Creating a Healthy + Happy Office

By Alyssa Kaplan • November 24, 2014

The 9-5 lifestyle may work for some people, but I’ve always known that I wanted a job I was so invested in that I didn’t care if it spilled into my regular life. Frankly, I would rather love a job that consumed me, than be bored to tears at a job that froze at 5PM every day. But, in order to make that work you have to not only love what you do, but also the environment and people that contribute to the experience. So, needless to say when I was offered the opportunity to help build health and happiness at Verbal+Visual I absolutely jumped at the opportunity.

When you’re busy at work it’s often easy to let your health fall by the wayside. We’ve all chosen a slice of pizza over a healthy salad plenty of times, or missed a week at the gym because we’re too busy working on a big project. These moments are sometimes unavoidable, but there are some super easy ways to prioritize your health without sacrificing anything on the job:

Tip #1: Stock up on H20

It’s easy to forget to hydrate while you’re busy at work, but that’s usually when it’s most important that you do so. Dehydration makes you sluggish, and convinces you that you’re hungry when you’re really just thirsty. Aiming for ⅔ of your body weight in ounces of water a day will help you stay hydrated and alert.

Tip #2: Move!

Look, sometimes hitting the gym just isn’t in the cards, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay sedentary all day:

  • Instead of meeting a client for coffee, invite him or her to join you on a walk. Your guest will thank you for an excuse to get outside.
  • Get up from your desk at least once an hour. Go to the bathroom, get a glass of water, do a loop around the office, whatever your space allows to ensure that you get some movement.
  • Take calls on your cellphone instead of the office line. You can pace around the space or even go outside if you don’t need to stay near a computer.

Tip #3: Challenge Your Co-workers

There’s nothing like a little competition to kick something into gear, so why not use that to put healthy habits into place? See who can drink 100 ounces of water the most days in a row. Track your steps on a pedometer and compete to see who clocks the most each week. Trust me, the desire to win will beat out any lazy bones in your body.

It’s important to remember that mental health and happiness are just as important as the physical side- and some might argue that they’re even more important. In looking to achieve this, I’ve always tried to live by the Mildred Barthel quote:

“Happiness is a conscious choice, not an

automatic response.”

This reminds me that I need to consciously engage in activities every day to make my work life as positive an experience as possible. Try these tips to stay positive and engaged:

Tip #1: Learn Something New

Mental stimulation outside of the office is massively important in improving your mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s reading a book, listening to a podcast, or playing one of the many educational games available on the app store, there are tons of great ways to stay engaged.

Tip #2: Socialize

It’s been proven that socializing with one’s colleagues leads to a happier work life. It’s a lot easier to get excited about coming to work when you’re genuinely excited to see your co-workers, so rather than shutting down for the day and running home, be sure you go out for that drink, hit the gym together, or catch a movie. A little socialization will go a long way towards improving your mood at the office.

Tip #3: Give Kudos

Amidst our busy days it’s easy to forget to give compliments where they’re due- but doing so is essential towards attaining happiness at work. When we feel appreciated for our efforts, we’re far more likely to keep up the great work on the next project. Don’t let hard work go unnoticed; be sure to say “good job” and administer an awesome high-five when someone has earned one.

Sure there are days when you hit the snooze button 12 times, but overall, work should be a happy, interesting place to spend your days. It’s easy to roll your eyes at such simple tips, but all together they add up. Remember, you decide how healthy and happy you are, and there are many realistic ways out there to boost both.

For more tips check out the full presentation on health and happiness.

Alyssa Kaplan

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