When many people think of dangerous jobs, the last type of job that likely comes to mind is an office desk job. While you may not be working with heavy, dangerous equipment, desk jobs have special health risks of their own. Thankfully, you can avoid many of the health hazards of desk jobs when you recognize the dangers and follow these tips.
Trade Your Regular Desk for a Standing Desk
This is the number one way to improve your health when working a desk job. Sitting at a desk all day is extremely hazardous to your health and can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, insulin resistance, and colon cancer. Sitting also reduces blood flow to your brain, which can even cause your work performance to suffer.
An easy switch that can reduce the health risks of your desk job immensely is trading in your standard desk for a standing desk, available at most furniture stores. While you may have heard of desks attached to fancy exercise equipment, many of those desks are not only extremely expensive, but they can also be difficult to work on. Many people cannot type and work efficiently when walking on a treadmill all day.
A standing desk simply gets you off your bottom and onto your feet while working to decrease all of the aforementioned health risks while also reducing back pain and shoulders strain in most people.
Sanitize Your Computer Keyboard Every Day
If you work in an office that has several shifts of workers coming in daily, then you likely don't have a dedicated computer that is yours to use only. With a shared computer comes a shared computer keyboard. Can you remember the last time that keyboard was cleaned?
Studies have shown the computer keyboards in offices can have 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
An easy way to keep yourself protected from the bacteria on your office keyboard is the sanitize the surface, keys, and mouse with an alcohol-based sanitizing solution before you begin every shift.
Use Your Computer Mouse Properly
Speaking of computer mouses, do you use yours properly to avoid developing hand and wrist pain and even the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome? If you don't know, then take a look at this guide that can help you learn how to use your computer mouse in a more ergonomically correct way.
Among other important tips, the Cornell University guide advises not to rest your wrist on any surface while using a mouse, as it can increase the pressure inside your carpal tunnel. This can exacerbate current carpal tunnel pain or contribute to a future problem. You should also move the mouse using your entire lower arm instead of just your hand and wrist to further reduce the chance of wrist pain.
Dim Your Computer Backlight When Working Late
Exposure to bright lights in the evening is linked a number of negative health effects, including sleep disruption and depression. While you may not be able to simply stop working when the sun goes down, you can make small changes to help decrease the risks associated with late-night light exposure and computer usage.
Steps you can take include dimming the backlight of your computer when the local sun sets and wearing special yellow glasses that block out the more activating light wavelengths. Dimming the lights in the entire office or just your area can help too, if you have permission.
Working in an office does not have to be a health hazard when you follow these tips to stay healthy. These four small, affordable changes to your daily routine can reduce the risks of many illnesses, diseases, and mental health problems when working a desk job.