Small rebellions for a suffocating office
April 21, 2016
Have you ever had to suppress your personality to fall in line with the professionalism of your office? Does your soul die a little every time you look at the long line of identical offices and identical cubicles? Are you starting to worry that you will become one of the mindless office drones? Did you seriously consider buying a cat calendar for your office this year?
Fear not! There are easy ways to silently rebel and show a little attitude in even the strictest of offices.
Bring a touch of color into your professional wardrobe…subtly. Loud socks, shoes, and jewelry are all great ways to show your personality while still remaining professional. You’ll be surprised how many compliments you get from people who wish they were as bold as you.
Your Personal Touches
Your boss has a picture of her children on her desk. Your coworker has the sweetest valentine’s card that his girlfriend made him. And you…you have a family portrait with Chuck Norris Photoshopped in. Because he has gotten you through some rough times and he’s practically family anyway. And let’s be real…your boss is never going to look closely enough to notice.
“Plants are inappropriate,” said no one.
If you’re not allowed pictures or anything personal at your workspace, you should at least be able to smuggle in a small cactus or a bouquet of flowers. There’s nothing like introducing a bit of the wild to your stuffy office to remind you that beautiful life does exist outside these 4 walls.
Plus, research has shown that having plants in the office reduces stress and fatigue. Yes, please.
Your Office Supplies
Staple often? How about a stapler in the shape of an Hulk's hand?
Is your desk covered in post-it-notes? Why not get duck-shaped stickes?
Does your mousepad need some flare? Sounds like a good place for a picture of George Costanza.
Keep it SFW, and make your background anything that’s a happy reminder of who you are outside of work.
If you’re a rock climber, try a picture of a gorgeous cliff face. If you spend your evenings playing on a rec league baseball team, use a baseball theme. If you’re a gamer, upload a screenshot from your favorite game. The possibilities are endless.
Easy steps to reduce discomfort in the office
Most of us spend about 40 hours a week in an office chair. That’s more than the time we spend eating, reading, watching TV, or working out.
So it’s not unreasonable to expect your office to be comfortable.
Certain factors, like the size of your workspace or whether you can see a window, may be out of your control. But there are several simple steps everyone can take to reduce any physical discomfort caused by their office set-up.
1. Create an ergonomic space
Ergonomics is key. Your chair, desk, and keyboard all need to be positioned so you are comfortable and well-supported, no matter how long you sit.
When in your chair, your feet should be flat on the floor, and your knees and hips should be at 90⁰ angles. The arms of your chair should be at a height that keeps your elbows open at an angle of 90⁰ or greater. The lumbar support in your chair should be positioned on your lower back. Your keyboard should be at the same height as your arms, so you are not reaching up to use it.
2. Practice good eyegonomics
Harsh lighting, unadjusted screen brightness, and bad “eyegonomics” can all cause eye strain. And nothing makes your workday more unbearable than that throbbing behind your eyes.
“Eyegonomics” refers to the art of applying ergonomic principles to your eyes. Your eyes should be level with the top of your computer screen, and they should be an arm’s length away from the screens.
Adjust the brightness of your screen to a point where the light is neither burning your eyes by being too bright, nor causing you to strain your eyes by being too dark.
3. Use your muscles
Frequent prolonged sitting is associated with a whole host of illnesses. Many of these are caused by the lack of movement. Staying in the same position for a long period of time allows your circulation to slow, which in turn causes your muscles and your brain to receive less oxygen. This, of course, leads to muscle denigration and a “foggy” head. If you find yourself feeling more and more worn down as the day progresses, the problem may be that you’re not spending enough time in motion.
Ideally, you should get up and stretch or move around for several minutes every hour. Another practical solution is an office chair that facilitates motion. Chairs with adjustable tilt tension and easily adjustable armrests make it easy for you to stay in motion all day. Your circulation, spine, concentration, and comfort will reap the rewards.
4. Use a footrest
It may sound silly, but elevating your feet even a few inches under your desk can help keep you comfortable all day. By raising your feet, you are forced to sit back in your chair. This ensures that you will feel the full effects of your chair’s lumbar support. It also improves circulation in your legs and can help keep your feet in motion.