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3 Free Apps that Serve as a Break Reminder at Work

3 Free Apps that Serve as a Break Reminder at Work

San Diego Ergonomics Consultants Present: 3 Free Apps that Serve as a Break Reminder at Work
Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Sitting all day at the office desk can take a toll on your body, which is why it is very important to take breaks at work. In fact, work breaks boosts productivity in the office or any workplace.

While this sounds like a simple task, how do you remember to take your work break when you are mentally deep in a project? This is where an app can be helpful.

Here are three apps that will help you be more productive and mentally sharp by giving you regular work break reminders:

1. Stretchly 

This app will change how you use your office computer. You can schedule both micro-breaks and longer breaks. 

Install this app on your computer, and a small window will pop up when you have a break approaching. Then another window will pop up when it is time to take a work break. If you must, you can skip your break, and it will remind you of the next one. 

Micro-breaks are every ten minutes for twenty seconds. The longer break option is every 30 minutes for five minutes. If these default times don’t work for you, then you can customize the lengths. 

2. Eye Care 20 20 20

This is a mobile app that is meant to give your eyes a break from staring into screens all day. About 80% of Americans use their digital devices for more than two hours a day. This results in about a third of American workers experiencing at least one of the symptoms of digital eye strain

This app helps you use a time-tested technique for giving your eyes a break. Every twenty minutes, you should look at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds.

This is a simple functioning app that reminds you to look up and away every twenty minutes. The customization of the functions focuses more on when you want your notifications, such as only during work hours. 

Couple this app with an office ergonomics gadget, such as computer glasses. Read more about computer glasses on our ergonomics blog.

3. Unhook 

The other apps on this list give you a notification and suggest that you take a break, but that isn’t useful if you ignore the suggestion. If you fall into this type of user, then you need Unhook. 

This app forces you to take a work break. During setup, you give yourself a daily time limit for different types of screen usage. Then when you hit that time, you must walk to earn more usage time. For every 100 steps you take, you earn ten minutes of usage time. 

If you really need to override the app, you can. There is the option of turning Unhook off and continuing your free usage. Be sparing with this as it defeats the purpose of having the app. 

In conclusion, prioritize your work breaks.

It can be tempting to skip your office work breaks when you have a lot of work to get done. However, this will ultimately hurt you. With regular breaks, you give your brain and body time to recharge and refocus, while boosting your work productivity.

Give yourself a break reminder with these useful apps. That way, you can focus on work and not on the clock. 

Taking regular work breaks isn’t the only thing you can do to be more productive at work; check out our extensive ergonomics blog for more ergonomics consultant tips that will keep your office running efficiently and safely. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for ergonomics guidance. Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State: Seattle, WA, Tacoma, WA, Olympia, WA, Vancouver, WA, Kent, WA Renton, WA, Oregon State: Beaverton, OR, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, Southern California: San Diego, California, Carlsbad, CA, La Jolla, CA, Irvine, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, and Newport Beach, CA.

Break Time: 5 Reasons Work Breaks Boost Productivity

Break Time: 5 Reasons Work Breaks Boost Productivity

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

We like to think that productivity means giving a task or project your 100% attention and working until it’s complete. But research now shows that taking breaks at work actually makes employees more productive. 

Wondering how taking breaks could possibly boost productivity? Here are some reasons why it really works.

1. Get back to work refreshed after a break.

If you don’t take lunch or coffee breaks by mid-afternoon you’re exhausted, you can barely think, and you spend more time trying to figure out what you’re doing than actually doing. Many of us push through and just keep working.

Working through your workday is ultimately less productive than taking breaks. 90% of participants in a recent study said that taking a full lunch break allows them to come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to go. While the lunch break may feel like wasted time, it actually prevents lost time by increasing focus.

2. Use your breaks to get inspired.

When it feels like you’re never going to find a solution to the work problem of the day, it’s time to take a break. Not taking breaks actually impedes our ability to think of creative, new solutions. 

Taking a quick walk, grabbing a coffee, or even sitting quietly, or staring out the window, gives our brains the break it needs to come up with new solutions. So, instead of banging your head against the wall, get away from your desk! But be sure to take your phone so you can take notes when inspiration hits.

3. Stress relief is necessary.

Stress is a part of any job. If we can manage work-related stress in healthy ways, then we can thrive. An inability to manage work-related stress leads to burnout, which is a productivity killer. 

One of the best ways to manage work-related stress just happens to be taking breaks during the day. Creating a habit of taking breaks when work-related stress is high creates a sustainable work style that makes employees more productive and happier.

4. Taking breaks allows for better work relationships.

When everyone in the office is glued to their computer screen, working constantly, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to build strong working relationships. Taking breaks with a coworker allows you to get to know them better, which makes it easier to work with them in the office. So, grab someone else when you’re headed to get a coffee and take some time to chat!

5. Take a break for your health.

When employees are encouraged to take regular breaks during the workday, they stay healthier than when they work through break times. There are multiple reasons for this. Taking an actual lunch break can lead to healthier food choices because employees have the time to seek out healthier options. Walking during breaks provides physical activity that office employees desperately need. Breaks to gather thoughts or meditate lead to decreased stress levels.

Healthier employees take less sick days, get more done during the day, and stick with their job longer because they don’t feel their job is negatively impacting their health. 

In conclusion.

Often employees aren’t taking breaks at work because they feel like they’ll be judged by their boss or coworkers. So, it’s essential to create a workplace culture that encourages taking breaks. While management may be resistant to creating this culture, the research is all there to prove that taking breaks is the key to happier, healthier, more productive employees.

To learn more about creating a healthy company culture and safer workplace, check out our website at SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for ergonomics guidance. Solutions Northwest provides office ergonomics assessments if you believe your office needs one, Contact Us.

Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in: Seattle, WA, Tacoma, WA, Olympia, WA, Vancouver, WA, Kent, WA Renton, WA, Beaverton, OR, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, San Diego, CA, Carlsbad, CA, La Jolla, CA, Irvine, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Newport Beach, CA.

Why Your Office Should Have Standing Meetings

Why Your Office Should Have Standing Meetings

Post By: Solutions Northwest, Inc.
Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California

Why Your Office Should Have Standing Meetings

A recent article by Forbes claimed standing meetings cut meeting times by 25%.

When you sit for long periods of time, you become susceptible to a variety of health concerns. Health concerns from too much sitting include: High blood pressure (hypertension), increased blood sugar levels, excess body fat (particularly around the stomach), high cholesterol, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Because sitting too much has a negative impact on office health, it makes sense to look for opportunities to take a break from sitting to stand up. Instead of pulling up a chair, conduct your next meeting standing up. A standing meeting boosts creative results, improves focus, and encourages team cohesion.

4 Benefits of a Standing Meeting:

Standing meetings are healthy for your employees and your business. A recent article by Forbes claimed standing meetings cut meeting times by 25%.

1. Standing leads to creativity.

Standing up gets the creative juices flowing. Researchers from Washington University found groups who worked together while standing were more energetic and shared more creative ideas.

Sitting down too long may actually harm creativity because it makes people feel sluggish, tired, and unengaged.

If you need to spark creativity in your office, conduct a brainstorming session while standing up. It should encourage more involvement and creative thinking.

2. Standing improves focus.

Standing allows for better focus within your group.

Firstly, standing means it is less likely employees will be distracted by cell phones and emails. When everyone is standing up in a circle, it’s easier to focus on the conversation at hand.

When you stand, your circulation flows throughout your entire body and more blood reaches your brain. The change in posture wakes people up and helps them feel more alert during a meeting.

3. Sitting and standing balances your workday.

Alternating between sitting and standing provides for a healthier workday. Standing burns more calories than sitting, so you’re less likely to experience weight gain that often accompanies a sedentary lifestyle. 

Research shows workers who stood for at least two hours a day increased their lifespan expectancy by 10%. Standing meetings encourage more activity, give workers a chance to stretch their legs, and help everyone feel refreshed.

Of course, moving throughout the day is the best way to stay healthy. In addition to hosting standing meetings, you should also be eating well and exercising regularly after or before work.

4. Standing meetings boost team cohesion.

Standing meetings get everyone involved to pitch new ideas. Since the creative juices are flowing and your team is focused on the conversation, it leads to improved team cohesion.

During a sit-down meeting, people may feel more territorial. They bring their cellphones, laptops, and notebooks with them to the table and sit in their designated area. A standing meeting eliminates this and encourages a shared workspace where ideas and cohesion flow.

Standing meetings should boost team spirits. They can include fun ice-breakers and are the perfect time to make announcements noting employee achievements. After a standing meeting, your team resumes their work feeling motivated and energetic.

In conclusion, start standing.

With all the benefits of a standing meeting, start incorporating them into your weekly agenda. You’ll find your employees will be more creative, focused, and healthier. Talk about a win-win!

Share this blog post with the rest of the office to get the buzz started about making your next meeting a standing meeting.

For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for ergonomics guidance. Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Arcata California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

5 Reasons Your Whole Office Will Benefit From Office Yoga

5 Reasons Your Whole Office Will Benefit From Office Yoga

Looking to make a meaningful change to your employee’s lives? An office yoga program offers improved focus, reduced stress, and enhanced productivity in the workplace.

If you run a business in 2019, chances are good your office has some type of wellness program. These programs set employers apart in the eyes of job seekers while nurturing a company’s current workforce.

Office yoga is a natural fit for a wellness program. Almost 15% of Americans do yoga already. Bringing the practice to work is a great way to focus on employees’ health and foster community in the workplace.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

These are not the only benefits an office can get from starting a corporate yoga program. There are many more. Read on as we highlight five of the most interesting benefits of doing yoga at work.

5 Benefits of Office Yoga:

1. Stress reduction improves work productivity.

Yoga has all sorts of stress-reducing effects.

It slows your breathing and makes it more deliberate. It stretches out your body, allowing for the release of endorphins. Anyone who has taken a yoga class can attest to the feeling of calm that immediately follows.

Lower stress makes better employees. Stressed employees make more mistakes in their work, miss more work due to illness, and account for greater employee turnover. Reduce your workplace’s stress, and you will foster an environment of positivity, focus, and collaboration.

2. Yoga improves posture.

Of all the physical benefits of workplace yoga, you might not think of posture first, but good posture at work is fundamental and even improves your success at work.

From a scientific perspective, humans should not sit as long as we do in our offices. Focusing on improved posture in our chairs helps us make the most of this less-than-ideal physical situation.

3. Do yoga. Digest better. Work easier.

That’s right, yoga helps you digest your food better.

Yoga detoxifies the body, which results in less heartburn and indigestion. These symptoms often mask deeper issues which can lead to time off work.

4. Your immune system benefits from yoga.

Yoga activates your immune and lymphatic systems, and its weight-bearing poses support strong bones. This means a more robust, less sickly workforce.

5. Yoga improves your confidence.

Yoga helps people get grounded in their bodies. It builds strength. And in doing these things, it gives people the confidence that comes from getting to know their bodies well.

When an office is full of confident, centered people, it shows in their work.

In conclusion.

These benefits of office yoga are only the beginning. A workplace yoga program has far-reaching effects, many of which are intangible.

Corporate yoga is a gentle, holistic practice that builds individual strength and fosters community. Yoga will not just give you healthier, happier workers, it will also show your employees that you care about them.

If you are not an office administrator or manager, we suggest contacting your office’s human resource department to see about adding office yoga to your workplace.

For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for ergonomics guidance. Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Arcata California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

Always Clean Your Spills at Work

Always Clean Your Spills at Work

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and Arcata California)

Ergonomics Tips: Always Clean Spills at Work to Avoid Slip and Fall Injury

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most general industry incidents involve slips, trips, and falls. 

We’ve all had our clumsy spills in the office, but it’s important to understand that cleaning a spill is serious business. It may be tempting to leave the small spill for the janitor to find, but that small spill could lead to a major slip and fall injury.

According to the National Safety Council (2011), “research finds that ‘fall from the same level injury’ is one of the highest injury causes” in the workplace.

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Stay proactive at the office

Always clean up spills that you see, even if it wasn’t your fault. Stay proactive, clean all spills immediately, and post proper hazard signs on wet surfaces that are being cleaned to prevent slips.

Also, be mindful that not all slips will come from spilt beverages, so it is important to keep an eye out for them while you walk around the office.

For example, wet floors from rain, exposed cords, unstable work surfaces, uneven floors, loose rugs, cluttered areas, or even dusty areas may cause employees to slip and injure themselves.

To prevent tripping, be sure not to allow any clutter (like boxes) to enter any walking paths of the office. Be sure that all tripping hazards like phone or electrical cables are properly installed and tucked away.

Make sure your HR Department has an office safety plan

OSHA mandates that employers shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards, so make sure your Human Resources department has developed an office safety plan.

Every office safety plan should be reviewed annually and updated whenever changes in procedures or the office environment could create new hazards or impact existing ones.

Additionally, posting reminders near food and drink stations is a great idea.

In conclusion, stay educated.

Stay educated by researching common office safety hazards to help prevent work related injuries. To learn more about work safety issues, visit us at SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Subscribe to our blog for more office and ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland. rgonomics c

Being a Boss vs Being Bossy

Being a Boss vs Being Bossy

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)


Management Tips: Being a Boss vs Being Bossy
“50% of 7,200 adults surveyed left a job to get away from their manager” Gallup Poll 2015

Whether you’re a new manager or seasoned supervisor, it is important to know the difference between being the boss and just being plain bossy. The workplace can be a stressful place, there is no reason to contribute to your own stress or the stress of others on the job.

In fact, it will benefit your workplace productivity if you treat your staff right versus bossing them around just because you can.

Know the consequences of being a bad boss

The stats are in, “50% of 7,200 adults surveyed left a job to get away from their manager” according to Gallup. Poor leadership can create a poor working environment, which leads to employees fleeing the job. As a supervisor, admin, or owner, it is important you create a positive work environment for your subordinates.

According to 5Dynamics, “happy employees have been shown to be up to 20 percent more effective in the workplace than unhappy employees. The NY Times has indicated that both employees and managers are spending more and more time working in collaborative teams than working individually, showing the value of creating strong, positive team interactions.”

Give credit where credit is due

As a leader, it may be tempting to take credit for all of the work your team is doing, but if you don’t properly acknowledge your team’s hard work, then your success may not last very long.

Studies reveal that “79 percent of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving. People don’t leave companies. They leave bosses,” according to Forbes.

This means that lack of recognition is a huge deal. As the boss, it is important that your team knows that you appreciate and value them.  You play a large role in whether or not they stay with the company, a survey from Accenture shows the top reasons employees quit: “1) They don’t like their boss (31%), 2) A lack of empowerment (31%), 3) Internal politics (35%) and 4) LacErgonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.k of recognition (43%).”

The trick is to find passion in your work

Whether you work in an industrial plant, an office, or retail store, it is important to love what you do. You don’t have to have a dream job, you can start just by focusing on short term goals at work. Hustle to achieve goals, encourage team work and positive communication among your staff, and realize that if you put passion into your work, you will begin to love your work.

When you love what you do, it becomes easier to give credit to your team and lead by example. Your positivity as a leader will become infectious in the work place and you will find it much easier to create a happy staff, which we now know leads to a more productive work place.

In Conclusion

If you’re to be a good supervisor or great manager, it is in your best interest to keep your workers happy, for the good of your state of mind and for the good of the company. If you push your team around, over work them, or fail to recognize their hard work, then you will find yourself on hard times.

Hopefully these workplace tips can help keep your workplace a positive and safe work place. For more guidance on all work related health and occupational issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more information.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in Washington State, Kent, Renton, Arcadia, Northern California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

 

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