It’s not exactly news that office jobs aren’t good for us. This is something we’ve known now for a long time and more and more evidence is only supporting this view. Perhaps most damning are the recent studies on the negative effects of sitting at work. These show us that sitting for long stretches at a desk can take years off our life, and undo all the good work we’ve put in at the gym.
The problem is that most people don’t have much choice – they work in a home office to make a living and as such, they don’t get to make the rules regarding how long they’re sitting.
That’s where creating a home office makes all the difference. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to work from home at least some or all of the time, then you can make the rules yourself. Here are some of the things you can do to design that office to promote better health.
One of the first things you can use to improve your health when you’re working in the office is to invest in a standing desk. Now you’re not going to want to use this all the time, as it’s hard to concentrate and get real work done when you’re standing up. Nevertheless, for short bursts, while you check e-mails, etc., standing up could be a very useful way to feel healthier and even burn some calories.
One of the things that make working in an office so bad is simply how long we’re remaining in the same position. The position isn’t great, but staying in any pose for this duration would be bad for you.
S,o a solution to this issue is to work on a laptop or a ‘hybrid slate’ computer, and to then have multiple seats around the office that you can move to.
One of these seats could be a ‘kneeling chair’. These encourage you to take up a somewhat kneeling position, which while still not perfect will at least straighten out your back allowing you to breathe more naturally and reducing the shortness of your hip flexors (which is one of the things that contributes to lower back pain).
Of course, your regular desk should also be at the right height for these chairs – make sure that your head is able to stay upright and still see the monitor well.
Make it Light
Natural light is highly important for promoting health. Not only does natural light naturally improve our mood and stimulate the production of vitamin D, but our body uses it in order to gauge its sleep-wake cycle. The more natural light in your office then, the better you are going to sleep come bed time.
Something else that helps you to naturally reduce stress is to keep a natural looking décor. Having plants in a room has been shown to help reduce our heart rates for instance, while using stone flooring, fountains and other more natural items can all have a similar effect.
You should also aim to avoid letting the tech itself negatively affect your health. For instance, using software that reduces the brightness and wavelength of your monitor can help you to avoid messing up your internal body clock. Likewise, you should look into software that encourages you to take regular breaks from your computer.
Oh, and take regular breaks. This is crucial not just for your eyes, but also just to keep you moving. Don’t work more than an hour without getting up, walking around and looking at something other than the monitor for a while.