Are you a “desk jockey”? If you sit much of the day staring into a computer screen, you may be harming your health even as you’re helping your company become spill containment savvy. At Impact Absorbents, our watchwords are “environmentally friendly” — and that includes your health. Here are five potential health hazards, and ways to work around them.
- That wide-eyed stare. Staring into a small screen can be hypnotic. Computer users blink less than half as often as people who aren’t glued to their screen, which can lead to dry, red, burning eyes, or even double vision. The fix: look away from your screen every half hour, use eye drops if your eyes feel dry, and, if you spend any time in the field around hazardous materials, consider investing in our Venture II lenses: the ideal way to be a stylish spill clean up star!
- Back to basics. Before the advent of widespread computer use, nobody used the term “ergonomic”. Now, it’s essential if you don’t want to wreck your back or neck. The fix: Adjust your chair and keyboard to sit comfortably at your computer; ideally, your workstation ought to be ergonomically designed for maximum physical protection while working. Remember to take frequent stretch breaks, and review our post We’ve Got Your Back! for more tips.
- The sounds of silence. Typical WiFi hotspots can be busy serving food or making coffee while music pours from wall speakers and conversations swirl around people tapping away on their laptops or mobile phones. Your office may not be much better. A noisy environment releases stress hormones into the bloodstream, lowering both immunity and workplace effectiveness. The fix: Try wearing noise-canceling headphones when you don’t need to be on the phone. Ask your office neighbors (nicely) to keep it down for the benefit of everyone’s physical and emotional health. If all else fails, do what one bold employee did and request a quieter office so you can perform your job more efficiently (she received it).
- Chowing down. Eating lunch out every day is hard on the wallet but eating at your desk while catching up on e-mails or phone calls is hard on the spirit. And then there’s the temptation of candy and soda machines for that mid-afternoon slump. Not to mention office birthday cakes. The fix: Bring your own lunch to work sometimes, and eat in a local park or somewhere else that’s restorative, rather than at your desk. Take healthy snacks to work as well, so that when a craving hits you late in the day, you’ll have brain-boosting food on hand in lieu of empty calories.
- Blue meanies. One of the greatest stressors at work is a bully: whether it’s a coworker or your boss, working with someone who intimidates, insults, excludes, or otherwise behaves abusively is bound to affect your health sooner or later. The fix: Join forces with coworkers and bring the matter to the boss’s attention. If your boss is the bully, go over his or her head. And if neither strategy works, consider seeking greener pastures.