10 Bad Habits that Should Be Banned from the Workplace

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Don't Let the Papers Pile Up

Paper on your desk, especially if it has been sitting there a while, is likely full of dust and dust mites, which for many people can trigger serious allergies and asthma. Do you really need all that paper in your workspace? Interestingly, Xerox conducted a study a few years ago looking at how often we use the paper by our desk. They estimated that as many as two out of every five pages printed in the office are for what it calls "daily" use, such as e-mails, Web pages, and reference materials that have been printed for a single viewing. Now a few years later, the amount of paper we need to keep lying around is likely much less. 

Instead:

  • File paperwork and put in place a system for removing paper or moving off-site paper that you don't need to access on a regular basis.
  • Put in place a good system for scanning and digital filing of documents, so that you and your team know where to find things later. A trusted electronic system can help reduce the need for a paper backup.

Why:

No dust mites and a cleaner desk can improve air quality. Also, removing paper can give the appearance of having more space. Big piles of paper (and all the furniture that stores it) eat into the workspace and make the workspace feel more crowded. This feeling of being "crowded in" increases stress and decreases our satisfaction with our work area.

As technology has evolved and more and more work is completed using computers, many workers have found themselves in sedentary office jobs. Leigh Stringer, author of "The Healthy Workplace," says it's not that we aren't working hard, but that "what our minds and bodies need at a basic level is in conflict with our work style. We are so focused on work, on getting things done, that we've changed the way we eat, move and sleep in a way that is actually counter-productive."

According to Stringer, taking care of worker health and wellbeing is one of the most effective ways to increase employee productivity and engagement. As an example, think back to a night when you got a full night's sleep and compare that to a night when you stayed out a bit too late with friends. How did you feel the morning after your night with friends? Probably not bright-eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the challenges of the day. It's important to put your health first, as everything hinges on that baseline.  

So what are some of those unhealthy habits that we need to break? In this slideshow, Ms. Stringer offers up a comprehensive list of the "don'ts," with suggestions on what to do instead.

 

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