Yes, Even an Office Job Can Have a Big Impact on Your Health

Keep hand sanitizer at your workstation
If fellow employees are sick then you risk catching their germs too. Pexels (CC0 License).

We all know that some workplaces come with significantly more risk than others. If you work in construction, in manufacturing, or in agriculture, you know that there are dangers you encounter every day. However, this might lead people in environments as docile as the office to believe that they’re entirely safe. That’s not necessarily true. Everyone who works in an office needs to be aware of the following dangers and what they can do to mitigate or avoid them.

Are you totally safe working in an office?
Office jobs have their share of risks too. Pexels free image (CC0 License).

Aches and pains

The health risk at work that most are already aware of (and probably have experience of) are the aches and pains that come as a result of doing the same task in the same position for hours on end. When it comes to office furniture, a lack of investment in posture-changing chairs and adequately positioned desks can lead to long-term back pain. If you work using a keyboard, some of the measures at, such as making sure your keyboard is at the right height and taking the time to stretch your hands, can reduce your risk of developing severe repetitive strain injuries.

The best way to prevent those aches and pains is to find the opportunities to break up the monotony. If you can do something that doesn’t involve typing for a half-hour here and there, do it. Don’t forget to get up from the desk and stretch your legs every hour, too. You can even ask the boss if they have any errands you can do while on your feet so you get the green light.

Telephones, health, and office jobs
Talking a lot by phone at work can compromise your health. Pexels, CC0 License.

Speaking up

In many jobs, if you’re not on the computer, you’re on the phone or communicating with co-workers. But the level of talking required by many jobs is fast becoming a health concern. Particularly in call centers, vocal cord damage is starting to become a frequent danger. If you work in such a job, it’s recommended you drink plenty of water to keep your throat lubricated and practice speaking evenly or using a microphone instead of a handset.

Lighting at your office can be problematic
Take breaks at the computer to deter eye strain and other issues. Pexels, CC0 License.

Go into the light

There are a lot of offices that don’t give you access to natural light. This might seem like no big deal, but links between feelings of lethargy and depression have been connected to poorly lit environments, not to mention the increased risk of workplace accidents such as tripping. When paired with computer use, it can be even riskier. As states, constant exposure to a computer screen can lead to eye strain, migraines, and increased risk of nearsightedness.

Taking breaks when possible is always advisable, including ensuring that you’re not sitting at your computer desk when you eat lunch. However, surrounding the computer with task lighting like a lamp can reduce the contrast between the screen and its surroundings, making it safer to use.

Working in an older building? Dangers may surround you
Poor air quality and other issues can make your office environment less than optimal. Speak up about health conditions, if necessary. CC0 License, Pexels.

How’s your environment?

It’s not always about what you do for work. Sometimes, where you work can make as big a difference. Poor air quality in the workplace, affected by the state of ventilation and cleanliness, can be dangerous to those with respiratory conditions like asthma. Then there are the materials still present in some buildings.

Asbestos and lead paint have been banned from construction since 1989 and 1978, respectively. But as sites like show, there are still ongoing successful lawsuits from employees who develop mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. Not all older buildings have been updated to modern standards. There’s a growing modern danger, too, particularly in photocopiers that aren’t properly maintained. When not taken care of, these machines can produce lethal levels of ozone. If you’re concerned about your work environment, you shouldn’t stay quiet about it.

Mental health concerns at the office
Office work is a major cause of stress. Talk to your boss or find ways to overcome stress to achieve good mental health. Pexels image, CC0 License.

All in your head

It can be more difficult to talk about mental health in the office because many people don’t want to deal with the stigma or fear looking weak before their colleagues. However, the workplace is one of the leading causes of stress.

If you don’t believe you can talk to your boss about dealing with it, then you should try to figure out ways to overcome stress on your own. This might mean therapeutic steps in the home, but it also means tackling the issues at work causing stress. If you’re being pressured into taking overtime, put your foot down. If you’re finding it difficult to maintain a work-life balance, perhaps you need to consider asking for more flexible working conditions.

Keep hand sanitizer at your workstation
If fellow employees are sick then you risk catching their germs too. Pexels (CC0 License).

Don’t forget sick coworkers

Of course, you can just as easily get sick thanks to other people. Offices are a hotbed of disease when cold or flu season comes around. Not everyone gets vaccinated and not everyone practices proper hygiene. In the workplace, it’s not going over-the-top for you to be doubly secure about your own hygiene, in that case. Having your own hand sanitizer to use every time you get up or sit down at your desk or use the toilet can make an immediate impact on how at-risk you are of catching what’s going around.

Sedentary office lifestyle and health problems
Sitting too long can cause bone disorders and more. Are you concerned? Pexels, CC0 License.

Death by sitting

Nowadays, there’s a lot of fuss being about the supposed dangers of sitting down for too long. It’s true that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to increased risk of heart attacks, high cholesterol, obesity, and more. But there are new results being found that sitting for too long in the day can cause a whole slew of health problems, as shown by Bone disorders, muscle degeneration, and even cancer are being touted as some of the dangers attributed to sitting down for too long.

Beyond improving your posture as mentioned above, a sedentary job has to be accompanied by a more active lifestyle outside the workplace. Many have even taken to using standing desks to mitigate many of the dangers.

If you have a real health and safety concern, whether it’s physical or mental, talking to your boss about it can help you make a real difference. It’s never worth suffering in silence and jeopardizing your health to keep things convenient and calm at work. Your employer has a responsibility to ensure that your work isn’t affecting your health.


  1. Most of my working hours are spent in front of a computer. I go through this all the time.
    Again one great post from you and some great tips too. Besides the real life topics you choose to write is what i admire the most about your writing. Keep inspiring ☺😊

  2. Great post. As someone that works in an office, it truly can be a toxic environment. Poor natural lighting, sometimes poor air quality and sitting all day really take a toll. Great tips to try to fight it!

  3. Great post… very well written and documented (I checked out all the trackbacks 😉 ) So interesting–> risks involving Asbestos: totally new to me…
    Thank you for sharing such relevant information, CB … Hugs! 😀

  4. I never worked in an office where I was strapped to a computer for 8 hours a day. But the classroom had its own dangers – mostly the unhealthy air we all breathed. By and large, schools have horrible air circulation systems. Viruses were trapped in schools for 6 months during the winter. Kids would go home sick, get better, and return to school only to get sick all over again. Helpful post, Christy!

  5. Oh I work in a public hospital in the basement and we have no light! In summer, I make it my mission to go for a walk outside on my lunch break. It does wonders – good for your mind and getting your daily dose of Vitamin D!

  6. Working in a medical office that sees patients all day adds its own risks to your health. Not only could you catch an illness from a coworker, you also add to the mix every single patient and whomever accompanies them to the mix, not to mention the air flow from the door being opened fifty or more times a day.

  7. I just started writing my blog about my pain experience.. it took far too long to finally realize that all of my pain was from the mere amount of hours I spent sitting. I went through a lot of testing, trial and errors to figure out what was wrong with me. I finally gave up on my office job, left, and that’s when I knew for a fact the pain was thanks to sitting. Not everyone believes this could have such an impact but it does!

  8. This is a great post. I have worked in an office environment for several years and find myself explaining to doctors “I’m stuck at a desk all day.” My new job has a lot of natural light which is fantastic, but I do have to make sure I get up and moving every so often!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.