Bus to work, sweaty office, even sweatier suit, back pain from bending over your keyboard – no wonder you get the blues at 6pm every Sunday. With the average British man clocking just shy of 40 hours a week, according to the Office For National Statistics, that’s a whopping 92,120 al desko hours in your lifetime.
You could write these off as purgatory that buys your weekends. But that attitude comes at the expense of your health, wealth and happiness. Though we can’t swing you extra holiday, we can give you the tools you need to give you that Friday feeling on Monday morning.
Go from office grunt to affable gent with these tips to take the sting out of the nine-to-five.
Your work-life boundaries have never been thinner. From your desk to your phone to your TV, a constant trickle of blue light from screens leaves you fatigued and stressed. And it’s only Monday.
To fix the blues, take things outside. Paracetamol is the wrong remedy for your stress headache – just leave your phone on your desk and take your lunch break in the park. It sounds deceptively simple, but a 10-minute walk near trees in a green space will lower your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to Japanese research.
Return to your desk refreshed and ready to drill through your to-do list.
Take a look at your workstation. If you left paperwork teetering to buy an early Friday escape, your brain is probably just as scattered. The journal Facilities Management found almost 80 per cent of workers had their productivity hampered by clutter, which made their entire working day more difficult.
Instead of piles, keep day-to-day essentials within arm’s reach and stash the rest either in a drawer, or the bin, before you go home on the weekend.
Now you’ve got all that empty space, replace the problem with a solution. Sheffield University found workers who personalise their space lower stress and feel ownership over where they work. Hold fire on the cat posters, though, and pick up some plants instead – research from Exeter University found seeing green boosts productivity by 15 per cent. Think cacti or succulents, unless you want to waste that watering them.
Dress For Success
Office wear, especially corporate office wear, is not a suitable punishment for failing to adhere to school uniform in your youth. More offices are relaxing dress codes, but if you’re still caught in the formalwear cycle you can work within your confines to suit your environment.
Hottest day since records began? Sweat patches under a cheap black blazer is never a good look. Instead, opt for an unstructured blazer over a light linen shirt, like this J.Crew version, to breeze through your day keeping – and looking – cooler than ever.
Alternatively, if your office is an ice-cubicle, you can outflank the cold with a slim cashmere or merino wool layer between shirt and jacket. A splash of colour is doable, but keep it muted in a formal environment – navy or burgundy usually works best.
Back To Basics
Unless you’ve been living offline, you’re likely to have heard the now-years-old stat that our comfy office chairs are wheeling us towards an early grave. More immediately, it’s back spasms and shoulder pain that will shortly be wrecking your work life.
First, plead with HR for a stand-up desk. Your argument: it reduces sick days by helping you swerve obesity, high blood pressure and lower back pain that burns like Krakatoa. If they’re as inflexible as your spine, lead the charge yourself. Yes, you’ll get looks from your colleagues the first time you go vertical. But when they see you don’t get that post-work sleepy slump, expect the workers to rise up.
Pro Plus 36 standing desk, available at Varidesk, priced £335.