Reboot Your Desk Job to Improve Health

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

Office environments might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of potentially harmful workplaces, but that doesn’t stop them from negatively affecting your health. In fact, working in an office can be far from a safe job, as you’ll see below. Thankfully, there are ways to alter your current desk job to improve health.

Desk Job Dangers to the Body and Mind

Being forced to sit day after day in front of a screen can cause:

  • Back aches
  • Wrist pain
  • Headaches
  • Sore eyes

Furthermore, the office environment often seems confined. One reason for that feeling is the lack of natural light. If there’s also no fresh air, that can lead to feelings of tiredness, as well as depressive states.

And, as if that were not enough, it’s important to note that  the stressful pace the office environment can link to devastating effects on the mind and body. For example, the WHO describes how stress at work from inflexible working hours and other factors associates with physical and psychological problems. So, before that desk job gets to be too much, start today to make changes to it to improve health. Welcome to the Office 2.0!

Green It Up

While you can’t work outdoors when you have a desk job, you can certainly bring a bit of nature inside by surrounding your desk with air-cleaning plants. The purpose of the greenery is to combat indoor air pollutants that can harm your health and clog your mind.

With the use of these plants, you can to transform harmful carbon dioxide in the air into oxygen as a way to bring fresh, clean air into the office. Spider plants and dracaena are among the easier plants to grow; they can survive for a long time without water, making them a great for forgetful minds. Plus, they remove benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and trichloroethylene from the air. As a result, your head is clear for thinking, and your air is purified.

Pets can improve health of this female office worker
Suggest that your supervisor make the workplace more dog-friendly to help improve employee happiness and more. Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Desk Job? No Stress, I Pet

You can’t easily change the pace at work, but you can bring in calming elements that reduce stress. For examples, animals are a terrific source of relaxation. While a pet policy in the workplace might at first sound strange, 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, which can improve health.

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 switch to a standing desk. Among the potential benefits of standing desks are:

  • Less risk of obesity from a sedentary work style
  • Less risk of breast and colon cancers connected to minimal physical activity
  • Improvements in posture for reduced back and wrist pain

However, you need to make 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. Otherwise, your body will be under a lot of strain. Over time it might surprise you how much more productive and fitter you are with your new desk versus the previous sitting version.

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

What are some other ways to improve your current desk job to improve health?

12 COMMENTS

  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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