Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
30 Jan

10 Ways to Make Your Workplace Healthier and More Productive

grokmemoFor the most part, we all got into this Primal stuff to improve our own health and that of those close to us. Maybe we’re hoping to avoid the diabetes and heart disease that got our loved ones. Maybe we’re trying to lose a few pounds. Maybe we want to know what it’s like to walk ten miles without getting out of breath or having to coax our creaky joints out of their torpor. Whatever the motivation, we’re in this to make ourselves healthier and happier.

That’s how it starts. Once you reach your goals or even just begin to make headway, you notice everyone around you, especially the ones with visible health issues. It’s not that you’re looking down at them or that you’re superior in some way. You feel lucky enough to be privy to a secret is all, and you’d like to share what you know with the people around you – even strangers – who appear to be hurting unnecessarily. And your co-workers are no exception. Ah, co-workers. Many of us see these people more than our own spouses or children. We essentially live with them for eight hours a day. We learn their foibles, their habits, their quirks. In the best workplaces, our coworkers become a kind of family to us, and what do we do with family?

We care about them, especially their health.

The quickest way to get someone to stop listening and brand you forever as “that health nut guy” is to blather on and on about your diet, your exercise, your new healthy lifestyle that seems diametrically opposed to whatever they’re doing. Because when you do that, you’re telling them that they’re unhealthy, that they’re doing it all wrong. Even if you don’t explicitly criticize or question what they’re eating or “doing in the gym,” by talking up the stuff you’re doing (and discussing how bad wheat or vegetable oils are), you’re indirectly criticizing them. Or at least that’s how it might be taken.

So what are some unobtrusive ways to encourage healthy workplace practices? What might be done on the small-scale, individual, micro level? What might be done on a larger, office-wise scale? Let’s explore ten, simple (and not so simple), basic (and more complex), and effective ways to get your workplace healthier.

Walking meetings.

Ah, the mid-afternoon meeting. Is there a drearier human social activity? We’ve all fiddled with our smartphones through enough boring, pointless, useless meetings to last us a lifetime, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can walk and talk (and chew Stevia-sweetened gum) at the same time, can’t you? So why not try it? You’ll get your 10,000 steps for the day, along with your colleagues, you’ll get fresh air, you’ll get sun (hopefully), you’ll get a change in the group dynamic that might spur creative thinking, and if the ancient tales are true, you’ll be in good company: Aristotle was said to conduct his teachings as he walked the halls of the Lyceum in Athens.

Unless you’re the boss, I don’t expect you to instate walking meetings across the entire office and discard all standard sit-down meetings. That’s not realistic. But next time you have an informal meeting with another coworker or two, suggest you go for a walk outside (or even through the confines of the building and down hallways, Aaron Sorkin-style). It might catch on.

Why your boss should care: There’s reason to believe that walking meetings may be more productive that sit-down meetings, since walking has been shown to boost brain connectivity and function. Better functioning brains with better neural connectivity come up with better ideas.

Standing workstations.

Sitting all day is terrible for your health, it hampers your ability to oxidize the fat you just ate, increases the risk of obesity and diabetes, and it’s an evolutionarily novel environmental factor with drastic consequences. Forget the health aspects of it and focus on the qualitative, subjective effects, even. Whenever I’m forced to spend all day sitting down, I can actually feel my zest for life being snubbed away. I feel like a slug. When I do get up and move around after having sat for a long time, I’m slower. My joints are achier, my muscles less responsive. It’s just awful. I can’t imagine trying to work with that frame of mind and body.

Lobby for a standing workstation, or build a makeshift one. They’re getting more and more popular, so your office may already have a few pioneers. At any rate, start a trend and others will soon follow. You may be that weird guy who stands for awhile, but that’s okay. One or two curious and brave souls will inevitably join your ranks.

Why your boss should care: Since sitting kills, quite literally, and a dead workforce is an unproductive workforce, standing workstations may improve productivity (and increase liveliness). If the boss is concerned about standing affecting the quality of work, one study found that standing (or walking) workstations improved metabolic processes without hampering the quality of the work.

Plants in the office.

My post a while back on why working outside (at least some of the time) is ideal if you can make it work got a lot of responses. Problem is, most people can’t make that work. Not yet, at least. But some of the benefits of being outdoors come from being close to plants, trees, and other green things. Save for most trees and a select variety of plant life scheduled by the DEA, we can bring plants into the office, where they can improve the quality of the air and make workers more productive. Even if you don’t buy into the physiological underpinnings of why plants are good to be around, almost anyone would agree that plants are just nice to look at. A bare room is awful, but stick a big green plant in the corner, and you’ve suddenly changed the vibe of the room to be more positive and welcoming. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

Start small. Adorn your cubicle/office/desk with various plants. Maybe buy a few extra to give as gifts to each “area” of the office. Hook your boss up with a fern or something. Just get people exposed to plants and the rest will follow. And if it doesn’t, at least you’re reaping the benefits.

Why your boss should care: Research shows (PDF) that plants in the office can improve productivity, increase concentration, and make workers happier and less stressed. This effect is greatest among workers who spend more than four hours a day in front of a computer (sound familiar to anyone?).

Start a (healthy) breakfast club.

Okay, I get it. Fried rings of sugary dough dipped in even more sugar covered with sugary glazes satisfy (or at least trigger) some deep-seated primal desires for salt, sugar, fat, and crispiness, but they aren’t Primal. And yet they enjoy persistent popularity as a breakfast item. What about muffins? At least everyone knows donuts are health disasters, but the muffin has somehow retained the reputation for being a healthy breakfast food. Meanwhile, they’re cupcakes without the frosting and they seem to be getting bigger and bigger every time I see one (c’mon, who needs a pound of muffin?).

If you were to start a healthy breakfast club (double points if you have the classic movie running in the background), where people bring in food to share with the office that isn’t cake-related, you’d have an easy avenue to show off what’s truly possible when you eat Primal. Think hardboiled eggs. Think reams of bacon. Think actual fresh fruit. Think Primal pancakes. Think sweet potato hash (with more bacon and more eggs). Nominate yourself to be one of the first to bring breakfast and set the tone.

Why your boss should care: Donuts and muffins elicit massive spikes in blood sugar, followed by a subsequent drop-off, while protein-and-fat-rich breakfasts result in steadier levels of blood sugar. Why does this matter? Steady blood sugar levels improve cognitive function.

Sponsored gym memberships.

Lots of employers are doing this nowadays, and it’s a great thing. Gym memberships are seen as a luxury item for many household budgets, particularly in these difficult times, so an employer who includes a gym membership among the other benefits afforded to their employees is a great one.

If your boss won’t sponsor you for the gym, consider assembling a group of willing and able coworkers to head on down to the gym and angle for a group rate. Once the higher-ups notice that there’s a demand (and the tax breaks outlined below won’t hurt), they may change their minds. And if they don’t, at least you just got yourself a bunch of gym buddies.

Why your boss should care: What you might lose in gym fees (which you’ll get a great package deal on, no doubt), you’ll gain in savings on health care costs. Stronger, healthier, fitter employees are happier, more productive employees who are less liable to use sick days. Plus, you’ll kill the other office in the annual softball game. Oh, and you can probably even get some tax write-offs while you’re at it.

Integrated exercise equipment in the office.

I’m a big fan of peppering my day with activity. Dedicated extended workouts are great and all, but I think working exercise into the flow of your normal day is more sustainable for the average person – and it more closely approximates how our ancestors would have “exercised.” The problem is that most of us get our exercise in gyms. We have to suit up, get in our cars, drive to the gym, file inside, and wait our turns for whatever machine or weight we need to use. Some people have home gyms, but not most. What if you could have a “work gym”? What if there was a pullup bar leading in to the break room, a climbing rope hanging from the rafters, gymnastics rings attached to the overhead beam near the bathrooms? How awesome would that be? How many pullups do you think you’d be able to do after a year of doing them every time you went to fill your water bottle?

Start with a pullup bar in a doorframe somewhere. As long as you don’t damage the building, your boss should be receptive to it. Then, expand from there.

Why your boss should care: Intermittent bouts of exercise will keep workers alert, productive, and engaged. They won’t be “going to failure,” after all, but rather hitting a few reps here and there. Plus, healthy workers get sick less often and use less health care.

Fitness challenges.

Competition breeds progress. Wanting to beat the other guy or girl can make the prospect of working out regularly seem doable or even pleasurable, even in the normally sedentary. Having others with whom to share your pain (or triumph) makes the task more bearable.

Suggest some fitness challenges to your workmates. Stuff like “first to 100 pushups” (or 50) or “first to 15 pullups” (or 5) or “first to deadlift twice your bodyweight” (or just bodyweight) are simple and easy to keep track of and prizes for the winner may heat things up. The challenges don’t even have to really be competitive, either. You can all pledge to “hike for six miles” or “take a walk every night” or “do fifty pushups a day.” They can be common goals you all rally around, where the prize is simply completing the goal.

Why your boss should care: Whenever you get people together in an enclosed space, rivalries and politics and pettiness will arise. By channeling all that energy into fitness-related competition, you can avoid the office politics that are the downfall of many a workplace.

Start a walking club.

I’d never heard of this before a wife of one the Worker Bees told me about her workplace’s walking club. Basically, this is how it works. The floor is split up into groups of four people. Each person is given a basic pedometer, paid for by the company, and the groups keep track of their daily steps. Each week or two, the groups add up their steps and whichever one gets the most wins a prize. It’s pretty simple, but it gets the people walking a lot. They keep track of steps taken on weekends, too, so people are motivated to be more active away from work.

Start with a mini club – just a few people, perhaps – and expand from there. Since standard pedometers are pretty cheap, you can even buy the first round for your club. It’s a few bucks out of your pocket, but you’ll have triggered a monumental (yet simple) change in people’s lives.

Why your boss should care: As mentioned above, walking improves cognitive function. Healthy, well-functioning brains do better work, which increases productivity. Plus, if your employees are consistently hitting 10,000 steps a day, they’re going to be healthier.

Office naps.

The midday siesta is a cherished tradition in many a nation, but not because people are lazy good for nothings. The nap is just good policy. For one, it’s a bite-sized piece of sleep, a kind of sleep snack, and sleep is as physiologically vital as food and water. We need it to be healthy, but we don’t get enough, and naps can help us chip away at accrued sleep debt. Second, naps are proven to increase alertness. Naps are also superior to (but less delicious than) coffee when it comes to the “purity” of said alertness.

I wouldn’t recommend sprawling out underneath your desk willy-nilly. If you’d like to incite a napping revolution, you need to start small and inconspicuous. Don’t assume people will immediately understand (“Oh, George is just fortifying his relational memory!”), as napping still carries negative connotations. Take a short power nap after lunch – cut your lunch a bit short if you have to – and urge your receptive coworkers to do the same. Then, consider approaching the boss with your suggestions.

Why your boss should care: Tired employees are less effective employees who produce subpar work. And long naps that take up valuable work time aren’t necessary, or even necessarily beneficial; one study found that a 10-minute power nap was the most recuperative compared to 20- and 30-minute naps.

Lead by quiet example.

People like leaders. They like inconspicuous leaders even more, the people who lead by example rather than by decree. Because none of us are experts in everything, we need people to look up to for  motivation, for instruction. If you’re just a healthy person who’s never really stressed out about your workouts, who doesn’t fear animal fat or meat, who’s happy with her Big Ass Salad at lunch, who doesn’t seem to need to mainline coffee throughout the day to stay awake, there’s a strong chance you’ll be one of those inconspicuous leaders without even trying. People will take note of how you do it and start to question themselves – and their lack of progress. They may even come to you with questions. Don’t lecture, don’t be pushy. Just answer and help and guide as needed (and when asked).

Why your boss should care: I don’t think this one’s really applicable, is it?

That’s what I’ve got, folks. What about you? How would you enact some healthy changes in your workplace? How have you already? Let us know in the comment section!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Great article. A few months ago, I started using a pedal exerciser under my desk at work for an average of 3 hours a day. I’ve noticed that my concentration has improved greatly and so has my overall quality of work.

    Charlotte wrote on January 30th, 2013
    • Could you give more details about this device? It might be just the ticket for me as a standing set-up is seemingly too much for my feet for long hours.

      Paleo-curious wrote on January 30th, 2013
      • I think she means bicycle pedals. Just Google images “cycle desk”, “bicycle desk”, or “pedal desk”.

        Bill C wrote on January 31st, 2013
        • Thanks so much, Charlotte & Bill! I just ordered one! I’m so excited– I’m fidgety & hate sitting still for hours on end but my deadline work often makes it necessary. I can & do stand up for some of it but this will give me a wonderful new option!!

          Paleo-curious wrote on January 31st, 2013
  2. my wife’s problem:
    She stands all day, then comes home and becomes horizontal in front of the TV.
    So, my question is, too much standing? comments?

    I have no problem (I try to stick to 80/20rule) I do yoga twice a week, and walk 1377 meters, and sprint 70.
    I just had to punch a new hole in my belt,
    I’ve gone from 211 lb down to 172 over the last few years.

    Fred Timm wrote on January 30th, 2013
  3. My workplace happens to be a kitchen. I have quite a different set of problems than those in an office setting. I’m a kitchen manager/”chef” at a bar and grill where there is plenty of movement, lifting heavy things, walking, etc, but I get to have food around me all day. Talk about self control (or lack thereof every so often on a bad day)! I constantly am watching my coworkers cram huge sandwiches and fried food in their mouths. Luckily, I can make myself whatever I want which usually involves the coworkers asking “so what weird concoction did Jen make today? That’s too much green. Kale?? Isn’t that seaweed?!” I try to teach but I’ve definitely found out that *most* people say “hm” and go back to eating said meal.

    Jen Marie wrote on January 30th, 2013
  4. I have been walking on a treadmill desk for a year in my home office. Yesterday, while working, I walked at a slow pace-1.2 mph for 3.5 hrs. and burned an extra 300 calories…I am SO happy not sitting. Even if I am not walking I am standing for the whole workday. No sitting, no stiffness, no back pain! Here’s the TD I have: http://www.lifespanfitness.com…Changed my life and made my home office job doable!

    Denise wrote on January 30th, 2013
  5. “Healthier” and “more productive” in the same sentence is quite rare…

    Agustín wrote on January 30th, 2013
  6. Hey Mark

    I was really interested in which if these suggests you follow yourself?

    Oliver wrote on January 30th, 2013
  7. Just a note about the taxes. First, the usual disclaimer: This info maybe dated and the tax code is hideously complex, so look it up before acting on the info below and getting a nasty surprise.

    A sponsored gym membership is deductible to the company, but only in the way paying your wages are. From the point of view of the tax code, it’s simply salary paid in a slightly different form. Therefore, you, the worker, will be taxed (both payroll and income) taxes on it. It also means the business has to kick their share of the payroll taxes as well. (Things that generally improve health, like gym memberships, are unfortunately never tax deductible because Congress would apparently prefer to have masses of sick taxpayers.)

    *Anyway* – An in house gym (part of the facilities) is fully deductible to the business and the workers also incur no extra taxes. No commute and wasted time from the business’ point of view as well. It’s the way to go from a tax point of view if your business can swing it. (And the paleo types only need a few free weights and maybe a treadmill anyway).

    Amy wrote on January 30th, 2013
  8. Oooh, oooh… Don’t forget the disc tossing session at lunch or break time!

    Jz wrote on January 30th, 2013
  9. I just got a standing desk this past week. My office chair broke and I figured I could get another chair that would annoy me, or pay a little more for the new desk.

    Anyway…since I often listen to music while I work, I’ve found that I spend a lot of my day dancing while typing. Awesome! I should mention that I work from home where only the cats can see me. Probably less awesome to be dancing if I was in an office environment.

    Kim wrote on January 30th, 2013
  10. Myself and two colleagues have recently introduced Ladies’ Lunchtime Fitness Club. We spend the first 30 mins of our lunchbreak doing exercises in an empty meeting room (with the blinds down!). We do things that don’t require any equipment, such as squats, pushups, lunges, tricep dips, situps, Russian twists. Next week we will be getting on to the burpees and bastards! But yes, other colleagues that have seen us heading off to work out are becoming interested so hopefully it will catch on! We are certainly more productive in the afternoons now.

    Han wrote on January 30th, 2013
  11. This Article and motif is useful, if we would like a sport. Through higher fitness and better performance, the combination is simpler and you’re feeling great..

    taner mu wrote on January 30th, 2013
  12. Mark, you’ve really nailed the problem, one of my greatest frustrations. In my well-vegetated, naturally lighted office, however, the main problem is definitely conventional diet beliefs. My fabulous colleagues are healthy by most standards – lots of hardcore cyclists, vegetarians, vegans, runners…no-one is overweight, no-one smokes…but whenever I pull out an avocado, some nuts or a tin of mackeral for lunch, it’s obvious that I’m the ‘weirdo’ while everyone else smugly tucks into their enormous wholegrain salad roll or leftover pasta, tofu and soy lattes and talks about ‘everything in moderation, right?’. I’ve managed to convince a few people I work closely with to embrace everything coconut and ditch the seed oils – by lending out ‘The Primal Blueprint’ and Taubes’ ‘Why We Get Fat’.
    But you are so right – the next step is tricky. When you come up with a great way to approach this, I’m all ears :) Perhaps I’ll just try putting them onto MDA one by one. The vegos won’t like it though!

    Primal Lee wrote on January 30th, 2013
    • Well, they are healthy in the sense they aren’t eating 100% processed food, do get exercise, and aren’t smoking.

      On another, deeper level, they aren’t very healthy because they don’t love themselves a whole lot. It’s hard to escape that the core POV of vegetarianism is that humanity is a scourge on the Earth, rather than part of it. It’s not wrong for the lion to kill an animal to eat, but somehow it has become that for the human animal. (Who nutritionally requires the calories and nutrients just as much as the lion, despite our sentience.)

      And if your “exercise” takes up all your free time, causes injury, and wears you down, I’m failing to see how that’s healthy either.

      In many senses, my late grandmother in law was much healthier then the people you describe, not because she ate Paleo, but that she thought she was worth taking care of.

      Amy wrote on January 30th, 2013
      • Lions kill their prey, but they don’t operate factory farms where literally billions of birds and animals live miserable, unnatural lives while waiting to be turned into food. Humans, unfortunately, do. Talk about a scourge on the Earth!

        Getting rid of such atrocities is one of the prime goals of most vegetarians and vegans, and I refuse to condemn them for that, or to agree with idiotic statements about someone else’s supposed self-hatred.

        Andrew wrote on January 30th, 2013
        • Do you really think that scrounging for any food you can get, dodging predators, and then being eaten alive is an ideal life? Preferable to factory farm living, probably. Ideal, no. I generally don’t romanticize the life of a wild animal.

          The concerns about factory farming are legitimate. However, their conditions in no way justify denying yourself the nutrition that comes from animals. It’s easy enough (especially in the US)to find local farmers treating their animals well. Such farming is also far more self-sustaining than the soy fields of Iowa.

          At any rate, I did not come my POV about vegetarianism merely by observing. I was a vegetarian for about 2 years, supposedly for health reasons but also because I bought the save the planet stuff. By the end, it was clear the choice was either me or the planet. Working under the theory that I was probably not going to save the planet by feeling awful all the time, I decided I was as important as all the other animals. I went low carb and never looked back.

          So, I stand by the statement.I do not see how vegetarians can like themselves very much if they cannot be bothered to feed themselves properly. The condition of human animal is just as important as any other on the planet, to me at least.

          Amy wrote on January 30th, 2013
        • Wow calm down. Most people in the primal community support local, free range pastured holistic farms. People that are Vegetarian/Vegan because a part of humanity has distorted what is natural have to face the fact that their might be people who A)Treat animals well while alive B)Eat those animals C)Are healthy because of it. They should think about their goals before they settle on a moralistic journey into that debate.

          D wrote on January 30th, 2013
        • “On another, deeper level, they aren’t very healthy because they don’t love themselves a whole lot.”

          A bit presumptuous, no?

          “It’s hard to escape that the core POV of vegetarianism is that humanity is a scourge on the Earth…”

          …still presumptuous…..

          “I do not see how vegetarians can like themselves very much if they cannot be bothered to feed themselves properly.”

          Properly by whose standards???

          People have their own reasons why they eat some foods but not others, and vegetarianism suits some people just fine.

          Helga wrote on January 30th, 2013
  13. I’m pretty lucky to work in a sport and exercise department at University with a exercise lab less than 10 steps from my office which doubles nicely as a gym for hourly ‘movement’ breaks…I’ve been bugging our HOD for standing work places for months and he seems to be giving in?! Your post has reminded me to add office plants to my list of requests (or i’ll just bring my own if that doesn’t work)

    Isaac Warbrick wrote on January 30th, 2013
  14. I LOVE these ideas! I’m a personal banker that works in a public setting, so a lot of these are hard to incorporate into my workplace :( My dilemma is how to incorporate things like standing desks into a setting where you’re sitting down with clients (literally) every day and the only lucky ones with standing desks are in back office, where no clients see them.

    I go out on my lunch to walk, and my co-workers are always commenting how great I look, and what crazy salads I eat! I have sucessfully started to turn the tides on the 3x a week donut/muffin/bagel habit, though. They’re bringing more yogurt now (good lord the sugar content on those name brands is thru the roof!), and eating more fruit.

    But then they ask what I’m doing, and I explain, I get the CW eye glaze over! Most of the time that’s the end of it, because “I can’t live without my pasta/bread/rice/etc”.

    Julie wrote on January 30th, 2013
    • Gosh, the “I can’t live without…” Statement is the WORST! Because to me it says they buy my theories and admit they work for me, at least, but basically state they’re too lazy/weak-willed to do it for themselves. If vegetarians don’t like themselves, what do you say about people like this? Like smokers who won’t quit – because when it comes to breaking addiction, there is literally no such thing as “cant’t”, only “won’t try hard or long enough”

      Also, my stand up desk is electric – it goes up and down. One of these would be ideal for your situation where you need the seated option. I admit that sometimes I get tired and sit down too (I work really hard in the gym I swear!!)

      Cledbo wrote on January 30th, 2013
      • That’s a great idea! the desks we have I know can be adjusted manually, but not hugh enough for my liking.

        The “can’t live withouts”, I know! My husband and I used to be smokers, and we used to be addicted to online video games too. There was a time we used those excuses, but we finally decided we “couldn’t live with it” anymore.

        I just bide my time and let them be unhappy with their weight & health, while I keep feeling better and lookibg better!

        Julie wrote on January 31st, 2013
  15. Our HR sets up walking challenges using the website 10000steps.org.au.

    Makes it dead easy to set up teams and goals etc. and it’s free!! Check it out, even if just for yourself.

    Lyn wrote on January 30th, 2013
  16. Hi Mark. I recently signed up to receive all primal literature. I find it very interesting and will probably embrace the way to eat and work outs on a regular basis. Just one question I have never seen broached. You mention the Fish, fowl, meat, veges, fruit, nut diet etc… but never anything on Dairy products. Is dairy a no no? Thanks,

    Thomas Eckert wrote on January 30th, 2013
    • Top of the page/site -> About -> Primal Blueprint 101 -> Scroll down to “Is It Primal?”

      Bill C wrote on January 31st, 2013
  17. I think a lot of these ideas are so important, that changing jobs may be neccessary for some. Life is too short to have to put up with unhealthy cultures where we work. Once we know and feel what’s right, there is no turning back!

    Nocona wrote on January 30th, 2013
  18. Thomas, full fat dairy in moderation IF your body can handle the lactose.

    Nocona wrote on January 30th, 2013
  19. I found an awesome way to get colleagues interested – baking primal treats and bringing them to share! I send a floor-wide email telling people what I made and what’s in it . To date the only two people who haven’t tried one of my creations are a vegan and a man who is allergic to egg (poor guy!).
    I also have a standing desk and bought a Ninja Standing Desk for home. One of the Execs at my previous job did walking meetings, very revolutionary in a govt job!!

    Cledbo wrote on January 30th, 2013
  20. I love your suggestions! My husband’s work has implemented several walking stations there and I am already standing and moving around all day for my profession. Going for walks for a meeting would be really enjoyable, as long as all you need to do is talk and not write!

    Wagner Oral Surgery wrote on January 30th, 2013
  21. Read this today and just flat out started a daily walking routine with a buddy at the office. Don’t be afraid to just do it.

    Now I’m looking into constructing something to turn my desk into a standing desk.

    Joshua wrote on January 30th, 2013
  22. My husband built me a stand-up work station, and one of my co-workers wanted one too, so then he built her one. She and I are almost always the fastest to jump into the spontaneous Nerf-gun wars that sometimes break out on our floor. That’s a good enough reason to work standing up, in my opinion!

    Leslie wrote on January 30th, 2013
  23. I’m the HSE manager for a petrochemical company in Egypt. Health and wellness programs are rare here and usually just consist of things like BP checks, etc. Health advice is pretty much along the lines of US CW.

    It is a new company and I’m working on the health and wellness program now. I’m going to sneak any several PB elements into the program.

    For me, it has worked great. I have a standup desk where I spend 6-7 hours working at. This is a construction site and I have a backpack with about 30 pounds of sand in it that I wear when I’m out doing site checks.

    I’m working on getting people out and walking during lunch and since the company pays for the lunches, hope to have some influence over what is sent out.

    Looks to be a lot of fun!

    When we get closer to production, we will have a full time fire department. I’m already gathering up training tools for the fitness program. Going high-tech on that one.

    -sandbags
    -old tires
    -sledgehammers
    -having a prowler type sled built

    I can hardly wait!

    Randal wrote on January 31st, 2013
  24. Humm…I work in a hospital emergency department. My co-workers are mostly unhealthy & overweight (more than a few almost at or past morbidly obese). Plants are a no-no, lighting is as is, we already stand (and run like crazy) all day. Meals are variable, the hospital kiosk is woeful (and I am about to try and get them to make modifications ha…we’ll see how that goes!) but gradually more & more staff are bringing their own lunches/meals but they vary from good to terrible! (eg the healthy salad smothered in unhealthy caesar dressing and the OJ drink on the side; coke & meat pies; hot dog & flavoured milk!). I have left 2 huge piles of womens’ fitness magazines in the tearoom (which have been well riffled through and some taken home (YEAH!), I organised a hospital-wide healthy heart campaign stair-walking competition (and the winner lost more than 5 kilos just walking stairs!!!). I like the bring a healthy meal suggestion…..but are there any other ideas? Shift workers suffer badly, worse if they are not organised, and I’d love to make some subtle (and not so subtle suggestions) to make changes. We are supposed to be helping people get well & stay healthy, yet most nurses are in a terrible state (as are our doctors) and nurses and doctors are by and large uneducated in the basics of good health and fitness!!! Do you all have any more suggestions I could try???

    Michelle wrote on January 31st, 2013
  25. Thanks for the inspirational article Mark. Item #10′, Lead by quiet example, validates this introvert ‘s approach. When asked, I answer questions about the contents of my lunch box from home but I am uncomfortable extending the subject unless the questioner shows further interest. Yep, quiet example has more potential to persuade most folks to experience Primal/Paleo lifestyle. Thanks for the reminder.

    Kara wrote on January 31st, 2013
  26. This article is great! We started a Monday lunchtime Yoga and Meditation club at work about a year ago, the dividends are profound. Great way to start off the week (no more ‘case of the Mundays’), builds a unique atmosphere of camaraderie and group interest, and promotes a recovery day for those of us who may swim, ride, or run a bit more than we should.

    I’ll think I’m going to get that bonsai tree for my desk that I’ve always wanted…

    frenchman_alan wrote on January 31st, 2013
  27. already printed out, highlighted, and on the boss man’s desk!

    Kati wrote on January 31st, 2013
  28. I work from home and use a stability ball to sit on. I really like it. You’re never quite comfortable on it; always shifting your position. You can’t ‘sink’ into it like you would with a chair or you’ll roll off. I also have a mini rebounder trampoline nearby, and like to jump on it for a few minutes at a time. Great exercise and a stress reliever, and it’s fun too!

    GaryB wrote on January 31st, 2013
  29. I’m determined to make my office a healthier place. I’m the nutrition representative for our Balanced Lifestlye committee. I just started a program where a local produce shop is delivering CSA farmers market boxes to us weekly. Easy to sign up and no commitmtent. $20 a box, which is cheap for local produce! I think it’s taking off nicely….very excited :)

    Michelle wrote on January 31st, 2013
  30. “they seem to be getting bigger and bigger every time I see one (c’mon, who needs a pound of muffin?”

    Ohmygosh, that made me laugh. Are there muffins that are really a pound?!

    AlyieCat wrote on January 31st, 2013
  31. I have a standing work station and as of this very moment, I have been standing for 7 hours!! :)

    This standing station really has done wonders for my lower back. I used to have a lot of pain but now I hardly get any! It’s quite amazing what standing vs. sitting can do for you!

    GiGi wrote on February 1st, 2013
  32. Any suggestions for plants for the office that can survive with no natural light? I have an office with no access to windows – just fluorescent lighting for 12 hrs a day…

    C B wrote on February 3rd, 2013
  33. Full spectrum lighting!

    Sonia wrote on February 3rd, 2013
  34. Dont think the boss really cares-

    Mish wrote on February 3rd, 2013
  35. Iam a goldsmith/silversmith and I try not sitting all day but thats hard to.do when your as busy as I am. My daughter and I try to walk every day also we do palaties and a bit of yoga. I ve been a jeweler fo over 35 years and I struggle with my wait.

    susan nickle wrote on February 6th, 2013
  36. This was a great article by Mark. I had e-mailed him about how to get co-workers motivated and asked if he had suggestions so it was great to see this post, answering some of my questions.

    I am starting a weight-loss support group at work after giving 2, 1-hour sessions with power points I created.
    I used many different resources, including Mark’s, Robb’s and other Paleo authors but also covered topics by authors who talk about the dangers of sugar, to create the power points and my lesson plans.
    I hope to expand this more, since I have had such positive feedback and people are really “catching on” to healthier eating. Its been life changing for me to eat 80% Paleo and its exciting to see baby-steps with my co-workers. I’m even learning from them, as they send my new recipes and links to other Paleo sites.

    Wendy wrote on February 6th, 2013
  37. I started working upright about 10 years ago after a car accident made prolonged sitting uncomfortable. Yeah, I was kind of the office curiosity for awhile (the stacked cardboard box risers didn’t help) but standing workstations are pretty commonplace now.

    To reclaim office-freak status, I recently ‘evolved’ to a desk treadmill. What a revelation!! I cover about 200 miles a month, clocking in at the oh so speedy pace of 1-1.8mph (depending on task at hand). My attention span and energy levels have really benefitted, not to mention my productivity. God, I sound like an infomercial — but it feels so good to stare at a computer all day and still be able to freaking move. Highly recommend it!!

    Abby wrote on February 12th, 2013
  38. My company OFFERED me a standing workstation when I stopped using my chair due to pain from a herniated lumbar disc. I was resistant at first, but I eventually had to do it because bending over my desk was worse! I’m glad that I did. Even though I’ve moved twice since then, I’ve had each of my new desks taken up to 41″.

    I have a good anti-fatigue mat on the floor and my barefoot shoes that I wear every single day!

    I have a barstool height chair for the times when I’m too tired to stand all day.

    I think that I do better work when I’m standing than when I’m sitting. I think better on my feet.

    Shayne wrote on February 17th, 2013
  39. Clean eating is not a new concept! Nor is it a fad diet to shed weight. Clean eating is about sticking to what is closest to natural products and avoid processed foods that come out of a box. It’s not about restricting what you eat, but rather about making conscious choices to eat better quality foods. This means more natural products and less chemicals and additives. Although some people may be able to jump right into clean eating and never look back, most need to ease into this lifestyle. A sure way to get started is to firstly drink more water; secondly eliminate processed foods; thirdly balance your meals; and finally control portion size.

    Anon wrote on June 13th, 2013

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