The 9 to 5 life can be a serious grind. Sometimes you’re getting up at insanely early hours to get to work. And then you have to fight all the angry commuters who are also trying to make it work on time. If you’re lucky, you had time to scarf down breakfast and wash it down with some coffee. Or, maybe you roll into the office, tummy grumbling ready to raid the vending machine. But life doesn’t have to be this way!
Making the most of your office job just takes planning and a change in your perception. With a little effort, you can make your cubicle or open office life as pleasant as possible.
Invest in blue light glasses
If you spend the majority of your day staring at a computer, it’s a good idea to invest in computer glasses. They help save your eyes from eye strain so you’re not constantly rubbing your eyes or wanting to fall asleep at your desk.
Dress up – even if your office is casual
Even if you work in an informal office environment, resist the temptation to dress like a slob. Dressing professionally will help you get into the mindset of work. Save your pajamas for your home.
If you find that you don’t have time during the day to work out or if your office doesn’t have a shower, you can still battle the negative effects of sitting all day by focusing on getting movement in where you can. For example, go for a walk every couple of hours to get your heart rate up. Suggest walking meetings instead of sitting around a conference table.
Maybe the hard part for you is actually leaving your desk. If that’s the case, consider investing in a standing desk or an under-the-desk elliptical or bike machine. Both options are on the pricey side but consider them investments in your health.
Maybe even consider bringing a workout outfit with you to work so you’re more motivated to work out during the way.
It’s very easy to just order out every day, but you might find you actually enjoy making meals and meal prepping for the week. Try to avoid missing breakfast in the morning if you can or, make a point to bring breakfast with you so you eat it at work.
Connect with co-workers
You’re spending a large portion of each day with your co-workers, so get to know them! Having a good relationship with colleagues is essential to your mental health while you’re logging all of those office hours.
If you’re new to the office, try to grab lunch with a few people. Go to as many team happy hours and other social events as you can so that you have ample opportunity to bond with them.
Make the most of remote days
If you’re lucky enough to work from home once in a while, make the most of it but be wary of distractions. For many of us, working from home is a serious challenge because of all the temptations unrelated to work. If that’s the case, make sure you make a point to leave the house and go to a public library or coffee shop.
Listen to uplifting music
Crafting the perfect productivity playlist can help elevate your mood during those long days at the office when it feels like your work will never end. Maybe you’ve found that you need simple atmospheric music with no words so that you won’t be distracted. Maybe classic rock is your jam. Or, maybe you like a calming acoustic guitar. Whatever you listen to, make sure it helps drive your focus.
On that same note, it can help to invest in Bluetooth, noise-canceling headphones. Especially if you work in an open office prone to loud interruptions.
Get ready for office temperature changes
Offices are known for being freezing. If you get cold easily, bring in a blanket or make sure you always have an office cardigan that lives by your desk.
Use those perks
Does your job offer perks like a gym membership or passes for using public transportation? Even if you’re new, don’t be shy about using those perks. They’re there for you to use and enjoy.
Add some plants to your space
If you are near a window, consider adding a plant to your desk space. Plants are clinically proven to help reduce stress. If you’re not near a window, there are plenty of plants that thrive in the dark. Just make sure you don’t forget to water them!
While working at an office can sometimes be a drag thanks to the monotony of routine, you can make it a bit happier and productive with small tweaks. Find ways to move during the day, to reach out to other co-workers, and to make your work enjoyable.