Seven Excuses to Leave your Desk

In an effort to keep back pain, heart disease, and obesity at bay, a common piece of advice is to take a break from work for a few minutes of every hour. Unfortunately not everyone works in an environment where the culture allows for constant breaks from your desk work, but fear not! Here are seven excuses that will keep you moving about all day long: 

1) Get water

Water is the elixir of life; it makes you feel full, helps your muscles function, and keeps your skin healthy. Staying hydrated also helps you maintain normal bowel and kidney function, which in turn causes you to take the second action on this list of reasons to leave your desk.

2) Go to the bathroom 

Drinking lots of water inevitably leads you to the washroom, which hopefully isn’t right next to your desk. For some people the walk to and from the restroom is the only moving they do in between their commutes. Go frequently, you don’t get any points for holding it in.

3) Talk face to face 

Nowadays, it is so easy to avoid speaking with coworkers face to face. It takes literally two seconds to send them a message on the computer, but standing up and walking over to your coworker’s desk is a great excuse to stretch your legs and potentially build real lasting friendships.

4) Go out to lunch

Do not eat at your desk. Your lunch hour is a sacred time that should encourage you to stand up and walk around. You don’t have to go out to eat, but at least get up from your desk and go to a designated dining area. Working while eating is essentially the same as eating in front of the television, and eating distracted often leads to overindulging.

5) Print things

In addition, make sure your printer is out of arms reach. You don’t always need paper copies in this digital age, but whenever you do, you might as well use it as an excuse to move about. Plus, even though we are in the age of email, printed handouts are still a great supplement to any presentation.

6) Talk on the phone

Currently everyone and their mother have some sort of Bluetooth headset or headphones with a microphone. Use them.  

Talking on the phone is a great excuse to stroll, people tend to sound more energized on the phone when they are up and moving around. Sales trainers always suggest smiling when talking on the phone because customers “can hear your smile through the line”, this isn’t a website about cold calling but standing up certainly won’t hurt your phone game.

7) Back Pain

 A non-specific issue with no clear solution, back pain plagues the majority of office workers today. Back pain can be the result of spending too much time seated, however it is also a convenient excuse to get up from your desk and stretch. You don’t have to outright lie and say your back hurts but that would likely be to your benefit. You may even be able to get a standing desk from your employer if you play it right. 

While this article may appear at first glance to be a list of ways to subtly avoid working, it isn’t, the long-term benefits of a healthy lifestyle far outweigh the fifteen minutes of work breaks. In fact, obesity, back pain, and heart disease often cause employees to miss work for extended periods of time and are far more costly to the company and the individual than daily exercise.