Do your colleagues stay out of your way until you’ve had your first coffee? Do you collapse in an exhausted slump in the middle of every afternoon? Tiredness at work is all too common, and everybody has days when their body and brain seem to conspire to prevent them from getting any work done. Aside from the usual culprits of a bad night’s sleep or a glass of wine too many, there are several factors of the workplace environment that not only contribute to tiredness, but can actually worsen feelings of fatigue.
A tired mind can often transpire into a lack of productivity, damaging both your motivation levels and, as a consequence, your potential success in business. So what are the secrets to tackle tiredness at workplace?
Sleep is the obvious culprit that many people blame when they feel tired. And, naturally, sleeping badly has the potential to have an impact on your workday energy levels. Lack of sleep can not only cloud the mind, but also affect the quality of your work. Staying up late, and working on screens all day can all significantly affect the quality of our sleep. Despite getting 7 hours shut-eye, this may result in lack of concentration the next day, and increase your chances of being distracted from the task at hand. To avoid feeling drowsy, it’s important to maintain a consistent sleep routine to regulate your energy levels throughout the day — and avoid screens just before bed.
Including a range of different types and colours of fruit and vegetables is essential for a healthy workplace mindset. At times of high stress, it is the vitamins and minerals within our 5-a-day which can ultimately benefit, or detriment, the way we cope at work.
One such well-known vitamin, of which many of us can be deficient in, is vitamin C. Present in a multitude of fruit and vegetables, this antioxidant helps to lessen the effects of stress on the body. When working within a team, negotiations over an idea can become a highly stressful and long process. By lessening the mental and physical effects of stress however, Vitamin C can effectively work to combat this sudden spike — allowing for a more co-operative team outlook.
When it comes to making the right choices at lunch hour, we all know how easy it is to go for the tasty white bread sandwich, or pre-prepared pasta salad. And for an afternoon of brainstorming ideas with colleagues, this quick fix might seem like the best option. White processed carbohydrates, however, cause a spike in your glucose levels, meaning that while initial energy levels will be high, motivation to stay engaged in a creative meeting may tail off towards the end. Instead, opt for complex carbohydrates (e.g. whole wheat pasta, oats, whole wheat bread, brown rice) which release energy slowly into your system, can allow for an increased amount of focus throughout important business meetings.
The working day can often be unpredictable, meaning long gaps between eating. You could be meeting potential new clients throughout the day, and may not have the time for a full lunch, for instance. Keeping high protein snacks to hand can be essential to maintaining energy throughout long stints of meetings, and avoid the ever-distracting feeling of impending hunger. Protein is known for its satiating effect, so a small balanced snack such as a couple of hard-boiled eggs is a great choice to avoid a rumbling stomach.
We have all felt, and often succumbed to, the temptation of the communal biscuit tin. But these sugary snacks, whilst giving you an initial burst of energy, effectively leave you feeling sluggish. This post sugar slump can result in a significant reduction in your working productivity, leave you simply craving more, and become distracted by the treats on offer. To combat this, have healthy snacks such as dried fruit, cereal bars, or yoghurts to hand: tasty energy sustaining alternatives which will maintain your blood sugar levels and allow you to stay focused.
Standing or sitting
The recent trend for standing desks has demonstrated that many office workers are unhappy sitting down all day long. Even if you don’t have a desk specifically designed for standing, there may be a way to arrange your office so that you can stand for part of your day while you work. Not only will this engage your muscles, and promote better posture, but the standing position has also been shown to breed creativity within the working environment.
It might seem counter-intuitive that exerting yourself won’t tire you out even more. However, many people who go for a morning run or a lunchtime gym trip will find that they are re-energised. If you’re unfit, don’t panic. Just going for a 10-minute walk in your lunch break could be all you need to re-energise yourself. Taking to the outdoors for a short walk will not only clear the mind, but will allow you space to think about ideas and ways to build your business. Use this time to listen to podcasts about your industry, for example. Or you can simply internally brainstorm ideas for your next project. It exposes yourself to a new environment can encourage creativity.
Taking small steps like these can have a demonstrable effect on your energy levels at work. It makes you not only more productive, but also more satisfied and happy with how you spend your working day. Making little changes can have a big impact. So, test out some of the ideas above and let us know how you get on. If you’re feeling energised, but still have some business related queries? Head over to our help centre.
Philippa Willitts is an expert health writer and journalist. She has a special interest in health at work, disability, and women’s issues.