Office 2.0: Reboot Your Desk Job To Improve Your Health

Potted plant for a healthy job environment
Air-cleaning plants may be exactly what your office needs. PIXNIO public domain photo.

Office environments may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of potentially harmful workplaces, but that doesn’t stop them from having the ability to negatively affect your health. In fact, working in an office is far from being a safe job! On the contrary, being forced to sit day after day in front of a screen causes not only back and wrist pains, but also headaches and sore eyes.

Additionally, the office environment often feels confined: The lack of natural light and the absence of fresh air can be directly linked to lethargic and depressive states. And as if that were not enough, it’s important to note that the most common cause of death in the modern age for a healthy office worker is heart disease, which is presumed to be a direct consequence of the stressful pace the office environment. So before the office life kills you, it’s still time to implement necessary changes to boost your health. Welcome to the Office 2.0!

Pets and the office worker
Office photo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Stand up for good health

Sitting too much can kill you. While it can seem difficult to consider a change of career to leave your desk job behind, you can instead switch to a standing desk. Standing desks are ideal for reducing the risk of obesity that comes from a sedentary work style, and the risk of breast and colon cancers that are connected to reduced physical activities. Besides, standing up improves your posture, which means less back and wrist pain. However, you need to take the switch from a sitting to a standing desk slowly, by introducing an anti-fatigue mat to relax your knees, hips, and ankles. Start by working in a standing position for 20 minutes a day before gradually increasing the time, as your body will find it straining at first. But you’ll be surprised to find yourself getting more productive and fitter as you get used to your new desk.

Green it up

While you can’t work outdoors, you can certainly bring a little piece of nature inside by surrounding your desk with air-cleaning plants. Indoors air pollutants can harm your health and clog your mind. Using plants that transform the harmful carbon dioxide present in the air into oxygen is a way of bringing fresh and clean air into the office. Spider plants and dracaena are among the easier plants to grow – they can survive for extended periods of time without water, which is great for forgetful minds – and they remove benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and trichloroethylene from the air. As a result, your head is clear for thinking, and your air is purified.

Potted plant for a healthy job environment
Air-cleaning plants may be exactly what your office needs. PIXNIO public domain photo.

No stress, I pet

You can’t easily change the pace in your workplace, but you can bring calming elements that reduce your stress. A pet policy in the workplace might sound odd but a friendly dog or a cat can have a significant impact on the overall ambiance at work. Petting an animal is known to reduce stress. But the presence of a workplace mascot can also improve communication between teams and help people to take short breaks more often.

In conclusion, for the desk worker of the 21st century, a standing desk, a potted plant, and a puppy are the basics of a happy and healthy office job, day after day.


  1. Been there,done that….ended up with depression & overweight…not a good combination…but I’m def in a better place(mind) now,not 100% but getting there…

  2. I’ve heard that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day can be as bad for your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Yikes! I try to get up as much as I can to walk around. Thanks, Christy!

  3. When I was working at the day job I could easily go two to three hours sitting at the desk not moving, working away trying to meet deadlines etc. I was so stiff when I’d get up to walk around. I had ongoing muscle aches, headaches and stiff joints. Since I left the day job behind my body improvement is fantastic. Before I left we had just moved offices, the new modern layout actively encourages people to get up and walk around. That has to be good news!! Another great post Christy x

  4. I guess I should consider a stand-up desk for my home office since I do 8 hour days – even though I’m retired. Thanks, Christy. I have my Maltese Terrier to pet anytime I want – so I’m part way there!

  5. Standing desks are now quite common in many of the bigger workplaces here in Australia. Most of the jobs I’ve worked in here have the option of standing desk – though you do need to list a reason why you want it, and those with back problems or can’t sit for long due to health conditions may very well get a standing desk. At my current work we can adjust the height of our sitting desk – and if I adjust my desk to the highest it can do, it actually doubles up as a standing desk for me as I am short 😀

    Taking breaks is a good way to improve health and concentration at work – and I find that if I actually step away from my desk and go out of the office even if it’s just a few minutes, I come back more refreshed 🙂 Another great helpful piece on improving lifestyle, Christy x

  6. I splashed out on a sit/stand desk a month ago and I’m really pleased with it. I’m not entirely convinced that sitting is all that bad for otherwise reasonably active people, but my back definitely likes my new desk. Wish I’d got one years ago.

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