This is a guest post by Dominic Peters who works for Axiclaim. In this post Dominic will teach you about health ricks in the office – how to recognize them and how to prevent them. I’m so glad Dominic reached out to me to write this post. There are some tips here I would never have realized on my own. I think you all will enjoy what he has to share. Leave Dominic a comment at the bottom of the post.
If you work in an office and not on a building site, you may think that your job is fairly risk free. There are however, some things which can pose the risk of injury and illness in the workplace.
The fact that you spend so much time at work means that if you’re unhappy there for any reason it can really affect your life in a negative way. Creating a sense of teamwork is important not only for your happiness, but also for greater productivity and higher quality of work. Here are some ways to stay safe and healthy in the office and some tips for boosting morale within the team.
Repetitive strain injuries happen when stress is repeatedly put on a joint without time to recover. Those who spend hours typing and using a mouse are at risk from RSI in the wrist. To avoid it:
- Take regular breaks
- Make sure your keyboard is close enough that you don’t have to reach for higher keys
- Keep your fingers and wrist level when typing
- Buy a wrist rest for added support
Avoiding back and neck pain
To avoid straining your neck and lower back you need to make sure your computer set up is correctly, that you have a decent, ergonomic desk chair and that you have good posture. Hunching over and looking downwards at your screen can lead to serious back problems over time.
Image credit: Berkeley Lab
Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your legs at a 90° angle to your spine. Invest in a lower back cushion to ensure you maintain a slight arch.
Looking after your eyesight
The proliferation of smart phones and tablets alongside time at your computer screen at work means that staring at a screen for hours on end every day is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society. Not only can this make ‘switching off’ and sleeping difficult, but it can also lead to eyestrain. Symptoms include:
- Sore, burning, itchy or dry eyes
- Twitching eyes
- Blurred vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
To avoid eyestrain take regular breaks, look away into the distance every once in a while and ensure that your office space and desk are well lit.
Keeping it clean
It’s a grim thought but nonetheless true that your desk can be a haven for bacteria, especially if it’s where you eat your lunch.
A microbiologist at the University of Arizona has even stated that ‘the desk, in terms of bacteria, is 400 times dirtier than your toilet’
Remember to wipe down surfaces, including the telephone and mouse, with antibacterial wipes. If you insist on eating at your desk, keep your keyboard out of harm’s, and crumbs’, way.
Keeping stress levels low
Stress is perhaps the most common risk to your health at work and can lead to a multitude of health issues, including sleep loss and digestive problems.
To keep stress levels low, take exercise during your time off and practice breathing techniques to help you relax at your desk. In some cases where conflict is causing you stress, you may need to speak to an unbiased mediator to resolve the issue.
Offsetting your sedentary lifestyle with exercise
Office jobs can make moving around during the day impossible, but sitting at your desk all day and then getting home and sitting some more on the sofa will lead to reduced fitness levels.
To ensure a healthy lifestyle and to combat signs of stress, take 30 minutes of exercise per day. A walk during your lunch break is a simple way to achieve this.
Out of office team building events
Spending the day with colleagues in a relaxed environment will help you to get to know them as individuals and make working relationships and easier.
Once you know someone’s personality, their strengths and their weaknesses, communication at work can improve.
Activity days where team members are asked to work together towards a common goal, and have a laugh in the process, will lead to a stronger team, boosted morale and better quality of work.
Celebrating life events together
If one of the team is getting married, having a baby or celebrating a birthday, marking the occasion in some way helps to make employees feel valued as people and not just worker bees.
Whether it’s a card signed by everyone in the office, a round of coffees bought in the morning or even an embarrassing ‘Happy Birthday’ sing-along, celebrating together gives meaning to working relationships and will put a smile on everyone’s faces.
This post was written by Dominic Peters. Dominic works for Axiclaim – find their website here – who specialise in work related injury claims; he also loves writing about business and health and helping people to lead healthier, happier lives both in and out of the office. Thanks for reading!