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How to revitalise your work day

The workplace can be a stressful zone - aside from the actual mental stress of the job itself, there are physical elements of your environment that can stress and strain the body leaving you feeling far from fit for work.

The good news is you can revitalise your working space and energise yourself during the working day by simply making a few changes to your environment and routine.

Here are a few ideas and tips on how to limit the strain on your body while in the workplace:

Air conditioning and central heating systems mean that many workplaces are as dry as a bone, making employees seriously dehydrated. As a result, many people suffer from fatigue and headaches - ultimately affecting their ability to concentrate. We all know we should drink at least eight glasses of water a day; for evidence you only have to look at the policies operating now in many schools, where ditching the carbonated drinks and keeping kids hydrated with plain old fashioned water has been seen to have a dramatic affect on their ability to concentrate and work effectively.

Many of the health problems associated with work are related to a lack of movement when sitting at a desk. Sitting at a desk for up to eight hours a day can lead to the build-up of tension in the body, particularly in the back and shoulders. To help avoid this, get up at regular intervals; at least once every hour - organise your desk, go and fetch a drink or why not take time out to actually speak to a work colleague in the same building rather than sending an email or making a phone call.

Repetitive actions, such as tapping away at a computer keyboard for several consecutive hours, can cause severe strain to the muscles and tendons leading to Repetitive Strain Injury. Even people who spend long hours on the telephone are at risk of RSI, so should consider a headset rather than a traditional handset. To avoid injury, it is best to try and take regular breaks and stretch frequently. If any symptoms persist, then the best advice is to seek professional help from your doctor.

Having a plant on your desk is thought to lessen your chances of tiredness and stress. There are more to plants than you may think - they don’t just fill a dull corner or hide a tangle of office wires. Plants are thought to improve air quality, humidity and they even have the power to reduce the levels of pollutants emitted from man-made materials like paints and carpets.

Shoulder, back and neck problems account for a large percentage of absence rates, yet much of it is related to poor education and posture. Many of the physical problems related to poor posture are completely avoidable and either slouching at, or hunching over at your desk are reasons why employees suffer so much. Really think about your posture, is your chair too high or low? If you use a computer, is your monitor at the right height? Time spent getting the perfect working position for you will be beneficial in the long run.

Decent office chairs, foot rests and monitor raisers are all useful tools to help maintain good posture. The right office furniture can go a long way to alleviating the problems.

Regular computer users need to monitor their time spent in front of a screen. Take regular breaks. A good rule of thumb is moving away from your screen for at least five minutes every hour; by doing this you can help protect the eyes from the constant glare of a VDU screen. Remember all regular computer users have the right to free eye tests paid for by their employer

Sitting at your desk throughout the day can lead to a build-up of tension and make muscles tight and joints stiff. It’s a good idea to stretch every couple of hours to ease tension, increase flexibility and get your circulation going. Try and do exercises that move your most affected areas like your neck and shoulders, and your hands and wrists. You would be surprised the workout you can get and still remain in your chair.