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June 2018

Healthy habits: home and work

Written by Nicole Horne
Health and Safety

A huge portion of our day is spent at the office. In the face of the average work-day demands.  With a fast paced day, a high stress environments, and limited time, it’s easy to say “I’ll have a takeaway meal for lunch, but cook a healthy meal tonight”...  We often focus on incorporating that which is convenient to our everyday work life, and put off making healthy decisions based on a future time or goal. This type of thinking makes it challenging to follow through on healthy habits 24/7.

In a previous blog entitled “Top 5 cringe-worthy office hygiene scenarios”, we talked about bad hygiene habits that should be avoided at the office. Of course we don’t want to take germs home with us, and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure a healthy workplace. Our habits are an essential part of ensuring a happy and healthy environment, so we need to make sure that good habits permeate all aspects of our lives.

When we are at home we’ll cook, clean, exercise and are generally more focused on spending time and caring for ourselves both physically and mentally. Often we tend to think that adopting a healthy lifestyle is a big change and that it requires considerable effort. Yes, forming healthy habits requires some planning, but you’d be surprised how small changes in behaviour can make a big impact on both our workplace and home hygiene and health.

Here are some simple tips you can incorporate daily to ensure a healthy lifestyle at both your workplace and at home.

Prepare your meals at home

When you are busy at work it’s so convenient to grab the first thing to cross your path. Perhaps it’s the biscuit stash in your drawer or the piece of cake you had for lunch (instead of a meal) in celebration of your coworker’s birthday. If you prepare your meals in advance (or even meal prep for the week ahead) it is much easier to resist temptation and stick to a healthy eating plan. I personally find that when I bring meals to work I’m far less likely to call in an order for a takeaway.

Eat away from your desk

It is easy to get so lost in our work that we eat our lunch at our desk. On average, around 70% of office workers eat lunch at their desk, resulting in food debris landing in between your keyboard keys, harbouring bacteria and leading to an unhygienic workstation.

How dirty is your keyboard? Download our keyboard cleanliness test to find out.


Take a break and enjoy some fresh air

Our bodies are designed for regular movement, and sitting for long periods of time can have more negative effects than you might think. Too much sitting can lead to increased blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Furthermore, according to the Mayo Clinic, an analysis of 13 studies have shown that those who sit for 8-plus hours a day with no physical activity were at risk of dying similar to the level of risk posed by obesity and smoking.

Be sure to get up often, take a walk and have a lunch break outside of the office. According to the principles of Biophilia, we human beings have an inherent desire to connect with-  and actively spend time in- nature. This has a positive impact on our wellbeing and mindset, reducing stress, fatigue and even headaches.


Hands up for hygiene

I’m sure that by now I sound like a broken record when I reiterate the importance of handwashing, but this is a #GoldenTip for everyday hygiene. Hand washing is one of the most important actions we can take to prevent cross contamination and the spread of diseases.

Clean hands = healthy spaces! Wash hands regularly, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. Also be sure to keep hand sanitiser within reach for instances where there is no running water, and sanitise door handles and frequently used items and equipment such as printers to ensure a healthy space.

The same goes for your home: make sure regularly used items and surfaces (eg light switches, remotes, your mobile phone etc) are disinfected and that your hands are regularly washed. You don’t want to be taking germs home from the office or vice versa.

Looking for ways to make your office more hygienic? Read our blog: 5 ways to keep your office space hygienic


Be mindful - don’t leave your good habits at home

If you don’t leave dirty dishes soaking in the sink or left over food lying around at home, why do this at work? If your paper towels or condiments are finished at home, you’ll have to replace them, or ask the person in charge of groceries to add it to their shopping list. Same goes for the office. If you spill at home, who cleans it up? You, of course! If it is your responsibility at home, why leave for someone else to do at work?

Your workplace is where you spend most of your time away from home, and where you share spaces with others. Ensure you leave the space as you found it (or would expect to find it) to provide a pleasant space for your coworkers.

If you implement your home hygiene principles at work, and vice versa, you can ensure healthy, happy and hygienic environments wherever you go.

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Nicole Horne

Nicole Horne

Nicole is a Digital Marketing Executive at Rentokil Initial Hygiene in Johannesburg. A self-proclaimed germaphobe, her love for hygienic environments and curiosity of all things “beneath the surface” fuels her enthusiasm for writing about the impact of germs in the workplace. She is passionate about creating awareness and sharing her knowledge on the impact of good hygiene practices. Follow Nicole on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates on the the good, the bad and the germy.

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