What’s Good for the Environment is Good for Our Health Too: Refocusing on Health in the Workplace this Lenten Season

As with most things, we like to march to the beat of our own drum in New Orleans. The holidays for us don’t end when the New Year passes – we keep things rolling all through Mardi Gras.

Now that we’ve gotten all the indulging out of our systems by celebrating with king cakes galore, Fat Tuesday is over, and it’s time for “new year’s resolutions,” Lenten style. Following are some easy tips for making your workday healthier.

1. Bike to Work

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Mardi Gras day was a low-point weather wise. The days will only get sunnier and warmer, and day light savings is around the corner. That means it’s a great time to pull your bike out of the shed and make a Lenten resolution to try biking to work.  Start with an attainable goal, like commuting by bike every Friday in Lent. Not only can you reduce your carbon footprint greatly by choosing to bike rather than drive, you’ll save money on gas, get fit, and feel ready to hit the ground running when you arrive at the office.

Nowhere to park your bike at work? Contact info@whereyarack.org if your office would like to sponsor a bike rack installed by volunteers from the Young Leadership Council. Bike Easy can also help your office become a bicycle friendly business.  If you want to be more efficient this Lent, using your commute time for exercise is a great solution. You don’t have to worry about fitting in time at the end of the day to go on a run or stop by the gym.  You’ve found time for exercise effortlessly.

2. Walking Meetings

We’ve all heard in recent years with news stories popping up on the topic more and more frequently: sitting for long periods of the day is dire for our health. A great solution for the workplace is to begin implementing some walking meetings. They aren’t great for every situation, but it’ll surprise you how often you could be walking while talking. Make a resolution to ask one person to a walking meeting this Lent. Not only will you be healthier, but you’ll start thinking more outside the box. Check out this TED Talk on Walking Meetings. Nilofer Merchant learned that, “Fresh air drives fresh thinking.”

3. Stand Up Desk

Try a stand up desk for an hour a day. It’s a great way to get the blood flowing and keep energy high post lunch.

4. Get Hydrated

At LifeCity we focus on drinking water habits in the workplace because it’s an easy change offices can make to eliminate plastic water bottles, save money, and be healthier. At our own workplace (in Propeller) we love staying hydrated with PureWater Technology, which provides us with high quality filtered water straight from the tap. Having filtered water available will remind your coworkers that water is the best option for staying hydrated. And you can’t beat the convenience. PureWater Technology offers to LIfeCity members a free estimate and visit with a plumber to determine the best way to provide their services to you.

5. Healthy Lighting

You can make the workplace more enjoyable and conducive to improved attention spans by making improvements to lighting. Passive natural light from the sun is ideal, but LED lighting is also a great solution. If you’re confused about the plethora of light bulb options, this recent NPR story gives a great explanation. Daniel Henderson of LifeCity member LA LED says, “On the face of it we manufacture LED lights which reduce the use of electricity, last ten to twenty times longer than traditional lights, are recyclable, reusable and produce a negligible amount of heat by product. It is a healthier light source, a safer explosion proof light source and it is a light we can begin building in the US in the near future and create jobs in our local communities.” (Perk for you: LA LED offers a 20% discount to LifeCity members!)

6. Workspace Environment and Air Quality

Americans on average spend 90% of their time indoors, much of that in the office. Therefore, the environment we create in the office is key to health outcomes. When choosing paint, it’s best to go with low VOC. Consider using Green Leaf, which exceeds LEED standards, supplied by LifeCity member New Orleans Paint and Supply. (A 35% discount is offered to LIfeCity members!)

Plants can also make a big difference in indoor air quality. Check out New Orleans Green, LLC for sustainable potted plants for your office with a 15% discount for LIfeCity members.  Green cleaning supplies and and eco-minded janitorial staff are equally important. LifeCity has partnered with Amsan and LAMS Facilities Solutions to provide the highest quality green cleaning supplies and services.

7. Clear the Clutter

A great way to start of the new season is to clear the clutter in our office. Getting more organized can help you be more efficient and better achieve your goals. Contact Stasia Cymes for support and a free consultation.

8. Learn about Health and Wellness

Check out this weekend’s Health and Wellness Market at the O.C. Haley Market on March 8th @ 1618 O.C Haley from 10am to 3pm. Take what you learn (and some healthy snacks) back to the office to share with your coworkers on Monday!

9. Get FITNola Certified

FitNOLA, the mayor’s strategy to make New Orleans the healthiest city in the US by 2018 recently launched its business toolkit. If you have over 50 employees, you can fill out the assessment to get certified.

LifeCity Lenten Resolution Cheat Sheet for Your Workday

  1. Bike to work every Friday

  2. Invite one person to a walking meeting

  3. Try standing up at a desk for an hour a day

  4. Drink water at work

  5. Use green cleaning supplies, bring in some potted plants and think about lighting

  6. Clear the clutter

  7. Check out the FitNOLA business toolkit

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