Nowadays, many people earn their money in an office and have to sit all day. This is not beneficial to your health at all. The majority of office workers have to deal with back pain and tension at one point in their job. The problem is that humans can adapt to almost anything. Even to things that harm us or make us sick. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to prevent the common desk-job afflictions, so that you are not one of the people that suffer from pain and malaise on a daily basis.
Desk-Job Afflictions are Often the Result of Wrong Habits
Of course, you don’t have to accept that your desk-job is harmful to your health. Simply change some of your habits, and you’ll already make a lot of progress. Keep in mind: you spend a significant part of your life at work, so you should focus on a healthy way of working.
1 – Even as a Desk-Worker: Do More Exercise
Hippocrates once said that healthy food and exercise are the way to good health. Thus, you should find ways to do more exercise. Half an hour a day is enough. According to the World Health Organization, however, 60 percent of the world’s population don’t exercise for at least half an hour a day. According to the German magazine Focus, 20 more minutes of exercise are enough to extend your life by about six years. I can’t tell you if that will happen. Nonetheless, exercise is the best cure for tension and back pain.
You Could Try and Implement the Following Tips:
- Getting up every 30 minutes to stretch properly should definitely be possible.
- Don’t sit when you’re on the phone, stand up and walk around.
- Suggest meetings to be held standing up.
- You could suggest a walk for two-person meetings.
- Move the bin to the opposite end of the room.
- Have a short office workout every day. Five minutes are enough.
2 – Always Drink Enough
In the heat of the battle, we sometimes forget to drink sufficient amounts of liquid. However, this will instantly take revenge as we will suffer from fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and the loss of concentration. Not drinking enough always comes with instant malaise. That can easily be avoided.
The Following Tips Can Help You:
- Always place a bottle in your desk’s field of vision.
- Try juices with low amounts of sugar.
- Prepare constant supply. However, you shouldn’t drink more than two cups of coffee.
- You prefer drinking tea? Make sure that your favorite types of tea are always available in your office.
- For meetings and longer phone calls, always have a drink at hand.
3 – A Daily Office Workout Helps Immensely
Sitting is poison for our body. Joints and muscles brace, and you won’t have to wait for the back pain. Exercising in between work is probably the best thing you can do. That’s not always possible. Thus, Ergotopia has developed a short, five-minute office workout which can be integrated into your work routine very easily.
Check out that video. It is in German, but the moving images speak for themselves:
4 – Switch Up Your Work Routine
I can’t tell you this enough. It affects your entire work environment and is not only worth a mint for monotonous work. It can also be used for health aspects. Switching up your work routine means: only work sitting down when necessary. Work standing as much as possible. You could walk around while being on the phone with someone, or switch the room for certain tasks.
Longer letters can be read in different places. Of course, you know best what you could change. Maybe, you could create a work plan for varied tasks, so you know in advance which tasks you can do where and how. The main thing is to bring variety into your work routine.
5 – Against Thick Air: Ventilate Regularly
In an office, the air is often thick. I’m talking about the quality of the air in your office. Oftentimes, the air in open-plan offices is a lot worse than in small one-person offices. The more people sit in one room, the worse the air quality. The amount of carbon dioxide in a room increases drastically. The room climate doesn’t only depend on the people’s oxygen consumption, but also on the emissions and dust of the devices.
Did you know that poorly ventilated office rooms can cause a plethora of diseases? Headaches, respiratory diseases, colds, and a lot more can be resulting from a poor room climate. Thus, always make sure that the office room is ventilated properly. Ventilating once an hour can’t be harmful, but it can prevent diseases.
6 – Avoid the Food Coma
You work for a large company that runs a canteen? Take a look at the majority of food that is offered. Most of the time, it will be very greasy food, as it’s very cheap to cook. Greasy food isn’t always bad, at least not when you have to deal with a lot of physical work. But any person with a desk-job will slide into the food coma this way.
Food coma means that you will feel uncomfortable after eating. The food is heavy on the stomach, and you become tired. On top of that, your work motivation will drop immensely. That’s why you should pay attention to a reasonable ingestion. Eat lighter things, eat more salat, or bring your food from home. It’s better to eat multiple small meals than one or two large ones.
It’s also important to take your time with breakfast. Also, make sure to consume light but filling meals. Many people will recommend whole-grain bread or cereal. However, both are rich in sugar. I recommend reading the percentage values of the ingredients. By the way, a roll with Nutella on it has fewer calories than a bowl of cereal. Always have an eye on your calory consumption.
7 – Don’t Let Yourself Get Stressed
Stress is one of the factors that can really make you sick. Always keep the stress levels low.
Stress is like a spice – the right amount enriches the flavor of a meal. Too little makes the food taste stale, too much will choke you.
– Donald A. Tubesing
There are many things you can do to too much stress. However, you should know in advance that stress is created inside of you. Thus, you are the only one that can lower your stress levels. I can recommend the following things:
- Every evening, you should prioritize the tasks of the next day regarding importance. A is the most important job and should be completed as soon as possible. After A is done, B is next. B is equivalent to tasks that are important but don’t have to be done instantly. Everything else goes to C.
- Learn to delegate if your position allows you to. Tasks that you marked with a C can be delegated. If you can’t delegate them, just forget them.
- Take breaks on a regular basis and step away from your desk.
- Zone out for a moment, close your eyes and breathe in and out deeply.
- Force yourself to smile. A smiling person has a lot less stress to deal with.
8 – Spend Your Breaks Outside
When you have a break, don’t stay in your office, but go out to the fresh air. You can also do that when it’s raining. So go get a good slicker. Relax outside, breathe deeply. Maybe there’s a park nearby? Or a forest? If so, that would be the right place for relaxation. You could also visit a café to zone out. The most important thing is to be outside during your breaks. Short walks can lower your stress levels a lot.
9 – Indoor Plants Improve the Room Climate
Indoor plants improve the room climate and help balance your mind. Looking at them is good for your soul. They also filter the air, which is why they are good for your health as well. In a study, Norwegian scientists found out that indoor plants helped reduce diseases among office workers.  The result showed that 30 percent of the staff didn’t have a dry throat anymore, another 30 percent felt less tired, and 37 percent got rid of their cough. Spider plants, dragon trees, aloe vera, umbrella trees, and ivy seem to be especially effective.
10 – Pay Attention to a Healthy Posture
I know. This is really difficult. When I have to work sitting down, I tend to slouch as well. In the heat of the battle, the posture is easily neglected. But these habits are exactly what causes annoying, and painful tension that can be prevented by the correct position. In the beginnning, it will be tough to make sure to sit correctly at all times. But this small effort will help your body very quickly, as it won’t feel any tension pain anymore.
-  Frey, Hannah. »Gesund im Büro«. Verlag Herder GmbH (2015).