Are you someone that works in an office job?
Chances are you do, or you have at some point. While it’s been found through various studies that working in an office makes you miserable and unproductive, there’s also evidence to suggest that working in an office may be bad for your health. It’s not all doom and gloom, of course, and with the right kind of input from you it’s possible to transform your working experience into a healthy and efficient one.
However, it does come down to making sure that you have the right kind of chairs and desks and posture. See the people in the picture above? They’re all smiling and laughing, but chances are they don’t sit in those chairs all the time. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be smiling too hard. You see, they’re at the wrong height with very little lumbar (back) support which means that they aren’t enjoying an ergonomic posture.
We have come up with some of the key ways in which the office environment can be detrimental to your health, and how to combat it. These tips are brought to you by the leaders in workplace ergonomics; Colebrook Bosson Saunders.
Sitting down all day – does it have to be bad?
Obviously, if you sit down while you smoke, you may as well just toddle off and find the Grim Reaper right now. Then of course there was the backlash articles about how sitting isn’t the new smoking, it’s about a sedentary lifestyle all up.
We agree, and we also think that if you are going to be sitting down all day you may as well have the best possible chair that money can buy, right? Make sure you either spring for a great chair yourself, or get your boss to buy you one – because your health and your back will thank you for it.
Slouching is worse than anything – so how do you fix it?
Well, not anything but it’s pretty bad.
If you are a regular sloucher and you find yourself sitting down shaped like a question mark then make sure you straighten up and sit straight. If you need to tape something to your desk to remind you then do that! Whatever you have to do, do it.
Skipping breakfast is bad for your body – have a bagel!
While not technically part of the office, there are a great many people who don’t eat any breakfast before coming into the office to sit down all day. If you don’t have breakfast you are stressing your body out and disrupting your metabolism. Make sure you make time for breakfast – just for the sake of your health.
Long commutes are big contributors to stress – bliss out on the train or in the car
If you are someone who has to jump on the train for an hour each way each day then we feel for you. We really do. Studies have shown that commuting by car can lead to increased blood sugar and cholesterol, while people who have to commute half an hour by bus were shown to have the lowest levels of satisfaction with their lives.
Make some positive changes in your commute – whether by physically moving closer to work, campaigning for working at home with your boss or make sure you listen to a meditation track or some calming music on the bus, train or in the car.
The office environment doesn’t have to cause serious health problems and there are ways to mitigate the potential risks. All it takes is some dedication to wanting better for yourself, and some commitment to your health through an increased focus on your ergonomic environment and your health.