10 Ways to Make Any Job Healthier
The news earlier this year that prolonged sitting can be deadly seemed to confirm many office workers' sneaking suspicion that they weren't meant to spend all day in a desk chair. Or, more dramatically, that their jobs were slowly killing them. It isn't just the sitting. It's the stress, inflexible schedules, ever increasing pressure to perform, layoffs, and windowless cubicles. It's a recipe for high blood pressure, weight gain, bad posture, and general unhealthiness.
A recent study from the
But workers are able to make changes for themselves. More and more will be seeking new jobs in the coming months as the job market improves, but many may find that stress is a constant in any job they jump to. While not every change is possible for every worker or something that can be maintained every day, here are 10 moves that could make your job healthier:
Stop eating at your desk:
This can get pretty gross. If you let bits of your snacks and lunches and vending machine booty slip into your computer keyboard during the day, don't be surprised to learn that they're luring vermin out a night. According to the
Add plants to your area:
Improve your posture:
Bad posture can cause everything from eye strain to lower back pain. A study last year by researchers from the
Find a way to reduce work pressure:
It's easier said than done, but it could save your life. Women in high-pressure jobs are at a higher risk of heart disease. A 15-year Danish study tracked the health of 12,116 nurses ages 45 to 64 in 1993. Those who reported work pressures as being a little too high were 25 percent more likely to have ischaemic heart disease, and those who felt the pressures were much too high were 50 percent more likely to have ischaemic heart disease. Accounting for other lifestyle factors only slightly reduced the risk. Work pressure appears to have the greatest health effects on younger nurses.
Reduce overtime as much as possible:
Working three to four hours of overtime a day is bad for your heart, according to a study published on behalf of the
Exercise at lunch:
A recent survey by
Don't de-stress with TV at night:
Much in the way that adding healthy foods to your diet is only one piece of nutritional health and must be accompanied by reducing unhealthy foods, adding exercise to your lifestyle is only one piece of physical health. You must also reduce the amount of sitting, which is no easy move for someone with a desk job. The authors of a recent editorial for the
Request a flexible work arrangement:
In some parts of the world, lawmakers have jumped into the debate over flexible work arrangements. Parents with young kids also have a statutory right to ask for flexible work arrangements in the U.K. The benefits of a controllable work schedule are great, even for non-parents. A recent Cochrane review of 10 studies found that control over one's own work hours yielded health benefits in areas such as blood pressure and sleep.
Keep a clean desk:
A 2004 study by NEC-Mitsubishi coined a phrase for this: "irritable desk syndrome." Researchers determined that cluttered desks were among the workplace factors making employees ill. Some 2,000 workers were surveyed and 45 percent reported that it was possible to fix the mess of clutter and paper on their desks that increased their stress at work.
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