We long for many things in our working life – shorter working days, wage equality, an end to sexism in the office – but the first thing the majority of us yearn to tackle is our productivity. How can we be more productive in a way that doesn’t damage our health? Chaining yourself to your desk from 9 to 5 might seem like the answer to that endless to-do list but it isn’t right for you or your mind and body in the long run.
To that end, it’s often the simplest things that boost our wellbeing by a mile, and we stumbled across this scientifically proven productivity hack that not only improves your productivity at work but is good for your health as well.
“Standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during the workday could lift your mood, combat lethargy without reducing focus and attention, and even dull hunger pangs,” according to The New York Times.
For the study, researchers asked 30 sedentary office workers about their mood, appetite, energy, and stress levels. They also measured their heart rates, and stress hormones, and had them complete a set of computer games measuring concentration and decision-making skills. On three separate visits to the clinic, the participants then simulated a six-hour work day: One where they worked straight through with bathroom breaks only, a second when they walked for a half hour before work and then worked straight through, and a third when they walked for five minutes at the start of each hour of the work day.
In the end, the participants felt happy, energised, alert, and craved less food when they walked around in five-minute increments each hour. “Even a little bit of activity, spread throughout the day, is a practical, easy way to improve well-being,” said study author Jack Groppel. “Frequent, brief walking breaks were more effective at improving well-being than a single, longer walk before work.”
And because we’ll likely never see “napping desks” in work (shame) this is a solution that’s cheaper, more realistic and something the whole office can partake in.