Wellbeing Tips For Working in the Office

Posted on May 18, 2021

Wellbeing Tips For Working in the Office

As more of us return to the office after many months of working from home, the transition back to office life can take some adjustment. In addition to following advice to remain COVID safe when returning to the office, here are some tips to help take care of your health and wellbeing.

Take regular screen breaks

Short, frequent breaks from your computer screen are essential to give your eyes and your brain a rest. In fact, a 2011 study from the University of Illinois suggests that the human brain’s attention drops after a long period of focusing on a single task, decreasing focus and limiting performance.(1) Regular breaks can also clear the working memory, creating space for new information that can be processed into the long-term memory.

The blue light emitted from screens like mobile phones, tablets, televisions and computers can pass through the cornea and lens to the retina causing eye damage and its associated health conditions. 

The blue light can also disrupt melatonin secretion, which is a hormone involved in providing quality sleep.(2) Certain nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, which can be naturally found in dark green vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli and from egg yolks, peppers and grapes act as antioxidants. Lutein and zeaxanthin can also be taken via supplements. Studies have shown that these antioxidants have shown to block the blue light transmission from damaging important cells in the eye.(3) The return of office-based meetings might mean less time staring at your colleagues on a video call, but it’s still important to take some time away from the screen throughout the day. Try taking a five minute break for every hour of computer time.

Choose healthy snacks

What we eat can have a big impact on our mood and concentration, so make sure you’re picking the right fuel for a productive day in the office. Nuts, seeds and dried fruit are healthy, nutritious and keep well in desk drawers, while popcorn is high in fibre and low in calories. Fruit like blueberries are packed full of antioxidants which protect cells from oxidative stress and have shown to improve communication between brain cells. Perfect to eat a handful as a snack during your break time or added to smoothies. When it comes to sandwiches, switch to wholegrain bread which releases energy slowly to keep you alert throughout the day. Pick lunches that are light, balanced, nutritious and keep you fuller for longer. Avoid heavy carbohydrates like rice at lunch time which can be filling but also make you lethargic. 

Reclaim your lunch break

Whether through pressure to be productive or an ever-growing to-do list, it can be tempting to work through your lunch break without a rest. As well as giving you a much-needed screen break, lunchtime offers a chance to get some fresh air, stretch your legs and switch off from work.

A brisk walk will get your heart pumping, add to your daily exercise total and help you feel fresh for the afternoon ahead when productive levels have shown to decline. If you can’t get out for a walk, remember to stand up to reduce the time you spend sitting during the day. 

Find your focus

Adapting to the distractions of an office again can be a challenge after the peace and quiet (sometimes…) of working from home. If you are struggling to focus, try popping on your headphones and enjoying some relaxing music to aid concentration.

Wind down on your commute

Music can help at the end of the day too. Use your commute home to wind down from work with music, a podcast or by breaking your journey up with a walk. To avoid taking work home with you mentally, make a to-do list for tomorrow before you leave the office so you feel more organised and focused the next morning.

Don’t overlook your work-life balance

After working remotely for many months, you may feel pressure to work extra hours in the office. Remember that a healthy work-life balance leaves time for both work and relaxation. Continue to prioritise your mental and physical wellbeing as you transition back to office life – and most importantly, be kind to yourself after the challenges of the past 12 months. 


  1. Ariga, A. and Lleras, A.. (2011). Brief and rare mental “breaks” keep you focused: Deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements. Cognition. 118 (3), 439-443. https://experts.illinois.edu/en/publications/brief-and-rare-mental-breaks-keep-you-focused-deactivation-and-re
  2. Zhao, Z., Ying, Zhou., Gang,Tan. and Li, J. (2018). Research progress about the effect and prevention of blue light on eyes. Int J Ophthalmol. 11 (12), 1999–2003. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288536/#:~:text=This%20high%20energy%20blue%20light,the%20hormonal%20balance%20and%20directly
  3. Kijlstra, A., Tian, Y., Kelly, E. et al. . (2012). Lutein: More than just a filter for blue light. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research . 31 (4), 303-315. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S135094621200016X