It’s fair to say that many of us work in an office job yet are unaware of the potential health risks that an office can pose. Sitting at your desk all day can cause a number of health issues including back pain, eye strain and lowered immunity and so we ask, is your office a health hazard and if so, what can you do to combat these health issues?
Stress is rapidly becoming one of the largest health and safety issues at work and surveys have found that over 5 million workers in the UK would consider themselves stressed while at work. Prolonged stress increases levels of the hormone cortisol in our blood and if these levels remain too high, the immune system can be negatively affected and so we become more susceptible to colds and flu being passed around the office. Stress can be dealt with in a number of ways from meditation to dietary supplements such as Rhodiola Stress Relief Tablets, but for workplace stress, talking to your employer is the first port of call who may be able to better manage your workload.
Computers can cause unnecessary strain on our eyes from constantly looking at the screen all day which can lead to itchy, irritated eyes, headaches and general fatigue. In addition to this, research has suggested that computers give off emissions and toxic fumes which may cause itching, skin problems and headaches over a prolonged period. Offices should be well ventilated to prevent the emissions becoming harmful and ensure that we give our eyes a regular break in order to combat the effects of computer eye strain.
Sitting down all day
More and more research is highlighting the fact that prolonged sitting down can be bad for our general health. Obesity is on the rise is the UK and one potential reason for this is our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. We go to work and normally sit down at our desk for hours, the come home and sit down in front of the TV until it’s time to go to bed. This can not only decrease our general fitness levels, but can also lead to other issues such as back problems, as well as an increase in risk of conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Experts recommend stretching if sitting down for prolonged periods, as well as taking a break and walking around the office every few hours and getting our recommended 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. Classes such as yoga or tai chi can improve posture and general fitness levels and are a good way to combat the effects of sitting down for prolonged periods every day in terms of flexibility, fitness and general health.
Atmosphere and hygiene
The atmosphere in your office can play a huge role in how healthy you are at work and little things such as temperature or air conditioning can affect immunity and general health. Offices with a radiator where temperature can be controlled, as well as a window that can open for fresh air generally produces the happiest and healthiest employees and temperatures should range between 19 and 21 degrees Celsius. An office too hot can lead to fatigue and drowsiness, but too cold can lead to shivering and a weakened immune system more prone to catching the office cold going around.
Adding to this weakened immune system can come from an unhygienic work environment and so it’s important to ensure that work desks are kept clean and tidy, as well as communal areas such as kitchens and bathrooms are kept clean and hygienic to ensure good health for employees.
To sum up
Many of us now work in an office which can lead to a number of health issues including joint pain, weight gain and increased stress levels but there are a number of things you can do to combat the effects of an office job. Increasing our activity levels and fighting the temptation to lounge in front of the TV straight after work can lead to weight loss as well as an increase in general health and mobility. In addition to this, ensuring work areas are clean and hygienic to prevent illness, and making sure you rest your eyes on a regular basis while working with computers can all prevent your workplace from becoming a health hazard.