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Feel Better

Make iced tea and coffee in the office!

By | Feel Better, Work Better

Feel Better, Work Better

Part 4

Here at Office Needs, we know that having a pleasant, comfortable place to work is a great way to keep motivated. However, on a roasting hot summer’s day, that can feel like a challenge! Read on for one of our fun ideas to stay cool in the heat…

If you’re anything like me, you need a bit of caffeine to get your brain whirring in the mornings. However, when the thermometer is creeping higher, sometimes I just can’t face a hot cup of coffee… but an ice-cool version really hits the spot.

STEP ONE: Get frosty…

Some offices are magical places, that come equipped with fridges which have built-in ice makers. Not all of us work in such luxury, but if you want to make truly frosty beverages, you’re going to need a supply of ice!

You might find that your workplace fridge has a built-in ice-box (many come with a small amount of space to store frozen goods). You can bring in some ice cube trays or a bag of pre-made ice to get stocked up and ready for some ice-cold drinks.

If not, don’t despair! Why not be the hero of your overheated office by offering to do an ice run in the morning? If you insulate a bag or box of ice in aluminium foil before placing it in the fridge, it should stay frozen for several hours – plenty of time to caffeinate yourself!

P.S. want to persuade your boss to upgrade to a fridge with a built-in ice box? We’ve got some great products for that! Just get in touch with our team and we’ll help you out…

STEP TWO:  Brew up!

Whether you’re a tea or coffee drinker, iced versions are just a brew and a chill away…

For iced coffee

  1. Make a small cup of black coffee. This should be made stronger than usual to account for dilution from the ice. If you want to brew for lots of people at once, make a strong pot of coffee instead!
  2. Add sugar if you’re using it (or flavoured syrup if you’re feeling fancy!), as this dissolves best in the hot coffee.
  3. Cool the coffee down by either setting it aside, or popping a couple of ice cubes in now to speed up the process.
  4. Once your coffee is cool, add milk (or cream) to your preference, then pop ice cubes in and stir, stir, stir!

BONUS IDEA: Don’t want to water down your coffee too much when the ice melts? Make coffee ice cubes! Just brew it up, cool it down and then pour into ice cube trays. Remember this is all extra caffeine though, so adjust the amount of coffee in your cup accordingly…

 

For iced tea

  1. Make a cup of your favourite tea (or herbal tea!), but brew it double-strength to account for dilution from ice cubes.
  2. Add sugar if you’re using it, as this dissolves best in the hot tea. A dash of lemon juice is also great for flavour, and will help to preserve the flavonoids.
  3. Set aside the tea to cool, or pop a couple of ice cubes in straight away to speed up the process.
  4. Add extra ice cubes when you’re ready to drink!

BONUS IDEA: Honey is a great way to sweeten iced tea that brings extra antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to the drink – what’s not to like?

P.S. If you’re suffering in the heat, why not pick up a refreshing drink or cooling fan with your next order of supplies? We’ve got some on offer to help you beat the heat…

SHOP GREAT DEALS

STEP THREE: Serve up (or just sip solo and make your co-workers jealous…)

You can now sit back at your desk and sip a delicious, ice cold drink that will also help you stay more alert – win, win!

If you have a twist on the recipe, why not let us know on social media? We’re always up for experimenting with a brew…

That’s all for this week, but I hope you enjoy making these ice-cool beverages, and they help you enjoy the sunshine rather than suffer in the heat!

Join us next week for the first part of a new topic!

If you’ve got thoughts on what you’d like us to cover next, why not get in touch with us on social media? We’d love to hear from you!

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Want to be more productive throughout 2018?

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3 steps to gamify your workday

By | Feel Better, Work Better

Feel Better, Work Better

Part 3

Here at Office Needs, we like trying to think differently about how to improve your workday. One of the interesting trends in recent years is teams trying to gamify their work – using the principles of what makes mobile and video games so fun and addictive in order to make you more productive at work!

1. Chase the clock

Think about all the games you’ve enjoyed over the years – how many of them involved a timer? Games that make you race against the clock force you to keep moving through the tasks you need to complete, and get faster as you practise more.

If you apply the same principle to your workday, you might just find that some tasks benefit from a focus on the clock. If you’ve got a big, repetitive task ahead of you (envelope stuffing, anyone?) then you could try setting yourself small targets to achieve by certain points on the timer.

You can also set much longer timed goals – for example, trying to make a certain number of sales by a particular date. At Office Needs, we use a target tracker on the wall to show us how we’re doing every month, and move it along until the time is up. It’s a fun way to put gentle pressure on your work, and keep things moving!

2. Get competitive

Playing on your own might be fun, but it’s always good to get competitive!

If you’ve got similar targets to someone else in your team, having a friendly competition is a good way to drive you both forward and keep motivation high. Maybe you’re both aiming at sales targets, or perhaps even working on a bigger collective workload that’s been split into groups – chances are, by pushing each other forwards, you’ll both be contributing nicely to the overall aims of your team.

So even if you don’t win the competition to get some office bragging rights, you’ll still end up doing better overall – what’s not to like?

3. Level up (and reward yourself appropriately!)

Many games work on a ‘levels’ basis, and get progressively harder as you gain experience. It’s likely that your job will provide you with similar challenges – if you’re getting really fast at data inputting, for example, it’s likely that you’ll be given larger quantities to do next time around.

However, it’s not always that straightforward, and it’s important to keep pushing yourself to improve if you want to keep work interesting and challenging. So if you’ve been doing well and hitting your targets, why not make sure to ‘level up’ by actively seeking something bigger and more challenging next time around?

It’s also important to remember that many games reward a player at the point of levelling up by unlocking something – maybe new abilities or cosmetic details, or sometimes even a cut scene to progress the story.

So why not reward yourself the next time you ‘level up’ at work – it might be a 10 minute break to take a refreshing walk outside, a catch up chat at the water cooler with a colleague, or even just a nice hot cup of tea or coffee… all of which will make you more productive! Win-win!

BONUS IDEA: Don’t forget the soundtrack…

Think about your favourite games – how many of them use music to keep you moving?

Not only do lots of games use upbeat music to keep you motivated, they also know the power of changing the soundtrack around to suit the task at hand. Why not try creating some work playlists to help you tackle different jobs?

Click here to read our previous post on using music at work…

That’s all for this week, but I hope you enjoy gamifying your workday – and that you’re ‘leveling up’ in no time!

Join us next week for Part 4 of Feel Better, Work Better!

If you’ve got thoughts on what you’d like us to cover next, why not get in touch with us on social media? We’d love to hear from you!

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Want to be more productive throughout 2018?

Keep up with this blog for tips, tricks and great products to help you!

Top 5 Office Exercises

By | Feel Better, Work Better

Feel Better, Work Better

Part 2

Ever feel like you need to get moving more during your work day?  Many UK office workers spend up to 8 hours a day sitting at their desks – and unsurprisingly, the human body isn’t really suited to such a sedentary lifestyle. However, there are several things you can try in order to get your body moving more during your working day… here’s our favourite desk-based exercise tips!

IMPORTANT NOTE: These exercises are intended to be a fun and helpful way to keep you moving a little more at work. But don’t push them too far – you know your body best, and it’s better to ease yourself into it gently than risk an injury.

1. Give that back a stretch!

Let’s start with an obvious culprit for office-based aches and pains – your back!

Sit with a straight back on your office chair, take a deep breath in and reach your arms up as high as you can. As you exhale, start to lean your arms and body gently backwards, so your eyes are travelling along the ceiling to look slightly behind you. Hold this for a few seconds, then release your arms down to your sides. Repeat this a few times to stretch your back out.

2. Work the wrists

Now it’s time to give your wrists some attention, to stop the aches and pains that can come from working with a keyboard and mouse all day.

Hold one arm out in front of you, fingers pointing up to the ceiling and palm out, and grab your fingers with your other hand. Pull them gently towards you for 20-30 seconds to give your forearms a stretch.

Then, press your hands together in front of your chest, with your elbows bent and arms parallel to the floor. Gently move your hands to the left and right for about 10 reps.

3. Twist and shout (okay, maybe best not to shout…)

Time to pay attention to your back and core again with a good twist.

Sit with a straight back on your office chair, then take a deep breath in. As you exhale,  twist to one side from the bottom of your spine, so that your abdomen is stretching more than your upper back. Grab your armrest on one side to help you find the right position to hold the stretch, and then breathe into it for a few seconds. Repeat this to the other side.

4. Don’t skip leg day

Get your legs moving under the desk – sit with a straight back and raise your lower leg until it’s as straight as you can comfortably get it. Now gently raise your leg up from the chair, hold it there for a few moments, then lower and repeat with the other leg.

Don’t forget to double check where things are under your desk before you start this one, and move your chair out as appropriate – no one wants to accidentally kick a pedestal!

5. Sit down (yes, really…)

To finish… office squats! By which we mean, standing up from your chair, then sitting back down on it, and repeating this several times to get your abdomen and legs working.

Once you’ve done some repetitions, you really can sit down again… hopefully feeling a bit more energised, stretched out and ready to get back to work!

BONUS MOVE

For extra turn-your-office-into-a-gym points, get ready to improvise some bicep curls… by using a full water bottle!

Grab your bottle in one hand, and with your back straight, bring it towards your shoulder. Lower it again, and repeat.

Then as a finishing touch, make sure you drink all that water during your working day, and refill the bottle too…

We hope this has given you some inspiration to get moving more in the office, and feel the benefits of some office exercise yourself!

Join us next week for Part 3 of Feel Better, Work Better!

If you’ve got thoughts on what you’d like us to cover next, why not get in touch with us on social media? We’d love to hear from you!

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Want to be more productive throughout 2018?

Keep up with this blog for tips, tricks and great products to help you!