Besides manual labor, working in an office seems like a perfectly safe and healthy job in comparison. There are no immediate dangers as there are in construction sites, factories, and restaurants. Office workers don’t need to exert their bodies to do their jobs, and they certainly do not need to put themselves at risk of injury. However, this doesn’t mean that working in an office does not present its own unique set of occupational hazards.
Learn about some of the most common negative effects of working in an office, as well as what you can do to avoid them.
Sitting at a desk all day is bound to put a few extra pounds on you, especially if you don’t engage in regular exercise and eat a balanced diet. Even if you work out regularly, you have to burn a lot of calories to compensate for the eight hours you spend sitting on a chair and possibly eating snacks that you don’t need.
Weight gain can have you looking for body contouring service pricing during your lunch break. But while there is nothing wrong with putting on a few extra pounds, it becomes a problem when that excess weight results in health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
To maintain a healthy weight, exercise at least four to five times a week. High-intensity exercise is recommended since you would need to burn a lot of calories to make up for the whole workday on a chair, and an intense work out can do that. On weekends, do cardio and strength training to promote weight loss and build your muscle strength.
Of course, regular exercise should be accompanied by a balanced diet. Plan and prepare your meals in advance to avoid buying convenience foods at work. Control your snacking and keep a stash of healthy snacks at your desk. If you’re not sure how to plan a healthy diet that’s right for you, consult with a dietitian.
Physical inactivity and poor posture are the two main culprits of work-related body pain. When you’re sitting on a chair for the better part of the day and have a poor posture on top of it, your body is bound to experience pain, particularly on your back, neck, and wrists.
You can avoid body pain in a number of ways:
- Maintain proper posture while sitting at your desk; feet flat on the ground, back straight, shoulders back, head facing forward, forearms close to the torso
- Raise your monitor at eye level
- Place padding in front of your keyboard to minimize wrist pain
- Use an ergonomic chair; alternatively, use a back support device to help you maintain proper posture
- Keep your phone, calculator, mouse, and other frequently used items near your body to avoid having to reach for them
- Stand up and walk around at least once every thirty minutes to an hour
- Use a headset if you need to take a phone call and do something else with your hands at the same time
Mental health problems
Stress is a common issue for many office workers. Unfortunately, it has become so deeply ingrained in the office culture that it becomes a normal thing. But stress is stress. In excess amounts, it can lead to both physical symptoms (headaches, body pain, gastrointestinal upset, low immunity) and mental or emotional problems (depression, anxiety, excessive anger, sadness).
The good news is that more and more companies are making mental health a priority. While it is still not the norm, it’s a promise of further acceptance that mental health is crucial for all workers, not just those in offices.
But even if your employer does not make any adequate efforts to support the mental health of their workers, you can take matters into your own hands. Here are several ways you can look after your mental health:
- Talk about your feelings with someone else, especially when they are getting overwhelming
- Improve your work-life balance; say no to extra commitments, leave work on time, and take vacations
- Ask for help when you need or want it
- Engage in hobbies that you love
- Meet up with your loved ones regularly
- Avoid sources of stress if you can
- Refrain from engaging in unhealthy coping mechanisms (drinking, smoking, binging, etc.)
Working in an office may be the safest and most comfortable job out there, but it’s not immune to health risks. Now that you know some of the worst health effects of an office job, you can actively avoid them by adopting a healthier lifestyle and most importantly, prioritizing yourself.