Get Up! Don’t be sedentary in your office

“Sitting is the new Smoking” reads numerous headlines that debuted around 2013. Mounting evidence has lead leading scientists, chiropractors, and public health professionals to caution office workers against the long-term damage that sitting all day can cause. Of course, not moving all day can cause problems, but the postures assumed by sitting for upwards of 8 hours per day can upset the body so seriously that no amount of exercise can undo what sitting does. For the sake of your present health, weight, and longevity, here are some ways to get more mobile in your office space.

Make standing regularly a habit. Set a timer on your phone or computer reminding you to stand up, take a lap around the office, drink some water, and reposition your posture. Google Chrome extensions will help you keep track of time and alert you when you’ve been sitting too long. Or, if you’re into trying some wearable technology, fitbits or jawbones will notify you when your heart rate need a little extra boost.

Work at a standing desk. While not all offices will be able to accommodate this, it’s certainly worth a try. Standing for at least parts of your day will help stretch your muscles, relieve any aching or pain caused by ill-advised sitting postures, and at the very least, burn a few more calories per hour. If you don’t want to buy a brand new standing desk, often times a tall box on top of a desk or a cafe bar will allow you to stand and work without the sometimes exorbitant costs of a new gizmo.  

As you’re able, conduct meetings while walking. If you’re not bound to a computer and are just trying to brainstorm ideas, you can just as easily conduct meetings while you’re walking. Mobile phones will suffice for taking notes as needed in such instances, so the concern about where you’ll jot down ideas is thus assuaged. In 2014, Stanford released a study indicating that walking helps stimulate creativity in the brain, so if what you need is fresh ideas, a walking meeting might be the best thing for you.

Stretch! Sitting is known to shut off electrical activity to the leg muscles, causing a reduction in calories burned and the potential for the muscles in the legs to atrophy. There are some basic, unintrusive stretches you can perform at your desk to help wake up your muscles and burn a few extra calories. Simple activities like touching your toes or twisting your back can help negate the damage done by the posture of a desk chair.

Hold yourself accountable. As we all know from our yearly New Years’ Resolutions, we tend not to meet our goals unless we are held accountable for all the steps between the starting line and the finishing line. If you’re serious about reducing the amount of time you spend sitting per day, tell a coworker or a friend. Maybe schedule a daily walk around the block together, or schedule a phone call with a friend so you’re obligated to leave the office, walk, and talk every day. Additionally, there are podcasts about mindful living that will inspire you daily with others who are striving for a more healthful lifestyle.
By being just a little more mindful of how often you let your body move and stretch, you can make your office job just a little more fulfilling and live a healthier lifestyle.

Emotional Intelligence: The Good, the Bad, and the Feely

Emotional IntelligenceThe more sensitive sibling of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), emotional intelligence, often abbreviated EI or EQ, has emerged as an additional measure of what employees bring to the table. Put most simply, emotional intelligence measures a person’s ability to recognize and manage their own emotions and the emotions of those around them. This soft skill allows individuals to harness their emotions and utilize them for the task at hand, rather than being immune to them or controlled by them.

As of late, studies have demonstrated that hiring managers are putting more and more emphasis on emotional intelligence, citing that those with high EQ exhibit stronger communication skills, collaboration skills, and overall creativity. Women in the workforce in particular have drawn attention to EQ since their lack of inclusion and acceptance at the boardroom level is often attributed to their emotional instability and lack of “masculine” objectivity. Multiple think-pieces have attempted to reframe women’s more emotional sensitivity not as a weakness, but as a great strength, and research has proved it.

Those with high EQs are infinitely more self-aware of their strengths, weaknesses, performance, and influence on others compared to those with low EQ who can’t “feel” how certain behaviors or actions are perceived by coworkers. To that end, those with high EQs exercise better self-regulation and are more perspicacious concerning how they make others feel with their presence, words, and behavior.

Contrary to what you may think when you hear the phrase “emotional intelligence,” those with high EQs actually react less emotionally to disagreements and criticism than people who lack emotional intelligence. Higher EQ is associated with being able to recognize and control emotions as they arise, so those who can identify and compartmentalize how they’re feeling from the facts at hand function better during disagreements than those who cannot separate the two.

Emotional intelligence is not the measure of a perfect employee, though, and high EQs are associated with some less-than-stellar character traits. For one, those with high EQs are so concerned with how their words make others feel that their ability to deliver negative but necessary feedback is impaired. This hyper-awareness can also inhibit these individuals’ inclination towards taking risks, since their instinct is calm calculations rather than impulsive gut feelings. Similarly, such individuals dislike making unpopular decisions for fear of how they’re perceived and the potential discomfort both they and those affected by those decisions will endure.

Worse yet, individuals with keen emotional intuition could easily use their EQ to manipulate the people around them. Not all with high EQ use their powers for good — sometimes, they use their insight into how certain words and information will make their peers “feel” to forward their own agenda.

Just as with any measure of personality traits, there’s upsides and downsides to emotional intelligence, and the ideal occupation or rank of those with high EQs may time some time to find. EQ should not be viewed as a weakness or a mark of intellectual inferiority; rather, it is a measure of self- and social-awareness and should be viewed as no more or less than that.