Health risks are everywhere. From, potentially, walking into a sign while on the sidewalk and staring at your phone, to eating something really funky during lunch that just doesn’t cooperate with your body, we’re a society who lives in caution about things that might happen.
One place many people don’t think about serious health risks, though, is in the office. But, believe it or not, there are hidden health hazards happening right before your very eyes! Just because you’re in a temperature controlled office doesn’t mean you’re immune to the tiny dangers around every corner, guys.
You may not think about them because they’re your daily routine, but there are inconveniences to sitting in a not-so-comfortable chair, or from staring at a computer screen for longer than you should be. Sure, having a job that provides you health benefits is great, but there’s nothing fun about having to use them. Take a minute and check out these five major health risks in your office, which, hopefully, you can avoid while on the job.
Health Risk: Poor Posture/Back Pain
Sitting in a chair all day isn’t ideal, but when working a standard 9-to-6, it’s kind of a requirement. However, if you don’t have a well adjusted chair or an ergonomic workstation, you’re putting yourself in the position to develop a myriad of problems; including bad posture. Sitting hunched, slumped or slouched for a long period of time can lead to back pain, shoulder pain and travel down your arms into your hands. Carpal tunnel is not fun.
Prevention: Make sure that you’re comfortable at your work station with a well adjusted chair and desk. If you begin to feel little aches, or a tiny sharp pain, don’t ignore it! Talk to your supervisor or office manager. Request whatever you need to to keep you in top-notch shape and be sure to take breaks throughout the day. A short walk down the hall or a small stretch counts for a lot in the long run.
Health Risk: Impulse Snacking
One of the best worst things to ever happen to an office is the introduction of the snack basket. They can serve as a great pick me up — or a low rent version of lunch on an insanely busy day. But, giving into those sugar-packed, sodium filled temptations too often will start showing their impact on the scale, so it’s important to remember why eating better is your best option to survive the work day.
Prevention: Next time you’re ready to grab another bag of mini chocolate chip cookies, drink a glass of water instead. Many times, your body is screaming to be hydrated, but your brain is interpreting it as hunger. If that still doesn’t curb your snack cravings, make sure you have fruit or veggie sticks on hand to munch on instead of that salty bag of chips.
Health Risk: Screen Fatigue
Staring at a screen is undeniably a necessary evil in an office, but it can be brutal on your peepers. Having your eyes glued to the computer for an extended period of time can result in lasting blurriness, over sensitivity, dry eyes and watery eyes, as well as headaches and neck pain. Ouch!
Prevention: Adjust your normal screen routine. Increase your font size to eliminate squinting, don’t have your screen brightness cranked to the max, look away from your screen throughout the day, and, when you get home, keep your laptop closed and smartphone in your bag! This is your time to unplug and practice some work-life balance.
Health Risk: Noise Stress
You might not think small talk around the office, clacking of keyboards, phones ringing, doors opening and closing or passing conversation can have a serious effect on your day-to-day office life. You’d be wrong. While low levels can, sometimes, serve as a more motivating white noise that keeps you on a steady work roll, long-term exposure can take a real toll. Increased levels of work stress, lack of concentration and the inability to make smart, fast decisions are all indicators it’s time to make some changes.
Prevention: If you’re able to find a quieter room to work in with limited interruptions, then you’ve found a small slice of heaven in your bustling office. If that’s not possible, investing in noise-cancelling headphones or taking a 10-minute walk outside can be “off the grid” for a much needed mental and physical rest.
Health Risk: Office Obstacles
You’d think offices would be designed with maximum safety measures in mind to ensure everyone would be free of any physical danger or health risks. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Door handles covered in germs, sharp edges you can bang a body part on, wires ready to trip you up; it’s a battlefield. But there’s no reason you have to become a casualty.
Prevention: Take stock of your immediate work area. Make sure that anything you’ve knocked into, tripped over or maybe picked up that last nasty cold from is tied up, padded and sanitized. For anything out of your immediate work area that poses risk to you and your co-workers, give the office manager a heads up to have the problem nipped in the bud.
Lead image via Getty