When around 81% of UK office workers spend between four and nine hours sitting at desks each day, a sedentary lifestyle and a poor office set-up is something we’ve gotten used to. But, it shouldn’t have to be this way. It’s now more important than ever to know how to stay fit with a desk job. Here’s how you can create a healthier and fitter working day.
Walk where you can
If you’re lucky enough to live close to your workplace, try walking in a few days a week. A good twenty-minute, half-hour or full-hour walk a couple of a week will do wonders for your fitness. Not only that, you’ll be helping the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. If you can’t walk in, then why not park a bit further away to give yourself more walking time. Work on the third or top floor? Ditch the lift and use the stairs. Before you’ve even got to your desk, you can burn some extra calories.
Walking breaks and lunch breaks
If you work more than six hours a day, you have a right to one uninterrupted 20-minute rest break during the working day, whether it’s for lunch or a brew. Many employers allow one hour for lunches with time for breaks during the day. Use these breaks to stretch the legs, go out for a walk or do some exercise.
Sit-stand desks are perfect for helping with posture and stretching the legs. These clever desks are adjustable, so you can switch between tasks that need to be done sitting down or when you need to change your position and increase circulation. You can also get anti-fatigue mats for standing desks to reduce pain, stress or discomfort from standing on a hard floor for a long period of time. Balance boards are made for standing desks to increase energy expenditure by 19.2% compared to sitting which means you actually burn calories. They can also increase your heart rate by 15%.
Exercises at the desk
When at the desk, there are a range of stretches and exercises you can do to make your working day a little more active.
- Sitting back extensions: Sit straight with feet together, putting the palms of your hands into the small of your back, before leaning back over your hands to feel your lumbar stretch out
- Prayer stretches: Start on your hands and knees with your hands in front of your knees. You then slowly lower your bottom towards your feet until you feel a mild to moderate stretch through your mid to lower back area. Hold this stretch for around 15 to 20 seconds, then repeat three to five times
- Seated lateral trunk stretches: In a seated position, lift one arm over your head whilst placing the other hand on your thigh. Slowly, bend towards the opposite side where your hand is on your thigh until you feel a stretch along the side of your trunk (torso) and hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat three to five times on each side
- Seated knee to chest stretches: Whilst sitting in your chair, lift one knee up to your chest so you can reach it with your hands. Use both hands to pull the knee, bending it upward, placed against your chest until you feel a slight stretch in the lumbar region and at the back of your hip. Hold the position for around 15 to 20 seconds, then repeat it three to five times with each knee
- Seated spinal rotations: Cross your arms over your chest whilst seated, then grab your shoulders. From there, rotate your upper body from the waist, turning gently from left to right. You should feel a tension on both sides of your lower back as it stretches out
- Under-desk elliptical or exercise bike: Kill two birds with one stone and get an elliptical or exercise bike under the desk to work those leg muscles
- Chair balance disc: This is great for standing or sitting. For balancing when standing, stand on one foot on the balance disc for 30 seconds, then switch feet and repeat
- Leg lifts and ankle weights: Type away up top and let your legs get some exercise in for you below the desk. Strap on some leg weights and do some leg raises every hour or so
- Exercise ball: Bring in an exercise ball to act as your chair for a while, and engage your core, this will also help with good posture
- Seat squeeze: Multitask away by sorting your emails and doing a glute exercise. Squeeze the buttocks and hold for 5-10 seconds before releasing. Repeat this until you feel your glutes tire
- Desk squat: When using a standing desk, add a squat into the mix. Or, even if you’re sitting, take a squat break. Bend the knees slightly so the thighs are almost parallel to the ground, and as you bend down, raise your arms straight up towards the computer screen. Keep knees together and aligned and hold for 15 seconds and release. Repeat for four or five reps
- Thigh squeezes: Use a ream of paper or a sealed package of paper to place between the knees when sat down. Press the legs inward and continue squeezing the paper ream for 30-60 seconds; this will work your thighs
Healthy snacks and hydration
As tempting as it may be to have a drawer full of goodies, if you’re working on how to stay fit at your desk, then don’t put all that hard work to waste by scoffing too much chocolate and sweets. Review your snacking options; opt for fruit, protein bars, boiled eggs, carrots and dip, nuts and rye bread.
We should be drinking six to eight glasses of fluid a day – water, low-fat milk and sugar-free drinks all count. Make brews to up your water intake and have your own water bottle on the desk to stay hydrated throughout the day. Water can also help you burn more calories and can even help with suppressing appetite if consumed before meals – perfect for curbing cravings.
As well as your desk exercises, stretches, walking breaks and healthier snacks, you should also increase your activity levels outside of work. Plan in a run, walk or workout at the weekend, or when you’re cleaning, break out into a sweat, dancing to your favourite tunes. Now that we are at our desks more, it’s so important to keep active whenever we can.
From the 17th May, indoor hospitality reopens, that means restaurants, pubs, bars (including those in hotels or members’ clubs), social clubs, cafes and canteens can allow people to sit and dine and drink. The government states that venues that are providing alcohol for consumption on the premises must also provide table service. Venues that don’t provide alcohol for consumption on the premises can allow customers to order from the counter, but food and drink must be consumed whilst seated. As a hospitality business, we’re sure you’ve been preparing for this date for quite a while, but we’ve got some tips on how to prepare for indoor hospitality reopening that you can come back to time and again for guidance.
Capacity and social distancing
Firstly, you should figure out how many customers you can accommodate safely, and factor this in when offering booking options. This is important for both your customers and your staff, as well as making sure you adhere to COVID-secure guidelines. If your customers are anxious, they’re not going to want to come again. Review your seating plan and available space to see how many people can sit down with appropriate social distancing – you may have to adjust it, or make more room. For example, you may be able to fit in another table and set of dining or canteen chairs where that huge plant feature is.
Online booking or walk-ins
Some businesses are only offering walk-ins instead of booking options, as they’re worried about parties not turning up or letting them down. Others are only accepting bookings to help with capacity management and to reduce any congestion or queues. It all depends on your business size, popularity and what works for you here. If you’re a well-known brand expecting a lot of custom, only accepting bookings is the best option. If you’re an independent business, you may find accepting both walk-ins and bookings works best for you. Just make sure you think about any potential queuing to guide social distancing.
Seating plan and waiting areas
If you are offering walk-ins, or even if your next party has turned up slightly early, think about a waiting area that makes everyone feel comfortable, not just physically. Make sure there is adequate room next to each sofa, or you can use multifunctional furniture so that different household groups are safely distanced.
Where are your toilets, and how accessible are they? If you are a small venue with only one toilet, then make sure there are clear signs to say this so people are more aware. Put down social distancing markers in case people have to queue. And, it goes without saying, make sure you have them well stocked with toilet roll and soap. Check and clean them regularly. Having a toilet cleaning log can help you keep track of how often they’re checked and cleaned, and this will also give a good impression to your customers.
Consider takeaway options
Due to limited capacity and people still hesitant around indoor dining, don’t cut out your takeaway options. You can have the best of both worlds; allow bookings for indoor dining, and offer delivery or collection options. There are plenty of delivery and takeaway partners and apps out there for you to work with.
Make sure your staff are trained up for new ways of doing things, like making sure face coverings are worn. Your customers should also be wearing them when entering, exiting and using the toilets. Maybe you’ve introduced new technology for table service? Run a refresher training session to give your staff confidence in dealing with potential issues or customer questions. Think about customer concerns, as well as any potential problems or frustrated customers and how best to deal with them. Make sure everyone knows the new policies through and through. For instance, state how often they should be using hand sanitiser and how often the bar should be wiped down.
Communicating with customers
Use your social media, email marketing, shop window and Google My Business (GMB) listing to keep people informed about your business, policies, opening hours, services and general updates. Social media is especially powerful to entice customers back. You can even run a competition to give away a free meal for two by requesting people like, comment, tag friends, and share the competition post on social media.
Refine the menu
It’s been a while since your doors were allowed to open for the public, so easing back in with the right stock levels is important for your business. Customers understand this. You may need to refine the menu and focus on what you can get in and build it up again. A smaller menu doesn’t have to compromise on quality and amazing meals though. Having stock alerts is an effective way to keep on top of things too. As business grows, you can then review your menu, and it may be the perfect time to get creative and offer new dishes.
Table service and technology
Table service is mandatory for venues offering alcohol for consumption on the premises, and food and drinks must be consumed whilst seated. Even if your venue doesn’t offer alcohol for consumption on the premises, table service is definitely a good idea to avoid people gathering at the counter. There’s also clever technology and apps out there that businesses can use for table service, allowing customers to order from an app – this works so well for larger hospitality businesses. There’s also systems like eatPOS that offer waiter tablets to better organise orders.
Whatever your business size, in hospitality, it’s about refining those policies, menus and keeping your customers, and potential customers in the loop. Don’t forget your online channels to keep people updated with promotions, COVID-safety measures and new menus. Make people excited again, and make your business irresistible!
For any help with dining or canteen seating, speak to our experienced team today. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have.