If you’ve ever spent a late night at the office, you know how sitting at a desk can affect your muscles. As it turns out, a stiff neck may not be the only adverse health effect brought on by time spent at a desk job.
The modern office environment is full of health problems that can have a profound impact on your well-being over time. Many of these issues can be solved with minor adjustments. By carefully examining your personal workspace and finding out where health issues originate, you can overcome existing wellness problems and prevent others before they occur.
Sitting creates problems
In recent years, the proliferation of standing desks has drawn attention to the damage caused by spending several hours a day seated in front of a computer screen, however, standing may not be a complete solution to ergonomic issues. A properly configured desk and chair can actually be a healthier choice than an incorrectly set up standing desk, according to Cornell, so you should evaluate your ergonomic situation completely before committing to a new type of desk.
The biggest ergonomic problem that plague office workers force people into unnatural positions for long periods of time while they work at their desk. This can be the result of a keyboard that is positioned too high or a monitor that is placed too low. These small issues may be insignificant in the short term, but they can be very damaging over time, according the University of Pennsylvania.
While these ergonomic issues can be corrected by repositioning your keyboard and chair, you should also commit to a larger lifestyle shift. Even with ideal ergonomics at your desk, regular movement is critical to optimal health. Cornell recommended desk workers move for two minutes out of every 20 minutes they spend at their desk.
Clearing the air
Air quality is another major source of health issues in the workplace. It is difficult for indoor air to properly circulate in many office environments, which causes several problems, including airborne mold spores and a high concentration of fumes from building materials and other chemical products used in the workplace, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Poor air quality has a variety of health implications, ranging from flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose and headache to lasting health effects brought on by exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens. While it is possible to test a building’s air quality to discover wide-ranging issues, individual employees can take actions that improve air quality near their specific workspace.
Obviously, proper ventilation is an important part of air circulation and overall air quality, though an open window may actually exacerbate existing air quality issues. If your workplace is near a roadway or in an area where other buildings regularly emit chemical fumes into the air, an open window may contaminate the air in your office even further.
Plants offer a surefire solution to many of these problems, according to a study conducted by NASA. NASA examined the air-cleaning properties of several plants and concluded that many removed a high volume of the toxins that would otherwise cause health problems. Even regular houseplants like the peace lily exhibit this ability, and can upgrade your workplace’s overall health.
Simple changes, big results
You spend the majority of your day at work, so meaningful wellness improvements on the job can have a serious effect on your overall health. By making a few changes you can be on your way to a longer and happier life.