A journalist for the London based newspaper The Guardian recently undertook a study of the working habits of some of the most creative people in recent history. The results were amazingly varied, with composer Tchaikovsky believing that he needed to take a long walk for exactly two hours each day in order to get his mental juices flowing. Ernest Hemingway would get up at 5:30am each day to write, which can't have been easy, given his legendary fondness for alcohol. Esteemed mystery novelist Agatha Christie wrote more than 82 novels, plus another eight under a fake name, and yet never used a desk, scribbling or typing on any convenient table or surface. While Ms Christie lived to the reasonably ripe old age of 85, all those countless hours of writing sitting in an unsuitable chair, bent over an uneven surface must have been very bad for her back. It shows an admirable passion for her work, in that she was able to do so much in fairly uncomfortable places. For the rest of us, we need to be rather careful about how we position ourselves when we do our work, and this takes in everything from the air in the office, to the screens we stare at, to the chairs we sit on, and it's vital to make sure that your office isn't hurting your health.
Miss the Rush
The discomfort from work can start before we arrive at the office, with a cramped bus or train ride into the office leaving us feeling stressed out before we even arrive at our desks. The commute can't really be avoided, and yet it can be a good idea to vary your routine. Negotiate a flexible start time with your company, so maybe you can avoid rush hour. If you're a morning person, a flexible start time can allow you to start and finish early, also avoiding rush hour. If you have a particularly understanding employer and a career that allows it, you can also perhaps work from home one or two days a week.
Think of how many hours a week you spend sitting in your office chair. While there are lunch breaks and trips to the photocopier, for the vast majority of eight hours per day, five days per week, you're sitting down. It's absolutely vital to sit in an ergonomically appropriate chair- something that gives your back and overall body the support it really needs for the many hours you'll be spending in it. There's a great range of chairs available at Sit4Life, all of which look great, while offering you comfort that's sorely needed, and the Aeron Chair remains a top choice. And hey, these great chairs are far more comfortable than that sitting on a fitness ball craze that was popular in offices a few years ago.
The Air You Breathe
Most offices are confined, sterile places, reliant on filtered air. Of course, it's not always appropriate to open a window for some fresh air when your office is on the 67th floor, but there are ways to ensure that the air you breath while at work keeps your lungs clean, and your working life productive. Ensure that the filtration system is regularly serviced, and be careful what type of upholstery you have in the office- research the type of fabric you want for your waiting room couch, since certain acrylic materials contain high levels of benzene, which is a toxic by-product of the manufacturing process and can seep out in small amounts. This is mostly harmless, but can greatly affect those who are sensitive to such things or have respiratory issues. And of course, a few plants around the place will make sure that the air is clean and green, and they sure look great too.