Health Tips For Office Workers

Many people work in office environments and it can be easy to slip into sedentary mode when working at a computer desk most of or all of the day. One thing that many office workers do not consider during their work hours is how to stay healthy. There are many ways to perk up your daily routine at the office that will also provide benefits to your health. These are my health tips for office workers that you might find helpful.

Some ideas for your health in the office

One thing to always remember, whether working in an office environment or not, is to stay hydrated. Water is extremely important when considering your body’s health, as it optimizes the way your body works both physically and mentally. Doctors recommend getting sixty-four ounces of water per day to keep your body healthy. So instead of grabbing another cup of coffee or a sugary carbonated beverage from the machine down the hall, consider bringing a water bottle to work with you.

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Speaking tubes hang off the end of a desk in this 1900s business office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Speaking of vending machines, it can be very easy to give in to temptation and snack on some not so healthy things available at many offices. Instead of buying salty, fatty or sugary snacks, consider packing your own along with your lunch. Good nutrition is extremely important to your health and there are many options at the grocery store that are great alternatives to chips or candy bars. Consider adding some fresh fruit to your lunch or even whole grains in the form of pasta or bread to boost your nutritional intake. Nuts, seeds, chopped vegetables, and salads are all good choices.

In the same vein, many office parties often pool their money together to chip in for lunch, almost daily. Most of these options are not healthy and you should do your best to limit fast food or take out lunches to a minimum. Packing your own lunch is a great idea and ensures that you know what you’re eating and are in control of modification or meeting your particular dietary needs. Also try to limit your intake of baked goods brought in by co-workers. These snacks are typically loaded with sugar, which can cause irregularity in your blood sugar levels and are especially dangerous if you have diabetes.

Do you work behind a desk?

When working at the desk, you should consider your working space. Cubicles can be very stuffy and are germ magnets due to high volume traffic from co-workers. You should always try to make sure that your workspace is clean, bright, clear, and dust-free. There are several easy ways to do this.

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A typical modern office (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keeping hand sanitizer at your desk is a good idea, especially when cold and flu season approaches and begins to spread throughout the office. This will allow you to kill germs passed on from other workers and keep your immunity high. Something else to consider is an air purifier, which are available in smaller, more portable sizes that are perfect for an office or cubicle space. These are especially great for allergy sufferers or those sensitive to air pollution in more urban areas.

When it comes to office furniture, you should consider ergonomics. Having an uncomfortable chair, desk, or keyboard can lead to back problems, muscle spasms or carpel tunnel syndrome. Consider chairs that have adjustable lumbar support and are well-padded to prevent cramps and spinal issues down the road. Your office space should be well-lit; this will reduce eye strain when reading smaller-print documents and memos and will also reduce the amount of strain caused by staring at computer monitors for extended periods of time. Most office supply stores offer adjustable desk lamps and lighting that will fit into any budget or health needs. You should also be sure to rest your eyes if your job has a lot of reading or computer work. Taking as little as ten to fifteen minutes every couple of hours will greatly reduce eye problems.

You should also keep some cleaning products in your office or request them from housekeeping. Cleaning your monitor will reduce eyestrain, for example. In the same line as using hand sanitizer, it would be wise to invest in some disinfecting wipes to use on commonly touched office equipment such as the mouse, keyboard, or stapler. This will kill germs and make you less susceptible to catching the office bug that is going around. You shouldn’t forget about disinfecting items such as PDAs or cell phones; these items are also germ factories due to heavy use and especially use around the mouth.

If you have an extended lunch break, going for a walk around the office or even around the office grounds is a great way to stretch tight muscles and get some exercise in. You should be mindful of property lines and time deadlines; the last thing you would want is a write up due to being outside when you should be inside working. Some other business owners may not want you walking around on their property during or after business hours. There are also simple stretches and exercises you can do in your office space such as knee bends, lunges or squats that will greatly reduce stiffness and strain on your joints and muscles.

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Open plan office (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Be sure to make time for bathroom breaks. It sounds silly, but many office workers are under tight deadlines and often get lost in their work, completely ignoring the demands of their body. To limit bathroom use during work, go before work and avoid sodas, coffee and some teas. These items contain a lot of caffeine and can act as diuretics which will cause more frequent trips to the bathroom. Always be sure to wash your hands after restroom use, as it is sanitary and commonly accepted practice.

You should always check with an employer before implementing any of these ideas, as there may be office guidelines that the tips may violate. With the introduction of even a few of these tips, you will make your office experience a much more healthy and safe one. They might not get you the raise you asked for, though.

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