When you think of healthy living then most of the time, you’d consider diet and exercise. While these are vital parts of staying healthy, there are many things that are often forgotten. This is most often the case when it comes to people’s working environment. But staying healthy at work is very important in the long run.
Obviously, sitting at t a desk all day is not a healthy thing to do. But for many people this is an everyday reality. The long-term impacts of an office job can be quite significant. In many cases the symptoms appear when a lot of damage has already been done.
To help you avoid such problems we have put together a quick guide to improving your health in and around your office or study life. With some simple improvements, you can avoid some pretty painful experiences in years to come.
Each of the below topics will give you a little bit of an improvement. And the good thing is that you don’t have to buy them all in one go. Just start with those that you can afford and gradually add to your investments.
At the end of the day, some pretty small spending will have some big impacts in years to come. So, let’s find out what makes a healthy work environment.
When you work at a desk you’ll spend most of your time sitting down. This is a very unnatural position for the human body. When you look at human history, it’s probably only in the last 40 years that we have become more accustomed to be working at desks.
Prior to that, it was a lot of manual labor that involved moving around and lifting stuff. What many people in desk jobs will find is that their posture will deteriorate over time. Slouching is very common, and if you look around you right now, you’ll probably most people do this a lot.
To avoid this the, first thing you should do is set a timer on your watch or phone. Every 20 or 30 minutes, remind yourself to check your posture. You’ll be surprised how often you will need to adjust it.
Secondly, you should invest in a high-quality office chair. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should buy the most expensive. But it should provide a lot of lower back support and promote a natural curve in the spine.
If you already suffer from back or neck pain, then it would be advisable to spend a bit extra for a head and neck support. It will take a lot of pressure off your disks. And that will result in less pressure on the nerves that are causing the pain in the first place.
Another excellent way to avoid back pain from sitting long periods of time is to invest in a stand desk. When these first came out they were only available as full standalone desks. By pulling a lever or pressing a button, you would be able to adjust the height. And that could be done all the way up so that you would be able to stand in front of your computer.
When you regularly switch between sitting and standing you will give your spine a much more natural environment. The great thing is that stand desks are now available as add on features for your existing desk.
That means you can buy the system and use it with whatever desk set up you have. The adjustment mechanism is quite simple and usually involves pulling a spring-loaded system. In a matter of seconds that height can be adjusted.
The important thing to focus on here is that they come with a tray for your mouse and keyboard. And that tray should be independently adjustable. If this is not the case then you can still end up in a posture that becomes unnatural and will only make your back problems worse.
Even if you don’t suffer from back pain, this is a very good investment to avoid it in the future. Prices have dropped a lot and you can find our top recommendations here.
Yes, you read that right. Your laptop computer bag could be causing you health issues. Even though laptops have become incredibly light weight, if they are carried for long periods of time it can cause bad posture and even a gait adjustment.
When your body moves in a way that it was not designed to, you can cause very small strains on joints and other tissue. This can go completely unnoticed for many years. Only to suddenly flare up and cause a very painful experience.
The next time you’re on your commute, or when you arrive in the office. Pay attention to the types of computer bags people are using. In the majority of cases, they will be a single strap over the shoulder bag. But even those with a backpack style are probably only using one strap.
If this is something you do as well, then you could end up walking with a slightly tilted spine. And more pressure will be on one shoulder and leg than the other. Even a relatively small weight can cause strain over many years.
The best way to avoid this is to use a backpack style bag and use it the way it is meant to be used. That means using one strap over each shoulder with an even weight distribution. This might look a bit nerdy to some. But you will thank yourself for it in the long run.
Offices and colleges are full of computers and other electronic equipment. There simply is no way to avoid them. Because of the amount of electricity being used by these appliances there is a lot of static energy around them. Have you ever noticed that computers and their screens seem to attract more dust than anywhere else?
The reason for this is that static attracts the smallest particles in the air. That includes dust, pollen and many other allergens. If you already suffer from allergies or asthma then you’re probably aware that such environments can increase your symptoms.
This can include itchy eyes and nasal passages. Or even some trouble breathing if you suffer from asthma.
The good news is that there is a relatively simple solution with a small and effective device. Air purifiers are available in many different sizes. Some are suitable for an entire house or large office area. But, those are generally quite large and expensive.
You can also buy them in small portable sizes. These will simply stand on your desk and circulate and filter the air immediately around you. By having one of these plugged in close by will ensure that the air quality you breathe is far superior than it otherwise would be.
You’ll notice a huge difference especially in pollen season. There is just no way of keeping these particles out of living and working spaces. That doesn’t mean that you just have to put up with it.
One tip we would have though is to buy a purifier with a timer function. That way you can have it turn on maybe an hour before you arrive at your desk. That head start will make a huge difference.
Keep It Clean
The unfortunate reality is that most office and study environments are perfect breeding grounds for germs. This is especially the case in winter months when colds and flus are going around. Anywhere that lots of people come together for long periods of time, the spread of illnesses will happen.
A lot of the time, you will pick these things up just by breathing the same air others. But there is another way that germs spread that can be avoided.
One of the most susceptible places for germs in an office is your keyboard and mouse. Think of it. You’re constantly touching it and as you shake hands with people or open doors and handle money you will pick up germs. These are then transferred to keyboards and mice. And if you share desks with others, then the problem is amplified.
The simple solution is two things. Ideally on a daily basis you should be wiping down your desk, keyboard, mouse and phone with anti-bacterial wipes. And regularly using hand sanitizer will also reduce the spread.
If this can become common practice in an entire office environment then you will hugely reduce the risk of germs spreading in the first place.
With all of the above tips and tricks you will be able to help reduce any pains you might currently have. More importantly though, if you introduce these changes into your life at an early age, then you will avoid many problems later in life.
The investments you’ll make now are pretty small. And when you consider what the hourly rate of a chiropractor or a visit to a doctor will cost you then it really is a simple decision. Just like watching your diet and fitness levels, keeping your body healthy while working or studying will make a huge difference.