Category Archives: Health

6 Reasons Tea is Terrific for Your Health & Happiness

Posted in Health, Office Motivation, Well Being at Work on by .

Coffee’s calming counterpart, tea is a staple of British society and a beverage enjoyed by millions of people across the globe every day. Of course, we all know tea is a cupful of soothing, scrumptious goodness, but what some of you may not know is that a daily brew can be a life-saver in the long term. Tea’s health benefits are just about innumerable – and we’ve got just some of the reasons tea-drinkers can count themselves lucky they’ve got a case of the leaf love.

Bird Eye

Image Courtesy of Bird Eye

 

It keeps your heart healthy.

The magical serum that is green tea has a boatload of health benefits to its name – not least its ability to improve your heart’s endothelial function (as long as you leave the milk out). Adding milk to your green tea will negate the tea’s cardioprotective benefits. Tea’s also proven to be effective in reducing the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular diseases – so for a healthy heart, make this your beverage of choice.

 

It helps protect your eyes.

Your eyes are delicate and entirely susceptible to oxidative stress. Back in 2010, a study revealed that green tea’s ingredients have a positive impact on your eyes – particularly the tissue in your retinas. So to keep your vision intact and your eyes healthy, a steaming hot cup of green tea certainly wouldn’t go amiss.

 

It keeps you young.

White tea’s sky-high polyphenol count means it’s pretty much the closest any of us will get to the fountain of youth. In one particular study, white tea extracts demonstrated anti-aging properties, helping to prevent wrinkles. By strengthening collagen and elastin, tea helps to fight one of 21st century society’s ultimate fears – the dreaded frown lines – all thanks to its natural protective benefits.

 

It relieves stress.

It’s no secret that a cosy cup of tea is the ultimate cure for our worldly worries. But how exactly has tea mastered the art of relaxation? It’s all science – in one scientific study, black tea was proven to reduce stress hormone levels in participants. And it doesn’t stop there – six months on black tea can even lower your systolic blood pressure, and you can’t argue with those benefits.

 

Maks Karochkin

Image Courtesy of Maks Karochkin

It makes you big and strong.

As if green tea wasn’t already powerful enough, a regular dose of the stuff can increase your bone mineral density and even your strength. Thanks to the polyphenols contained in green tea, you can improve your fat-free mass percentage and strengthen your bones while you’re at it.

 

It fights disease.

Breast, skin, lung, stomach, liver and pancreatic cancers, as well as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are just some of the diseases that a cup of tea works to prevent. Through a combination of antioxidants and those powerful polyphenols, this miraculous drink manages to help keep dangerous and degenerative illnesses at bay – relieving stress in the process.
At Eden Springs, we know how important it is to stay healthy and hydrated – which is why we provide offices throughout the UK with eco-friendly coffee machines and water coolers. To give your business its daily caffeine fix, take a look at our office coffee solutions now.

The Happy Marriage of Coffee & Work

Posted in Coffee, Health, Office Management, Office Motivation, Well Being at Work on by .

Coffee and Work

The unbreakable bond between coffee and work is a fundamental part of modern civilisation, a pairing so perfect it’s infiltrated the very core of today’s working world. Employees looking to supplement their workload with something a little tastier have found the rewards of a nice hot brew and show no signs of quitting the caffeine.

So we know that coffee and work is a long-term love affair – but what’s their origin story, and what exactly makes this love such a big one?

Coffee and Work

Image Courtesy of martindalemarketing.com

Performance Power

Coffee is proven to have a direct and significant effect on employee performance, with a daily caffeine fix making a huge impact on office output. Caffeine gives your employees the vital energy required to cope with heavy workloads, allowing them to perform effectively and productively. The caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream within in a matter of minutes, and the resulting energy can last for several hours.

The jolt that an early morning brew sends into our central nervous systems keeps us awake and alert – in our most productive state – and leaves the mind clear, logical and prime for working performance. Not only that, but coffee can even alleviate the everyday aches and pains associated with office work – in the neck, shoulders, forearms and wrists – leaving staff pain-free and on top form throughout the day.

 

Coffee Culture

The 21st century institution that is the coffee break dates back to the mid-20th century, with the regime made a part of many working contracts following WWII. Today the office coffee break is both a standard and essential component of every employee’s working day, offering a chance to socialise amongst their colleagues, hydrating and mentally refuelling in the process. These regular breaks allow workers to get their productivity-propelling caffeine fix in short and frequent bursts throughout the day – making for a workforce that is satisfied and stimulated at all times.

And for those of you who are partial to a casual coffee house rendezvous, you’ll be pleased to hear that even this has the scientific justifications to back it up. A low to moderate level of ambient sound, rather than distracting workers, is actually proven to boost creativity – making coffee shops an ideal location for some out-of-office brainwaves.

 

Health Benefits

In addition to the undeniable professional and social benefits of the office coffee, the relationship between coffee and work even boasts some hefty health benefits on top. Drinking four or more cups of coffee a day can decrease your risk of contracting diabetes by as much as 50%, while female employees drinking at least three each day are less likely to develop skin cancer later in life.

In a more everyday sense, caffeinated workers make for contented workers – with caffeine sending more fatty acids into the old bloodstream to be absorbed and used for energy, fighting the inertia often associated with the working day. Better yet, even the sweet scent of a hot cup of coffee can fight the stress resulting from sleep deprivation – powerful stuff.

The relationship between coffee and work is one that’s built to last, offering employees the world over a reliable pick-me-up with some rather hefty long-term benefits – and it’s not hard to see why this is a societal bond that can’t be broken.

If you’re ready to give your employees the coffee machine of their dreams, Eden Springs can help. We provide offices throughout the UK with eco-friendly coffee solutions with the power to maximise your business’s productivity – and keep your workforce happy and hydrated all day long.

Work&CoffeeBond

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How To Improve The Ergonomics Of Your Work Station

Posted in Health, Office Motivation, Well Being at Work on by .

ergonomincs-at-work

A properly designed workspace is an important component of well-being at work; some simple things can make a big difference.

 

If you are like many people who spend hours each day hunched over a keyboard and in front of a computer screen, then office ergonomics is an important issue for you. Sitting at a desk all day puts pressure on your back, neck and shoulders. A properly designed work space is the key to preventing many musculoskeletal disorders. Here is some simple advice on how to improve the ergonomics of your work station:

 

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Reducing Eyestrain

Eyestrain is a common sign of prolonged computer use, which may manifest itself in many ways:

  • sore, tired, dry and itchy eyes,
  • blurred or double vision,
  • headache and sore neck,
  • difficulty shifting focus between monitor and paper documents,
  • increased sensitivity to light.

To give the eyes a much-needed rest, follow this simple advice:

  • Rest your eyes frequently during the day by closing them for 5 seconds.
  • Throughout the day, force your eyes to focus on something other than your screen for a few seconds.
  • Give the eyes a five-minute break from the screen at least once every hour – stand up, move around, or do non-computer work during this period.
  • Make a conscious effort to blink more – many people blink less than normal when working at a computer, resulting in dry eyes. Blinking helps moisten and lubricate the eyes.

 

Computer Screen Set-up

Making some minor changes to your monitor can greatly reduce eyestrain:

  • Adjust the brightness of your screen and keep it clean and free of dust.
  • Enlarge the image or documents on your screen to make them easier to read.
  • Where possible position your monitor on your workstation to reduce reflections from lights or windows.
  • To test for glare, sit at your desk with the monitor turned off; this allows you to see the reflected light and images you don’t normally see when the monitor is on. Adjust the source of glare if possible, or move the monitor accordingly. Tilting the screen down slightly often helps.

 

Chair Set-up

A chair that is adjusted properly helps you maintain good posture, which helps reduce the amount of strain on your back. Take a moment to adjust your seat to suit your height:

  • Lower back (lumbar) support and cushioning – adjust to your comfort level.
  • Backrest angle – approximately 90o.
  • Seat height and angle – relative to the desk height and your leg length – the desk should be at waist/navel height, your knees should be parallel with your hips, and your feet should rest comfortable on the floor.

 

Work Station Set-up

  • For the optimal set-up of your work station, frequently used items should be easily visible and within a 45o radius to minimize any twisting movements of your back; they should be within arms-reach, so there is no need for your back to leave the chair.
  • Position your monitor directly in front of you approximately arms length from your eyes.
  • Keep the top of your screen at eye level or slightly below, so that you look down slightly at your work.
  • Position your keyboard directly in front of your monitor; if you place it at an angle or the side, your eyes have to focus at different distances, which is tiring.
  • Place documents on a document holder beside your monitor at the same level, angle and distance as the monitor to prevent your eyes from constantly having to readjust focus.

 

How to Strike the Perfect Work Life Balance

Posted in Health, Office Management, Office Motivation, Well Being at Work on by .

stress

 

Balancing the demands of work life and home can be a major source of stress; some simple techniques can help you improve your well-being and quality of life.

 

Do you spend more time at work than you do at home?

 

In today’s global workplace of advanced communications people now have the ability to work almost anywhere – from their home, their car, even while they are on vacation. Thanks to technology like cell phones, laptops, and video conferencing, many people are working longer hours than they used to and the boundary between work and personal time has blurred. But when your work life and your personal life are out of balance, your stress level can soar.

It isn’t easy to juggle the demands of career and personal life. For most people it’s an on-going challenge. Here is some advice from the experts on how to maintain the balance:

 

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1. Protect Your Day Off

Try to schedule some of your routine chores on workdays so that your days off are more relaxing.

 

2. Keep A Log

Track everything you do for one week, including work-related and non-work related activities. After you see your patterns, decide where to make adjustments, such as cutting or delegating activities you don’t enjoy, or which aren’t priorities.

 

3. Manage Your Time

Organise household tasks efficiently, for example: doing one load of laundry every day, rather than saving it all up for your day off.

 

4. Nurture Yourself

Set aside some time each day for an activity you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or practicing a favourite sport or hobby. This will help you to decompress after a hectic day.

 

5.Get Enough Sleep

There’s nothing as stressful and potentially dangerous as working when you are sleep deprived. Not only is your productivity affected, but you can also make costly mistakes. You may then have to work even more hours to make up for these mistakes.

 

6. Communicate Clearly

Eliminate time-consuming misunderstandings by communicating clearly and listening carefully. Take notes; write lists, etc. to keep yourself organised.

 

7. Set Aside One Night Each Week For Recreation

Take the phone of the hook, turn off the computer and TV, and discover the activities that you can do with family and friends. Making time for the people and activities you enjoy will rejuvenate you.

 

8. Bolster Your Support System

During times of stress it can often help just to talk about it with a trusted family member, friend or co-worker. You may also want to consider professional help such as your doctor, a psychologist or a counsellor.

6 Easy Stretching Exercises To Do At Work

Posted in Health, Well Being at Work on by .

exercise-AT-WORK

 

According to some experts, a lack of physical activity is one of the most serious health issues facing our modern society. Finding time for exercise during your busy day may not always be easy, but there are some simple things you can do to keep yourself fit.

 

Doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity a day as part of a healthy lifestyle, but finding time for exercise during your busy day may not always be easy. However, there are some simple things you can do at work that can help:

 

  • Take a walk during your lunch break; asking friends and co-workers to join you can help keep it fun and keep you motivated.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Take a stretch break – performing some stretching exercises throughout the day can help relieve common aches and pains, tension, and loosen stiff muscles.

 

The following are some simple stretching exercises you can do at your work station. Perform the following stretches frequently throughout your work day. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times.

 

exercise-AT-WORK

 

Finger Stretch

Clutching a pen or typing on a keyboard can make your hands stiff and tight. This stretch will help reinvigorate the muscles in your hands: Separate and straighten your fingers until you feel a stretch, keeping your hand in alignment with your wrist. Next, bend the end and middle knuckles of your fingers, keeping your hand and wrist in the same position.

 

Leg Stretch

Standing and holding on to something, lift one foot up towards the buttocks, keeping the knees together. Pause and then lower the foot to the floor. Repeat with the opposite foot.

 

Back Stretch

Reach behind your head and place your hand on your upper back, keeping your arm close to your ear. Gently hold your elbow with your opposite hand. Pull your elbow toward the back of your head and reach your hand toward the middle of your back until you feel a gentle stretch. Pause, and then repeat on the other side.

 

Arm and Shoulder Stretch

Lace your fingers together and turn your palms facing out; straighten your arms in front of you and hold.

Neck Stretch

Tuck your chin in, lengthening the back of your neck. Then turn your head to the left. Pause and then bring it back to the centre. Pause and then turn to the right.

 

Shoulder Rolls

Roll your shoulders up towards your ears, hold; then roll your shoulders back and down, squeezing briefly between your shoulder blades.

Top 10 Tips To Improve Your Well-being At Work

Posted in Bottled Water, Health, Office Motivation, Well Being at Work on by .

improve-well-being

Most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work, which makes it the most important place to care about well-being. Employees who take care of their well-being are generally healthier, more productive, less prone to illness and injury, and therefore, lead a better quality of life.

 

So here are 10 tips to improve your well-being at work:

improve-well-being

Why Water Is So Important?

Posted in Bottled Water, Bottled Water Coolers, Health, water coolers, Well Being at Work on by .

why-is-water-important

Since the body continually looses water – 2.5 to 3 litres per day – through normal body functions, this water needs to be replaced to keep the body healthy. Ironically, the sensation of thirst occurs only after the body has started to become dehydrated. For this reason it is very important to drink water often, without waiting to feel thirsty. By the time you begin to feel thirsty, the body is already dehydrated to a level of 0,8% to 2% of body weight.

Here are just a few of the many important roles water plays in the functions of the body:

 

why-is-water-important

 

Your Brain

Your brain tissue consists of 85% water. When you are not properly hydrated it may be your brain that starts to feel the effects, with headaches, poor concentration and reduced short-term memory. Even your ability to perform arithmetic and the rapidity of your psychomotor skills can be reduced. This is due to the fact that dehydration causes the level of energy production in the brain to decrease. Studies have shown that a person’s ability to concentrate progressively declines when the body is subject to a water deficiency of just 1 to 2%.

 

Your Heart

The heart consists of 77% water. Clinical studies have shown that adequate hydration may improve the way your heart works and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Your Liver

The Liver consists of 73% water. Its function is to convert the body’s fat into energy it can use. But if the liver is forced to help in the work of the kidneys due to insufficient water consumption, the body will accumulate extra fat that would have been burned if there had been adequate water intake.

Your Lungs

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, your body needs water to breath: the lungs consist of 85% water. In order to take in oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide, our lungs must be continually moistened with water. The average person looses between half to one litre of water per day just by breathing. When the body is dehydrated it tries to prevent respiratory water loss by producing histamines which close off the capillaries in the lungs. This reduces water loss, but makes breathing more difficult.

Your Skin

The skin is the largest human organ, both by weight and by surface area, consisting of 70% water. We loose a percentage of our body’s water everyday by evaporation through the skin. The environment in which we work, with climate-controlled heating and air conditioning, low humidity, and even simple things like soap and cleaning solutions can damage the protective outer layer of the skin, reducing its ability to hold moisture. When you are not drinking enough to compensate the for the body’ water loss, you may notice your skin feeling dry; moisturizers or body lotions can treat the symptoms, however the best solution is to reach for a glass of water and moisturize from the inside.

Your Kidneys

The kidneys are made of 80% water. Their function is to remove waste products from the body, which are dissolved in water. When there is not enough water these waste products are not removed effectively which can cause damage to the kidneys. The National Kidney Research Foundation recommends that drinking two litres of water a day can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones.

Your Bones

Even your bones have a high level of water in them – approximately 22%. Water is also necessary to ensure the smooth movement of bone joints. The cartilaginous tissue at the end of the bones retains water to lubricate the movement of your joints. When well hydrated the two opposing surfaces slide smoothly; if the cartilage is dehydrated, the damage from friction increases, causing deterioration of the joints and leading to pain, such as arthritis.

A Healthy Team Is A Happy Team

Posted in Health, Office Motivation, Well Being at Work on by .

The Ultimate Employee Motivation Guide: Chapter 5

It’s no big secret that our health affects us both physically and mentally. A large amount of research has been done on health factors in the work place, including common health problems at work, the lack of exercise caused by today’s 9-5 sit-down culture and how exercise has a positive impact on our brain.

 

Health, Happiness and Productivity

Scientific research has proven that health and happiness are intrinsically linked. Frequent exercise has the obvious effect of improving our health through lowering blood pressure and managing weight. However, exercise also has a significant mental impact on our brains, reducing stress and stimulating the production of endorphins – known as the ‘happy’ hormone.

Depression and stress are major factors which can negatively impact productivity in the work place, and, for the most part, can be largely combated through regular exercise. So how can businesses encourage employees to take up regular exercise?

Take Action: Keep your employees running like a well-oiled machine by implementing a gym membership subsidy, encouraging employees to take up regular exercise.

 

Office Exercise

Image Courtesy of Sourceable.Net

Encouraging employees to adapt to a healthier lifestyle, and essentially improving employee welfare, is a fundamental approach which should be built into every businesses mission. Remember – a small investment in the wellbeing of your staff can lead to long term gains.

Featured Expert: “Even if you work long hours there’s usually a way that you can fit 20-30 minutes of exercise into your day. For many people it’s just a case of getting up a bit earlier. Some of my best ideas come to me while I’m exercising and the extra energy I get from exercising regularly definitely helps me get more work done.” - Julia Buckley - Health and fitness expert

 

Ward Off Sick-Day Expenses

Staff absence due to illness can amount to an enormous long term expense to businesses. According to a study by accountancy firm PwC, workers in the UK take, on average, 9 sick days a year – this amounts to a total estimated cost of £29 billion to UK businesses every year.

 

“At a time when companies are striving for growth, it is vital they address this cost by looking for ways to improve employees’ health, morale and motivation”
HR Consultant Jon Andrews

In order to escape the costs of high absenteeism levels, businesses should invest in their employees’ wellbeing, whether this is by providing access to private healthcare, stocking only healthy foods in the office canteen, no matter how big or small, each step taken is one in the right direction.

 

Office Salad - Image credit - Reaction Nutrition

Image Courtesy of Reaction Nutrition

Fact: The NHS recommends drinking between 8-10 glasses of water a day to maintain health, replace fluids and help our bodies eliminate toxins and waste – keeping you healthy. Encourage this by investing in an office water cooler keeping your team well hydrated throughout the day.

 

Keep Your Employees On Their Feet

There’s significant evidence that keeping employees active in the workplace is beneficial to their health and your business. Startling statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) reveal that over 3 million deaths occur each year, due to insufficient physical activity. These figures are obviously a worst case scenario, but they highlight the importance of keeping active and escaping today’s sedative lifestyle.

Featured Expert: “Every hour, get up from your desk and move. Whether it is walking to get a glass of water or just having a bit of a stretch. Also, instead of sending an email to a colleague across the room to ask them a question, get up and walk over. Sitting down all day is not good for you.” Dannii Martin – Health and fitness blogger at hungryhealthyhappy.com

Modern office environments present an unnatural and unhealthy environment in which people sit at a desk and remain inactive for the majority of the day. Although time saving technologies such as internal email or in-office Skype chats may shave minutes off employee time, the long term costs are a risk to employee health by encouraging inactivity.

Businesses are taking a leaf out of the history book when trying to keep their employees more active during the 9 to 5. Before the invention of email or phones, people had to walk across the office if they wanted to ask a question or talk about a piece of work.

Take Action: Ban all non-essential internal communications via email or phone. This will mean that staff actually have to get up and physically move to speak with colleagues. To further enhance physical activity, remove chairs from meeting rooms. ‘Stand-up’ style meetings have been proven to encourage engagement and contribution – being on your feet is just an added health bonus.

Recently, there has been a growth in the popularity of sit-stand desks, these adjustable desks provide the ideal solution to the ‘sitting epidemic’, allowing employees to raise their desk to standing height and work on their feet. This ergonomic innovation keeps employees active. Unfortunately, these desks can be considerably more expensive, costing in excess of £400 each – making them a sizeable long-term business investment.

 

Sit-stand desk Image credit - Backchairs-direct.co.uk

Image Courtesy of Backchairs Direct

Software firm, VM Turbo, saw great success with the introduction of standing desks, with employees reportedly now spending 70% of their day in a physically active state. The desks have proven extremely popular with their employees, with nobody on the team wishing to revert to old style sitting desks.

These changes may seem small when examined individually, however, they can add up to a significant increase in physical activity when combined over a long period of time.

 

Key Points For Employers

  • By encouraging employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle, you’re saving your business significant costs in the long run.
  • Health, happiness and productivity are all closely linked – if you want to boost productivity, employee health and happiness in the workplace are key areas to examine.
  • Small changes in the office to increase everyday activity can have a significant impact.

Striking the Work Life Balance

Posted in Health, Office Management, Office Motivation, Well Being at Work on by .

The Ultimate Employee Motivation Guide: Chapter 3

A poor work-life balance can lead to productivity lags, with employees under excess pressure, working from home and at weekends. Statistics from the Mental Health Foundation reveal that 40% of employees regularly neglect their home life due to pressures from work, with the number of excess hours spent at work directly correlating with unhappiness. In the long run, this can significantly impact business output if the problem is companywide, even leading to a decline in employee retention levels as workers begin to resent their jobs.

 

Work-Life-Balance www.alleywatch.com source

Image Courtesy of Alleywatch.com

 

Who’s Responsible?

Many businesses assume that responsibility for work-life balance lies with the employee – but any good manager knows that ensuring your employees lead a balanced lifestyle means they are more productive during office hours. Therefore, responsibility for managing work-life balance should lie evenly between the employer and employee.

Featured Expert: “Excessive work demand can seriously affect your health. High stress levels are damaging to your wellbeing. Being unable to secure an effective work-life balance can lead to broken relationships, both at work and at home. Make sure your work is not damaging your health and wellbeing.” Ian Draper – The UK National Work-stress Network.

Colgate-Palmolive was recently named top of the pile for employee work-life balance by job site Indeed. Mark Steinerd, director of recruitment, highlighted how their flexible approach benefits the organisation. “Colgate-Palmolive offers some great benefits, such as flexible work hours, telecommute options, and nearby back-up childcare centres, which is a nice perk for work-at-home parents. As a result, Colgate-Palmolive has a high rate of employee retention, which is a testament to their culture.”

Take Action: Ensure your management team are well versed on the damaging effects of poor work-life balance by performing an audit of all business policies to ensure these are not detrimental to employees.

 

Unmanageable Workloads

One of the primary causes of poor employee work-life balance is management overworking employees by setting unrealistic goals. This isn’t always the fault of management either, as employees gradually get used to larger workloads, accepting additional responsibilities as they are afraid to say “no”. Combat this by creating an open office culture, encouraging employees to speak up about workloads without fear of being penalised. Project managers should work closely with teams when supervising daily tasks, asking employees for regular updates in a friendly manner, allowing them to re-prioritise and adjust the workload.

 

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Young woman working in office. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.

Image Courtesy of Huffington Post

Featured Expert: “There is no one-size-fits-all because we are all at different stages of our lives and have different priorities and goals. Getting the balance right supports us in achieving our goals, as well as in our overall enjoyment of our day to day lives. This is not without its challenges, and effort is required to consciously determine where we wish to spend our time each day – prioritising activities and managing our time effectively helps us achieve the balance.” Nick Achilleos of the Stress Management Society.

 

Key Points For Employers:

  • A poor work-life balance can have serious negative consequences for both businesses’ and employees’ health
  • Employers have a responsibility to help manage their employees work-life balance
  • Work with your employees to set realistic workloads, ensuring that enough time and resources are allocated to completing projects
  • Encourage an open culture, where employees aren’t afraid to speak up if they are struggling with their workload
  • Flexible working hours, child care, increased leave and holiday allowances can all be leveraged to improve employee productivity during office hours