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Is your office job destroying your health?

The stress, long hours, and sedentary nature of your modern office job are sucking the life out of you — literally. 

And it's not just the tight deadlines, stress-eaten doughnuts, and sneezing coworkers that are doing you in. Even your keyboard can be out to get you.

From the printer to your supervisor, the dangers presented in a typical office can have real effects on your physical well-being and mental health.

Everyone has taken sick days, whether it’s due to a cold, muscle pain, stress or mental health reasons. 137.3 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK in 2018, which is roughly 4 days per worker. Because of the economic downturn, sick days dipped down to 131.7 million. In this blog, we will discuss several health problems that the average UK office worker encounters.

“If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers and your business will take care of itself.” – J.W. Marriott

Working in an office all day takes a toll on the body and mental state. Because of this, there are many health risks that employees undertake. Sometimes you feel like work is consuming your life, but you are most definitely not alone; it happens to everyone. It’s easy to fall into the unbalanced work life but there are a few simple ways to avoid falling into those dangerous habits. The five most common health problems that UK office workers undertake are recognizable and can be prevented, just take a few extra moments in the day to focus on yourself.

  • 45% of women and 37% of men spend less than 30 minutes a day up on their feet at work
  • More than half regularly eat their lunch at their desk
  • 78% office workers felt they spent too much time sitting down
  • Nearly two-thirds were worried sitting at work was having a negative impact on their health

Gavin Bradley, from Get Britain Standing, told the BBC News website

 "We're all victims of our environment, we've taken a lot of activity out of the workplace and we're sitting longer and longer. We need new and innovative ways of addressing the issue. Stand up when you're on the phone or in meetings, do everything you can to avoid sitting."

Back Pain

This is one of the top reasons for employees to miss work. 22.4% of sick days are due to back pain and other muscle pains from sitting all day. Sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time can cause back pain or significantly increase an existing problem. Static posture, such as sitting at a desk all day, increases stress in the back, shoulders and arms. It’s important to get up and move to reduce the pain. Some ways to prevent back pain or help reduce it is to correct your posture, make sure your chair is at an appropriate height, and regular exercise is essential.

Stress

This is a major cause of absence in the workplace and costs over £5 billion a year in Great Britain for lost hours and medical bills as a result. Stress not only impacts yourself but everyone around you; Stress can be caused by deadlines, long hours, financial woes, sleep deprivation and much more. There are several ways to mitigate the stress before it gets severe. Eating healthy, meditation, and exercising are just a few examples on how to reduce stress in the office.

Low immune system

There are two types of stress that people suffer from; acute and chronic. With chronic stress, you are more likely to develop a lower immune system that causes major illnesses. Stress harms many parts of the body including the tissues, heart, brain and reproductive system. Another reason for a low immune system is lack of sleep which is caused by overworking. This can also be provoked by unhealthy eating habits and not getting enough nutrition. Some ways to reduce the risk of a low immune system is to eat whole foods and regularly exercise.

Sleep deprivation

Many office workers are guilty of sleep deprivation. Whether there is a huge meeting you need to prepare for or an important presentation, lack of sleep is a guarantee. Some signs that you may be sleep deprived is fatigue, clumsiness, weight fluctuations, and stress.  Lack of sleep reduces levels of leptin which is the chemical that makes you feel full and this could lead to overeating. Some ways to prevent sleep deprivation is to implement a corporate wellness program that will reduce employees stress and become aware of the issues surrounding sleep. Meditation and yoga have many health benefits that influence better sleeping patterns such as; stress management, increased flexibility, emotional boost, and better diet.

Eye strain

A large number of office workers have to stare at a computer screen all day, which causes eye strain. This can make you feel dizzy or vomiting which is not ideal for a good working day. Eye strain occurs in 50-90% of people who work with computers. It’s difficult to avoid eye strain all together but there are some great ways to help reduce the symptoms; increasing font size, resting eyes frequently, adjusting brightness, and minimizing glare.

Office inactivity Stats 

5.2lb(2.4kg)

Estimated amount of weight that can be lost by standing up for an extra 30 minutes a day for a year

  • 37% of men spend less than 30 minutes a day up on their feet at work
  • 45% of women spend less than 30 minutes a day up on their feet at work
  • 50% regularly eat their lunch at their desk

Source: Get Britain Standing and British Heart Foundation

 

Don't become a statistic, make the commitment to a healthier you.