More of us work in offices now than ever before. Where our grandparents, or even parents might have been employed in so called ‘Heavy Industries’ such as coal mining, ship building or in steel works, many of us earn a living by sitting at a desk in front of a computer. The result of this change to the way we work has led to many experiencing health problems and medical issues that would never have affect previous generations.
A variety of health problems have been identified as a result of working full time in an office environment that include, but are not limited to, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Lower-Back Pain and Eyestrain. A study by the NHS found that simply sitting for long periods of time can lead to a variety of adverse health problems. They found that those who sit at a desk the longest have a 112% increase in risk of diabetes, 147% increase in cardiovascular events and a 49% increase in death from any cause.
Though your company may have a program in place designed to treat some of the problems associated with working at a desk, prevention is always better than treatment. Here are a collection of changes you can make to reduce the health risks associated with working in an office.
Put Back-Pain behind you
With 31 million days being lost due to back, neck and muscle problems in 2013, the way we sit every day can have long term health implications. Ensuring you sit with good posture minimises the risk of back-pain, and you can ensure this by having one of the many ergonomically designed office chairs available today. Advances in research and technology has allowed us to design and build chairs that can reduce the risk of back-pain massively.
Look out for Eyestrain
Research by The Vision Council recently found that 70% of American adults suffer some form of eyestrain, with many being the result of spending a lot of time looking at a computer screen. There are several steps that can be taken to prevent eyestrain. Upgrading your computer monitor from a CRT to a modern LCD screen has been shown to have a positive effect, as has changing the lighting in your office from ultra-bright strip bulbs to ambient floor lamps. Even by simply adjusting the contrast on your computer monitor or having an anti-glare screen has a positive effect.
Wave goodbye to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The nerve pain associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can have a detrimental effect on the average person’s productivity when their job relies on their ability to type on a computer. Simple wrist stretches have been shown to be beneficial. There are also a variety of technological innovations that can help prevent wrist pain including specially designed keyboards and mice all designed to combat this common ailment.
Running out of options?
Finally, what is arguably the most effective prevention technique for this list of office associated illnesses, is by simply leading a balanced, healthy lifestyle. If you have the chance, take time on your lunch break to go to your local gym or have a run. Smartphone technology allows us to be able to pick up important emails and messages 24/7 from almost anywhere in the world. And with the rise of in-office wellness programmes, the opportunity to improve your health around the standard Monday to Friday office job has never been greater.
With more people than ever working in an office environment, we are now putting ourselves under stresses that are bodies have not been exposed to before. With a new work pattern it is important to remain healthy, not just to improve productivity, but to ensure we have a good quality of life. The aforementioned steps in this article should go some way to ensuring that we are happy and healthy in our jobs.