Like millions of people, I work a desk job, with the majority of days spent staring at a screen or in meetings. I’m also constantly surrounded by cakes, doughnuts, sweets, chocolate, biscuits, pastries, and everything else delicious but not exactly good for you. So, basically, staying healthy at work can be a bit of a challenge.
Thankfully, my willpower is groin-grabbingly good, so the food situation in the office doesn’t get to me – although I’ve been known to sniff foods to get my fix. I clearly have issues.
Recently I was approached by Nuts.com – no, not the UK lads mag (wheeeeyyy lads lads lads lads) – this Nuts.com is a long-standing family business that sells high quality, healthy snacks. The guys and gals there asked me to share some of my workplace health-hacks with you. Don’t panic, sniffing food didn’t make the cut.
Getting enough of the good stuff is something which is really underrated in the workplace. I’m not talking about tea and coffee here, we all know gallons of that stuff gets guzzled all day long…and that’s a whole other issue. I’m talking water, aqua, good old H2O. Sometimes I’m flabbergasted (best word ever? Maybe. It’s up there) at how little a lot of people tend to drink. The worst situational-offenders are meetings and conferences. It’s happened to us all, being locked in meetings all day. Typically a meeting delegate is afforded a litre each per day – I used to work in hospitality so I haven’t plucked that out of thin air – and that’s even if water is provided at all.
Hack: Keep a bottle of water on your desk and take it to meetings with you. A one litre bottle is ideal but don’t get anything smaller than 500ml. Aim to get through at least two litres per day at work. Try bringing in some different flavourings too, such as sliced lemon, lime, cucumber, and mint.
The bald-headed buffoon Karl Pilkington once said “You won’t get anything done by planning.” In a strange way I can see the point he’s trying to make (perhaps my brain is as warped as his), but when it comes to food preparation, Mr Pilkington, you are dead wrong. DEAD WRONG. Sorry for shouting. Anyone who works in an office needs incredible willpower, as there’s scarcely a day that goes by where someone hasn’t brought in a stash of some kind of cake, biscuit, or confectionery. It can be tough to turn these treats down, but you can make it a lot easier on yourself.
Hack: Every other evening, prepare a healthy lunch for the following two days. Just make an extra portion of dinner and stick it in some Tupperware. A great emergency time-saver is to use a mandolin to slice some salad veg, and buy some pre-cooked fish or meat. Avoid the Krispy Kremes by bringing in your own snacks too. Try this healthy snacks for work page for some inspiration. Personal favourites of mine are jerky, nuts, or a good old-fashioned protein shake if needs be. Prepping your food will be as good to your health as it will your bank balance.
Let’s face it, sedentary office jobs suck. Spending your day sat on your backside and staring at Microsoft Excel (other spreadsheet software is available…I think. It must be) isn’t a healthy way to spend your life. We all know that we should try and step away from our desks every hour or so, but how many of us actually do? When you’ve got everything you need (keyboard, mouse, phone, novelty pen, pad, food, drink, World’s Greatest Boss mug) within arm’s reach, it might feel like you don’t need to go anywhere. But, before you know it, it’s 5pm, you’ve barely moved a muscle, and another day of being a keyboard warrior is at an end.
Hack: A few things you can do here. Start by using the stairs, not the lift (elevator for both my state-side fans). Instead of sending that email to someone across the other side of the office, take a casual stroll to their desk – if you’re feeling super casual, why not try and high-five everyone you walk past on the way there? People will definitely think you’re cool and they won’t find you weird.
Lastly, if you’re lucky enough to get a full hour lunch break, then get outside and have a walk for 30 minutes. It’s a great way to de-stress, which is also a massive health benefit. These might all seem like minor things but they’ll all add up, trust me.
Feel free to share your work health-hacks in the comments section below or by mentioning @oxfordfitness on Twitter.