Unfortunately, lots of people do not enjoy their jobs. Whether it is the disorganized office, a mean supervisor or the lack of career advancement available, working in a standard office setting is causing more and more people to feel stressed.
However, it is not just the stress that is harmful to workers; there is a multitude of other reasons for why working an office job can actually be downright detrimental to someone’s health.
If you work a desk job (or even if you do not and you are just curious), then continue reading to learn more about how working in an office may be slowly killing you.
Most office jobs require little to no movement. Aside from heading to the restroom or picking up copies at the printer, you may find yourself sitting at your desk for hours on end. In fact, you are more than likely spending over half of your day sitting in your desk chair. This is incredibly detrimental to your health because that lack of movement can not only increase your risk of obesity but also your odds of facing cardiovascular disease and other diseases as well.
Do this: Switch out your old office chair for an exercise ball chair or another alternative. Similarly, you can slowly adjust to working from a standing desk. Or, keep the chair and simply walk more by setting an alert on your phone that will ding each hour to remind you to get up and walk around the office. You can also make small changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking down to the office of your coworker instead of just sending an email when you need to speak with them.
You may feel overworked, especially if you are constantly working 10- or more-hour days and are also expected to stay up-to-date on emails once you are home. Putting in extra hours and not fully disconnecting once you leave the office is not good for your health. And if you find that you are getting overly stressed, then that stress may lead to a wide variety of mental and physical health issues as well. In fact, studies have been done that show that people who regularly work 10 hours or more each day have a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems such as a heart attack.
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Do this: Do not feel pressured to take on extra hours every week and try to head home at a reasonable time each day. Make it a priority to set aside time each day to completely disconnect from work. Disable your email notifications, put your phone on silent or simply let your supervisor and/or coworkers know that after a certain time of the day, you will not be responding to any messages. Then, take the time to relax so that you can recharge and therefore be more productive when you head to work the next day.
With only a few paid sick days offered to employees at most companies, a lot of people tend to still show up to work even if they are really sick. This greatly increases the chances that everyone else present at work that day will also end up catching that illness as well.
Additionally, there are many germ–infested objects at the office. Your keyboard, phone and mouse can be breeding grounds for bacteria. Plus, you likely have a lot of contact with dirty door and faucet knobs, handles, elevator buttons and more. And then, not to mention all of the handshakes you have to suffer through as well.
Do this: Even if you are not a germaphobe, it is important that you understand the importance of washing your hands regularly, especially if you work in an office all day. On top of that, keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk and using antibacterial wipes to clean off your keyboard and phone every so often can go a long way in keeping you (and everyone around you) from getting sick. Also, if you are sick, then do not go into work. Stay home and recover.
Working with people that you do not get along with is sure to be difficult, but did you know that it can actually make you sick as well? The stress associated with needing to deal with toxic behaviors from coworkers and managers can be enough to lead to depression, high blood pressure, gaining weight and suffering from sleep problems such as insomnia.
Do this: Set boundaries with the people you work with. Make sure that you do your best to resolve any issues calmly and maturely, and if you find that unnecessary conflict ensues, then you may want to speak to someone in the Human Resource department for advice. If absolutely necessary, then consider asking for a manager or project reassignment.
Whether you find that your workload is overwhelming and high-stress, or you have no interest in your work and you find yourself frequently bored, you will need to make a change. Studies have shown that job strain has a big impact on the development of type 2 diabetes and other health issues as well.
Do this: If you are feeling overwhelmed and the pressure is something that is ongoing, then speak to a manager about either sharing some of the workload with someone else, extending deadlines or getting additional training so that you can feel more confident and productive. However, if you are completely disinterested in your work, then you may need to work on an attitude adjustment and do some research into your work so that you can try to reconnect to your purpose. If that is not possible, then a career change may be your best bet.
Just because there are some health-related downsides to working a desk job does not in any way mean that you should immediately quit your job as an accountant and start working as an electrician or something similar. There are bound to be countless downsides to nearly any career, whether they are office jobs or not.
However, it is important to be aware of these downsides so that you can recognize those aspects and take action to improve your health. There are lots of different things that you can do that can positively affect the way you work. In fact, the simple changes mentioned above may be able to alter your work environment and attitude enough to help you enjoy your job again.
If you try to make changes and still do not see an improvement in your work life and health, then it may be time to consider changing jobs. Whether you decide to work for a different company that is more in-line with your goals and aspirations, or make a complete career change, it is crucial that you do what you need to in order to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy because your health should be your number one priority.
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