Whether you love or hate your job, chances are you’re spending a good chunk of your time at the office. According to Labor Department data, employees spend around 38.7 hours a week working. On top of that, employees work an average of 46.8 weeks a year. We spend so much time at work but don’t really consider how it's impacting our health.
Workplaces can be a petri dish of sorts. When one employee gets sick, it can quickly spread around the office and then creep into everyone’s homes. Having an office job comes with various other stresses and inconveniences, like spending too much time sitting and staring at a screen or eating way too much junk food.
Even though more Americans are working remotely these days, the reality is that workplaces aren’t going away anytime soon. We should all learn how to make the office a healthier, more harmonious space. Check out these tips on how to stay healthy at your office job.
Request Healthy Snacks
Potato chips, chocolate bars and watermelon Jolly Ranchers are all definitely alluring. If you’re having a bad day, there’s a reason why all these sugary and caloric treats will make you feel a bit happier: Junk food triggers a similar brain-reward system to drugs. The occasional trip to Candy Land is perfectly fine, but when it becomes a daily habit, you will start noticing a negative impact on your health. Make sure junk food is relegated to special events and satisfy your munchies with fruits and vegetables.
Exercise and Stretch
In the contemporary workplace, having an office job means you’re probably sitting all day doing various tasks on the computer. Though this might be a bit boring and not feel physically extraneous, it's still impacting your health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting down all day can be as detrimental to your health as “obesity and smoking,” and could lead to numerous health conditions ranging from high blood pressure to high cholesterol.
On top that, sitting in front of a computer can also lead to chronic back pain. You should look into alternatives to the traditional desk set-up, like standing desks and bouncy balls. Additionally, schedule in some daily exercise and stretching. Maybe sign up for a gym close to your work so you can take an hour off to get some cardio in. Hell, we're not above some good old-fashioned desk stretches, either.
Wipe Your Desk Daily
Unless you’re a power-player who has a fancy private office, you’re most likely working in close proximity to your colleagues. This means that someone close to you will be sneezing or coughing and spreading germs on your desk.
Before you panic and do an elaborate homage to Bubble Boy, you should look into practical things you can do to make sure you’re not picking up your coworkers’ illness. Buy some Lysol wipes and clean your desk after the end of each workday. Try your best to avoid eating at your desk so your food doesn’t come into contact with bacteria that accumulates throughout the day. It's also worth investing in some desk-side vitamins and cold medicine.
Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health
One study found that over 40% of workers feel that their job is “extremely stressful.” Experiencing stress at work can be particularly troubling because there’s an implicit expectation that you shouldn’t complain to your colleagues.
However, you need to talk about your issues to truly tackle them. When you feel overwhelmed or swamped, tell HR and ask if you could take some time off or maybe work from home for a bit. Even if you don’t feel like you’re at a breaking point, there are things you can do to every day to improve your mental health.
Allocate some time for meditation, taking a walk or going out to lunch. You could also make your workspace a bit more pleasant by buying a plant or asking your office manager to have a “zen corner.” No matter how much work you have, you should always prioritize your mental health.
Disconnect At Home
With digital workplace platforms like email and Slack always creeping up behind us, it’s become possible to have your boss or coworker contact you at home with a work-related issue. But just because it's easy, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right.
Ideally, your company will have clearly-set boundaries. Working right before you sleep can be detrimental to your resting schedule and lead to sleep deprivation. You can turn your phone off, set it on AirPlane mode or hit a “snooze” option on all incoming notifications.
Check out hims’ blog if you want more lifestyle tips. Want to stay on top of your health?