Putting in a productive shift at work is something the majority of us will strive to do every day. Accomplishing all the tasks set for us and, where possible, going beyond the call of duty by getting extra jobs done, earns us brownie points with our employers, helps out our colleagues, and means that we can end the day feeling satisfied.
But however much we might try to achieve this on a daily basis, it might not always be possible due to factors beyond our control. Obstacles can get in the way; for instance we might run into delays on the way to work, or we might get sidetracked when a task unexpectedly turns into a black hole and sets us behind schedule.
Wellness and health issues can also affect how productive we are at work, by distracting us from the task at hand.
Here are five common health issues that can hinder workplace productivity, and what you can do to better manage them:
1- Lack of sleep and 2- Stress
There are several reasons why someone might not get a good night’s sleep. Feelings of stress or anxiety, muscle pain or discomfort, poor dietary choices, alcohol; the list goes on.
One of the first things those who constantly feel tired at work should address then is their sleep hygiene. It’s entirely possible to be sleeping poorly and not know it; so downloading a sleep tracker app so assess your sleep patterns can help you identify if there’s a problem.
Whether it’s affecting your work or not, if you aren’t sleeping well, there are several measures you can take to help yourself sleep better.
One recent study conducted by a UK health website found that those who keep irregular hours are less likely to sleep as well as those who do; so getting to bed at a reasonable time each night, and keeping your hours as consistent as possible can help. Alcohol is another factor which can cause sleeping problems, so it’s important to keep your intake within sensible limits and have several alcohol free days each week.
Stress is a major source of sleep deprivation for many, so doing what you can to reduce it can help you sleep better too. Make sure you have enough time to wind down after work before going to bed, and that you allocate yourself some ‘you time’ each day, whether it be to go for a walk or participate in an activity that relaxes you.
If your sleep problems persist after applying these self-help measures, see your doctor for advice.
There are few things more irritating than a headache at work, particularly if you use a screen and your job revolves around spreadsheets and word documents. But while headaches can be an annoying hindrance, migraines can effectively put an end to the working day altogether.
Migraines are a chronic problem, and everyone who suffers with them has their own triggers. As the Migraine Trust explains, for some it may be a certain food, for others it might be dehydration or too much caffeine, while staring for too long at a VDU can be an instigator for some people.
It’s important to be aware of these, so that you can do your best to avoid them. So take regular breaks from your screen, try to limit your caffeine intake, and make sure you’re drinking enough water.
In addition to this, being able to recognize the signs of a migraine early can help you to head off symptoms with your usual treatment, be it plain old paracetamol or prescription migraine medicine.
4- Lower back pain
Back discomfort can be a common problem for those whose job requires them to sit at a desk for most of the day. It can have a negative impact on our overall mobility, and it can be a distraction when you’re eager to get tasks finished.
First of all, if you work at a desk, it’s important to make sure your workstation is the correct height, and that your chair is set so that you can maintain a healthy posture while working. Your employer should have specific guidance on this, but you can find more information on the Health and Safety Executive website.
It’s crucial too to make sure you aren’t sitting down in one place for too long. Ideally, you should get up and move around for 5 to 10 minutes once an hour, to offset stiffening muscles and other problems such as eye strain.
Once more, if your back pain persists despite this, it’s best to see your GP.
5- Digestion problems
Stomach pain and indigestion can be difficult to ignore at work, so practicing good dietary health is paramount to maintaining productivity levels.
The importance of breakfast tends to be a subject which divides many. Some people choose to skip it altogether. But a healthy breakfast is no doubt a good platform on which to start a busy day.
Foods that release energy slowly and are high in fiber, such as porridge oats, are beneficial for digestive health and will help you to stay energized at work.
To lower the risk of afternoon indigestion, avoiding heavy meals at lunchtime is always advisable. Try to steer clear of sugar- or calorie-dense foods and go for something lighter but nutritious, again so that you can stay energized into the later hours of your working day.