How to Exercise at Your Desk

Many of us have good intentions when it comes to working out in spite of being at work for 1/3 of the day. We try to get up early to squeeze in a workout before we head in to the office. We plan a stop at the gym on the way home. We might even try to see what can be done during a lunch break. How about sneaking in a workout while you’re at your desk?


Let’s face it, that’s where many of us spend much of our day, and all of those hours sitting in our desk chairs, hunched over our keyboards, are a big part of why we need the exercise in the first place. Turn that Catch 22 into the perfect time to wake up your muscles and learn how to exercise at your desk.

These Arm Exercises actually use your desk as your exercise equipment:

Place your hands under the desk, palms up, and press up as if you’re trying to lift the desk. Hold this contraction until your arms feel tired. You can do both hands at the same time, or alternate between working each arm individually.

Now place your hands on top of the desk, palms down and press as strongly as you can as if you’re pushing the desk down into the floor. Hold contraction until your arms feel tired.

Isometric Hand Press:

Sitting upright in your chair, grasp your hands together in front of your chest as if you were clapping. Firmly press them against each other, the right hand pushing to the left and the left hand pushing to the right. Hold contraction for 10 seconds before releasing. Repeat 4 times.

Shoulder Shrug:

Lift the tops of your shoulders toward your ears and hold for 5-10 seconds
Relax and drop your shoulders low, feeling a slight stretch in your neck.
Repeat as you like.

The Wooden Leg:

Sit in your chair, back straight. Engage your stomach muscles and extend one leg out straight in front of you even with the chair height and hold for 5 seconds. Pressing through your heel, slowly raise your leg up as high as you can, and hold it again for 5 seconds. Lower to the floor and repeat the sequence 8-10 times. Follow up with your other leg.

The Wooden Leg can also be done with both legs at once:
Sit closer to the edge of your seat and place your hands on the desk for balance.
Raise both legs together as high as possible under the desk. Hold for several seconds and slowly lower back down.

Crossed Leg Resistance Lift:

Cross one ankle on top of the other.
Begin to raise your feet off the floor.
Press top leg down and resist with bottom leg – hold this contraction until muscles are tired. Release to the floor.
Repeat with opposite ankle crossed over the top.

Chair Squats:

Stand tall with back straight.
Slowly lower your body to within 1 inch of the chair, almost sitting down but not quite touching the seat.
Hold for ten seconds.
Relax and sit fully into the chair, or lift back up to standing to repeat.

Thigh Muscle Static Contraction Series:

These isometric contractions can be done with all the muscles in the thighs simply by focusing your attention on each muscle group individually.

Begin by focusing on the inner thigh muscles: Contract/squeeze the inner thighs with maximum effort, holding the contraction for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat between 10-15 times.
Next focus on the outer thigh muscles. Contract these muscles as much as you can, holding for roughly 5 seconds and release. Repeat 10-15 times.
Continue on with your hamstrings – the backs of your thighs – strongly contracting those muscles for several seconds and then releasing. Repeat 10-15 times.
For your quadriceps (the tops of your thighs), straighten your legs out in front of you and then do the contractions, holding for 5 seconds, releasing and then repeating.
These can be done periodically throughout the day.

Inner Thigh Adduction:

Choose an item that can be squeezed such as a rolled up towel or even your sweater. Sit up straight in your chair towards the edge of the seat, your abs tucked in. Be sure your feet are flat on the floor and place the item between your knees. Squeeze your knees together with maximum force, holding for several seconds before releasing. Repeat 10-15 times.

Butt and Ab Clenches:

Tighten your buttocks as strongly as you can and hold that contraction for 10 seconds. Relax your muscles. Repeat this contraction 10-15 times.

Follow with your abs:
Tighten your tummy muscles, focusing on pulling your belly button in towards your spine and your side muscles in towards the center. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds. Repeat this contraction 15 times.

Sitting Spinal Stretch:

Sit tall in your chair, abs engaged and making sure your spine is straight. Place your left hand on the desk and with your right hand grab the back of the chair and gently twist your spine and neck to the right as if you’re trying to look behind you. Try not to hold your breath. Hold the twist for 10 seconds and then gently twist back to facing forward. Repeat with your right hand on the desk and your left arm on the back of the chair, gently twisting to the left until you can see behind you. Hold for 10 seconds and then release.

Finally, even just checking in every now and then to be sure you’re sitting properly in your chair helps your back muscles stay strong. Your chair height should allow your feet to be flat on the floor with your knees and hips bent to a 90-degree angle. Your back should be straight, with the lower spine flat against the back of the chair and your chair pulled in close to the desk to avoid hunching forward.

Follow these ideas throughout the day and you can get in some great movement, and you won’t even have to lunge your way to the photocopier.

Top 5 Job Interview Tips

You’ve found the job of your dreams and you got yourself an interview. We’ve all felt the stomach-churning mix of excitement coupled with terror when that coveted interview is circled in red on the calendar. Take a moment to review our Top 5 Job Interview Tips to help turn that interview into your new job.

job interview

Tip #1:

Know the company.

Knowing as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing for is an invaluable tool and can give you a leg up as far as understanding what they might be looking for in a potential new employee. Visit the company website to familiarize yourself with how the company views itself, its mission statement and history as well as specific products and services. can provide a ton of company-specific information, much of it from people with first-hand experience there. Even social media such as Facebook and Twitter can provide insights into a company you might otherwise not have access to. Many interviews begin with a general ‘So, what do you know about our company?’ and you want to be able to wow them with your knowledge, foresight and interest.

Tag-a-long Tip:  Be sure you understand  – at least to some degree – what the specific job you’re interviewing for entails. It might sound obvious, but having knowledge of the position itself allows you to tailor your answers to highlight your most relevant skills. This can be a critical preparation.

Tip #2:

Practice, Plan, and Practice Some More.

Having some idea of what questions might be asked and planning how best to answer to ensure that your particular skill set shines through makes a big difference and keeps the look of panic off your face. You don’t want to come across as scripted, but having some key thoughts prepared and at the ready should allow you to relax and your abilities to shine. Go over some hypothetical replies out loud when you’re in the car or otherwise alone so you can get comfortable with how you might answer.

Some common interview questions to be prepared to answer:

  • What did you like or dislike about your previous job?
  • What is your greatest strength? Greatest weakness?
  • Describe a difficult work situation and how did you handle it?
  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why should we hire you?

Tag-A-Long Tip: Be prepared for an interview from the moment you’re ready to make contact with a company. Your very first call could lead to an immediate phone interview or pre-screening, so review your resume and have some responses ready.

Tip #3:

Know your resume.

It’s a long-running joke that all resumes are ‘padded’, but if you really do have the skills required for a position, be ready to back them up. Fudging dates and skills, only to be backed into an uncomfortable corner during the interview doesn’t do anyone any good. Be prepared to answer questions such as why you left a previous position, and how particular skills listed on your resume helped you achieve specific goals. If you can’t answer these, you probably shouldn’t include them on your resume.

Tip #4:

Dress for Success.

It sounds cliched, but first impressions are critical when it comes to interviewing, because this may be the only impression you get to make. Any interview – even if is it’s at your local fast food place – necessitates dressing neatly and cleanly. The type of workplace will dictate whether you don Business Casual or more formal Business Attire, and this is where Tip #1 comes in, knowing something about the company. In either case, you want to look professional and convey the idea that you appreciate the time that’s being afforded you, as well as care about the image you present. One important note:  It doesn’t matter if you know the company has dress-down Fridays – leave the jeans and sneakers at home for the interview.

Tip #5:

Know What Not to do.

  • Don’t be late. This will be noticed and noted.
  • Keep your phone on silent and stowed away during the interview. In the same vein, leave your coffee, bottled water and gum in the car.
  • Don’t complain about a previous employer or job. It’s unprofessional, not to mention you never know who the interviewer might know.
  • Don’t get into anything personal during the interview. This isn’t the time to gush about your kids or complain about your medical bills and how much you need benefits.
  • Don’t be the first to bring up salary. Let the interviewer bring it up first, and only ask (tactfully) if compensation hasn’t been addressed by the end of the interview.
  • And most of all, don’t lose sight of why you’re there. This is your opportunity to show them your best and brightest self. Don’t be afraid to show some pride in your skills and accomplishments.

Bonus Tip:

Be sure to follow up after the interview, thanking everyone you met with. In this day and age a Thank You email is considered appropriate and couldn’t be easier. A handwritten note is also fitting and might help you stand out even more. This quick follow up allows you to restate your interest as well as bring your name to mind once again post-interview.

Most of all, take a deep breath, and good luck!

Top 10 Employee Anniversary Gift Ideas

Celebrating an employee’s anniversary is an important way of letting him or her know that you appreciate the commitment that they show to your company.

If the employee has been with the company for an extended length of time, (such as 25 years) a fantastic idea would be to have a dinner or party in the employee’s honor. At the party, the guest of honor can be presented with their anniversary gift. In addition to a gift, it’s always smart to circulate an anniversary card through the office so the entire staff can sign it and pass along their good wishes.


Of course, anniversaries can be celebrated for shorter milestones, such as 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. Many companies present employees with a catalog of gifts they can choose from. This may be less personal, but it ensures that each employee is getting a gift that will prove to be useful.

However, if you’ve decided to make a choice without the help of a catalog, here is a helpful list of employee anniversary gift ideas

  1. Tickets to a sporting or music event—A great choice for someone who has a devotion to a specific team or band. This will provide your employee with wonderful memories for years to come.
  2. A personalized or engraved plaque or trophy—This could be something the employee displays at home or in their office.
  3. Jewelry—Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but any nice piece of jewelry will make an employee feel appreciated.
  4. A watch—Although a watch is technically a piece of jewelry, it deserves a category of its own because it’s one of the most well known, classic corporate gifts.  The reason? It serves as an important symbol of the years of connection between the company and the employee. Often, the watch can be engraved or have the company name on the face.
  5. Small Kitchen Appliance—A coffeemaker, blender or toaster. Any of the everyday kitchen conveniences can be given as an anniversary gift. While it may not be what someone thinks of when they think of a special gift, it is practical!
  6. A golf club or set of clubs—Golf enthusiasts are always looking to improve their game, and nothing makes them happier than a specially selected club. This could also be personalized to make it more special.
  7. A “Foodie” gift—This could be anything related to food. A basket of gourmet chocolates, a gift certificate to a restaurant, an expensive bottle of wine, or a subscription to a fruit of the month club. Foodie gifts are usually a great choice because almost everyone loves to eat. They also have the benefit of being appealing to either gender.
  8. A “Techie” gift—There are so many different computer gadgets out today, there could be a top ten list of technology related gifts of their own. We all know someone who has to have the newest model of everything.  A techie gift would be the perfect choice for them.  Some ideas are: the latest tablet, e-book reader, video game console, or Smartphone.
  9. A contribution to a charity or a cause your employee supports—You really have to know your employee with this one.  Not everyone welcomes a gift to someone else with open arms.  A charitable employee who is always giving of their time might find this to be the perfect gift.
  10. A gift card to a store that the employee is known to frequent—Although some people may not think a gift card is as personal as an actual gift, if you know your employee loves basketball, a gift card to a sporting goods store is a great idea.

The Subtle Advantage of Corporate Birthday Cards

Everyone knows how great it feels to be remembered on his or her birthday. Cards, gifts and well wishes make a special day even more so, and we tend to remember those who take a moment out of their day to brighten ours. But there’s a not-so-secret bonus found in the practice of sending corporate birthday cards.

Corporate Birthday Cards

When a company sends a valued client or business associate a birthday card, they’re taking advantage of a terrific opportunity to stand out from others as one that goes above and beyond. And in the same vein as sending a thank you note after an interview, it offers the chance to bring you and your business back to mind in a positive, meaningful way. It’s a physical reminder of a connection, and its presence conveys thoughtfulness, consideration and, let’s faces it, a level of class. That card becomes a visual link to your company, one that carries with it all the positive impressions you expect to be associated with your business, not to mention bringing your name to mind time and again like a not-so-subtle whisper in their ear.

Having a selection of assorted birthday cards at the ready means you’ll never miss this professionally personal opportunity to showcase your company in a positive light. It’s a small gesture that ensures yours is the name that comes to mind long after the card has been tucked away and it’s back to business.

The Magic of Business Birthday Cards

As a small business owner, I realized early on the importance of ‘the personal touch’ when it came to clients and employees alike. No one wants to feel like a number or a cog, and it was when I approached every connection on a more individual level that I saw the most amazing things happen. Remembering a child’s name or asking after a spouse (and paying attention to the reply!) goes a long way towards building a strong, loyal relationship. But the most positive reaction was always in response to receiving business birthday cards. It seems simple, but this outwardly small gesture always had the biggest impact. I could see the sense of worth and importance in their eyes as an employee would read the slew of well-wishes from co-workers, knowing they were valued and, let’s face it, well-liked. And I could hear in the voice of a client their genuine appreciation at being remembered on their birthday, knowing that time was taken out of a busy business day to make sure they knew the relationship was an important one. In the space of a short, meaningful birthday wish, a wealth of value and gratitude was shared.

Business Birthday Cards
I always keep a box of assorted birthday cards on hand and keep careful tabs on upcoming birthdays for all of my employees and clients. It doesn’t take long to pick the perfect card, and this personal, thoughtful gesture can flourish into an enthusiastic, dedicated staff, committed clients and a highly regarded business.

Thanksgiving Cards: A Tradition in the Making

Thoughts of Thanksgiving conjure warm images of bountiful tables set in cozy homes, harvests of pumpkin and corn and evenings spent bundled against the chilling air. There’s an unmistakable sense of contentment and appreciation and a wish to feel connected, and sending Thanksgiving cards to family and friends is a wonderful way to share that sentiment with the important people in our lives.

But there’s no reason why that feeling of gratitude needs to remain in the home. Valued customers and employees are the heart and soul of a business, and what better time of year than Thanksgiving to show our appreciation?

Thanksgiving cards

We spend the year finding different ways to thank our customers for their business, from discounts and top-notch customer service to receipts with ‘Thank You’ printed right on them to clearly communicate the thought. And once a year we have the opportunity to do something a little bit extra and express that gratitude in a more personal way by sending a Thanksgiving card. It’s a unique way to say Thank You at a time when we’re all taking stock of the important things in our lives.

Sending Thanksgiving cards may be a fairly new trend but it’s one that shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and brings with it the first waves of earnest anticipation, excitement and introspection. To capture that sentiment in a card sent to family, friends, employees and valued associates connects you and your company to all the joy and optimism associated with the holidays.

Follow up your fall mailing with a bounty of festive Christmas cards as the year comes to a close and you will ensure that you will be thought of with warmth and appreciation well into the year to come.