a dynamic element to your workspace, contributing to improved circulation and overall physical vitality.

4. Infusing Subtle Movement Cues Throughout Your Workspace:

Extend the concept of subtle cues beyond your immediate desk area. Place decals on staircases to prompt stair use, encouraging a healthier choice for navigating your office space. Employ floor markings to guide impromptu stretching routines, making it easier to incorporate brief exercises into your daily routine. Use communal spaces, such as the kitchen or photocopier area, to display these prompts, gently nudging individuals towards movement throughout the day. Display a ‘Move while you boil!’ poster in the office kitchen, encouraging movement like some kitchen bench push-ups while waiting for the kettle to boil. This creative integration of visual cues seamlessly incorporates activity into daily routines, fostering a more health-conscious and dynamic workplace culture.

5. Dynamic Stand-Up Desks:

As sedentary office lifestyles gain attention, stand-up desks are in the spotlight. Contrary to the misconception that standing all day is the ultimate solution, the key is finding a balance between sitting, standing, and moving.

Stand-up desks, or converters, offer freedom of movement during work. Unlike static standing, they seamlessly incorporate movement into your routine, preventing challenges like sore feet and achy legs. This dynamic variation aligns with your body’s natural inclination for movement, engaging muscles, improving posture, and boosting circulation. For those on a budget, turn your regular desk into a stand-up desk using simple items like books and boxes. This cost-effective DIY approach opens the door to a work routine supporting physical health and adding an energizing dimension to daily tasks.

As you design your active work hub, you’re crafting an environment that opposes sedentary habits while also championing your overall wellbeing. This transformation reflects your commitment to infusing vitality and dynamism into your workday. Whether you incorporate one or several of the following concepts into your workspace, the magnitude of the change matters less than the intention behind it. Taking even a single step towards an active workspace holds immeasurable value, because progress in any form is a significant stride towards a healthier and more invigorated work life.

Lizzie Williamson’s new book, The Active Workday Advantage: UInlock your Most Energised, Engaged and Happy Self at Work, is out now. Find out. more about Lizzie


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