Have you ever found yourself saying things like “This job is killing me!” when you have a particularly frustrating workday? You might not actually be too far off from the truth when you consider the health risks that lurk around the typical office environment. Many offices replace nourishing rays of sunlight with fluorescent lights and natural plants with white walls covered in motivational posters. These artificial surroundings can not only diminish your daily happiness, but they put your body in a strange environment that causes a number of effects on your health from a higher risk of heart disease to chronic joint pain. Let’s take a closer look at how your office may really be killing you, along with some ways to improve the situation without quitting your job in the process.
Dangers of the office
One of the biggest problems with the average office is that employees spend most of their days sitting down. Sitting upright is actually not an ideal position for the body, as this places added pressure on the spine, reduces healthy circulation to the lower body, and promotes sedentary behavior outside of the office. After years of working in an office, you could be suffering from a variety of health complications that all relate back to endless hours of sitting down.
A more immediate health risk in the workplace is seasonal illnesses, which spread like wildfire in the confined space of a typical office. Break room surfaces and common areas like conference tables are typically riddled with viruses that keep people out of work. It only takes a matter of hours for germs to get from the break room to an individual’s desk, making surface contact a much more threatening mode of germ transportation than sneezing or coughing. The good news, however, is that disinfectant wipes and sanitizers have been found to be very effective solutions, so you may need to hassle the management to keep these germ-fighting assets around.
Improving your surroundings
Aside from encouraging coworkers to keep things clean, disinfecting around the office and washing your own hands frequently during the day, you can do a few additional things to make your workplace a generally healthier environment.
• Put plants on your desk – Live plants actively improve air quality and add a beautiful reminder of the outdoors, making them an excellent addition to any desk. Studies have shown that people who work in greener office communities typically have higher job satisfaction, improved focus, and better overall health and immunity than those who are surrounded by blank walls.
• Take breaks outside – If you can’t convince your boss to give you the corner office with a big window, you might start taking your lunch break outdoors where you can soak up some sun. Daylight is essential for well-rested, physically active employees, so you may have a good argument for having meetings in the courtyard or moving to a more naturally lit office space.
• Have short walks every hour – One more simple but highly beneficial change you can make is taking a short walk for five minutes every hour. This break from your desk will give your eyes a rest from your computer screen, boost your circulation, and help you wake up in those difficult hours of the late afternoon.
Just because you work in an office doesn’t mean you have to suffer with poor health throughout your adult life. MeMD can help you stay in good health even on a busy schedule with online doctor consultations from real physicians available during extended hours.